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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

The Merlin Show: John Roderick, Jesse Thorn, true HD, plus a cool new Flash player

The Merlin Show

Over on my video podcast, The Merlin Show, we recently wrapped up our epic 4-part interview with John Roderick from The Long Winters (n.b.: part 3 is my favorite episode of the show so far). And, just yesterday, we posted the first in a six (6) part visit with America's Radio Sweetheart, Jesse Thorn, who's the host of the nationally syndicated public radio program (and, arguably, the best podcast [iTunes] in America), The Sound of Young America. (And now I can't stop saying "webmobisode" -- damn you, Jesse Thorn).

I hope you'll stop by if you haven't visited with us in a while. Plus -- thanks to the generous nerd skillz of our friends over at Blip.tv -- you can now watch each and every episode of The Merlin Show from the comfort of this handy dandy Flash viewer. (Note that you can jump to any episode by clicking on "GUIDE"). And, yes, please do feel free to "SHARE" this far and wide.

And, finally, please consider subscribing to The Merlin Show in iTunes or via the podcatcher of your choice. As of our latest episode, the Apple TV version of the feed goes out at full-on HD 720p (thanks, HV-20s!).

Subscribe to The Merlin Show... iTunes Democracy Others
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Hi-resolution, Apple TV-compatible version
(most eps: 854 x 480 pixels,
later eps: 1280 x 720 pixels)
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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.

read more »

New iPhone ad: Release on June 29th

iPhone will be released on June 29th. Here's the ad from tonight's 60 Minutes.

(added a better version of the video, via Gizmodo

[Original news via: iPhone: yours on June 29th - Engadget]

Added 2007-06-03 16:48:46: Commenting on the Engadget story, Jake points to three new iPhone commercials on Apple's site. Check out "Never Been an iPod." Lovely.

read more »

Hand-picked, artisanal, remaindered links, 2007-06-04

These are lower threshold links to stuff I've recently enjoyed.

Submit your ideas for links to del.icio.us, and be sure to include the tag "for:43folders."

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.

iTunes Plus, DRM-free tracks, arrive on iTunes Store

iTunes Plus (iTunes link)

iTunes Plus now available

For help getting set up with "iTunes Plus" (giving you access to buying/upgrading EMI's DRM-free tracks), don't miss this handy helper from MacUser.

The DRM-free features are being billed as “iTunes Plus”: in order to turn it on, you have to click on your account name in the top right corner of the iTunes store. You’ll be prompted for your password, and then brought to the account information page. The top button on that page now reads “Manage iTunes Plus.” Clicking on that will let you choose whether or not iTunes will show you DRM-free tracks when available. Click the checkbox and hit “Save Changes” and you’re ready to rock.

The strange allure (and false hope) of email bankruptcy

E-Mail Reply to All: 'Leave Me Alone' - washingtonpost.com

"Email bankruptcy" was a term I first heard in the context of Lawrence Lessig deciding to throw in the towel by telling everyone to whom he owed email that he was starting over (and that important stuff should be sent again).

Last week, the Washington Post had an article on the practice that traces its origin (or at least its naming) to the end of the last decade:

The term "e-mail bankruptcy" may have been coined as early as 1999 by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies the relationship between people and technology.

Professor Sherry Turkle said she came up with the concept after researching e-mail and discovering that some people harbor fantasies about escaping their e-mail burden.

Turkle, who estimated that she has 2,500 pieces of unread e-mail in her inbox, is one of those people. A book she has been working on for a decade is coming out soon. Turkle joked that it would have taken her half the time to write it "if I didn't have e-mail."

The wonderful access to one another that email gives (or, put differently: that it causes us to cede) can be a great thing. But I have to admit that bankruptcy alone may not even be enough to save me (or you).

read more »

Reviving a moribund project with Doodle

Doodle: Scheduling meetings

Maybe this is the GTD-er in me, but I have to admit a frustration with projects that peter off because there's no one person near the helm who's dedicated to defining and managing the group's actions. It's a Project Manager role, and if a group doesn't choose and empower one person to take care of it, stuff simply won't get done. Whether it's deciding on a good night for dinner with friends or organizing the next board meeting, we all need a little help turning generic good ideas into real-world coordinates for action.

So, lately, I've found myself informally assuming this role, driving a surprising number of gone-fallow projects just by using Doodle to propose a simple check-in. The bottom line is that this process of getting a stupid 15-minute call on the calendar of several busy people will tell you so more than you can imagine about where you and your project stand. But where's Doodle enter in to it?

read more »

Ze Frank on creativity and "morphological synthesis"

cecil vortex: An Interview with Ze Frank

Cecil Vortex recently talked with with Ze Frank about the creative process, including how he came up with new stuff every day for The Show. Lots of good stuff to glean from this short interview, including how Ze employs an association trick called "morphological synthesis."

read more »

Pick of the Week: Plain Text Wiki bundle for TextMate

plain text wiki (20 May 2007, Interconnected)

TextMate users in search of a simple wiki should check out Matt Webb's new plain text wiki bundle. He's made it very easy to quickly generate new "pages" and links using nothing but TextMate, the Finder, and CamelCase words:

This is exactly what I need: A bunch of text documents that I'll be able to read at any point in the future, in a wiki structure that will be simple to implement in most extensible text editors.

I'd also note that Matt's bundle works handsomely with Quicksilver's venerable prepend/append and new file functionalities, so, once you've taken the requisite 45 seconds to set this up, you don't necessarily need to even be in TextMate to make additions. You gotta love text.

Nice work, Matt.

Edit 2007-05-22 17:36:17 Forever confusing my British Matts; This bundle is by Matt Webb not the also-wonderfully-talented-and-funny Matt Jones. Many thanks to jjg for the correction. 43 Folders regrets the error.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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