Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Apr 7 2006
Well I'm very happy to note that those 300 daily seconds of The Writer's Almanac are now available as a downloadable podcast. Good on Garrison, and good on APM. (I know Mr. K can be a little nutty with the copyright and trademarks, so I can only imagine this was a decision that came with a certain amount of deliberation.)read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 23 2006
Has your Mac turned into a shooting gallery full of distractions? Do your eyes spin like pinballs every time you sit down to work? Try a few of these apps to help discourage attention-grabbers and force your sickeningly versatile computer (and yourself) into doing just one thing at a time.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 14 2006
I feel like I must have linked to this before but, screw it, it's too good not to share again.
Written for the NYT's "Writers on Writing" series, these are Elmore Leonard' 10 tips for "disappearing" from what you're writing.
A few to give you the flavor:
Love that bit about 2-3 exclamation points every 100k words -- treating it like the fire alarm of prose fiction.
Merlin Mann | Feb 2 2006
For someone so fond of lecturing other people about their problems, I have a lot of annoying tics (I mean, duh). One of my worst, at least back in the day, was seldom bothering to RTFM before demanding lots of time-consuming help from others.
For years, my court of first resort was almost always to email the smartest, often busiest person I knew about a given topic, alerting them as to their new role as the speed bump between me and solving my problem (cf: the classic Balloon joke). I've gotten better at it over the years, for sure, and, in the age of Google, it's a habit that's easy enough to shed.
The funny thing I eventually realized was that I could and often did find the solution to my problem -- part way through writing the email in which I was asking for help. I realize this sounds kind of silly, but the next time you're having trouble figuring something out, try writing a note to yourself.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 23 2006
So my question, for you Mac developers in the house: I'm curious to learn more about Full Screen mode and how hard it is to make it a part of Cocoa applications. I've gotten the impression that Cocoa has "hooks" in place to hide the Menu Bar and claim all the screen space with a given document's front window, so I'm curious whether it's something that's difficult to implement. I'd love to request it in some favorite applications of mine (Hi, again, Allan!). _What do you guys say? Piece of cake or pony? _read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 23 2005
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Merlin Mann | Nov 15 2005
I forget where, but someone once mentioned that you could probably emulate fullscreen mode in most OS X apps by using the "Universal Access" PreferencePane (if I'm stealing this idea from you uncredited, send the link and I'll correct the error with my thanks).
Anyhow, this rules. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fast to set up, and if you're as easily distracted as I am, it's a handy way to minimize distractions and force yourself into focusing on just one thing.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 3 2005
There's any of a dozen reasons for all these, but I suspect there's commonality.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 1 2005
Man, I have a warm spot for old-school pages like this. Just a bunch of links to tools and apps, organized by what you want to do. Feels like 1995 again. snif
All of the topics and most of the sites will be familiar to you as they were to me (sharing photos, sending large files, creating to-do lists), but it was worth the visit just to be reminded of This to That -- the canonical place to to learn how to glue anything to anything.
[ via del.icio.us/popular ]
Looking at that page, I'm reminded of a couple apps I've been meaning to mention that both do an impressive job of putting collaborative word processing on the web.
Firefox users: do check out Writely. Feels surprisingly like -- well -- a web version of MS Word, to be honest. Haven't used it in battlefield conditions, but it is a feature-rich, intuitive app, given the medium.
If you like this kinda thing but want something a bit lighter (and Safari-friendly), definitely have a look at Writeboard, a beautiful, stripped down chunk of func from the less is good geniuses at 37 Signals.
I would also, at this juncture, like to renew my annual request to the gods that somebody on the OS X team please (Please!) steal the collaborative editing functionality of SubEthaEdit and put it into any app that supports text editing. That functionality should be like printing; a baked-in service that's ubiquitous and configurable once from the System Preferences, then portable anywhere that the router has the correct holes punched. I'd so kill for that.
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