In its simplest form, TextEdit can be just a little box. It can be any size and fit next to any other window. It’s the easiest way to look at two things at once, and it can really accelerate your productivity.
Anyone who has followed me for even a short time on Twitter, or The Random Post, should know how much I love quotes. It is not simply their inspirational nature or the food for thought, it is often simply the idea that so few words can convey such memorable and powerful messages. This appeals to me as a writer and someone who strives for minimalism.
Up until now, I have been using my combo of Simplenote and Notational Velocity to store the dozens (perhaps hundreds) of quotes I keep at the ready. I have made them as easy as possible to find there by prepending the word “Quote” to the title, with the title being something descriptive about it and then the quote and attribution and source in the body. Example:
Title: Quote – Paul Rand on Simplicity
Body: “Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”
Thanks to the wonderful search features in both programs, this made quotes easy to find if I was looking for a specific one. That said, it did not make narrowing and/or browsing through all quotes of a particular author or subject very easy. It was a solution for sure but now one built for the task.
Enter Quotebook. Quite simply, it hits every single item in what I would have wanted in the ultimate quote storage, retrieval and sharing app with perfection. Seriously, it is even better than I could have imagined. It is super fast to capture quotes, browse through existing quotes via author, sources, or tags. You can even share a quote via Email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr with one tap. It will auto-detect quotes you have copied to the clipboard and allow you to easily add them. It has built in Wikipedia and Wikiquote browser support to find out more about the author or source. And, most importantly, you can back up all of your quotes via email or export from within iTunes to a text file.
I simply can’t believe how good this app is as a 1.0. I have needed something like this for a long, long time. It’s only $1.99 in the app store which is a steal in my book. I instantly added it to my iPhone home screen.
Much has been written regarding the many great things about the MacBook Air. That said, the one item I don’t think has been adequately covered is this – the sound.
As one could imagine, I do a fair amount of “listening to stuff” these days. Podcasts, videos, music… you name it. Increasingly, I have forgone headphones or external speakers and instead listened directly from the built in speakers in the Macbook Air. The reason: For the size of the machine they are pretty darn good. Good enough for most purposes (what we believe in). You are not going to get any block rockin’ beats out of the things but for most purposes I don’t need it. All I need is a comfortable midrange and enough lows and highs to round out the edges and no distortion at full volume.
What is most impressive, to me, is the quality of the sound given the size and thickness of the device. The speakers are invisible. Like most things Apple, I think they are somewhere in a non-disclosed secret location. The rumors say that they are under the keyboard but that makes it even more like magic and pixie dust if true because, well, the keyboard is pretty great too.
Many readers of this site may not know that I am also a proud member of the Read & Trust Network. A network of some of the best independent writers on the Internet. To say that I’m humbled to even be included amongst some of these names is an understatement. Seriously, this is the cream of the crop.
Premiering in April is a new Premium Newsletter offering exclusive writing around a pre-selcted theme from a selection of these writers on a monthly basis, yours truly included. The theme for April is “The Process” and I’m very proud of the piece I have submitted to it.
The price is only $5.00 a month. Seriously, this will be the newsletter to subscribe to. The contents will be exclusive to the newsletter and not available anywhere else. Subscribe today.
How on earth can it be so good, you ask? Well, it’s hard to say. But some have speculated that it runs on only the purest tears collected from Apple’s most prized unicorns. Alas, no one has ever seen one of these creatures, which are said to be stabled in a secret location outside of Cupertino.
There are some great tips here. I have been using Spotlight as both my app launcher and file finding secret sauce since moving to my MacBook Air. Once you dig deep inside, you will find that, in fact, the above statement is not far from the truth.
(Even though I’m subscribed to Practically Efficient, the via goes to Ben Brooks because I often read my friends feeds first.)
My work machine is a 2.8 GHz Core2Duo 15-inch MacBook Pro with the matte screen and 8 GB of RAM. It’s the fastest notebook I’ve ever used. It gives our 3.2 Ghz Core i3 27-iMac at home a run for its money. Most articles I’ve read by people who have upgraded to a SSD have done it to older machines. I was skeptical of what kind of difference it would make in an already fast machine, to be honest.
It turns out that this is the single best upgrade I’ve ever done for any computer. Period.
If you’ve been wondering if upgrading your Mac with an SSD drive is worth the money, read this.
Simple but bold: Only use your computer for work. Real work. The work of making something. Have a second device, perhaps an iPad, and use it for games, web commenting, online shopping, networking… anything that doesn’t directly create valued output (no need to have an argument here about which is which, which is work and which is not… draw a line, any line, and separate the two of them. If you don’t like the results from that line, draw a new line).
Interesting idea. I know folks who, though not stated, treat their desktop and iPad this way. The iPad is the device for reading, social networking, rss and the desktop is for work only.
Self reblogging here because all of this stuff is connected.
If you’re in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, we’re having a bit of a meetup tomorrow evening of Mac folk. Patrick Rhone of Minimal Mac is going to be there too. If you’re interested, we’re meeting at the aLoft in the bar/lounge at 6pm. It’s got a funky vibe and is a good place to chill.
This has northing to do with Macs or minimalism but, you know, when a friend does something you are proud of you should support them in every way you know.
Well, my good friend Aaron Mahnke (who designed the Minimal Mac Logo) has published his first book – The Hand of Andulain. As a writer and soon to be author myself, I know what a holy-frakkin-mother-of-the-gods big deal this is. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy affair so I’m sure it will be right up the alley of some of the nerds that read this site. Here is the description:
When his simple life is shattered, Bran Somnerson must enter a world of powerful magic, dangerous enemies and his own unknown destiny. Chased by hideous creatures from another land, and bound to an ancient bracelet that he cannot seem to remove, Bran is forced to leave his old life behind before he even knows what his new life may hold.
But while forces of darkness pursue him and his companions across the vast leagues of the Four Realms, Bran discovers that he is being followed by something else. Something more ancient and deadly than he fully understands. And it is pursuing him in his dreams.
Can Bran overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, both around him and within him, that threaten his life? The fate of the Four Realms may very well rest in his hands.
It’s only $2.99 on the Amazon Kindle store. It will be available in the iBookstore soon as well. Go support my friend and get a few hundred pages of quality reading in return.
I have discussed before why the Mac Mini makes the perfect server. It’s small, affordable, fast, and when running Mac OS X Server, has all of the features you need to offer enterprise-class services in a machine a fraction of the size and price.
That said, there are many reasons you may not want to host a server on your own. Security, power, and bandwidth are all very real concerns. Especially if you are doing hosting of web services, email or valuable personal data. For such things you want to ensure uptime and not everyone (i.e. only the privileged few) has a data center at their disposal.
Mac Mini Vault is a colocation provider specifically designed to host the Mac Mini. Colocation (or “colo” for short) means that you place the Mac Mini that you own in their secure data center. They supply the power, bandwidth, and physical security allowing your Mac Mini to be ‘hosted’ on the internet. You can access it’s desktop or its command line. You can use it for file storage, web & database hosting, an e-mail server, or some of the built in OS X Server tools such as calendar, address book, wiki servers, etc. Because the hardware is compatible with Windows and Linux as well, you can configure it anyway you’d like before sending your Mini to them.
The pricing is simple and quite fair with two generous packages that start as $29.99 a month. This includes a static IP, 15MB/s Burst Speed, remote reboot, network graphing, and free hands on support during business hours. They are located near Milwaukee, WI so, if you are within driving range, you have the option of making an appointment to drive your Mini down and they’ll help you get it going. Of course, you can always configure your Mini and ship it to them. Heck, you can even buy one from them and have them set it up and get it online for you. You can even purchase additional storage from them or add an external drive of your own. The choice is yours.
Bottom line, this is the best-pratice route to go if you are looking to use the Mac Mini as a server solution. I use a Mac Mini as a backup server for my clients and I’ll be moving to Mac Mini Vault as soon as I’m able. If you have any interest in this stuff at all, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
I would like to take some time out to thank Ringer for Mac for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed.
As I’ve said, if often push back on sponsorship requests. I will only allow products that I feel are right for my audience. When I do so, I offer the sponsor a chance to appeal my veto. Make the case. Sell me.
Ringer was one that I pushed back on and the developer took the time to sell me on why he thought it was a great fit for Minimal Mac. Boy am I glad he did. It is. It has just the features you need to make perfect ringtones in the most frictionless way possible. It’s what we believe in.
I happen to be a guest on this week’s episode of my second favorite podcast, The Bro Show. I had the pleasure of appearing with my good friend Randy Murray where we discuss how we got started with the Mac and where we think things are going. As always it was a great amount of fun. Take a listen.
Potentially interesting fact: This is the very first product I purchased from Levenger over 20 years ago. It still looks as good as the day I bought it. At the time, they were running a deal where they threw in a pack of their paper pads for free. I became hooked on those as well. Been a rabid fanboy happy customer ever since.
This has nothing to do with Minimalism. In fact, it is only loosely related to anything Mac. That said, I wanted to steal a few minutes of your attention for something far more important.
You may not know Stephen Hackett or his excellent Mac related site forkbombr.net but you should. Not only because Stephen is a great guy and good writer, but because ForkBomber is quickly becoming a leading source of Mac goodness on the web. Here is another lesser known fact about Stephen – He is also the father of a little boy—Josiah—with a brain tumor. In his words:
Our son Josiah has been receiving treatment there since May 2009 for a brain tumor. His treatment has consisted of several surgeries and 16 rounds of chemotherapy, coupled with physical, occupational and speech therapy.
St. Jude treats patients without regard of their ability to pay. That’s pretty cool. To put this into perspective, Josiah’s medical bills — after just 6 months — totaled almost a million dollars. After a year, he was at just over $2 million. Just stop and think about that. It’s pretty mind-boggling. Needless to say, St. Jude is an unbelievable blessing to families with children affected by diseases like Josiah’s.
As a father, heck, as a human being, I can’t even begin to fathom what it must be like to face that situation, let alone with the courage and humility that Stephen shows.
Therefore, some of my internet friends and I are trying to help. Stephen has been selling t-shirts online and donating the proceeds to the hospital. I would like to invite you to join me in buying one. They are only $18, and all of the proceeds are donated to the the wonderful hospital that is saving the life of his son and countless others at no cost to the families.
So please, find some room in your budget to help out Stephen and then, do yourself the favor of subscribing to his site.
I’m very happy to welcome Ringer for Mac (and the iPhone too) as this week’s RSS Feed Sponsor. Ringer is the effortless way to make custom Ringtones for your iPhone using the audio you already have in your iTunes library. Not only that but they have a version for the iPhone as well.
Look, there are ways to make ringtones for your iPhone without buying a thing. Go ahead, Google it. What you will find is a long drawn out set of complicated instructions that in the end may give you what you want. You could also simply pay to download a ringtone from the iTunes store’s limited collection. But why would you want to do any of these when there is a better and cheaper way (remember, time is money).
With Ringer, I was able to make a ringtone in just under three minutes. Downloaded the app, browsed my iTunes library right there in the app, found DEVO’s “Freedom of Choice” (Duh!), used the waveform to choose exactly the riff I wanted, created the ringtone which Ringer added to my iTunes Library, synced. Boom! New spud-a-rific ringtone. Fun and fast.
I wanted to take some time out to thank Millswyn for sponsoring this week’s RSS Feed. You simply will not find an iPad or MacBook Air case with a higher level of handmade craftsmanship than these. They are worth every penny.
Yesterday I wrote about using Apple’s Backup software for scheduling local and off-site backups. It’s a super tool that’s available to MobileMe customers. I neglected to point out that those without a MobileMe subscription can use Backup to copy up to 100 MB of data. Useless, you say? Come with me, Doubting Thomas, and I show you how to get the most out of those 100 MB.
In a world where the focus is on gigabytes, we often forget how much data a 100 MB is. Especially if you are talking about text files and simple databases, it can actually be quite a lot. Great folowup to Dave’s post that I linked to yesterday.
Something a bit different for today’s installment of the Minimal Mac Podcast. Myke and I generally record in batches, every other Tuesday, three or four shows at a time. But, often times, we spend a good 20 to 30 minutes catching up with each other and discuss a ton of other topics that never make it to the show. Well, I thought it might be interesting so this time we recorded it. Listen as we discuss everything from the #Dickbar to Banksy to, well, just listen.
I was recently taken to task by a reader (Thanks Kristian) for not mentioning Wunderlist here before. I had run across it but for some reason forgot about it. That said, it deserves a mention. It is a multi-platform task manger that is designed to have just the right amount of features and an attractive interface. It has it’s own cloud-based syncing built in, and it’s free. What’s not to like?
I love One Thing Well. It’s a great site and I have linked to it several times before. It is run by Jack Mottram who I actually have known (in the Internet sense) for years. He’s a great guy and this is a great opportunity for anyone with an appropriate product to advertise. Not as good as here of course ;-). That said, there is nothing stopping one from sponsoring a week on both.
Plus, I love the idea that he is donating a portion of the cost to free and open source projects. He’s a good guy.
In today’s episode of the Minimal Mac podcast, I discuss the RSS Feed Reader I love – Reeder. I also discuss a bit of how I keep up with the less-than-minimal amount of feeds I’m subscribed to. Worth a listen if you are struggling with the same.
There are folks for whom the flexible nature of Post-it™ notes are a sure win. The digital version even more so. I have several friends and clients that absolutely swear by the Stickies app and have since the classic Mac OS days.
This is a good feature overview with a bunch of bet-you-didn’t-know-it tricks. Worth a look if only to get to know an app you may have never launched on your Mac a bit better.