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Merlin Mann | Jan 2 2007
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.
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
Merlin Mann | Jan 2 2007
Task List is a promising looking new app for students who want to track the tasks associated with homework and other assignments.
As a former dysfunctional student, I like the way you can filter work by class, gauge progress on assigments, set priorities, and then track the results, such as the grade you received, etc. It also has support for "Classcasts," syncs with .Mac, and seems to work nicely with iCal.
As with many tricked-out task apps, there's plenty of room for bogging down in the sort of fiddly meta-work that's more fun than, say, actually reading Bleak House, but this app is far from the worst attractive nuisance I've seen in that regard. Based on my 20 minutes of running through it yesterday, it looks like a useful application for managing the rat's nest of tasks standing between you and your sheepskin.
What are you organized Mac students out there using to keep it all together?
Merlin Mann | Nov 17 2006
Lots of the kids are excited about the arrival of MsgFiler, which is a neat litte app for helping you file away your messages in Mail.app:
But I'll just play devil's advocate on this one: if you find yourself inordinately excited about the arrival of this (admittedly clever) application, there's an excellent chance that your email archiving system is unnecessarily complex and, in fact, is in need of a major streamlining. Discuss.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 23 2006
If it wasn't apparent from my pathetic cry for help the other day, even I -- one of your more theoretically productive persons in North America -- struggle with what to call things.
Tags, files, and -- dear Lord -- the innumerable assets associated with making web sites, graphics, audio, and video projects; it's all a hopeless jumble unless you have some kind of mature system in place for what you call your stuff and its various iterations. Of course, if you're like me -- and I hope that you are not -- you still have lots of things on your desktop with names like "
For prior art, I still treasure this Jurassic thread on What Do I Know where people share their thoughts on this age-old problem, but, frankly I haven't seen many good resources out there on best practices for naming.
Anyhow, during a recent MacBreak shoot, I noticed that Alex and his team seem to have a pretty fly system for naming the video files that eventually get turned into their big-time IPTV shows. Thus, I turned to Pixel Corps' Research Division Lead, Ben Durbin (co-star of Phone Guy #5) for insight and sane help. And, brother, did he ever give it to me (see below the cut for Ben's detailed awesomeness).
But, just so I don't lose you, do give me your best tips in comments: What are your favorite current conventions for naming files? How does your team show iterations and versions? Do you rely more on Folder organization than file names in your work? How have Spotlight, Quicksilver, and the like changed the way you think about this stuff?read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 18 2006
I open the floor to all of you on a question of particular personal interest to me: How are you using Mail Tags?
While my uses of it to date have been helpful, I keep getting the feeling I'm not getting all that I can out of it -- especially since the ability to associate Projects, Priorities, etc. to a message could make for some really enticing Smart Folders.
I wonder if my question is ultimately more taxonomic in nature -- ultimately more about Spotlight in general or Tags in very very general: When tagging items on your Mac, what kind '-onomy' are using? How strictly do you enforce your vocabulary? What are the best practices for someone who's new to this?read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 13 2006
This has been mentioned here before (just in comments, I think), but I have to repeat: I can't say enough good things about Doodle. It takes the idiotically over-complicated problem of figuring out when all of n people are available to do something, and in the simplest way conceivable, polls all the participants to find the optimal time and date.
I'm always thrilled when colleagues send a meeting invite in the form of a Doodle email; it requires zero fiddling on my part and pleasantly skirts the need for the endless email threads that most people rely on to get a group of people extant in one time-space unit.
I'm risking the indignity of a double-post on an "old" link for a good reason: with all the foam and fuss over "Web 2.0," and the ever higher (Ever! Higher!) technology we shovel to solve stupid human problems, it's refreshing to see adoption of a tool that ends up being no more complicated than a white board with electrical-tape columns.
I wish stuff like Doodle would inspire more developers to start with the Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work. No Arial Rounded, no whizzy AJAX, and no angel-round-attracting gradients. Just a modest solution to a single dumb problem. That is a life hack, defined.
What's your favorite idiotically simple web tool right now?
Merlin Mann | Sep 29 2006
You tell me. What are your favorite sites about managing your money? Any places out there you think might especially appeal to 43 Folders readers? Feel free to toss in your favorite books on the matter, too.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 28 2006
I have to admit, I'm solidly in LifeClever's corner on this one. They write:
A few years ago, things like WebDAV were a novelty that was awesome but hard to find and setup, even on most shared server accounts -- I have four, and only one currently supports it out of the box -- but it's certainly not enough goods for the average user, even when you look at the other pieces of the .Mac offering. Not for that kind of dough.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 17 2006
I've recently revived my interest in doing mind mapping as a way to capture ideas and plan out projects.
Back in the day, I'd use Inspiration (which registration regrettably died a few years ago), and in more recent times I've played with free apps like My Mind and FreeMind, as well as tested more costly apps like NovaMind and MindManager.
If you also like to mind map, I'm curious to hear which of these you and your Mac are using, how you're using it, and what made you choose one app over another. Got a preference? Prefer regular old paper and markers? Using lots of images in your mind maps? Which pay app is most worth the dough, and why?
And for folks who are new to mind mapping, here's a few links to get you started:read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 8 2006
You could argue that the holy grail in GTD media these days is the woefully out-of-print “Getting Things Done FAST” CD set that DavidCo put out a few years ago. It’s eight (8) CDs of audio material covering the popular multi-day seminar that David did a few years back.read more »
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