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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.

San Francisco

Macworld Expo '08: Merlin visits with Panic, Agile Web Solutions, and James from New Jersey

Macworld Expo wouldn't be the same for me if I didn't have the chance to hit the floor and talk to the kids for MacBreak.

This year, I returned to Tiny Town to talk to my new internet boyfriends, Cabel and Steven, at Panic, Dave Teare from my beloved 1Password, as well as the charming James from New Jersey who says he doesn't want to punch Steve Jobs, no matter what.

MacBreak 121: Macworld 2008/Panic Software

Merlin Mann chats with Cabel and Steven from Panic Software.

macbreak MacBreak (iPod video) - MacBreak 121: Macworld 2008: Panic Software

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Still awesome, still works: Request library books from Amazon pages

Jon Udell: The LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Generator

I covered this one back in the bronze age of 43 Folders, but I wanted to highlight the awesomeness again today for those who might not have seen it the first time around.

As described in September, 2004:

I still can’t get over how cool this is. Jon Udell’s little wizard [direct link] lets you generate a bookmarklet for requesting a library book—based on the Amazon page you’re currently viewing. It’s clearly a flawless lifehack.

You just need to know your library’s URL and which system your own city uses (which Jon makes simple by providing preview links to see which style your system seems to follow). San Francisco folks, use “http://sflib1.sfpl.org/” and leave the default system of “Innovative” selected.

At some point over the years, Jon's bookmarklet fell out of my favorites bar (J'accuse, Amazon Prime). But today I was able to recreate my bookmarklet in about ten seconds, and now Bobos in Paradise is en route to the Parkside Library.

To modernize the tip just a bit, I'll mention that this (and many other browser tasks involving entering passwords) gets so much easier with the amazing 1Passwd. In this case, you can tell the app to remember your library card number and PIN and autofill the library login page automagically.

Merlin on MacBreak Weekly: iPhone Release Show

MacBreak Weekly 46: iDay


Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Scott Bourne, and Alex Lindsay >


iPhones in hand our MacBreak quartet gives you their first impressions of the latest from Apple...

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 46.

Believe it or not, this week's episode was about Apple's iPhone. Yes, the iPhone. I know: I was surprised, too.

Also, we shot a quick MacBreak (video) on Thursday night where we visited with people queued up outside the Stockton St. store here in SF. I chatted with a bohemian clown, an expensive-looking video camera, and a man from Gizmodo who had a webcam attached to his head. Just another Thursday in Union Square.

Anyhow, the iPhone is out, it's pretty, and lots of people are buying them. For further coverage of the iPhone and the experiences of its excited new users, kindly visit the entire internet.

The Merlin Show: Two JVs and more

Two JVs & a Nick

No, I haven't yet interviewed Nick Mirov, but The Merlin Show's launch week juggernaut rolls on with interviews featuring two "JV"s: Google's Jeffrey Veen and San Francisco indie rock institution John Vanderslice (the latter of whom also has a show tonight at The Independent at which you should say hi if you see me). Clickable versions of both episodes provided after the jump.

Also, I've posted my first in a series of credit highlights, beginning with John Roderick, the man behind the wonderful music you hear over our credits (it's called "Blue Diamonds" and you can download it here).

Finally, if you haven't yet subscribed for free, it's a great time to hop in. Also, kindly note that, if you subscribe via iTunes, you can help me potentially overtake several popular public radio shows. Which would be really cool.

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MacBreak coverage of Macworld


Check back throughout the week for MacBreak's ongoing coverage of Macworld 2007 in San Francisco.

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.

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.

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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

NextBus testing 16 new SF transit line predictions

sf_muni: Muni arrival times, hidden routes

Click me for a cool Google Map mashup

God, I love NextBus.

If you live in San Francisco and, like many folks, rely on SF MUNI to get from place to place, your life gets at least one order of magnitude more liveable when you can consult NextBus's GPS-based arrival predictions for the seven streetcar lines and a handful of popular electric coach (read: "bus") lines.

Of course, NextBus itself is nothing new, but, yes it still completely rules, and yes, I still meet at least one San Franciscan a week who has no idea that NextBus even exists. So, you know. You're welcome.

Anyhow, if you're new to the world of non-roulette-like MUNI transit, here's the current official coverage:

Now, what is new (to me at least) is that it looks like MUNI and NextBus are (non-publicly) testing this august service on several more bus and cable-car lines, and that you can currently get predictions on any them from the web or your phone right now. Although apparently not officially supported yet, here's the 16 new additions (hoisted from the LJ post where I learned about this):

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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