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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Vox Populi

MacBreak Weekly 47: Merlin's picks

MacBreak Weekly 47: That's Our Shooby!

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

Universal challenges iTunes, iPhone hacks, and our software picks of the week...

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 47.

This time we did our usual weekly software picks, but I also got to choose our Audible.com audiobook of the week. Can you guess what it is?

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Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Quick way to dispose of lots of stuff? | Ask MetaFilter

Wow, talk about good timing.

I've noticed in comments on this week's clutter posts that there's a lot of interest from you all in the away part of "throw away" -- people seem to have a lot of ideas on the most interesting, charitable, creative, and environmentally-responsible routes for converting your own trash into someone else's treasure.

So far we (and that AskMe thread) have covered:

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Vox Pop: To-dos on your iPhone?

As noted by John Gruber and Living with Mac, the iPhone doesn't currently appear to have built-in support for "to-dos" -- even the modest task support that's built-in to OS X's iCal. :-(

While this is difficult for me to understand (I know it's something I'd expect in even a Gen 1 smart phone), it's cool to see that web- and Mac-based developers are stepping up to the plate in the absence.

A few of the apps I've seen so far (and in varying states of reality and vapor):

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Vox Pop: Have you tried outsourcing your life?

A lot of my friends have been reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, and, to varying degrees, several of them have started trying on some of his more audacious ideas, such as checking email once a week, finding an "income muse," going on an extreme information diet -- a few people I know are considering outsourcing pieces of their personal and professional lives.

For reasons I can't fully explain -- and will, for now, just write down to Tim's engaging style -- I also found this outsourcing idea weirdly fascinating. You identify the tedious tasks in your life that don't represent the best use of your time, and assign them to an overseas worker who can complete them for a few bucks an hour. This apparently can be virtually any kind of mundane task, from booking a dinner reservation to doing research on a company to -- heck, why not? -- answering your email.

So, while I know lots of people share my theoretical interest in this, I wonder how many of you have tried it, and how many of you are using outsourced help on a regular basis. What's your experience been? Does this work? What sorts of task are most amenable to long-distance assignment?

read more »

Vox Pop: Want HD video from iTunes and Apple TV?

Since the new TV can handle video up to HD's 720p resolution, there's been a lot of speculation about whether the iTunes store will eventually start selling HD content, such as TV shows and movies. You can bet that the desire for that quality of presentation is theoretically out there (at least it is for this HD TV owner). The problem, as many folks have discussed at length, is that the file size for HD movies, in particular, may be prohibitively large for the garden-variety home broadband user.

As Greg Keene notes, "With simple math, we can extrapolate that a 2-hour movie would be about 3.9 GB." That's not only a substantially lengthy download for, say, a residential DSL subscriber, it also represents the investment of over 10% of the available space on the Apple TV's drive (as well as, it should be noted, an equivalent chunk of space back on your Mac or PC's disk).

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Drew McCormack on GTD for scientists

Getting Things Done (GTD) for Scientists - MacResearch

I enjoyed this post by Drew McCormack on how he discovered GTD and has started using it for his work as a scientist:

The thing to realize is that most people don’t get lessons in organizing themselves at school or college, and they certainly haven’t been prepared for the rapid pace of modern life. GTD is nothing more than a few lessons on how best to organize things. At the center of it all is what could be regarded as a multi-dimensional ToDo list. The idea is to get every project you have, however big or small, out of your head and into the list. That allows you to relax about things, and be more productive at the same time.

"Multi-dimensional ToDo list." I'm totally stealing that.

Also, I mention it here because this post provides that rarest of voyeuristic nerdthrill: getting to peek at how someone else is using Kinkless!

Any tips or stories from the science nerds out there on how GTD is and isn't working for you?

Vox Pop: What's your "Mac Whine?"

We've started a new feature over on MacBreak Weekly that I really hope becomes a regular thing: "_Mac Whines_!"

Yeah, sure, I'm an unapologetic Apple fanboy (I, mean duh), but some stuff about my Mac experience makes me crazy. Have you got a beef with your Mac or OS X you want to shout from the shiny counter of the "Genius" Bar? Yeah, me too.

I'll open with:

  • inexplicable iCal "snooze" options (per MBW 30 -- which, incidentally, may also be my favorite MacBreak Weekly to date)
  • near-hangs whenever a mounted network volume is no longer available
  • no way to (temporarily) enable password-free user switching
  • The Finder. The goddamned Finder.

What's your Mac Whine?

Vox Pop: What we talk about when we talk about "priority"

Since the Bronze Age of personal productivity, conventional wisdom has taught us the importance of priority in deciding how to plan and use our time. And, in the abstract, anyhow, that notion of putting your time and attention into those things that are the most valuable to you seems so "obvious" as to be a tautology, where "productivity = acting on priorities." (Of course, whether people's execution of the things they claim are important always maps to their stated intentions is another matter for another post a really big book.)

But, we can probably agree that in the post-Lakein world of productivity and time management, everything from Covey's Quadrants to the Pareto Principle to the four criteria to -- what? I dunno -- firewalking, has been used to help us train our attention on the things that need us most and provide the greatest value in our world. Priority.

But, in practice, what the hell does "priority" really mean?

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Open Thread: the iPhone, Apple TV, Steve's other announcements?

Apple - QuickTime - Macworld 2007 Keynote

Apple - iPhone

Wow. Everyone here in the MacBreak war room is still perspiring as we let it all sink in. OS X. On your phone. Damn.

So what do you guys think about Steve's announcements? What surprised you? What else do you wish you'd heard? What do you think it will mean to have running OS X on your mobile phone?

Vox Pop: What's your pick for Steve's big reveal?

Of all the speculation and Steve-watching over the past few weeks, the recent chatter about an Apple "nano-computer" may be the most interesting and thought-provoking of the bunch.

Bob Snow writes:

I think Apple will introduce a nano-computer, masquerading as a smart-phone . Basically a tablet computer the size of a Treo or Blackberry with a far more clever input method, full face screen and some version of iLife running on it. Ideally it would be a stand alone wireless nano-computer running OS X. Think of all the capabilities of a MacBook combined with a phone...

Current technology would of course make this computer a brick, much larger than a Zune and more expensive than a MacBook. The Apple genius-phone will have to point the way to such a device with a mobile version of OS X and iLife. Much of your data and the programs that manipulate it might be located on the internet. Strip down the memory. Even sync it with your computer rather than replace your computer. Whatever it takes to put a placeholder out there to position Apple for the coming revolution. It might take a serious partnership with Google to pull this off. Phone service providers be damned.

And here I was conservatively predicting/begging-for (@00:51:04) a 12” MacBook Pro by next year. Always thinking too small big. Now I want me the notional MacBook Nano.

So, what's your guess? What will Steve's E-ticket ride be at Macworld this year?




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

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

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