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Personal Productivity

OSXCon apps

OSXCon | Merlin Mann

Applescpttdg_1Danny and I had a great time doing our talk yesterday at O’Reilly’s OSXCon. Met a bunch of great people and enjoyed the chance to hang with like-minded nerds. I love that people want to show me their squirrely productivity setups. Time management pr0n! Totally into it.

Our time for the session just flew by, so we didn’t have the time we would have liked to spend with all the apps. If you were there (or just like to play with OS X apps), here are links to all the things we talked about (or planned to talk about). If I left anything off or you have any questions, feel free to leave comments.

Thanks to Derrick and Vee for all their hard work, and thanks to everyone who showed up, asked questions, and just said hi. Stay in touch.

Also—since a bunch of folks had asked—the Finder replacement app you saw in the demos is Path Finder. It’s a terrific, super-functional app that adds tons of features to speed up your work flow.

Fast way to get unstuck

I really like the idea behind "List Your Way Out Of Stuckness"--particularly that notion of breaking your tasks into smaller and smaller pieces. I also just like the word “stuckness.”

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Your del.icio.us inbox

Use your del.icio.us inbox. It's a great way to keep up with your friends and your favorite topics.

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TextMate projects: faking metadata

Wrote this long-winded post to the TextMate list, so I thought I’d repurpose it here. Just quick tips on adding metadata to your text files and—because I’m a dull and repetitive scold—using controlled vocabularies to keep your stuff searchable.

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Beautify Instiki (even more) with custom CSS

You probably already know about Instiki. It’s is a terrific, elegant, beautiful wiki that I personally use for half a dozen of my own projects. I’ll probably run a longer post on Instiki some time in the future, but I can especially recommend the OS X install for Mac users. If you have a server that can handle Ruby 1.8.1, I can equally recommend the regular Ruby install. The app is gorgeous and works swell either way.

One of my favorite things about Instiki is how attractive and simple it is to use (PHPWiki, you’ll always be my first love, but sometimes, you’re just too high-maintenance). Instiki even lets you apply your own custom style sheets without having to change any actual code (Dear Typepad: Please steal this idea. Love, Merlin.). Here’s a quick tip for adding your own styles to your Instiki wiki.

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Hot-rodding SideTrack for web browsing

Funny thing. I installed SideTrack primarily for its ability to emulate the “CTRL-click” (or “right-click”) on my one-button PowerBook. I tried it for a week, almost loved it and eventually disabled that one feature because it was driving me nuts (forever glancingly tapping the trackpad and getting contextual menus everywhere. Gaaah!). Well, the good news is that I love practically everything else about SideTrack and thought I’d share how I’m using it to hotrod my web surfing in particular.

So here’s screenshots of my setup, with notes where needed. Note that although I'm using Safari here, many of these bits should be even more applicable on Firefox, which generally allows more granular preferences control as well as more key bindings, I believe.

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What are _you_ 'waiting on?'

A confession. I’ve been reloading this page every 3 minutes for the last week. I’m totally fixated on obtaining a copy of TextMate and have already mentally ascribed it powers that include many of the miracles described by Saints Matthew and Mark. Setting my saliva and expectations aside for just a moment, this has me thinking a bit about my “waiting on” list and just how effectively (or not) I’m using it to get things done.

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SubEthaEdit for meeting notes and light project management

SubEthaEdit’s document-sharing functionality must be seen to be believed. Groups of Mac users—in the same room or scattered across the world—can view and edit a single text-based document at the same time. In practice, this has some powerful applications, such as pair programming and shared conference notes. I’ve also had great luck using it as a unified project management tool, where a team’s meeting participants share notes, capture TODOs, and even provide back-channel information all in one or two simple text files.

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Small milestones and some Friday remainders

Wow. Crazy month. One hundred fifty thousand unique nerds stopped by here in the last 30 days. That’s just nuts. God knows I’d love to give most of you a peck on the cheek for it, but for now I’ll just say “thanks a million.”

So to concurrently celebrate our one month annniversary, 400th Google Group member, and the soft launch of our sweet 43F Schwag Room, I’m doing what any productive person would do: I’m taking the weekend off.

Still I wanted to leave you with something, so here’s another quick batch of reamaindered tips to play with and cogitate upon. Have fun, enjoy your weekend, and see you kids on Monday.

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Mental dialogues, yak-shaving & the triumph of the 'mini-review'

From time to time in the middle of an interruption-driven week, I’ll find myself in the weeds and struggling to think where I should park an item. My brain speaks informally with itself:

Oh, man, I don’t have time for this…uh…I guess it’s a TODO so, put it on next actions….but…no, it’s really got some pieces to it so maybe projects…oh, crap, I’m too busy for this, I’ll just toss it in inbox and deal with it later.

I’ve finally learned to diagnose these odd dialogues as a symptom of a simple problem: I’m mired in seemingly important details, I’ve fallen out of touch with my “stuff," and, damn it, I need to do a quick mini-review.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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