43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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

Screwdriver Narrowness Considered Harmful

Something I actually think about a lot just popped out in an email to an internet acquaintance who makes Mac software

One thing to know about me (and probably a surprisingly large number of your customers and potential customers): there's very little mutual exclusivity in my software world. For example, I use TextEdit, Vim, and TextMate pretty much every day and for completely different things. To me it's like having several screwdrivers. I could be that guy who insists there's only One True and Good Screwdriver, but I prefer to keep them all handy and just grab the one I need for the job.

Does that make any sense?

I mean I hear these territorial pissing matches on `foo tool` vs. `bar tool`, and how the fate of the world turns on making the right decision one time, and then becoming some kind of viral evangelist. Meh.

There's stuff like Quicksilver and OS X in general where you inherently have to choose a platform. But what about text editors, graphics apps--jeez, even _notebooks_? Am I the only one who employs a stable of several different tools for a certain kind of task? Esp. where one is clearly better at one portion of the task than the others?

How about you?

ndench's picture

I'm definitely a multi-tool guy....

I'm definitely a multi-tool guy. Web browsing? Firefox most of the time, but sometimes I have to dive into IE. Hell, I even boot up Opera occasionally for a giggle. Text/HTML? Notepad++, Notetab Light, emacs, Dreamweaver. Photo edits? Picasa, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro. General notekeeping? Bonsai, Keynote, my Moleskine, my DIY Planner. The list goes on and on. I think, in fact, the computing world is becoming better from that point of view. Time was, you couldn't load HTML into a WYSIWYG editor without changing something in the code, effectively tying you to that tool (or keeping you away from it). Things aren't so bad now.

BUT, what I sometimes struggle with is the nagging feeling that I'm spending too much time thinking about WHICH tool to use, and not enough just using it. Photoshop elements has that nice merge function, oh but it won't do curves. Stuff on Bonsai will end up on my Palm, but it can't do text formatting.

Or worse still: how will I know where something is?

How do people overcome that sort of problem (other than by sticking to one tool, of course)?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


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. »