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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.

Personal Productivity

Organic, grass-fed remainders, 2007-06-21

Herewith: news bits, remainders, and low-threshold links for your dining and dancing pleasure.

  • ChronoSync | Handy Tips for Using ChronoSync | Econ Technologies - I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of ChronoSync for automatically backing up or syncing folders between two Macs. This is a bunch of handy tips and recipes for setting CS up to do your bidding.
  • Rule the Web - My pal and frequent co-conspirator, Mark Frauenfelder, sent me a copy of his swell new book, Rule The Web, which is an up-to-date edition that answers the years-old question: "So, what cool stuff can I actually do with the internet?" While many of Mark's tips and links will be familiar to most of you, this would make a fantastic gift for friends and relatives who are new to intermediate web surfers. Recommended, as is Mark's companion site for the book. (And thanks for the very kind words about 43f, Mark)
  • The Universal Traveler - Speaking of books, I keep meaning to write a followup to the post about Ze Frank and "morphological synthesis" since it led me to a couple good books on creativity. I'm particularly enjoying The Universal Traveler (whose title I mangled horribly on The Heather Gold Show last Friday). It's a lo-fi, somewhat hippie-looking tome, but don't let the clip art and Courier 12 fool you -- this thing is chock full of great ideas for approaching any kind of creative challenge. I love that the authors understand that different people and different problems will require a wide-ranging set of tools and approaches. Good stuff.
  • YouTube - Microsoft Surface Parody - I'm sure you've seen it already, but I just can't get enough of this Microsoft Surface sendup, courtesy of Sarcastic Gamer. I'm a long time fan and advocate of the adjective big-ass, so this cracked me up.
  • MacBreak Minute: Sogudi (1080p) - Episodes of MacBreak's tiny little brother, MacBreak Minute, have started going out. I did a quickie on Sogudi (featured on 43f twice previously) that you can download in either iPod size (yikes, tiny!) or 1080p (yikes, ginormous!). Related: please remind me to shave next time I do one of these.
  • Tonight in SF: Merlin's OmniFocus Demo - Finally, a friendly reminder that I'll be at the Stockton St. Apple Store tonight at 7pm to demo OmniFocus and talk about how I use it. OmniGroup's CEO (and lead fantasy-gamer) Ken Case will be in evidence too, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have. It's free, open to the public, and I hope I'll see you there.
read more »

MacBreak Weekly 45; iPhone release night; Quicksilver mouse triggers

MacBreak Weekly 45: Talk Time


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


iPhone gets a better battery and screen, MacGPS rumors, and Safari holes...

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 45.

Gotta tell you: I'm really excited about the imminent arrival of the iPhone for an unconventional reason: the possibility that we can eventualy stop talking about the iPhone. (sigh)

Anyway. Two things related to this episode:

  1. If we can scare up a video jockey, I'll be at the Stockton St. store here in SF next Friday to shoot some stuff about that evening's iPhone release for MacBreak. Maybe interviewing people in line; who knows?
  2. My tip of the week in this episode is a very cool Quicksilver trick called mouse dragged triggers. Explaining how it works is -- as you'll hear -- difficult, to say the least. So, herewith, I present my favorite tutorial on the topic, from the lovely and talented Dan Dickinson. He also has some great ideas for what to do with the trick:
read more »

43f Feature: Michael Buffington's "How I use iGTD"

Michael Buffington is a pal of mine who's a talented developer and all-around swell fellow. I got to work with him a bit on the Stikkit project and, in some of our offline talks on productivity stuff, I was intrigued to learn about some of his ninja geek skillz.

I asked Michael to write up a series on some of his favorite tricks to get his stuff done, and he kindly obliged. Here's part one.


How I use iGTD

by Michael Buffington

This is the first part in a multipart series about using iGTD with Quicksilver and how it's changed my life, allowed me to grow hair where I never thought it possible, and more importantly, spend more quality time with my children (who are, as you might know, super humans with indescribable special abilities).

I'm a recent and somewhat enthusiastic convert to GTD. I have had the good fortune of starting to manage my digital life with GTD the same day Merlin first mentioned a great application for OS X called iGTD.

I have to admit though that I'm not a very hard core GTD follower yet. The most important parts of GTD for me are getting my tasks out of my head the moment they pop into existence, and putting them into some sort of system I can trust. iGTD allows me to do exactly that in a very intuitive way, but if I'm having a good day I only ever bring iGTD into focus when I'm not sure what's next on my list.

read more »

Link gratitude: Where I find my best stuff

I always try to credit the source for stuff that I link to when I've learned about it from other sites. In addition to helping my readers connect with voices they may not have heard before, I believe it's just the classy thing to do. (I'm looking at you, "A Listers" -- a lot of you have started dropping vias for everyone but your highest-profile buddies: tacky, tacky).

Anyway, I admit that I'm not 100% either, but in the interest of trying to make good, here are a few of the sites that I find myself reading and linking to a lot. Thanks to their authors and contributors for sending me (and you) to so many interesting places.

read more »

Jason DeFillippo's 90-day program: "Just Start"

Jason P. DeFillippo : 90 Days

My pal, Jason DeFillippo, has recently begun a project to clean up his act over the next ninety days. In preparation for hitting the big three-six, he's planning to tidy up, lose some weight, and start shedding the nonsense, clutter, and distractions in his life. Go, man, go.

Personally, I've had mixed to terrible results with things where I tried to invert too many habits at one time, but Jason is nothing if not a hardass and a man of firm resolve. I'm looking forward to watching his progress over the summer and learning what I can from him.

I'll tell you one thing we agree on; it's all about getting started:

I saw this over at Boris’s blog the other day and it really triggered something in me. I tend to think a lot about project and plans. I think about them so much I get paralyzed with option paralysis and stuff doesn’t get done. In an attempt to do something right the first time through it invariable almost never gets done at all. Thinking something through is an important part of the creative process but it means dick if you don’t ever start. And if you don’t start you don’t finish.

Good on 'ya, Jason. Rock it.

Here are Jason's "90 Days" posts so far:

read more »

Merlin on TWiT 101: Moon over Google

TWiT 101: Moon over Google

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Wil Harris, Steve Gibson, and Denise Howell

Google Street View and privacy, Michael Moore and piracy, hackers and Safari...

  • Leo has begun to use Facebook for only people he knows personally.
  • Facebook has recently allowed for applications which enticed Leo.
  • The People Aggregator will allow you to create a social network using your login from another social network.
  • Create your own social network with Ning.
  • Steve Jobs keynoted the WWDC conference announcing Safari for Windows, but no API.
  • Apple has plugged several security flaws that were discovered in the Windows version of Safari.
  • At WWDC, numerous new OSX Leopard features were unveiled.
  • Steve Gillmor had a post called iPhonomics regarding the possibility of Google Gears coming to the iPhone.
  • Linspire has made a deal with Microsoft to share numerous technologies.
  • Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, somewhat chastised Microsoft regarding software patents.
  • Microsoft has also partnered will LG for their Linux-based devices.
  • Owen Thomas, the Business 2.0 editor, has been to Valleywag.
  • Sicko, Michael Moore's new controversial documentary, has been leaked onto Bittorrent.
  • The Manchester Cathedral is complaining to Sony about their appearance in the game "Resistance: Fall of Man."
  • Google has launched a "Street View" service that are fairly recent. Leo's buddy Patrick Norton was actually caught on it crossing the street. Check out the top 15 sightings on Google Street View.
  • Keep track of Google Street View sightings at StreetViewr.
  • Audio is a Facebook application that allows people to upload audio - giving way for piracy to happen on the site.
  • eBay threated to take their ads off of Google.
  • It is the 50th anniversary of the Frisbee.

Download MP3 file

Stefan Sagmeister on design and happiness

TED | Talks | Stefan Sagmeister: Yes, design can make you happy (video)

I really enjoyed this 15-minute TED presentation by Stefan Sagmeister (watch out: flashy page with grabby browser javascript) on how specific instances of design have made him happy.

The replacement subway signs he mentions (recreation below via Chris Glass) really are pretty terrific. (Anyone have more info or links on the artist and the guerilla campaign?)

Like, Chris, I also really like what Sagmeister has to share about the patterns in his own life that have made him more happy than not. It's easy to see how striving to live these sixteen bullets could help a person enjoy a more creative, open world.

read more »

MacBreak Weekly: WWDC Special Edition

MacBreak Weekly 44: WWDC Deconstructed


Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Scott Bourne, Andy Ihnatko, and John Gruber


We run down the WWDC announcements, and John Gruber explains why Safari for Windows makes sense...

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 44.

Comments are open for your own thoughts on the WWDC keynote.

OmniFocus in SF, WWDC

The Omni Mouth » OmniFocus demo at the San Francisco Apple Store

My peeps at OmniGroup mentioned this, so I'll slide it in as well. I'll be appearing with my OmniBrethren at the Stockton Street Apple store on Thursday June 21st to demo OmniFocus. Huzzah:

[Merlin will] be talking about productivity tips in general and discussing how OmniFocus fits in his workflow, so it should be more fun and interesting than your basic software demo. You should definitely come by and say howdy.

Be there.

Second, I heartily second Linda's suggestion that you email (omnifocus-wwdc at omnigroup dot com) if you're interested in doing an informal OF meet-up at WWDC.

If you don't come, Ken and I will have to sit there and stare at each other and maybe talk about D&D. Please, don't make us talk about D&D.

Update 2007-06-11 09:32:34 - OmniFocus at WWDC is scheduled. According to a recent Message of the Day in the OmniFocus beta:

We'd like to invite anyone attending WWDC to join Ethan Schoonover, Merlin Mann, and the OmniFocus development team for an informal gathering on Wednesday evening. We'll be meeting from 6:15pm-7:15pm in the "Commonwealth Room" "Olympic Room" on the 2nd floor at the Westin Hotel, one block from Moscone. (Please note the change in venue!)

This should be a lot of fun. If we can wangle A/V equipment. we'll do a demo of the latest version or OF, plus we'll be available to answer any questions about OmniFocus and just generally hang out.

Nota bene: I believe that this is for WWDC pass holders only. So I apologize in advance if there's an iPortcullis in place, and really encourage you to come to the event at the Apple Store next week if you're around.

Update 2007-06-12 23:24:49: Note room change above. We're now in the larger "Olympic Room."

Pmarca productivity: Excellent tips for getting through the day

blog.pmarca.com: The Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity

What a fantastic post. And so many great suggestions that I'm hesitant to choose a sample...so I'll limit myself to three:

Each night before you go to bed, prepare a 3x5 index card with a short list of 3 to 5 things that you will do the next day.

And then, the next day, do those things...

Don't answer the phone.

Let it go to voicemail, and then every few hours, screen your voicemails and batch the return calls.

Say, twice a day...

Only agree to new commitments when both your head and your heart say yes.

In my experience, it takes time to tell the difference between your head saying yes and your heart saying yes.

I think the key is whether you're really excited about it.

If you get that little adrenaline spike (in a good way) when you think about it, then your heart is saying yes....

Most of the tips on this page strike me as being very practical, real-world, battlefield advice that works. And even if you can't totally avoid a schedule or totally keep email checking down to twice a day, it won't hurt to soak up the spirit of these ideas and let them move by osmosis into the places where they can do you some good. Shake it up a little.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes 43-folders-esque stuff.

(And triple credit for the Robert Evans reference. Did it make me happy? You bet your ass it did.)




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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