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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.

Personal Productivity

Open Thread: the iPhone, Apple TV, Steve's other announcements?

Apple - QuickTime - Macworld 2007 Keynote

Apple - iPhone

Wow. Everyone here in the MacBreak war room is still perspiring as we let it all sink in. OS X. On your phone. Damn.

So what do you guys think about Steve's announcements? What surprised you? What else do you wish you'd heard? What do you think it will mean to have running OS X on your mobile phone?

MacBreak Weekly taping tonight at 21st Amendment

MacBreak Logo

Upcoming.org: MacBreak Weekly Live @ 21st Amendment at 21st Amendment (Tuesday, January 9, 2007)

Directions to 21A, from Moscone Center

Just a reminder that tonight's live taping of MacBreak Weekly takes place at 21st Amendment starting at 6pm. If you're planning to come to the taping, my advice is to get there early, because we're anticipating a capacity audience (that's a big reason everyone agreed it was better not to do this event at the Apple Store on Steve Day).

Leo, Alex, Scott, and I will be discussing today's announcements and may even have some guests.

A propos of nothing, I will also take this opportunity to remind Mr. Bourne of his (often repeated) promise to buy everyone on MBW an iPhone on the day that they come out. Just saying.

If you come out tonight or see me on the Macworld show floor with MacBreak today, please say hi and introduce yourself.

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.

Vox Pop: What's your pick for Steve's big reveal?

Of all the speculation and Steve-watching over the past few weeks, the recent chatter about an Apple "nano-computer" may be the most interesting and thought-provoking of the bunch.

Bob Snow writes:

I think Apple will introduce a nano-computer, masquerading as a smart-phone . Basically a tablet computer the size of a Treo or Blackberry with a far more clever input method, full face screen and some version of iLife running on it. Ideally it would be a stand alone wireless nano-computer running OS X. Think of all the capabilities of a MacBook combined with a phone...

Current technology would of course make this computer a brick, much larger than a Zune and more expensive than a MacBook. The Apple genius-phone will have to point the way to such a device with a mobile version of OS X and iLife. Much of your data and the programs that manipulate it might be located on the internet. Strip down the memory. Even sync it with your computer rather than replace your computer. Whatever it takes to put a placeholder out there to position Apple for the coming revolution. It might take a serious partnership with Google to pull this off. Phone service providers be damned.

And here I was conservatively predicting/begging-for (@00:51:04) a 12” MacBook Pro by next year. Always thinking too small big. Now I want me the notional MacBook Nano.

So, what's your guess? What will Steve's E-ticket ride be at Macworld this year?

Joe Robinson on an "E-tool Bill of Rights"

An E-Tool Bill of Rights

With the surfeit of inbound communication unleashed by our always-on culture, life balance pundit Joe Robinson thinks it's time to get constitutional about our rights as overwhelmed e-citizens. I can definitely get behind a couple of the "articles" he's laid out:

In the spirit of Madison and Jefferson, it's time to reclaim liberty, not to mention productivity, with some boundary setting and rules. It's time to redraw the line between work and home, and between legitimate office communications and junk, with an E-Tool Bill of Rights...

Article 3: The people shall have the right to switch off email notification and other noisemakers and instead check messages at designated times to prevent attention deficit...

Article 4: There shall be no requirement of immediate response to messaging, unless urgency is determined.

Your mileage, like my own, will vary on some of these, but I'm always happy to see this thread of conversation picked up; I regret that we still have a ways to go before some of these would be ratified by the extant electronic body politic.

[ Thanks, barrett55 ]

Dave Cheong on staying focused at work

18 Ways to Stay Focused at Work

In this post from last August, Dave Cheong pointed out some of the hazards of working in a cube farm, and he proposes some handy tips for wresting back your attention from a room full of interruptions and distractions. I think a few of these tips are big winners.

Allocate time slots colleagues can interrupt you...Instead of having people stop by your desk every 10 mins and asking you questions, let them know of a time in the day, say between 2-4pm you can be interrupted. At all other times, you can really get some work done...

Apply time boxing...Instead of working at something till it is done, try working on it for a limited period, say 30 mins. By that time, the task is either completed or you allocate another time slot, perhaps in another day, to pick it up again...

Find the best time to do repetitive and boring tasks...For example, I’m more alert at the start of the day, so it’s better to work on things which require brain power early. Working on boring tasks that can be done via auto-pilot are better left towards the end of the day when I’m usually tired.

I realize that many of these ideas assume a lot of autonomy and control over your work day as well as how you conduct it -- obviously not every career is conducive to the enforcement of what amounts to "office hours" -- but I think that's kind of the point as well as the irony and the big, bottom-line challenge.

read more »

Path Finder video demo on MacBreak

MacBreak 38: Path Finder

Merlin & Leo on MacBreak

As promised, here's the latest video podcast episode of MacBreak, in which Leo and I have a look at Path Finder, an application by Cocoatech that (in my opinion) handsomely compensates for many of the deficits in the current OS X Finder. It also has a ton of cool features, preferences, and geegaws that most any Mac nerd will love.

New to me in this episode: according to Leo, Woz (cough) likes Path Finder, too. Cool!

Finally, here's some earlier coverage of Path Finder on 43f.

Direct downloads of Episode 38:

Subscribe to MacBreak for free

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.

read more »

Tips from Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools

Cool Tool: Tips 22

I love when Kevin posts these collections of tips from his readers. They're cut from the same cloth as our life hacks on the wiki.

Like many of 43f's readers, Kevin's contributors also obsess about shaving:

When your container of shaving oil is empty, try filling it with olive oil from the kitchen instead of spending $15 on a new stuff. I discovered that when I ran out a few years ago & I haven't looked back since. Olive oil does just as good a job and costs almost nothing per shave. People have been shaving with olive oil for thousands of years, there's no reason not to continue doing so.

-- Mark James

Many more on Cool Tools (here's the CT "Tips" category).

MacWorld '07: Merlin's MacBreak Expo coverage

MacBreak Logo

If all the stars line up (and my lack of proper press credentials doesn't get me thrown out on my ear), next Tuesday, a tenacious Pixelcorps camera person and I will be out covering MacWorld's Expo floor on behalf of the mighty TWiT Network's MacBreak video podcast.

I'll be focusing on OS X productivity applications -- with, I suspect, side visits to some companies I adore -- but I'm interested in hearing about anything you think MacBreak shouldn't miss.

Got a 43 Folders-esque product that you'll be showing off at MacWorld? Are you fun to talk to and comfortable appearing onscreen with America's dorkiest Mac productivity guy? Then you may already be a winner! Tell me who you are, what you got, and why the kids should be flocking to your amazingly costly booth. (Extra credit if you're in one of those teeny kiosks that get stuck back in the corner.) If you're bashful, you can also just email me




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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