43 Folders

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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

Vox Pop: Your best "best practice" for email?

Short Subject: Now You're Talking (1927)

prosaic [on email]

Chris Streeter picks up on a thread that I've been thinking about a lot lately (and he's kind to mention the relationship to Inbox Zero).

He reminds us that the etiquette for using a telephone was once well-established enough to earn a place in the encyclopedia:

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TaskPaper: Simple, text-based task management


Jesse Grosjean from Hog Bay Software has just begun sharing the first releases of a new task-tracking app which adopts a refreshingly stripped-down approach to managing action on a Mac. TaskPaper starts with the simplicity of text files then adds just a bit of Mac magic to make it both smarter and prettier, but without giving up portability and ease of use. Jesse says:

TaskPaper makes it easy to create a list of your projects and their tasks so that you always know what needs to be done. It's simple to reorganize the list, create new items, mark items as done, and delete items that your finished with. You can also assign contexts (such as "home", "office", or "car") to your tasks so that you can later generate lists of all tasks assigned to a specific context.

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Free MP3 of Inbox Zero talk

The 43 Folders Podcast

43F Podcast: Inbox Zero - Google Tech Talk

A lot of folks with slower connections (or who just aren't crazy about internet video) have written to request an audio version of the Tech Talk on Inbox Zero I gave at Google last Monday. Google has very kindly permitted me to share that with you, so here you go. Thanks to everyone who wrote to request it.

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

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Comicraft bargains; Mac GTD app overview; Grep in Textmate Projects; The baffling desire to sleep less

Saft for Safari on MacBreak Minute

h a o l i [Saft]

In the latest episode of MacBreak Minute (subscribe), I talked about a Safari plug-in I like a lot called Saft.

 MacBreak (iPod video) - MacBreak 84: Minute: Saft

Although my short demo only covers bookmarking a set of tabs, Saft does way more. To quote the lovely and talented Jon Hicks:

Saft is quite simply the vital extension for Safari. Its started life as a way of getting full screen/kiosk mode, but has grown to include many other features as well. Hao Li, the developer, is regularly adding new features, and updates are always available soon after a main Safari update.

Saft for Tiger is $12.00 and can be ordered online.

DailyLit: 5-minute literature chunks, via email or RSS

DailyLit: Read books by email and RSS.

To know me today, you'd never imagine how many hundreds of pages a week I read in college. Surprises me, anyhow. While I've devolved into an accomplished skimmer of Harper's and the The New York Times Magazine, I rarely find (or, make) the time to finish a whole book about anything that's not related to "work." That's why I'm intrigued by DailyLit, a service that leverages rather than battles the tendency to hang out online.

The idea is simple enough: select a "free" book that appeals to you, then, every day or two, via either email or RSS, the DailyLit robot sends you a section that's readable in about five minutes. If you want more at any time -- the digital equivalent of turning the page -- just click to have the next installment sent, then keep on a'reading.

The variety of available selections is handsome, including favorites like Tristram Shandy, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Devil's Dictionary and over 400 more. Feeling ambitious? Try War and Peace (675 5-minute parts), The Count of Monte Cristo (581 parts), or Don Quixote (448 parts). Want something a little lighter? You can't go wrong with Candide (42 parts) or A Modest Proposal (4 [still hilarious] parts).

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PathFinder for cheap; Remembering Ellis; Automated OmniFocus updates; iPhone jackassery; The anorexic web

Merlin on Mark F's "Rule the Web" show

Rule the Web show: Merlin Mann, Wednesday, July 18, 5pm Pacific

cover of 'Rule the Web' by Mark Frauenfelder

Rule the Web
by Mark Frauenfelder

Forgot to mention that my pal, Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder, recently was kind enough to have me on his Rule The Web podcast (which is a companion to his swell new book).

We talked about jobs, procrastination, clutter, and a bunch of other stuff. We also took calls from a couple people, dishing out advice on topics like where to park ideas and how to fight distraction.

You can listen on Mark's site, download an MP3, or listen using the player below.

Mentioned in passing: del.icio.us, DEVONthink, Yojimbo, Mental Case (app whose name I forgot), In Our Time, and The Sound of Young America.

rooSwitch for easy, restorable application profiles

rooSwitch - Shuffle Your Settings Around

When you're testing a new version of an application (or just being a little paranoid), it can be a pain to deal with protecting your "real" data from being corrupted or overwritten. While something like SuperDuper is priceless for backing up a drive to a disk image, you want something that's not only lighter in weight, but that is smart enough to deal just with the settings associated with a single program. That's where roobaSoft's rooSwitch comes in.

rooSwitch's smarts come in being able to recognize which Preferences, Application Support folders, and related files belong to an app's settings (but, not -- it should be noted -- its documents), so that you can then backup, switch, and restore a group of settings whenever you need to. This can be quite a lifesaver.

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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. »