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.


Towards being a more entertaining guest

Global Nerdy | How to Work the Room

Joey's condenses some great tips on going from wallflower to party panda. Number one has always stood me in good stead:

"1. Be more of a host and less of a guest. Make introductions and make people more comfortable."

Totally. Not to get all Burning Man on you here, but any event will only be as good as the people who actively participate in it. People who arrive waiting to be entertained are dead weight, while those who do more than the minimum to make things happen can bring the place to life.

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Philipp Lenssen's excellent AdSense tips

Google AdSense Tips

Having noticed Google's new "Newbie Central" site, Google Blogoscoped's Philipp Lenssen posted a swell pile of his own best tips for improving AdSense performance on your site. Linked here because (at least IMHO) it's depressingly rare to find useful, non-douchey advice about making money with a website.

Typical of the sage stuff from PL:

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Adventures in $40 eyeglasses

Glasses purchased online Last year, I stumbled upon a blog post about buying prescription eyeglasses online. It sounded too good to be true: you could get any frames you wanted quickly and cheaply, and the comments were filled with optometrists freaking out. Eventually, the author launched a dedicated blog for it called Glassy Eyes. When the site was recently mentioned on MetaFilter right around the time I was getting my 2-year exam, I decided to take the plunge myself and order some glasses online.

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Toward a hygienic credit card

You've probably heard the advice to photocopy your wallet's contents; in the event that you lose your wallet, this makes it easy to know what you need to cancel and replace. Smart.

I recently received a new credit card and had forgotten what a hassle it is to change the info across all my various online accounts. Here's a few suggestions based on things I did this time around that should make it easier (or at least more interesting) the next time this happens.

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Break out of "phone jail" with GetHuman

In yesterday's post about putting customer service numbers onto your mobile phone, commenter Joe suggested checking out Paul English's wonderful GetHuman, a website that diligently collects and updates the phone numbers (and key punches) necessary to get you straight through to a human being at 500 well-known companies.

I realize this site is ancient news to a lot of you, but I couldn't believe I'd never featured it in its own post here; I've been loving and using the crap out of GH (and the preceding IVR) for years now. Consider the oversight rectified.

Paul also shares some smart tips for intrepid information seekers (Hint: that fast "0" mashing tip has worked great for me):

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Dansays: Put all your customer service numbers into Address Book

This morning, like a lot of other people, I was locked out of using my PayPal debit card while the site (and apparently its glass-jawed transaction processing network) took a total dirtnap. So it goes. That’s only indirectly the point of this post (although I did kind of feel like opening a “Can of Cory” on The Pal).

Point is, my pal dansays left a great comment on my whiny Flickr post laying out why he's put all the customer service numbers of products and sites he uses right into his Apple Address Book. Great advice that I'll be taking this weekend:

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"Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting


I noticed a lot of people are favoriting this screen grab of the "Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting (I posted it to Flickr, so I won't keep forgetting it when I need it).


Ever since I saw this in that Mac OS X Hints article, I've used it as my default equalizer in iTunes -- it seems to give a nice pop to MP3 tracks in particular.

HOWTO and specific settings from the original article:

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select "Make Preset." Call it "Perfect," because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):

db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db

Quicksilver proxies for fast, easy printing

Faster Printing with Quicksilver

Mark Fisher shares terrific tips on how to use Quicksilver Proxies for faster printing:

Use this method when you want to print files that are on the Desktop or are all in the same folder.

  1. Select the files that you wish to print by Command clicking them.
  2. >
  3. Invoke Quicksilver (by default, ?–SPACE)
  4. >
  5. Type the name of your printer until QS displays its name e.g. “Lexmark”
  6. >
  7. Hit the TAB key to select the next pane.
  8. >
  9. Type “open” and select “Open File”. >
    • I recommend making “Open File” the default action for when you type “open”. You can do this by Ctrl clicking “Open File” and selecting ‘Set as Default for “OPEN”.’
    • >
  10. >
  11. Hit TAB to select the next pane.
  12. >
  13. Type “current” until QS displays ‘Current Selection’.
  14. >
  15. Hit ENTER.
  16. >
  17. Your files should start printing.
  18. >

Also check out how to use the "comma trick" to print multiple files. Great stuff.

After the jump is the video for the episode of The Merlin Show where I talked about using proxies to access application menus.

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MacBreak Minute: LiteSwitch X

In the latest episode of MacBreak Minutes (subscribe), I talked about a favorite PreferencePane of mine called LiteSwitch.

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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.




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

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This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »