43 Folders

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

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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


Today through Saturday: Merlin's Advanced OmniFocus Demo (MacWorld Booth #760)

I'll have a more proper Monthly Pimp on-deck here soon, but -- time being of the essence here -- I wanted to make sure and extend an invitation for something I'll be doing in town today.

If you're one of my nerdy band of brothers who's in San Francisco this week for [MacWorld][macworld], please do come visit me between 1:30 and 2:30 (today, Friday, and Saturday), at the giant, glistening, Oz-like [Omni Group][The Omni Group] booth ([#760][8]).

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Video: Merlin's Talk, "Toward Patterns for Creativity"

Merlin Mann - "Toward Patterns for Creativity" - Macworld PULSE

Here's a video of my presentation, "Toward Patterns for Creativity," from earlier this month at Macworld, here in SF.

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The Problem with “Feeling Creative”

If your mall's bookstores look anything like mine (and it's probably safe to assume that they do), you'll find numerous sections devoted to helping writers, painters, musicians, and other aspiring artists to become successful in one way or another. There are books chock full of tips on finding an agent, on painting like the masters, and on composing and selling a hit song.

There are also dozens of books on "creativity" itself. Guides that are meant to help you access and unlock the artist within and to see the world in more creative ways. How to "be" creative, how to generate ideas, and how to learn to think "laterally."

Some of these books are just terrific, many are atrocious, and, at least in my anecdotal experience, only a handful challenge their readers with a fundamentally unmarketable premise:

Creative work only seems like a magic trick to people who don't understand that it's ultimately still work.

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MacBook Air: Specific Machines, Specific Uses

macbookair.jpgThe new MacBook Air announced at yesterday's Macworld keynote doesn't disappoint; it's pretty much the laptop I've wanted ever since I stupidly broke my 12" Powerbook trying to replace the hard drive. All things remaining the same, I'd buy it simply for the difference in weight, a full two pounds less than a MacBook. As someone who's put a lot of miles on his kicks with a laptop bag on his shoulder, that would make a world of difference.

What's interesting though, is what the MacBook Air isn't: it's not simply a sexier MacBook Pro on Jenny Craig, it's a different class of machine. John Gruber rightly points out that it's clearly designed as a secondary machine for people who do their heavy lifting on a desktop. Without another machine standing by at home or the office, only a select group of geeks could really get by without an optical drive, not to mention the diminished overall specs of the MacBook Air may not please a power user without reinforcements (a.k.a., the folks willing to spend upwards of $2000 on a laptop).

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Macworld: Mac Gems Picks

Macworld Feature: Connect with the world

Macworld Magazine asked me to pick out a few of my Mac Gems, and I was happy to respond with four favorites.

Default Folder, for example, is a PreferencePane that I've used and loved since Christ was a corporal:

Default Folder X (****½)

You can tell Default Folder X is a classic because you start missing it the second you sit down at a Mac that doesn’t have it installed. It reduces the tedium of a handful of annoying dialog-box tasks, and it’s worth its price solely for the ability to set a per-program default location.

Merlin & MacBreak @ Macworld: Cocoalicious, Yojimbo, BBEdit, MacUser's Dan Moren, Entourage, MemoryMiner, Pen-it, and Luiza the

Here are the final 5 episodes of MacBreak I reported from the Macworld Expo floor this week:

Here are the previous 4 segments and here's a pointer to all of MacBreak's Macworld coverage.

Thanks to everybody at Pixel Corps who put this together, and most special thanks to everyone who talked with us, came to the meetups, or just said hi on the show floor. It was a really fun week for me.

You can ensure you never miss an episode of MacBreak by subscribing for free.


Merlin & MacBreak @ Macworld: Omni Group, MailTank, AppZapper, Pzizz, Cha-Ching and Flip4Mac

A few more of my MacBreak segments from the Macworld Expo floor are now available for download:

More episodes coming later today. Never miss an episode of MacBreak by subscribing for free.


Let OS X developers at the iPhone. Please.

Sixfoot6 Archives: 30 Things the iPhone Could Do That You Haven't Thought of Yet

Ryan's list contains a lot of the tear-inducingly sexy fantasies that were going through my own mind on Tuesday morning when we all heard that the iPhone was going to run OS X.

Like a lot of my friends, I (probably naively) took the announcement to mean that, as on my own Mac, I'd be able to install Cocoa applications built to take advantage of announced features like WebKit, Core Animation, and so on. Sure, given the foreseeable hardware limitations, these wouldn't be the exact applications that we're each running on our MacBooks today, but, hell, I'd take "OmniOutliner Mobile" or "iTerm Lite" or "Textmate for iPhone" in a heartbeat. No question.

Yesterday morning, though, I started to hear rumbles about the "inability for users to install additional applications of their choosing." And then later, after Brian from Gizmodo got a hands-on demo along with a sit-down with official Apple honchos, he noted...

It isn't OS X proper, as you'd expect. And like an iPod, it won't be an open system that people can develop for. Remember, this is both an iPod and a Phone.

...and I died a little inside.

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43F Podcast: Snell & Gruber on iPhone applications

Jason Snell and John Gruber on iPhone applications

Merlin talks with MacWorld Magazine’s Jason Snell and DaringFireball.net’s John Gruber about the likely future of applications for the recently announced iPhone. Who will be allowed to play? How does it affect the ostensible competition? Will this end up feeling more like a phone with an iPod, a Mac with a phone, or something altogether different? (5:48)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

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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. »