Out of all of the product news that came out of this years Macworld (which I am now heavily regretting not attending), this was the coolest. Just like it says on the tin, it is basically a subscription based cloud storage that you can hook Time Machine up to for a native, offsite, backup option.
But wait! There’s more!
In addition, it also allows you to create an auto-updating and bootable local backup as well for immediate recovery. The pricing seems reasonable as well.
Click through for more info and a video of it in action as Dave covers it for TUAW far better than my brief outline here.
You know that free over-the-air syncing server that Omni Group offers its users? It’s running on a Mac Mini and is doing just fine.
You know, I have heard from some birdies that many of the folks in enterprise that would have relied on the now discontinued XServe are going with Mac Mini Servers instead. Yes, you read that right. It kind of makes sense from a cost/performance perspective if you think about it. Especially if the storage is still being handled by a RAID or other system and all you need is an enterprise class OS on a small cool system with a low cost of ownership. Heck, stick two side by side in the same rack space that Xserve would have taken for redundancy.
Also, we live in the future. You are aware of that, right?
Notational Velocity is only second to TextEdit as my favorite app on the Mac. It is always the first third party application I install on a new Mac. It was one of the first apps I covered here on Minimal Mac.
This latest version adds so many cool and useful new features, I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll just go down the list:
Horizontal Layout (Like a lot of the project forks have added though, in my opinion, this one looks better than the rest.)
Internal Links Between Notes (Using double brackets.)
Tags (Which are already supported but this improves upon that support.)
Strikethrough and Other Automatic Formatting (Including automatic strikethrough when a line is appended with @done. A boon for TaskPaper users.)
External nv:// Link Specification (Link to notes within NV from other applications… Schwing!)
Custom Foreground/Background Colors (For those that like that.)
Seriously, folks, this is a great update to an already fantastic product. My only hope is that these features make it to the fork I use soon (Which is nvALT and which has other features I have come to rely on).
I’d like to welcome Tumblita (iTunes link) for sponsoring this weeks RSS feed. Fellow Tumblr nerds, here’s an app for you. It does everything you would imagine. Browse your dashboard with style. Post to your site with ease. It’s a treat to use as well.
“I’m not anti technology. I’m all for using the right tools at the right time. What I am opposed to is anything that gets in the way of accomplishing what you need to in a meeting, of slowing it down, or impeding your personal connection with your client.”—
What we believe in. Which is not to say that Mr. Brooks opinion, to which Randy’s quote and linked post above is a rebuttal, is something we do not believe in. Because he makes some excellent points and arguments too.
It’s just that I think this quote gets to the heart of the common point of both, which is to not let your tools, no matter what they are, disengage you from being present in the task or disconnected from the conversation.
Although it may seem kind of “all podcasts, all the time” around here lately, please forgive me for calling your attention to the fact that I’ll be live on this one tomorrow at 10am EST with Dan Benjamin. A person who has no idea of the positive effect he had on the very core of everything I believe in.
Now excuse me while I go squee like a giddy little girl.
The latest episode of the podcast is now live. In this episode, we caution against information silos and making sure you have a way to get your data out that is as seamless as putting it in.
Yes, Evernote, Tumblr, and Word, I’m talking about you.
Oh, if you are liking what you are hearing, please go to the iTunes Store and rate it. There is this kid named Merlin who I would love to remove from that #1 spot. I mean, can you really take a guy who talks into his wallet seriously?
(I kid. Merlin knows I love him. Still want his spot though.)
A few folks have pingged me to ask when to expect new episodes of Enough — The Minimal Mac podcast. The current schedule is Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8am CST. Each episode will be fairly short (about ten minuites) but sometimes will run long if the topic warrants it. This way, you can queue a few up if you want and hear several in a row. Teaser: In tomorrow’s episode, we will be discussing Information Silos and the tradeoffs that often come with certain features. Subscribe now: http://minimalmac.com/enough
My favorite note-taking iPhone apps mimic the ease and flexibility of pen and paper. I want to tap, write, close. The problem comes when I want to use the captured information. DraftPad solves the problem with clever, customizable “Assists,” while making data entry super simple.
DraftPad is an interesting app for sure. Offering next to no features up front but seemingly limitless options for getting your text to it’s final destination.
As a lover in a time of war might cherish the wrinkled, worn letter from their beloved, the small apparatuses in our pockets can too be cherished for what they represent and how they connect us to others.
Beautiful and compelling. A reminder to us all that the tools are what we make of, how we choose to use, and relate to them.
And, seriously, if you are not following the work of Mr. Shelley you are doing yourself a disservice.
I always have Emacs up, in one Terminal. A couple more generally have Lynx. When I read email, I swear, I’m ssh’d into a shell account and running Pine. I’m thinking of switching to Alpine but I haven’t made the leap yet. It’s just habit, is all. I set up my email in 1995 and I haven’t really had a reason to change it around since. Yes, it’s a hassle in some ways; my mail is procmail-sorted into mbox files, which means… cough, ahem… I can’t read my email on my iPhone. I cope.
This whole piece is a wonderment. There is so many little nuggets I could pull out that would be an example of some of the thoughts I try to put forth here. I mean, here is a guy who sets up technology to work the way he wants, then he uses it until there is a compelling reason not to.
Sometimes, I post things here not just because they are topical or functional but, also, because they are beautiful. I also believe in supporting hand-craftsmanship and micro-businesses. For those looking for all of those qualities in an iPad case, here you go.
I wanted to make sure to take a moment to thank iCorkz for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed. iCorkz are fitted covers for your iPhone’s headphone and adapter port’s exact dimensions for a perfectly sealed, dry, and secure fit. Protect your iPhone from water, dust, and pocket lint for just under 10 bucks. It’s a great deal.
“iPhoto works, iTunes works, iMovie works, iChat works, Safari works, Apple stuff works. Sure there might be a program that lets you organize photos better than iPhoto, or a faster music player than iTunes. But my Mac was handed to me preloaded with 98.3% of what I want my computer to do. You can’t put a price on that.”—
Freedom of choice Is what you got Freedom from choice Is what you want
– DEVO, Freedom of Choice
When you choose Apple, in many ways you are choosing a sensible default. You have made a choice that greatly narrows the field thus making your options, due the the scarcity, that much easier. When you go to buy a new computer, you no longer have hundreds of choices to choose from, as Windows or Linux users do. You now have only a few. All made by one company. Those of us who have made the choice, based on need, to always buy a laptop or desktop, have narrowed that choice even further. Other purpose based needs narrow this even further. Are you are a professional photographer who needs plenty of storage for RAW photos and a large screen for editing, yet needs that in a portable package that can be used reasonably outside for the occasional wedding shoot? Guess you are getting a Macbook Pro with a 500GB drive and a matte screen then.
I’ll bet, at some point, Steve Jobs woke up one morning, looked in his closet, and had to decide what to wear that day. He choose a black Gap mock turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans, and a pair of New Balance sneakers. It then occurred to him that it was the perfect outfit for most occasions and weather he found himself in. He may have even worn it around for a few days, in a variety of circumstances and environments, just to test it out and make sure it was the right thing for him. Then, he went out and got a dozen more of everything and threw out the rest. At this point, he made the final choice, to make this outfit his default, thus freeing himself of the weight of having to decide what to wear based on so many temporal and ever changing factors…
Hot? Cold? Raining? Dry? Sunny?
Black Mock Turtle. Levis. Sneakers.
Does he wear shorts sometimes if the situation calls for it? Sure. How about a tux? Yep. But the point is that he has the vast majority of his needs covered with the sensible default.
For many of us, there is a certain freedom that comes from not having to choose. But that freedom does not come from having choices foisted upon us. It comes from having made some decisions, up front, about what is appropriate for the majority of situations we may find ourselves in. It comes from reduction and filtering. Such decisions are born of evaluation, reflection, and knowledge. But, most of all, it comes from the desire to live a life that is focused not on things like what to wear or to buy, but instead on doing everything else with that much more thought, consideration and care.
Frank throws up another must read fastball but this time he really hits it past the wall. This is one of those pieces that makes me want to close up this little shop and redirect the domain to it. To quote any single part of it would be a disservice to you the reader but also, more importantly, the work. I can’t believe it is this early in the year and I may have already seen the best thing written in it but I suspect, come next December, I may feel the same.
Something, something, enough, something, something… Oh, are you still reading? Why? Click the friggin’ link already!
The title says it all. I’m a few episodes into recording the podcast (debuting soon) but would love to get suggestions for things folks would like to hear me speak about or cover more deeply than I have here.
You know what I’ve learned? A person only flails around in regards to their rig when they don’t have a clear idea of what constitutes their work.
Out of everything one can take away from this mind bindingly brilliant post from Frank Chimero about the tools he uses to turn himself from mild mannered citizen to superhero, please take the sentence quoted above and paste it up somewhere special.
Then, when you find yourself getting distracted by shiny things, read it and remove the word “rig”. Then insert “software” or “task management” or “productivity” or any of the other things you are struggling with in its place.
But, seriously, this whole post is a must read kids. I could have pulled just about any sentence out of it and it would have been germane to the conversation I’m having with you here. Watch…
And these computers? As much as I love fiddle-faddling with the damn things, I mostly just want to forget I have one and get on with saying stuff and making things.
See? Told you.
Please, do yourself a favor and read this today. Don’t “fiddle-faddle”.
“A simple start would involve each of us learning to care just a little more about a handful of things that simply aren’t allowed to leave with us—whether today, tomorrow, or whenever. Because, I really believe a lot of nice things would start to happen if we also stopped waiting to care. A whole lot of nice things.”—
I’d like to welcome iCorkz as this week’s RSS Feed sponsor. Look, we all have cases to help keep our iPhones pristine and to protect them from drops and scratches. But what about liquid? Get a little spillage in the port connector or headphone jack and your favorite pocket computer could be as functional as toast. Even a little moisture from rain or high humidity can trigger the moisture sensors and void your warranty. That’s where iCorkz come in. They are fitted covers for your iPhone’s port’s exact dimensions for a perfectly sealed, dry, and secure fit. Just under a Hamilton is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Want a good example of why I desperately need to get a podcast microphone? Just listen to this. It’s the next installment of the Macgasm podcast where we talk about some of my favorite apps and tools. All that noise you hear of some idiot fumbling around. Yep, that’s me. Dr. Loudass!
So, many may now know that I’m working on a Minimal Mac podcast. We will be recording the first episodes this week and will have the first one up “soonish” after that. With my doing more podcasts for others and working on one of my own, it has become quite obvious that the built in mic just wont do. While it is perfectly fine for a minimal solution, it is past the time to upgrade to something more appropriate.
I recently asked on Twitter for some suggestions for good podcasting mics. My only requirement was that it had to be USB as I will be plugging it directly into my Macbook Air. Here, in no particular order, are the suggestions I got:
Now, the most “minimal” looked to be the Blue Snowflake and I was heavily tempted to just go with that for now then upgrade later if needed. It is small, portable, and gets high ratings as a “good enough” solution but…
The one that I went with was the Blue Yeti. The main reason being that it is the one that my friends at The Bro Show use and, since they are helping to produce the podcast with me, I felt it best to have the same kit on all sides. Plus, I thought with my desk setup the Snowflake would end up too far away from my mouth to get the audio quality I wish. I also liked the humanistic look of the mic and stand. But at 3.5 pounds and a foot tall, it’s about as minimal as a Hummer.
That said, if money was not an issue, I likely would have gone with the Rode Podcaster because it got a really strong endorsement by Dan Benjamin in the episode of The Mixdown linked above.
Hope others in the market find all of this info useful.
I wanted to take a moment out to thank Eureka for Mac for sponsoring this weeks RSS Feed. Eureka helps you find files your way with more flexible ad-hoc filtering criteria. It’s faster and more flexible than smart folders and has support for both Quick Look and Multi-Touch. It’s worth checking out.
While we are on the subject of Notational Velocity…
Today, MacStories points out that Twitter for Mac adds a contextual menu item that lets you tweet nearly any text you’ve selected in Mac OS X. You see where this is going: I can call up Notational Velocity with a keystroke, right-click on a tweet and send it off via the contextual menu. Awesome!
Apple is dominating its competition in customer service because the company cares about creating a quality customer experience at every brand touchpoint. And they do this for a reason – it’s called “profit”. Apple has built an immensely successful business model around the depth of caring about product experience, and it’s translating all the way from customer sentiment to Wall Street. From corporate leadership and the vision of Steve Jobs to customized retail environments showcasing flawless product design, Apple is invested in delivering amazing experiences to their customers.
I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Apple does not simply sell products. Apple sells an experience that is built around the buying, ownership, and use of a product. These are two very different things and it is the difference that separates Apple from every other player in the space.
My friends at Macgasm were kind enough to ask me to be a guest on their podcast series. It was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to get a bit deeper on a variety of topics.
In this first one, we talk about the various GTD/Task apps, my thoughts on them, and what I use (Spoiler: It does not run on a Mac). Each one is pretty short and I would be honored (and feel you will be rewarded) if you take a few minutes to give it a listen.
“True simplicity comes not from imitation, but from understanding. Certain situations will suggest a minimalist approach, but others won’t. Our digital worlds should feel like they sustain life—not just geometry.”—
Since the App Store launch, more than half of Evernote’s new users across all platforms are coming from the Mac. In fact, between Mac App Store launch and midnight on January 7th, Evernote saw 90,000 client downloads across both new and existing users.
It does not matter how “free” an app is if it is difficult to find or no one has even heard of it. Cost also does not matter if it is difficult to install. I’d be a rich man if I had a dollar for every person I encounter in my consulting business that downloaded a .DMG and did not know how to “install” the app from there. Or hit the download link on a web page and had no idea where the file actually went after that (changing the default from “Desktop” to “Downloads” did these folks no further favors). I would be willing to bet that 90% of those 90,000 that downloaded Evernote the first day the Mac App Store was open fit into one of those categories.
Shawn provides the best brief overview I have seen of today’s Verizon iPhone announcement. I see lots of people getting all jazzed up about the “mobile hot spot” feature but here is an important note:
And while the mobile hotspot is a great feature, on Verizon’s CDMA network you can’t use data and voice simultaneously. If you’re broadcasting an internet connection with your Verizon iPhone and someone gives you a call, then the connection goes dead. Like when you were online using dialup and someone called your house.
Todolicious looks like a nice, simple, todo manager with an appropriate amount of features. I really like some of the thoughts that are put across in the developers blog post about the app:
Why does use of a productivity tool decrease over time? One common feature of all these applications are tools to organize your tasks. These tools are generally always “optional” (even though they aren’t, which I’ll touch on next paragraph). There are usually multiple ways to organize (I call them task buckets), like multiple lists, tags, projects, and due dates. And of course there are well designed on-screen options for easily accessing and manipulating your To Dos and organizing them into buckets.
Now, even though you can ignore all of these extra features and simply add and complete your tasks, these features can never really be turned off. You’ll still see the task buckets in the organizer window and the options to add those pieces of data when you’re adding new tasks. As you ease more of these buckets into your mental organization model, you need to do more work filling in data every time you add a new task - the whole value of an organization system is in its consistency.
Now that we are a little bit into this sparkling new year, I thought I would take some time out to share some of the plans for the site over the next few months:
Posting Schedule – January is normally a very busy month for my consultingbusiness but it is even more so this year because of the backlog of work I was not able to do in December due to my neck surgery. Add to that some other family health struggles and you have the perfect storm of complete lack of time and inability to keep up. Therefore, you may notice some lighter then normal posting around here for the next few weeks. Please stay tuned.
T-Shirts – Everyone who ordered a Minimal Mac T-Shirt should have received theirs by now. If for some reason you have not, please let me know and I will do all I can to track it down. I plan to offer them again in the nearish future but with some adjustments. My plan is to offer a black shirt with white and grey logo in both a mens cut and a women’s cut. I had many requests for both and would like to make these available to those who held out ordering for lack of this. I hope to open up orders for these sometime in February.
RSS Feed Sponsorships – I have not yet posted the next round of sponsorships but plan to do so soon. All reports I have received from those that participated have been very favorable with some reporting their best sales ever. I have been highly selective in the sponsors I have accepted as my greatest asset is the readers of this site and I would sooner shut the site down then squander the trust, time, and attention they have placed in my care. Therefore, the next round of sponsorships will be at a higher rate to reflect that value on both sides. I hope to post the next round of openings, beginning the first week of February, this week. That said, if you have a product to advertise and you would like to sponsor in the next round, feel free to get in touch now.
Minimal Mac Podcast – I’m in the planning stages of a new Minimal Mac themed podcast produced in association with my friends from The Bro Show. The current plan is to offer mostly short episodes (10 minutes or less) on a variety of related topics. That said, I would love to get some reader suggestions for topics they would like to hear me speak more about. Feel free to let me know your ideas. Contact info is on the about page.
It is my pleasure to announce Eureka for Mac as this week’s RSS Feed Sponsor. Eureka helps you find files your way with more flexible ad-hoc filtering criteria. It’s faster and more flexible than smart folders and has support for both Quick Look and Multi-Touch. If you are a “search versus sort” sort of person (or you would like to be), it’s a very handy tool to have at hand.
I would be a clod if I did not thank this week’s RSS Feed Sponsor, Trickle. Buy it, set it up with multiple Twitter accounts, maybe some of your important searches too, sit it in a dock and let it do its thing. As is usually the case, I’ve got it running right now on my iPad. It’s great. Get it.