“Make sure you have a consistent set of useful behaviors in place before you try to solve your problems with plugins and apps. Is email causing you trouble because you are ignoring the basics? Do you have a habit (such as checking every time a new message arrives) or a lack of one (such as not consistently making decisions about new messages the first time you see them) that’s holding you back? Find a process to address that, and practice it consistently for 30 days before you install anything.”—Busy Signals: Install habits FIRST. Then software. If you have to.
Upon first glance, this feature seems contrary to the lesser photography philosophy of ruthlessly editing your photos before anyone else can see them. Indeed, photographers complain about this feature nonstop. But, what some photographers call a bug is a welcome feature for one segment of photography: the citizen journalist.
A very interesting take that I have not thought of. Some of my best friends are citizen journalists. With the current widespread civil unrest (let’s just call the occupy movement what it is) occurring here and elsewhere, I imagine such a “feature” to be even more important and timely.
We’ve built a host of new features that make it easier to share even more on Path — your thoughts, the music you’re listening to, where you are, who you’re with, when you wake and when you sleep, and as always, your photos and videos.
I’ve used Path for a while and it has stood the test of time on my home screen. I liked its approach from the beginning. That was, a way of sharing moments from your life with up to 50 of your closest friends. What I love more is that hat number was not arbitrary, it was based on Dunbar’s number. Actual, research-based science on the number of close friends you can have.
With this latest version, they have taken that idea and knocked it out of the park. This is, hands down, the most beautiful app I have seen on the iPhone. And, what is more, the app has now evolved into a personal journal for the digital age. A low friction and fun way to catalog the moments in your day that hold meaning to you and share them with those closest to you or, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare integration, the whole world if you so choose.
As for me, I likely will stick to the science and use the heck out of this daily.
Looks like iA Writer got a nice little update adding support for both iCloud and Dropbox. Worth a look if you are in need of a simple writing application with support for Markdown formatting. (via Ben Brooks)
Reader Thomas Cole alerted me to the fact that my favorite wireless laser printer with duplex (two sided printing) is on sale at Amazon right now for only $89.00. This is the lowest price I have seen on it in a while. I’ve reviewed it before and it gets used by my family daily. If you are in the market, or know someone who is, this is a no brainer.
“The right tool, learned deeply, used when appropriate, no matter how basic, can beat the pants off of “features” any day. Because it isn’t about the tool, or the feature, it is about your ability to use it to achieve the goal at hand. The better you know the tools you have, the less likely you are to seek out replacements for them.”—
I’m reblogging my friend Uri quoting me here mainly to remind you that you can get the book from which this came for a very low price for a very limited time. For instance, the ePub version (which works great in iBooks, by the way) is only $4.99. Today only, use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY305 to take an additional 35% off of that. Of course, you can use that on any of the versions available on Lulu, all of which are temporarily discounted.
For those of you who already own the book, I thank you deeply and humbly for reading. Please consider passing it on to a friend or purchasing as a gift. It would mean the world to me if you thought it worthy of such an act of kindness.
It’s not hypocrisy for us to address the need to reduce consumption. On the other hand, it’s folly to assume that a healthy economy can be based on buying and selling more and more things people don’t need – and it’s time for people who believe that’s folly to say so.
Nothing about the Mac. Everything about what we believe in.
On a recent episode of the podcast, I discussed a plan for yet another crazy experiment. – To reduce my Mac to the out of the box install and limit myself to only five third party apps and utilities (feel free to listen). The reason? Well, it is the same as any other crazy experiment I do: It’s an attempt to find what is “Enough” for me. That tricky and ever shifting balance between want and need. I want to explore these things for myself in the hopes it will inspire others to do the same.
In everything I do and try to communicate here, what matters is that I am not only asking the question, “What is enough?” but I am actively seeking answers.
All. The. Time.
The thing about that answer is that the only person that can answer it correctly is the person who is living it. In other words, I can’t tell you what is enough for you. You have to ask and answer what is enough for you. I can only tell you what is enough for me. I can only explain how I went about discovering that answer for myself in the hopes it will give you a potential path, of which there may be many, to the answer that is right for you.
So, why five apps? Why not ten? Twenty? Well, let me tell you a little secret…
It’s a MacGuffin. Which, according to the canonical authoritative source of all truth and knowledge, Wikipedia, is:
A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is “a plot element that catches the viewers’ attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction”. The defining aspect of a MacGuffin is that the major players in the story are (at least initially) willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to obtain it, regardless of what the MacGuffin actually is. In fact, the specific nature of the MacGuffin may be ambiguous, undefined, generic, left open to interpretation or otherwise completely unimportant to the plot. Common examples are money, victory, glory, survival, a source of power, a potential threat, or it may simply be something entirely unexplained.
OK. Understood? Great. But I want to highlight one specific part again as it relates to my point:
In fact, the specific nature of the MacGuffin may be ambiguous, undefined, generic, left open to interpretation or otherwise completely unimportant to the plot.
In the case of almost every experiment I do, there is a MacGuffin that fits this description. In the case of “A week without…” the MacGuffin is the week itself. The important part is that I’m actively trying to evaluate not only my need and use of a thing but also its value to me and where it fits in my life. In the case of writing a book on my iPad, the MacGuffin was the iPad. I mean, I could have chosen any tool to replace the way I commonly would write a book – my iPhone, pen and paper, etc. The reason was simply the inherent challenges that may come from doing so and to evaluate if the tool was better for me than the one I would normally use.
In the particular case of my “Five apps” experiment, it is the number is that MacGuffin. The number is unimportant. I could have chosen any number of apps. It does not matter. What does matter is that I am asking a question about what enough is for me when it comes to the things I have chosen to install on my Mac and am seeking an answer.
The theme here is that everyone has a balance that works for them. I’m actively seeking mine. If I wish to inspire anything at all in doing this, it is that others actively seek what is the proper balance for them. You should ask and answer what is enough for you. I’m only here to help. But, please, do not get hung up on the MacGuffin or you may very well miss the point and be left with more questions than answers.
My friend Patrick Rhone from Minimal Mac sent me the following when I asked him about packing light:
For me, packing light is the freedom to go with little-to-no notice. To not be weighted down either physically by stuff I don’t need or mentally by fear, what ifs, conjecture, or doubt. I bring only enough to know that I can last thousands of miles and to let such journeys begin with a single effortless step.
I stand behind this statement. I can fit all that I need for an international trip lasting weeks in a small backpack. I have a bin of gear made and chosen specifically for this purpose that I can literally dump into a bag and be ready to go in under a minute.
I like the idea of defining certain spaces or postures for specific activities. The sit and click posture taxes my cognitive and creative faculties after too long. It’s hard for my brain to move from reading to writing, designing, troubleshooting, etc., when my body remains stationary. I need to move. Breaking up the workday by visiting different spaces in the office at different times not only keeps me fresh, it allows me to establish habit fields around certain types of activities.
I know lots of folks that benefit greatly from this idea. I too find my productivity increases by simply switching the space I’m in or the device I’m using.
Congress is considering two well-intentioned but deeply flawed bills, the PROTECT-IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). As written, they would betray more than a decade of US policy and advocacy of Internet freedom by establishing a censorship system using the same domain blacklisting technologies pioneered by China and Iran.
Not what we believe in.
Call your representatives. Flood them with email. Seriously, stop the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
If you have not picked up a copy of my book, Keeping It Straight: You, Me, & Everything Else, now would be a perfect time.
First of all, for the holiday season I am offering a new beautiful hardcover version. It’s printed on premium paper and has a case wrap cover that is just stunning. It’s currently available for only $19.99 for a limited time and would make a great gift or even for anyone who would appreciate this fine addition to their bookshelf.
To make it even a little bit more special, I’m offering a special autographed presentation copies of Keeping It Straight for $39.99 plus $5 S&H inside the US (contact me at the email below for international shipping charges). To arrange for me to autograph your copy, please email email@example.com.
Finally, both the paperback and ePub versions are currently on sale for $9.99 and $4.99 respectively.
One of the reasons for the radio silence this week has been the fact that I am hard at work on the final touches on my next book. I have a first draft deadline of this Friday. Keeping It Straight is an excellent way to prepare for some of the themes and ideas I’ll be putting forth next. I would be honored if you considered purchasing a copy.
I think having lived through the transition from an analog society to a digital society is a blessing. It was extremely hard making things happen in those days. It took planning, initiative, determination and a little bit of luck, all of which apply today albeit in different capacities.
What are the benefits of age unless we can use our experiences as lessons to pass to those generations to come? Especially if those lessons are applicable to the present.
I’ve had it for a few weeks now and it is great. It provides enough backup power to charge up the iPhone back to full from about 30%, more than enough to get a couple of hours more heavy usage. It charges over USB in about three and a half hours. Plus, it plays off of the iPhone 4 design with the same slimness so carrying this in a pocket is a non-issue. Great if you are going to be giving your iPhone some heavy use yet don’t want to have something else weighing you down too much. And, at under $18.00, the price is right.
I really like these and recommend them highly. Like all of the MonoPrice stuff I have tried (i.e. a whole lot), it is great quality at an almost unbelievable price. A square deal for all involved.
Now, my friends at MonoPrice were kind enough to give me an extra one to give to one lucky reader. Those in the know, know the deal. For those that don’t, here it is:
To enter, please send me a message to @minimalmac on Twitter with the phrase “I got your back!” before midnight (Central Standard Time) tonight. No entries will be considered afterwards. Also, no submissions to my personal Twitter account for those that know it will be considered (please read this last sentence twice).
One winner will be selected tomorrow at random and notified by reply to their Twitter message. In that reply, I will give instructions for emailing me shipping information.
Email me your shipping info and the iPhone Backup Battery Pack will be sent out via USPS by early next week so set your expectations accordingly.
In my continuing effort to catch up on all of the great apps that have recently be updated, I bring you WriteRoom 3.0. This is the latest update to the wonderfuly focused wrting app from Hog Bay Software. Jesse has completely overhauled the app for this version. Here is what’s new:
Full Lion Support. (Autosave, Versions, etc.)
Themes (Set up your favorite look. Even share it)
Track Your Writing Progress - Optional session tracking and logging. Track your word counts and automatically log them to a spreadsheet. (This is a treat for writers)
Faster handling of large documents.
Live session counts, reading time, and more.
Shift line up, down, left, and right commands.
Select word, sentence, and paragraph commands.
OS X Lion style and single screen style full screen modes.
Choose background images, paper textures, and typing sounds.
Seriously, this is a great re-think and update to an already great app.
“Steve devoted his professional life to giving us (you, me and a billion other people) the most powerful device ever available to an ordinary person. Everything in our world is different because of the device you’re reading this on. What are we going to do with it?”—Seth’s Blog: A eulogy of action
“Don’t let yourself obsess on less for less sake, you’re often missing the true potential of a minimal approach: getting the unnecessary out of the way in order to let the important take center stage.”—Excessively Minimal by Michael Schechter