43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.


Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users

The success of yesterday's post on the basics of Smart Playlists makes me think you might enjoy seeing a few more. So, today I want to show you how to get control of a very large iTunes library -- to save space by getting rid of stuff you're not enjoying or listening to, as well as bubble up stuff you may not even realize you like.

If you are an iTunes packrat but feel overwhelmed by your collection (or are simply running out of drive space), try these recipes for Smart Playlists to help you get it together.

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43F Discount: 30% off DEVONthink Pro and other DEVONtechnologies apps

From now through November 15, you can get a 30% discount on any of the DEVON apps (excluding PhotoStickies) -- that includes DEVONthink Personal, DEVONthink Pro, DEVONagent, DEVONnote as well as the Infoworker's Pro Bundle and the DEVONthink/PhotoStickies bundle.

Just use the code "en-promo-43f-200610" when you checkout to receive your discount.

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MacBreak Weekly 12: “Smokin’”

MacBreak Weekly 12: Smokin’

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and Scott Bourne

Apple updates the MacBook Pro, and Scott buys one. No wonder they've got such a great bottom line. And our application picks including Disco and Tangerine.

Running time: 1:03:36

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Post your MacBreak Weekly ideas to del.icio.us: "mbwideas"

I'll steal a page directly from Amber's book on this one -- if you have something that you think might make a good story for us to cover on MacBreak Weekly, you can add it to del.icio.us with the tag "mbwideas". We check that page pretty regularly (I actually look at it once a day or so), so it's an easy way to get your favorite Mac and Apple stories of the week into the queue for consideration.

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Vox Populi: Best practices for file naming

If it wasn't apparent from my pathetic cry for help the other day, even I -- one of your more theoretically productive persons in North America -- struggle with what to call things.

Tags, files, and -- dear Lord -- the innumerable assets associated with making web sites, graphics, audio, and video projects; it's all a hopeless jumble unless you have some kind of mature system in place for what you call your stuff and its various iterations. Of course, if you're like me -- and I hope that you are not -- you still have lots of things on your desktop with names like "thing-2 finalFinal! v3 (with new changes) 05b.psd".

For prior art, I still treasure this Jurassic thread on What Do I Know where people share their thoughts on this age-old problem, but, frankly I haven't seen many good resources out there on best practices for naming.

Anyhow, during a recent MacBreak shoot, I noticed that Alex and his team seem to have a pretty fly system for naming the video files that eventually get turned into their big-time IPTV shows. Thus, I turned to Pixel Corps' Research Division Lead, Ben Durbin (co-star of Phone Guy #5) for insight and sane help. And, brother, did he ever give it to me (see below the cut for Ben's detailed awesomeness).

But, just so I don't lose you, do give me your best tips in comments: What are your favorite current conventions for naming files? How does your team show iterations and versions? Do you rely more on Folder organization than file names in your work? How have Spotlight, Quicksilver, and the like changed the way you think about this stuff?

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Text Expander for automagic typo correction

TextExpander AutoCorrect Snippet File

Recently, I was emailing with our friends over at Smile on My Mac about how I use Text Expander as an automatic spelling and typo corrector, and I realized that there wasn't a canonical location for the user-created "snippets" file you need to import in order to get this feature working.

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Vox Populi: How are you using Mail Tags?

I open the floor to all of you on a question of particular personal interest to me: How are you using Mail Tags?

While my uses of it to date have been helpful, I keep getting the feeling I'm not getting all that I can out of it -- especially since the ability to associate Projects, Priorities, etc. to a message could make for some really enticing Smart Folders.

I wonder if my question is ultimately more taxonomic in nature -- ultimately more about Spotlight in general or Tags in very very general: When tagging items on your Mac, what kind '-onomy' are using? How strictly do you enforce your vocabulary? What are the best practices for someone who's new to this?

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MacBreak Weekly: "iPhone Home"

MacBreak Weekly 11: iPhone Home

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Amber MacArthur, Scott Bourne, and Merlin Mann

The iPhone starts to look like the real thing, and Scott Rejoices. iPod celebrated five years... with a Windows Virus. And dating tips from Steve Jobs.

Running time: 1:22:45

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MacBreak Weekly: "Look What They Done To My Boy"

MacBreak Logo

MacBreak Weekly 10: Look What They Done To My Boy

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and Scott Bourne

New Mac ads, why does Adobe hate Intel, and iTunes TV store woes...

Running time: 54:15

Links to some of the stuff I mentioned in the podcast:

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LifeClever: Dot Mac needs more than a paint job

Apple finally revamps .Mac webmail, but does anyone care? » LifeClever

I have to admit, I'm solidly in LifeClever's corner on this one. They write:

The hatred for .Mac is not new in the [sic] amongst the Mac community. For me, .Mac is slowly becoming less and less valuable -- certainly less interesting -- as free services from Google, Flickr, and Delicious duplicate or nullify many of .Mac’s offerings. Of course, some things to like include .Mac’s ability to sync certain system preferences between computers. Still, it doesn’t seem quite worth the hundred bucks a year.

A few years ago, things like WebDAV were a novelty that was awesome but hard to find and setup, even on most shared server accounts -- I have four, and only one currently supports it out of the box -- but it's certainly not enough goods for the average user, even when you look at the other pieces of the .Mac offering. Not for that kind of dough.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »