I have yet to watch it because I just signed up but it looks like Don at Screencasts Online has done a special members only two part show on tips and tricks for living with 64GB on a low end Macbook Air. I especially want to call your attention to this today because there is currently a 50% discount on the membership, but it will expire any moment now. Seems like these two episodes, if you are interested, is worth the discounted price alone.
My photos are a good example of this. I take most photos these days with my iPhone. I sync my iPhone to my iMac because that is where the bulk of my music and movies live. That said, my main photo collection lives on my Macbook. Why? Well, I’m not quite sure. For how long have I had my photos taken with my mobile and photos taken with my main camera in two separate locations? Years. Why? I don’t know. Well, this weekend, I changed that and now all photos live together on the iMac.
Then, if all of my Photos live on my iMac, do I really need to have iPhoto on my Macbook? What about iDVD on a machine that does not have a Superdrive? Do I need to have iLife at all? These are the sorts of questions I will be pondering.
I have done a lot of talking about doing such a thing on this site since the beginning. Now, I’m about to put that into practice and, I’m sure, will share about the experience here with you. Stay tuned…
As my MacBook Pro slowly dies, I’ve called my old G4 iMac back into service. Years ago, that machine was wiped clean and given an install of Mac OS X 10.5 before being boxed in the basement. On Friday I will wrap up one week of using it as my primary work machine. In that time I’ve found that it’s slow, beautiful and perfect.
I actually linked to this before as part of commentary on another similar piece but I keep running across it and feel as if it deserves placement on its own.
No following, no friending…just sharing with the people who matter most.
Path is a new app for iPhone that sets off on a very different approach to social networking. It’s goal is to be a highly focused “personal network” that allows you to share and tag personal moments using photos with no more than your fifty closest friends. Why no more than fifty?:
We chose 50 based on the research of Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar, who has long suggested that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships that the human brain can sustain at any given time. Dunbar’s research also shows that personal relationships tend to expand in factors of roughly 3. So while we may have 5 people whom we consider to be our closest friends, and 20 whom we maintain regular contact with, 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks. These are the people we trust, whom we are building trust with, and whom we consider to be the most important and valued people in our lives.
There are many things I love about this app. Mainly, I love it’s sane, well thought out, and research based constraints. I love the fact that it calls these updates “moments”. I love that it does not allow you to choose existing photos or edit them before posting. It really does force one to share what is happening right then and there. Letting these moments speak for themselves with only enough details to provide context.
But most of all, I love that the people who I share with there are getting an honest peek into a story that I would only tell to those I trust most.
“I know that sometimes I get caught up on trying to make my computer as productive as possible, or as minimal as can be – it occurred to me though that while that is all well and good, the best thing I could do would be to setup up my computer so that it works best for me, and only me.”—
One of the things I constantly battle with this site is that people will read the title and one or two posts and think they have some idea about what I believe in.
In fact, I even asked Mr. Brooks to update the post referenced above to more clearly reflect that my beliefs are not only very much in line with his but that I have mentioned this many, many times here before.
It’s kind of sad that I have to do this every so often. It’s my own fault for mistakingly believing that most people are like me and know that anything one obsesses over, especially in public, is likely something they themselves are struggling with. Instead, people come here, scan a page or two, and think I have it all figured out and that I’m holding myself up as some example to be followed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m just asking some questions of myself here. I’m wondering if I can work with a little less friction. I’m wondering what I really need out of a computer. I’m conflicted by it because I like new, shiny, fast toys just like everyone else. But what I more likely need is less. I’m quite jealous of those who find themselves forced into constraints and find themselves the better for it. Because I would like to be better. I would like to find that sweet spot of balance that lies somewhere between the 3.5 year old Macbook sitting on my desk, a brand new Macbook Air, and the perfectly useable Powerbook 1400 that sits down in my basement. I don’t know what the appropriate answer to that is. So here I remain, searching.
I ask these questions and try these things out here, in public, for the world to see. Partially because I hope that it keeps me accountable. But mainly because I’m a writer. It’s who I am. I can’t help but exorcise my demons out in the open. It’s what we do.
If it helps or changes others along the way, that’s great and I’m incredibly humbled by that. That said, I would be here babbling away anyway even if it doesn’t. Because I’m compelled to. For me.
I had the extreme pleasure of being interviewed for Ian Hines’ new site, Intrvws. This is the most comprehensive interview I have ever done. We cover lots of ground, from how I got started writing, my somewhat accidental geekdom, my business, my favorite blogs, and my approach to all of my sites (most specifically this one). I’d be extremely grateful and humbled if you gave it a read.
This is a lovely and highly personal photoshoot. I had never seen it before now. Love how the first shot is so much of “what we don’t believe in” – a desk piled with stuff. I bet you Steve can tell you exactly what is in those piles (but then he’d have to kill you). Proof that there is no right way. There is only the way that works for you.
Fantastic post from Anna Spysz about being forced to do with less after her Macbook Pro logic board died. It’s a nice reminder that one can really surprise themselves with how little they really need and how, in fact, “less” may have certain advantages over “more”. I love this part:
After the initial frustration subsided and I came to terms with the fact that I will be MacBook-less for over a month (and bought this sweet adapter to watch my iPhone videos on my TV), I’ve found that this forced single-tasking is both extremely difficult to get used to, and ultimately far more effective. It’s been a constant struggle with my own, easily-distracted brain, that I’d tried to wage with less success using tools like Isolator or Think on my very multitasking-capable laptop. Now it will be a struggle to maintain this focus once my own computer is back, but I think this experience has given me the motivation to truly give it a go, now that I’ve seen just how effective single-tasking can make me.
You don’t need a focusing app to focus. What you need are new habits, and no app can really give you that.
Short version: If you want a Minimal Mac T-Shirt, click that link up there in the menu and order one sometime before Wednesday at 11:59am.
Long version: I’m having some fairly major surgery next Monday. I have some disk degeneration in C5, 6, & 7 that is causing bulging into the nerve space. It has caused me to be in various levels of constant pain from my neck down my right arm for over four years now. I’ve finally run out of non-surgical options to treat it so, the knife it is. I’ll spare you the gory details but for at least a couple of weeks after I’ll be unable to perform my normal bloggly duties.
Therefore, I’m going to close up the sale, tally up the order, and get that sent off to the printer so you have some hope of getting your t-shirt in 2-4 weeks.
Thanks in advance for your well wishes and understanding. Your patience will be rewarded. The shirts will be great.
Before Buddha became enlightened he searched enlightenment by following different masters. Each one promised him that if he followed his way he would find what he was looking for. Buddha starved himself, lived a live of poverty and did other things as he was told by his masters. After several years he realized that none of this was going to give him what he was looking for, so he picked ideas and notions from the different ways he followed in the past and started following his own way. He attained enlightenment.
I came to realize that minimalism is the same. You can follow different masters, but at the end of the day you will have to follow your own. Take ideas and tips and incorporate them into your own Way. Learn from it, make it part of your life and pass it forward.
I don’t know how I missed posting about this but it looks like my friend Uri has decided to shut down his Minimal tumblr and put all of his energy into his wonderful new project Pack Light, Go Fast. The new project is another dear to my heart, minimalist and lightweight travel. You should check it out.
Also, Uri is a pretty swell guy. A lot of people don’t know but he is a freelance Security Consultant. I reached out to him recently for a security related problem and he went above and beyond the call of duty for a client of mine. You should hire him if you ever have a need.
There’s lots of what we believe in contained within Eddie Smith’s interview with Panic co-founder Steven Frank. His reliance on text files, his general aversion to third party software, and his iPad and 11in Macbook Air. Nice to-the-point peek into his workflow.
Mr Brooks provides a nice tidy rundown of a lot of the Writing Apps available for the Mac. Some really great choices here (TextEdit being my favorite, of course). The one he likes and uses is called Ulysses which I had never heard of before but looks interesting (hardly minimal).
I would like to take a moment out to thank Mariner Software and their excellent MacJournal for sponsoring this weeks RSS feed. Now available for Mac, iPhone and iPad. For home, for the office, for travel or just relaxing with some coffee in your favorite chair. You can take MacJournal with you wherever you go and never miss writing down anything ever again. I have used it daily for years now.
Also of interest to minimalist fans, their Paperless app is great for scanning and organizing and is 50% off for the next 48 hours or so (discount on the purchase page). Worth checking out.
Silly me. I have not posted about these simple minimal iPad apps from one of my favorite retailers on the planet despite them being all over the internet last week. My bad. No excuses really.
There are three apps total. A calendar app (Free) that has a nicely designed interface with some interesting use of pinch and zoom to navigate and Google Calendar integration. A notebook app ($3.99) that supports drawing and different page types and “finger-writing” recognition. Finally, Muji to Go (Free) which provides information services for traveling such as World Clock, Forex, Weather, and Calculator.
Worth a click on the link if only to see the videos and see if any of these may be a good fit for you.
Major update to my favorite iPhone and iPad app with a ton of useful new features. Here is the one I have been waiting for:
The list now indicates approximate article length and progress with a row of dots, similar to how it’s done on a Kindle’s home screen. The more dots, the longer the article is, and darkened dots indicate approximately how far you’ve read in the article.
Often times I have longed for a way to help me decide what to read based upon the available time I have. This will go a long way towards that.
This is a treasure trove of early prototype pictures and history of the devices and ideas that eventually led us to the iPad of today. I’m actually floored by how many of these are new to me because I thought I had seen them all. I’ve been a fan of Apple’s moves in the space since before I owned the first Newton.
This link is a day wrecker for any true fan. Consider yourself warned. (via MacStories)
Dave Caolo slings a tasty bit of claim chowder with his take on Mac OS 10.7 as shown at the recent Back to The Mac event:
The event’s title was a fun play on words. At first I assumed Apple was re-directing the consumer’s attention away from iOS and back to the Mac. But no, the message was that Apple’s iOS developers are applying what they’ve learned to the desktop OS. Expect Mac OS 10.7 to be even more iOS-like than you imagine.
I’m incredibly excited to welcome MacJournal for Mac, iPad, and iPhone from my friends at Mariner Software as the sponsor for the RSS Feed this week. For me, it is essential. I have been using the Mac version for as long as I can remember. I compose every post on my personal site in MacJournal as it easily allows posting to a number of blogging platforms (Wordpress in my case). I have several other secret projects going on in there as well. It is elegantly designed. It is feature rich, without letting those features get in the way. But for me, the killer feature is it’s full screen mode. It has my favorite full screen experience of any program on the Mac (Yes, all of them). Now, with newly released and redesigned versions for iPad and iPhone, I can capture, sync-up, and work on my posts and secret projects anywhere.
“Each step requires asking “What’s really important?” That’s the most important question you can ask yourself about anything. The class would really be about answering that very question at each step of the way. Whittling it all down until all that’s left is the point.”—
What is our ultimate goal here: is it to have the ultimate version of Finder, or is our real goal not to have to constantly troubleshoot other peoples computers? For me it is the latter. (The argument can also be made that in simplifying computers it helps to better society, but such an argument is far more complex.)
Ben makes the argument for a more simple Finder that makes it easier for the average user to, well, find things. Good insight and speculation.
Furthermore, as a consultant I can attest that way too much of my time is spent simply walking people through the filesystem.
Also, Mr. Brooks has been en fuego lately. Read only if you are interested in thought provoking Apple related content.
With all the excitement about the shirt, I did not want my sincere thank you to MobileAge and their excellent Shanghai Mahjong to get lost. They have sponsored this week’s RSS Feed.
I might understand if you don’t have $20.00 for a t-shirt right now. I get that. What I have a much harder time understanding is not having less then a buck to buy a beautiful game that will provide hours of entertainment. Seriously, 1.3 Billion People and 2000 years can’t be wrong.
Historical Update from reader Boris Lau:
In your latest post about Shanghai Mahjong, you alluded to Mahjong’s long history in China as a reason to buy the game. However, the “Mahjong” you are referring to is in fact Mahjong Solitaire (wikipedia) which only came to be in 1981. Other than having the same tiles, the game has nothing to do with the real Mahjong which is an entirely different game and does in fact have a long history. Just thought I could give you a quick clarification and heads up!
I stand corrected on the history. Which is great because I love history and learning more.
I’m not wrong about the MobileAge version though. Buy it.
The title says it all. You will now see a new (albeit, temporary) addition the the menu items. There, in the menu near “archive” and “rss” is “minimal mac t-shirt”. Click that. Launch the store. Buy one. They are $19.95 with shipping included. There is a $10.00 USD shipping surcharge for International orders. It’s also $3.00 extra for XXL. Sorry for this, but I could not absorb that extra cost into the price.
As stated previously, I’ll keep it open for a bit but will close it and stop taking orders in a couple of weeks (or sooner, depending on sales). I will give fair warning before that happens, so stay tuned.
Also, as stated, these will be printed on a premium, athletic cut, t-shirt. I normally wear a large and the large fits me well but with a trimmer profile then a regular cut shirt. Order a size up if you are used to a looser fit.
As usual, please hit me up with any questions via the methods spelled out on the about page.
A few days ago, I downloaded a neat little utility to silence the startup sound on my new 11” MacBook Air. How much did the developer make? Zero, it’s freeware; the programmer didn’t want to spend the time and money to set up a commercial site. How much would I have paid for it from a Mac App Store? Less than $5, more than 99 cents.
And this is just one of the reasons why I know the Mac App Store will be as much of a success as the iOS one. There are a ton of developers who would rather release freeware then to go through the sausage making that is e-commerce. In the new world, these fine folks can let Apple make the sausage and they can collect the cash. Great post as a whole, with many other interesting insights, by former Apple CEO Jean-Louis Gassée.
Soon, I will be offering for sale, for a limited time, an official Minimal Mac T-Shirt. Please bear with me for the “teaser” style of this all but I’m still working out some of the details. That said, I wanted to give everyone a heads up on it so, if you are interested, you can start preparing now. So far, here is the plan:
The shirt will be very close to the picture above. With a slight variation on the logo (Subtext = “What we believe in.”). This will be printed on a quality and slightly fitted t-shirt that looks great on me and, hopefully, you as well. Also, you can have any color you wish, as long as it’s white.
I will offer these for sale for two weeks. After this time, I will stop taking orders. I will then have the shirts printed and will ship out all orders by hand. Therefore, it may take two to four weeks to receive them. That said, anyone who knows me knows I will do my best to get them done and shipped out as quickly as possible.
A lot like some other sites, purchasing the shirt is similar to a “membership” in that the cost not only covers the shirt, printing, shipping materials, time involved, etc. but also helps to support the work I put into producing the site.
Update 2: Being that this is the first time I have ever done anything of this sort before, I had to keep it limited to one style and color in order to make the process as… Wait for it… Minimal as possible. Therefore, no women’s cuts or sizing. If things go smoothly and I get me feet wet on the process, I may open it up again with such options. Trust me ladies, I’m making no friends with my wife with this choice either but, like her, I wont forget about you.
The 13 is a wonderful Mac and I can do just about everything on it that I could on my MacBook Pro. 14 Somethings are not as fast as they used to be, but those are things that I do infrequently and that when I am doing them I am never in a rush to finish them.
If you read any thorough review of the new Macbook Air, make it this one.
Take Firefox for example. Firefox started as a response to the Mozilla Suite. Mozilla was big, slow and wanted to be an all in one internet suite. For people wanting to browse the web this was an overkill. Firefox, then called Phoenix, was lighting fast with very few features; because of this small number of things the program allowed people to reach the main purpose of the program right away: to browse the web.
Are you sick of spilling coffee on your Mac Mini, or dropping staplers onto your expsensive AirPort Extreme? By bolting your gadgets to the underside of your desk, you instantly create physical, usuable space on the desk top. You’ll have more room to work and your devices sit safely under your workspace, but still within easy reach.
I would like to welcome MobileAge and their excellent game, Shanghai Mahjong, as this weeks RSS Feed Sponsor.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not much of a gamer. Never have been. You see, I know my limits and gaming is one of them. I know, once I start, I have a hard time stopping. That said, when I do want to go down that path, I’m very picky about how I do so. I want a classic game that is full of strategy and challenge. A game that is not only fun but also makes my brain hurt a bit, so I don’t feel I’m wasting my time. Shanghai Mahjong, for me, is the perfect game.
It’s beautifully designed, with multiple layouts, tilesets, backgrounds, and support for Game Center. It’s fantastic! Not only that, but it’s the main reason my wife steals my iPad when I’m not looking.
Seriously, give it a shot. It’s the best $0.99 you will spend today.