43 Folders

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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.


TextExpander: Essential Mac shortcut utility

TextExpander just got an update that adds a few features and fixes to this already essential OS X PreferencePane. Via email:

  • Abbreviations with characters requiring the Option key are fixed
  • Named delimiters (space, tab, return, esc) appear in other languages
  • Other minor fixes

I have to say, I just love TextExpander (formerly “Texpander”). Its functionality is not unique — users of, say, TextMate, TypeIt4Me, or Windows’ popular ActiveWords (Hi, Buzz), or for that matter, Vim, will recognize the similarities. But, brother, is it ever easy to setup, modify, and use.

At the heart of it, TE gives you system-wide text shortcuts that, when typed, explode into much longer bits of text or can even, say, paste in an image, like your scanned signature. So, for example, if you’re sick of retyping a new email sig, you can store it in TE and assign “emailsig” as the trigger to paste in the full text for you.

A screenshot of the control panel, courtesy of the Smile on My Mac site:

Screenshot from Smile on my Mac site

There’s just too many uses for TextExpander to try and catalog here, but I'll share a few that I particularly like...

read more »

GTD with a Mac label maker?

multipart/mixed: Turbo-Charging the Dymo LabelWriter

Dymo LabelWriter 330

I love my Brother PT-65, which is regarded by many as the unofficial official label maker of GTD nerds (and which, quizzically, appears to have been discontinued :-().

The PT-65 has easily paid back its modest sticker price with three years of faithful service. Trouble is, I like using it so much that it's gotten to be kind of a pain to pull it out and Blackberry-thumb-type my bajillion labels via its teeny keys. Now, I want something that hooks up to my Mac.

Josh Carter's gotten me interested in the Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo via this handy tutorial from late last year, which covers basic setup info, plus a tip on speeding up the creation of a new label with Quicksilver.

Josh has good stuff to say about the 330:

The advantages of the LabelWriter, as I see it:

  • The Dymo software is easy to configure for "power user mode" which eliminates all the extra dialog baggage, and then it's wicked fast to use. (Doubly so with Quicksilver in the mix.)
  • You get to use your computer's nice keyboard. This is especially important for me since I use the Dvorak key layout.
  • The Dymo labels are cheap and look totally pro, even better than a stand-alone label maker.
  • Labels are the same size, so reusing a folder is as simple as sticking a new label over the old one, and it still looks nice.
  • You can use fancy Mac OS X features like printer sharing if needed. (I tried it, it works great.)

Anybody using one of these units or similar? Care to recommend a label maker of any brand that hooks up via USB and works well with Tiger/OS X? I ♥ my little Brother, but I'm ready for Label Maker 2.0!

Bokardo: Apple moving deeper into social software?

Bokardo » Apple Making Huge Social Software Push?

Via Andy, here's a thought-provoking post that draws from a mosaic of current and forthcoming features (including Wiki Server, iCal Calendar Sharing and the nifty-sounding Teams) to suggest that Apple's moving toward some interesting directions in social software and enhanced functionality for teams.

Joshua writes:

Notice that all of these features are about enabling communication as much as they are about creating content. It’s about getting the right information to the right person at the right time through interaction with their friends and associates. That’s how we do things out here in meatspace, so that’s how we’ll do things in cyberspace as well.

I think this is good news for Apple. As the proliferation of telephones, cellphones, chat software, blogs, and social networking sites have shown, there seems to be a market for this social software stuff…

Open Thread: Leopard Preview

Apple - Apple - Mac OS X - Leopard Sneak Peek

Like most of you, I'm keeping an eye on today's previewed features of the upcoming "Leopard" (OS X 10.5) release.

Looks like some interesting ideas -- many of which, as usual, seem inspired by existing third-party products.

I think I'm most intrigued so far by the idea of "to-do" functionality from within Mail.app (thanks for the tip, Matt); let's hope that also means I can deep link to a given email from my iCal task list. I also welcome the concept of built-in email templates -- although I'm kind of bummed that they seem more focused on execrable 1999-style HTML emails than on the kind of functional time-savers found in the peerless MailTemplate.

To be honest, on first blush -- and I'm sure there's much more to come by the time of release -- this feels a bit cute and a little light on really revolutionary stuff (the long overdue promise of something like Time Machine notwithstanding). Stuff like (yet. more.) iLife integration is handy enough for the notional Swithcher and Grandpa Joe, but in general I guess I'm hoping for some serious power-user improvements to the core functionality. Maybe that's just me.

What do you think? What's "Yeah!" and what's "Meh?" Anybody else holding out hope for some really deep Finder rewriting and more functional iCal updates?

read more »

HOWTO: Flag "penciled-in" events in iCal

As I've mentioned before I like using iCal's invitations to share appointments with people -- especially since this lets them easily respond to let me know whether they 1) will attend, 2) won't attend, or 3) are just "tentative." Unfortunately, there's no analogous tentative flag for the (seemingly endless) number of appointments and event I want to just pencil-in -- you know, those times when you want to make sure to block out time for a call or lunch, but are waiting on confirmation from folks who don't use iCal (or for whom it makes no sense to pester with an invitation). My workaround -- yes, like many of these things -- is really simple.

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Megazoomer: Full-screen mode for Cocoa apps

ianhenderson.org - megazoomer

Speaking of full-screen functionality, lots of people have been writing to mention Megazoomer, a free, SIMBL-based bundle that fakes full-screen mode within any Cocoa app, including Safari and Textmate.

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Getting more out of iCal

Okay, I admit it. I've grumbled about iCal on and off since it came out. It's one of those things in life that makes you nuts with how it almost works. The alarm choices are amazing but there's no way to have them added automatically. The shared calendars are great, but only one person can make changes. The snoozing sucks, notifications magically disappear, and some days, the "moist Jolly Rancher" design motif makes me want to barf pink. Hrmph. But (and it's a big but)...

The truth is, iCal works great with kGTD (mostly of course), and once you make your peace with the perplexing stasis of its feature set, there are some not-bad hooks and affordances hiding in its pastel, roundy corners. Here's a few I like.

read more »

25% off OmniOutliner for 43F readers

The Omni Group - Applications - OmniOutliner - Professional

It's nice to know my crush on OmniGroup is reciprocated -- and extended to the lovely Mac users who read 43 Folders.

From now through June 30th, when you buy OmniOutliner from the OmniGroup site, use the checkout code "43FOLDERS" to receive a 25% discount on all versions of OmniOutliner. This includes OmniOutliner standard, OmniOutliner Pro, upgrades, and family packs -- anything in the OO product line). If you've been holding off trying the 1-2 punch of OmniOutliner and the free Kinkless GTD, now's your chance to jump in for a few less bones.

Thanks to Ken, Linda, and everyone at OmniGroup for sharing the love.

OmniOutliner in law school, and an appreciation of OmniGroup

Using OmniOutliner Pro and Kinkless GTD in Law School

Erik Schmidt has a useful post on how he's using OmniOutliner Pro and Kinkless GTD in law school. His explanation of kGTD is succinct and nicely captures the economy of using a simple system to track projects and tasks.

But, I think his section on law school note-taking and planning is a particularly good read for anyone who could use OO for similar purposes -- he highlights how you can adapt a basic structure (in his case, reading arranged by time/syllabus order, and notes arranged by class), but then have lots of flexibility via things like drag and drop:

read more »

Ejector: One-click ejects all mounted media

freshmeat.net: Project details for Ejector

Ejector in action

I love little Mac apps that just do one thing and do it well, and I'd definitely put Ejector in that camp.

read more »



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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