43 Folders

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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.


These are posts about Quicksilver, which is a Mac OS X application launcher that also lets you build “functional sentences” on your Mac. Consider starting with an intro video.

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.

Nocturne: Free "night vision" app from the maker of Quicksilver

nocturne:nocturne [docs]

Fans of working in troglodyte mode should have a look at A1c0r's latest creation, Nocturne, an application that generates a "night vision mode" for your Mac -- similar to looking at a negative of a photo.

For years, you've been able to do something similar by hitting "ctrl-opt-cmd-8," which invokes "Switch to black-on-white" in Universal Access options (go ahead and try it, then hit it again to return to normal).

While A1c0r's improvements on this may seem subtle, they're very useful for allowing you to tweak your own preferences and minimizing distracting, full-color solarization effects.

  • Proper color correction in monochrome modes - you don’t lose all your blues or reds when you tint the screen.
  • Window shadow toggling - if glowing windows aren’t your thing.
  • Background removal - hide the desktop picture so you don’t see a inverted version.

I love that you can pick your own tint for how the monochrome image is colored. Want an old-time sepiatone writing environment? No problem.

My tip? If you enjoy sitting outside with your laptop, but the sun is making your screen almost illegible, try flipping Nocturne on -- the contrast and darker backgrounds should help make reading and navigating much easier.

Like all Blacktree's stuff, Nocturne is free of charge.

[Direct download]

Quicksilver's plug-in for Stikkit goes public

Values of n Blog: Stikkit quick with Quicksilver

(Disclosure: Merlin is a proud member of Stikkit’s advisory board)

As Rael writes on the Values of n blog, Alcor has just released his first public version of the Stikkit plug-in for Quicksilver:

The plug-in enables you to send text to a new stikkit, edit an existing one, append and prepend, search by text and tag, jump right to the Stikkit you were after, and more. True to form, QS has again revolutionized the way I use yet another app—this time my own.

I've been using a pre-release of the plug-in for a few weeks now, and personally I think it's just swell. A few little tips and suggestions:

  • Append! - Just as you might do with a text file, you can create a QS trigger that allows you to append (or prepend) text to any of your favorite stikkits (your to-do list, per-person agenda, project list, and list of software bugs are all handy ones to automate with triggers)
  • Tag access - Tags are now your friend, big-time. Start typing, and when the tag you want appears, hit enter, and you'll go straight to a page with all that tag's stikkits; RIGHT-ARROW into the tag, and you'll see all those stikkits in a clickable QS dropdown
  • Proxy mania - Consider how you might be able to use a combination of Stikkit, proxy objects, and triggers to automate transactions like the one shown above and right. Specifically talking about this example, let me assure you: selecting a string of text and hitting one key to silently generate a new stikkit is just badass
read more »

iGTD: Strong OS X app with powerful Quicksilver integration

iGTD & Quicksilver

As I mentioned on MacBreak Weekly the other day, I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far in iGTD, a new "Getting Things Done" application for OS X.

read more »

Vox Pop: Google Desktop Day 1?

So far, Google Desktop for the Mac isn't moving me.

I like the idea of it a lot. Integrating my Google and local searches and theoretically improving on Spotlight's UI and indexing foibles are laudable goals and, to my mind, could be useful additions if they're done properly. But, based on, admittedly, just 24 hours' usage, it hasn't provided a lot of new usefulness for my own purposes that isn't better served right now by a combination of Quicksilver and Spotlight.

When people ask me (ad nauseum nauseam [mea culpa]) to explain why they would ever need Quicksilver if they already have Spotlight, I opine that, while the latter does a good job of indexing the contents of your Mac world, the former does an outstanding job of helping you access and manipulate it in theoretically endless ways. They're actually very different things, and although they can and do work together, claiming they're trying to accomplish the same thing suggests a lack of exposure to what Quicksilver can do (as well as a dearth of experience in what Spotlight cannot).

read more »

Getting started (or reacquainted) with Quicksilver

Hack Attack: A beginner's guide to Quicksilver - Lifehacker

Adam Pash has written a terrific introduction to Quicksilver that I recommend for folks who are still scratching their heads about what all the fuss is about.

Part of the challenge is the "layers of the onion" problem. There's no explanation of what Quicksilver does that's at once brief, accurate, exhaustive, and easy for new users to immediately grok; it really does reveal its delights over time, through repeated usage, and in proportion to your willingness to learn and experiment. Adam does a good job of acquainting new folks with the basic idea and the setup, then he walks through a few of the many bits of fu that have made this app the phenomenon that it is.

Quicksilver can be used to launch files and applications, manipulate data, and seamlessly plug into almost any application on your Mac so that you can perform actions as soon as you think of them in a few short keystrokes.

Also from our own archives, here are a few popular Quicksilver items from the extended 43 Folders family (including 4 video tutorials). And seriously: if you really still don't see why QS is different, do watch the videos; writing about Quicksilver is like singing about a magic trick.

read more »

Robert Daeley on configuring for QS proxies

Enabling Quicksilver proxies and application menus | Celsius1414

Robert Daeley has posted an excellent appendix to yesterday's screencast on Quicksilver proxies.

Because, like most Quicksilver power users, I run the app in full-bore, bleeding-edge mode with all the plug-ins installed, I tend to leave out some of the rubber-chicken-waving that new users need to go through to make advanced features work properly. Robert picks up the slack nicely with this swell tutorial. Many thanks!

Merlin Mann’s new episode of the Merlin Show posted yesterday teaches very powerful Quicksilver-Fu, enabling you to access the menu items of any application, as well as introducing the concept of proxies. These techniques belie the mistaken impression that Quicksilver is “merely” a program launcher — it is an application master. ;)

What isn’t clear in the ‘cast is the settings, downloads, and brand of incense you need to burn in order to make all of that happen. I’m pretty sure the below covers everything, but let me know if I missed something.

Read all of Robert's article.

The Merlin Show: Quicksilver proxies for application menus

008: HOWTO: Quicksilver: Application Menus | The Merlin Show

Many of the most diehard Quicksilver fans don't know "proxy objects" even exist. Proxies are a sexy way to build actions and triggers around abstract QS items such as "Current Application," "Finder Selection," "Album Now Playing," and even meta-stuff like "Last Command" and "Quicksilver Selection."

By making a trigger to "Show Menu Items" in the "Current Application," you can get Quicksilver-based access to almost any pull-down menu in a given OS X app. In today's demo, I show you how to bring this fast access to any of the bajillion drop-down menu items in Macromates' Textmate.

If you enjoy The Merlin Show, please consider subscribing for free via iTunes or Democracy, or just point the "podcatacher" of your choice at http://feeds.themerlinshow.com/TheMerlinShow.

TMS: Screencast on Quicksilver's "Comma Trick"

006: HOWTO: Quicksilver: The Comma Trick | The Merlin Show

For Quicksilver fans, today's episode of The Merlin Show includes a short screencast on how to do the (still-surprisingly-little-known) Comma Trick.

(Hint: As a Mac OS X screen demo, this is an episode you may prefer to watch at high-resolution)

(Sharp-eyed? How can you tell this wasn't the first take? :-) )

Actiontastic adds iCal and .Mac sync

Actiontastic 0.9 gets iCal sync support

Tim at Hawk Wings points out that Actiontastic .9 now supports Sync Services, making it easy to move your stuff to iCal, .Mac, as well as (previously added) your iPod.

I haven't spent a whole lot of time with Actiontastic, but I admire its lean approach to task work (arguably a bit too lean for some folks). Still, I always feel like the less you have to fiddle with, the more likely you may be to actually do the stuff on your list.

Also, making sync seamless and reliable is clearly something Mac users are coming to expect in most every app where it's practical. Plus, of course, it works with Quicksilver, and there's nothing wrong with that.

More on Actiontastic here.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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