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


"Music Only" for your iTunes playlists

New for Friday 11/10:
Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users »

In my MacBreak Weekly capacity as Vice-President in Charge of Digging Pointless Ratholes™, I recently mentioned some tricks that I use to create better playlists in iTunes. One of these tricks -- which is an oldie, and which I'm certain I yoinked from some uncredited smarter person out in the blogtropolis -- is to create a "Music Only" list.

So you know how you have increasing buttloads of non-music (podcasts, audio books, etc.) in your iTunes library? It's really annoying to throw on one of your sexy Smart Playlists or the Party Shuffle, only to have a 20 minute nap or a Noam Chomsky lecture kick in.

I get around this by basing almost all my Smart Playlists on my one canonical "Music Only" list, which currently looks like this:

Music Only

Yes, it's very hacky, and yes there's probably a more elegant way to accomplish this effect, but so far it's been a handy jumping off point for my favorite Smart Playlists. This helps me build stuff like...

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Sloan get organized for new record

One of my favorite bands, Sloan, has a new record called Never Hear the End of It that just came out last week in Canada (currently only purchasable via import in the US; in Canada, you can buy it on MapleMusic).

While recording the CD, Sloan also shot a bunch of short in-studio videos, including a couple that reveal their innately organizational side.

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Weird Al: "White and Nerdy" video

Solid gold and closer to home than any of us probably like. Steven G has the full lyrics.

[ via: Waxy links ]


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Un-alarming timers for meditation and the (10+2)*5 hack

If you're a beginning meditator, you may share my distraction of sometimes wondering "How long have I been doing this?" It's easy (and desirable) to lose track of time, but it can be worrisome if you need to be someplace later and are nervous about falling sleep or the like.

Commentor Ruth recently pointed us to Zencast, a site that does podcasts on Meditation, including an introduction to meditation series. Haven't listened to any of these yet, but I was pleased to notice that their first three shows of the podcast are just "timers" for meditating.

Each is an MP3 of 10, 20, or 30 minutes in length, and they each consist of a "Music for Airports"-like wash of ambient music at the beginning and end of the session and just silence in-between. The 20- and 30-minute versions also feature unobtrusive tones at 10 and 15 minutes respectively. Handy way to get time off your mind (a meditation hack?).

In a similar vein, don't miss Hernick's alarm-free MP3 for running the (10+2)*5 hack. As he says over on the board:

But syncing myself to a alarm? Urgh. Painful stuff. I hate buzzers.

So I invoked the power of Open Source: I fired up Hydrogen, a drum machine.

I laid down 12 minutes of beats; the beats synchronise you to the hack.

Both the mediation timers and the Dash tune are clever ways of having alarms without actually having alarms.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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