Now, there are those who are trackpad people, those who can’t stand them, and a few in-betweeners who are comfortable with either. I’m one of the later. I even have a use case for one – My media center is an iMac and, due to its station on a shelf, there is just not enough travel room for a mouse. I currently have a Kensington Orbit Trackball attached to it and, while it does the job, it sure is not as sexy or, well, magic. But these details are not the story from my perspective.
Let’s do some theorizing on that magic for a bit. You may see a revolutionary mouse and trackpad. I see something far larger and more subversive…
Apple is rewiring our brains for touch.
Just like with the iPhone and iPad, Apple is steadfastly reinforcing the idea that touch is the way we interact with our computers. The Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad are just one more step in that direction. In fact, I would not be surprised if, before we ever see a touch based iMac, we see a keyboard without keys. A completely touch aware input experience in order to prepare the masses for the “next big thing”. That big thing is input devices as we have come to know them going away for good.
So, this begs the question, “Why not just make a giant desk sized iPad type iMac now?” Here is the answer: It is a minor adjustment to behavior and learning to make such moves with a brand new device, because the general public will see it as “new device, new input”. It is much more difficult to take something that has followed only one input method (keyboard and mouse) for twenty years and suddenly thrust something this new upon them. Revolutions generally start with a few new ideas that pick up steam and grow larger as they roll down the hill. The Magic Trackpad is the visual representation of the revolution to come.
I’m not even sure where to begin with the massive level of ninja-level cool on full display here. First, look at that office. Just look at it! Next, check out this snippet:
I have a server which gets backed up redundantly. Network user accounts get backed up to the server automatically, so adding a new MacBook is just a matter of logging in to the server with it. My music is on the server too—all 100 days of it.
Like I said, ninja. Go read the whole thing. Get inspired.
I wanted to wait until the whole series was up before posting about this one. My good friend Randy Murray has posted a weeks worth of Tech Buying Tips that I can get behind and are very much in the spirit of “what we believe in”. I urge you to read them all:
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being asked to appear on one of my favorite up-and-coming podcasts, The Bro Show. The show is produced by two UK geeks about topics near and dear to my heart – Macs, Movies and Gadgets as wells as Gaming. Please take some time out of your day to subscribe and give it a listen. You will not be disappointed.
In this episode, we discussed Flipboard, Inception, our Fave Five gadgets (I completely picked mine on the fly). Of course, they also allowed me to ramble on about myself and Minimal Mac for a bit as well. Serious nerd-love for these guys. I hope to appear again soon.
I’m starting a club. It’s called the “Simple Things Done Well Society,” or STDWS, if you will. We believe that Vanilla is the best flavor of ice cream (so long as it is really good), Ringo Starr is wonderful drummer, and Hemmingway’s sentences are perfect, thank you very much.
It’s the tape trick, but with an excellent substitute for the tape: invisibleSHIELD film. It fits right over the gap and covers the entire left side, so when it’s held left-handed (as I always hold mine), there’s no electrical bridging.
I actually was asking around the Twitter sphere about minimal case solutions and this was recommended by more than a few people. If I ever get an iPhone 4, unless any better solutions come along, this is exactly the solution I’m going with.
You may have heard a little something about a press conference to address the issues some have been experiencing with the new antenna design of the iPhone 4. I followed the Engadget live blog of the event. I also tried to capture the spirit of what was being said in a more humorous way on my personal Twitter account. That said, I thought it fair to provide a basic summary here.
The problem that people are experiencing (i.e. when you bridge a particular area of the phone with your hand) is something all phones experience to some extent and there are countless examples of this. No phone is perfect.
Apple tests their phones rigorously under a variety of conditions, both controlled and not, and they did not catch any issue that was outside of, or any worse than, the above (i.e. other phones that do this).
Apple was calculating the signal incorrectly and they have fixed that with the iOS 4.0.1 update.
Having a case on your iPhone 4 will fix this issue. Therefore, they will give cases for free to all who will purchase an iPhone 4 from a variety they will source.
They will also refund the cost of their bumper case if you already bought one of those.
If you are not happy with this, bring your iPhone back for a full refund.
That said, I hope this helps to put a rest to this issue because, frankly, I’m over it already.
Ubiquitous capture — that is, the ability to snag any thought or idea any time and anywhere it happens to crop up — is a key component to nearly every productivity philosophy. You want to capture those fleeting ideas before they’re gone, and you don’t want to waste brain power obsessing over remembering it until you can write it down somewhere. Below, I’ll walk you through the best ubiquitous capture system I’ve ever encountered.
Great writeup on how to use Simplenote as a hub to get your plain-text files available to you anywhere. This is pretty much the setup I roll with but, as you may have read in a recent interview, I take the added step of storing my .txt database in Dropbox. This gives me the added bonuses of deletion protection and versioning.
What you actively spend time on, and (far more difficult) what you choose not to do, who you choose not to spend time with, and who and what you decide to say no to — what you choose, then — is how you mark time. And that is all there is.
I’m actually cross posting this here and at Practical Opacity because it is just that important. Time is the most valuable and finite commodity that any living thing has in this world. Think about it, everything – you, me, people, plants, animals, even the Earth itself – has a limited and set amount of time. Even our solar system is but a minute of time in the history of the universe. The average human lifespan does not even register on the clock. In many ways, time defines life itself.
Therefore, treat it as the most precious thing in existence, because it is. Don’t squander a single second. Perhaps, even more importantly, don’t waste time regretting the time you do squander. Instead, look to how you are going to use this very moment to do something… Anything. Make a mark. Don’t worry about the next until the next comes along. This moment is far too important.
Finally, I don’t know if I could suggest a better use of your time than spending a few moments on Bobulate. The rewards I get in return, daily, are a fair trade and sqaure deal.
An unclutterer is someone who chooses to live without the distractions that get in the way of a remarkable life.
Contrary to what you might assume, the most important word in the definition of an unclutterer isn’t distractions (or what we also call clutter) or even the goal of a remarkable life. The pivotal word in the definition is chooses.
"Then Steve comes in," [Mike] Evangelist recalls. "He doesn’t look at any of our work. He picks up a marker and goes over to the whiteboard. He draws a rectangle. ‘Here’s the new application,’ he says. ‘It’s got one window. You drag your video into the window. Then you click the button that says burn. That’s it. That’s what we’re going to make.’ "
Great article about a few of the things that allow Apple to succeed where others stumble. Including this little gem of a story from my friend Mike (who, at the time, was product lead for iDVD and DVD Studio Pro).
Mr. Lopp may be better known to you by his nom de plume, Rands. He is also who I want to be when I grow up. I would also like to have Merlin Mann as the crazy uncle who always stops over and raids my liquor cabinet. While I’m at it, I’d like Jack Mottram to be the older brother who I have beer with and teaches me how to fish.
Simply put, Hazel takes the idea of mail rules and applies them to the entire system. At its core, Hazel is a watchdog. You tell it to keep an eye on a folder, and if certain criteria are met, perform an action. We’ve covered Hazel before, but I wanted to focus specifically on combining it with Dropbox.
Hazel is one of those apps I need to eat my own dog food on and spend a few minutes a day learning something new about. It can be amazingly powerful, and save a ton of hassle and time, especially when combined with other tools. That said, every time I read a post like the one linked above I have one of those “Holy crap!” moments of how I can put it to better use.
Brett was kind enough to make me his first interview for his new site Bridging The Nerd Gap, which I linked to a few day ago. Therein, he asks me about the tools I use, the process of writing and posting to Minimal Mac, the stuff I read, and even the sites I visit when I have time to kill. Doing it was a ton of fun and I hope he asks me some followup questions in the future.
By the way folks. I actually love doing interviews. Especially via email and without time restraints. That way, I can think deeply about the questions at hand and answer them accordingly. If you have a site, podcast, or other appropriate medium and would like to ask me a question or two, just get in touch.
A PasswordCard is a credit card-sized card you keep in your wallet, which lets you pick very secure passwords for all your websites, without having to remember them! You just keep them with you, and even if your wallet does get stolen, the thief will still not know your actual passwords.
Such a wonderful, analog solution to a common digital problem. I’m a dedicated 1Password guy myself but I just love the idea of this. Bravo. (via mnmal)
We all have downtime while at work — why not spend that time investing in your toolbox a bit? Next time a meeting is canceled and you find yourself with a free hour, you might consider poking around inside the application where you spend most of your day (Word or Excel are probably common choices here). Look through the endless menus and look for ways to make job easier.
Great advice from my friend Brett Kelly on his recently launched blog Bridging The Nerd Gap, which aims to “explore the intersection of technology, tools and effectiveness”. I’m a big believer in getting to know the tools you use everyday very well. Even if you devote fifteen minutes a day to doing so I bet you will have at least a few “How did I not know this?” moments.
Oh, also, while you are there, follow or subscribe to Brett’s blog. Seriously. Required reading.
The Android ecosystem doesn’t seem capable of producing devices that are great on day one. Yet Apple consistently pulls it off.
Great analysis of the core difference between Apple and Android. It is deeper than hardware or features. The differences are rooted into the two cultures. Marco is at his best with these sorts of posts.
I know there are lots of folks out there who don’t like (see: loathe) the glossy screens that now come standard on Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops. There are various companies that make solutions for this but it’s a bit difficult to weigh the options. This excellent review from Analog Senses does a pretty thorough job of laying out the pros and cons of a few of them and then going into detail on the one chosen. Great work, Álvaro
Humans, especially nerds, are creatures of habit. Often, these habits are designed to make the world a predictable place so that our brains can focus on the creative task at hand. The reason I continue to end up in TextEdit is because my favorite feature is the lack of features.
Another fantastic post from Rands. Required reading.
Also, I’m with Rands here. Readers of this site should know of my unabashed love of TextEdit. In fact, what some may not know is that it is one of the things that led to the creation of Minimal Mac. I was thinking one day about how so many people think they need to have a word processor or their Mac when they already have a tool that is pretty adept at handling most of those tasks built right in. Not only that, but as is almost always the case with anything built by Apple, it has exactly the features it does need executed in the most elegant, clear and concise way possible. Yep, total nerd love for this app.
It is so easy to buy, acquire, and own things that aren’t important to us simply out of habit or because other people have these things. If you don’t want the responsibilities of home ownership, rent. If you aren’t looking forward to an episode of Wipeout, turn off the television. Stop consuming for the sake of consuming, and buy and spend time on only those things that you need and matter to you.