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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.


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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OmniFocus for iPhone: Location-Aware Contexts and More

The Omni Group - OmniFocus for iPhone and iPod touch

[Disclosure: I'm a consultant on the OmniFocus project. You can blame me for having requested any of the features you don't like.]

Oh, man. It's so nice to lift the veil on this one. It's been like I knew you guys were getting the big Lego Millennium Falcon for Christmas, but I couldn't tell you until Santa had gone back up the chimney (in his black mock turtleneck and jeans). Anyway.

Merry Christmas, Mac productivity nerds: iPhone synching for OmniFocus is coming. And it is gorgeous, usable, and location-aware. More here on OmniGroup's blog.

From the OmniGroup site:

Using your location, OmniFocus can create a custom list of actions to complete nearby. Buying groceries? OmniFocus can show you the closest grocery store and create an instant shopping list.

Capture tasks anywhere, anytime with OmniFocus: you can enter text, take a picture, or even make a quick voice recording.

Yum. Screengrabs and more -- including a reminder that you should totally visit me at the WWDC OmniFocus meetup tonight -- after the iJump.

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Clippings intelligently convert "stuff" into OmniFocus tasks

[Disclosure: I'm a volunteer contributor on the development of the OmniFocus app]

You could be forgiven for being exhausted by my harangues about the importance of putting actions into their own special place outside of email, web sites, or other action-bearing media ("Email is just a series of tubes," Senator Ted Stevens, might one day say).

In fact, liberating actions from the email in which they arrived and putting them into a system that you trust is arguably the most important tenet of Inbox Zero. But it's also advice that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads: "OK, big shot, so where do I put this new task, and how exactly is it supposed to get there?"

Well, I'm happy to say that recent sneaky peaks of OmniFocus now have a pretty neat way to help with this problem. It's called "Clippings," and if you're familiar with the similar feature in OmniOutliner, you can imagine how it might work in the context of a task-tracking app and the complementary apps whose contents you want to direct to it.

Alongside the recently-added Perspectives, this is a feature that is making me very happy right now.

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Merlin & the OmniNerds coming to Tekserve in NYC

Very cool announcement to share -- Ken Case, Ethan Schoonover, and I will be doing an after-hours demo of OmniFocus on September 27th at Tekserve in Manhattan:

Not only will you get a sneak peek at the forthcoming OmniFocus software, but Merlin Mann from 43folders.com, a popular site about personal productivity, will be here to lead a discussion on personal organization and life management.

Pete the Tekserve Guy says seats are filling up fast, so be sure to register for free now if you're planning to attend.

This should be really fun -- and we'll all be hanging out after the presentation to talk, hang, and meet you. I'm pumped. It's my first trip to Manhattan since 1989 (and, no, I won't have a tragic mustache and a Meat Puppets shirt this time. Sorry.).

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OmniFocus in SF, WWDC

The Omni Mouth » OmniFocus demo at the San Francisco Apple Store

My peeps at OmniGroup mentioned this, so I'll slide it in as well. I'll be appearing with my OmniBrethren at the Stockton Street Apple store on Thursday June 21st to demo OmniFocus. Huzzah:

[Merlin will] be talking about productivity tips in general and discussing how OmniFocus fits in his workflow, so it should be more fun and interesting than your basic software demo. You should definitely come by and say howdy.

Be there.

Second, I heartily second Linda's suggestion that you email (omnifocus-wwdc at omnigroup dot com) if you're interested in doing an informal OF meet-up at WWDC.

If you don't come, Ken and I will have to sit there and stare at each other and maybe talk about D&D. Please, don't make us talk about D&D.

Update 2007-06-11 09:32:34 - OmniFocus at WWDC is scheduled. According to a recent Message of the Day in the OmniFocus beta:

We'd like to invite anyone attending WWDC to join Ethan Schoonover, Merlin Mann, and the OmniFocus development team for an informal gathering on Wednesday evening. We'll be meeting from 6:15pm-7:15pm in the "Commonwealth Room" "Olympic Room" on the 2nd floor at the Westin Hotel, one block from Moscone. (Please note the change in venue!)

This should be a lot of fun. If we can wangle A/V equipment. we'll do a demo of the latest version or OF, plus we'll be available to answer any questions about OmniFocus and just generally hang out.

Nota bene: I believe that this is for WWDC pass holders only. So I apologize in advance if there's an iPortcullis in place, and really encourage you to come to the event at the Apple Store next week if you're around.

Update 2007-06-12 23:24:49: Note room change above. We're now in the larger "Olympic Room."

Getting ready for OmniFocus

(Disclosure: I am a contributor to the OmniFocus project)

According to OmniGroup, about 2,500 people are now participating in the "sneaky peak" beta of OmniFocus, and new folks will continue to be added as capacity for support allows. But even if you're not yet using the app and are just waiting to get your hands on a finished version, it's not too early to start thinking about making a smooth transition from wherever you are now.

Moving your world of action into a new application is like moving into a new house (and can be almost as stressful). This is your chance to throw away crap, rethink how you've been doing things, and just give yourself a fresh start. So before you ever fire up OmniFocus for that first time, do yourself a favor and get sorted out with your current system first. Believe me, you're much more likely to handle this well before the temptation of having the app in your hands sends you diving into using it full-time.

In short, I recommend you start by conducting a thorough review that's focused on bringing all your tasks and projects up to date and in line with reality.

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Kinkless.com and "The Kinkless Desktop"

Kinkless | Productive Creativity

My pal, Ethan, is a photographer who's probably best known in the Mac-o-sphere as the author of "Kinkless GTD," the AppleScript for OmniOutliner Pro that caused a sensation last year among Mac productivity nerds and helped lead to the development of the OmniFocus task management app (disclosure: it's a project to which Ethan and I both currently contribute).

Well, if you haven't visited Ethan's Kinkless.com site in a while, you'd do well to pop by for a fresh look, because you're in for a treat.

In addition to doing a re-architecture and redesign that's one of the most eye-catching I've seen on a Drupal site, Ethan has begun writing some very useful tutorials (in addition to the screencasts for which he's becoming well-known).

For example, he's recently completed his "Five Steps to a Kinkless Desktop" series, focusing on how to "clean up, prettify and streamline the usage of your desktop." He starts with "The No-Mercy Cleanup":

So we have an undifferentiated mass of stuff on the desktop. This is the point at which a lot of organization self-help tells you to sort through it file by file. I am not going to tell you this. Why? Because I am lazy and realistic. You are just not going to clean up your desktop right now. Why? It’s overwhelming. So we’ll use a trick I call the “No Mercy Cleanup”

If your Mac and your brain need a dose of strong medicine, don't miss this.

I'm really enjoying seeing Ethan contribute his thoughts on productivity -- I've learned from working with him over the past few months that he's very thoughtful and deliberative about this stuff. Despite being a taxonomical animal, he's always focused on sharing first-person changes that will bring real, non-fiddly benefits to the lives of creative types. Looking forward to seeing where he takes this.

TUAW's notes from the OmniFocus meetup

OmniFocus Sneak Preview - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

Dan Lurie at TUAW has detailed notes on the OmniFocus Meetup yesterday at the Apple Store.

  • OmniFocus, unlike its predecessor KinklessGTD will feature an instant data propagation across the app, thus doing away with the need for a "sync button," and ensuring your data is always where you expect it to be.
  • OmniFocus will have a simpler and more streamlined interface than OmniOutliner, on which KGTD was built.
  • Users will be able to view multiple or individual projects and contexts in either a single window or multiple separate windows.
  • OmniFocus will support existing KGTD QuickSilver inbox-entry actions.
  • OmniFocus will also feature a standalone proprietary quick-entry method via keystroke, similar to Yojimbo.
  • Future versions will support user definable smart folders.
  • The first version of OmniFocus will not require 10.5 Leopard, but all following versions will due to the use of Leopard only technologies.
  • Like KGTD, OmniFocus will support syncing with portable devices through iCal.
  • OmniFocus will be fully applescriptable.
  • Future versions will support integration with OmniPlan.
  • Future versions will support universal action creation from other applications (such as turning an email message or iCal to-do into an action).
  • Future versions will support attaching or tying of files to actions and projects.
  • OmniGroup is planning to release OmniFocus within the next few months.

It was great to hear Ken lay out OmniGroup's plans and progress on the Kinkless replacement. Thanks much to everyone who showed up yesterday.

OmniFocus meetup, Monday @ the Apple Store

The Omni Mouth » OmniFocus get-together during Macworld week

Upcoming.org: OmniFocus Meetup at Apple Store (Monday, January 8, 2007)

As most Kinkless nerds already know, OmniGroup is developing a full-on Cocoa implementation of Ethan's script that they've dubbed OmniFocus. Since the OmniGroup folks will be in town for MacWorld, they've kindly offered to host a meetup at the Apple Store on Monday afternoon. For better or worse, your Author will be the emcee.

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Ethan on Kinkless and OmniFocus

Hold breath. Exhale. Focus. | Kinkless

I don't have much to add to Ethan's (typically entertaining and gracious) post about OmniFocus -- an under-development OmniGroup app that will bring Kinkless' functionality to a stable and powerful Cocoa application. But, first off: Yay! The Kinkless is dead! Long live the Kinkless!

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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