In today’s episode of the podcast, we are joined yet again by Shawn Blanc, online writer, internet superstar, and all around super keen guy. This time, we talk about the “Shawn Today” that I received long before he did them daily for the members of his site. The subject was, essentially, how does one gain a minimalist approach to technology when they don’t know the available options. It’s a really good discussion of a problem that this site hopes to help yet remains a bit chicken and egg. Check it out.
This is all well and good and I enjoy reading through different ideas and opinions but at what point is enough enough. When does minimalism start to become cluttered and excessive in itself.
You are simply not allowed to read any of the rest of this site until you read the link above. Go. Now. See you back here in a few minutes…
Are you back now? Good. Now, stop dinking around on the Internet! Go get something done. Make something. Anything.
I could show you a pizza and beer joint with better tips, tricks, and lifehacks than anything you can read online, carved into the 150 year old wooden booths, written long before the Internet was a thing. Do you know how they got that way? Well, every day it fills up with people. Some of these people have something to say, especially after a pint or two. Then, they use whatever sharp object at their disposal to say it as quickly and clearly as possible on any available semi-soft surface.
So, why am I here doing this?
Hmmm… Fair question…
This is my booth at the pizza joint. I come here all the time with something to say. My Mac is nothing more than a overpriced pocket knife for me to scrawl stuff into it. And if I did not have that I would find a way. Because I have something to say. It’s what I do.
Find that thing that you do and do it. If it is, in fact, what you do, no tool will make you and no tool will stop you.
To beat Apple you’ll have to play in another league. Marginal improvements (which are what Jason suggests) aren’t the way to beat that company at this point.
Andrés makes a great point here. I started to add something in the vein to my post last night regarding this fact but could not come up with the right flow.
I’m reminded of the scene in The Matrix where the young guru tells Neo that in order to bend the spoon one only must recognize the truth – there is no spoon. In the analogy, a competing company should not try to be Apple, that’s impossible. Instead, try to create the products that people did not know they needed, like Apple. Then you will see that it is not Apple that must be beat, it is yourself.
I love it when Jason writes longer form things. This piece is no exception. Some very smart observations. I’m especially fond of this one:
I can’t remember if this is my own theory or I read about this on Daring Fireball or something, but the Apple products & services that Apple does well are the ones that Steve Jobs uses (or cares about) and the ones he doesn’t use/care about are less good (or just plain bad). Jobs uses Keynote and it’s very good…but I’m pretty sure Jobs never has had to schedule his own appointments with iCal so that program is less good.
I never thought about it that way. I also have no clue what Steve Jobs and the executive branch at Apple use. That said, I knew that information at one point long after iCal had been in Mac OS X and I know it was not iCal.
There is one point I think Jason did not make, and that is this: Sometimes Apple lets it’s competitors “mature” a market before they come in. In other words, let some third party software developer become moderately successful in a space, see what works and what doesn’t, and then Apple will come in with something ”better”. And often “better” means “like yours but with less features and built in” thus rendering the burgeoning third party offering effectively moot.
Today on the Minimal Mac Podcast, we are joined by internet superstar and all around swell guy, Shawn Blanc and we talk about all sorts of random things from the minimalism of a single string guitar to the best travel mug you can buy. We had a lot of fun doing these (Note the plural. Part two comes on Thursday).
Despite the fact that most Americans are still struggling in the worst economy since the Great Depression, a “non-scientific study” from the Wall Street Journal says that U.S. citizens now spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods. For context, that’s more than 11 percent of overall consumer spending.
I turn left where I would normally turn right. So what if it adds fifteen minutes to my drive, those are going to be fifteen interesting minutes. You are going to pass things you don’t normally see and in turn you are going to excite parts of your mind that we rarely use any more — the parts that help us to navigate.
Here is another tip in the same vein that I do not do often enough but should: If you are normally the one who drives, try sitting in the passenger seat for a ride or two. Trust me, you will see things you never noticed before.
“The tips and tricks can certainly go too far. You can spend all day looking at tips and tricks,” Rhone suggests. “But if you’re not doing the work to figure out what’s right for you and waiting around until someone tells you what’s right for you or you wait until you stumble upon what’s right for you…then you’re doing it wrong.”
Yep. I just quoted myself. Sue me.
That said, there are a lot more wonderful quotes and ideas to be found in this great article by Mike Vardy or Work Awesome fame.
I’d like to thank my new friends at Quicksilver for sponsoring this weeks RSS Feed. It’s now back and being actively maintained by a commit group of great folks that love it as much as I do. In my opinion, you will not find a better application-launcher-file-manipulation-search-thingy at any price. It’s free so download it today.
Also, if you are new to Quicksilver, you would be hard pressed to find a better series of links on how to squeeze the awesome juice out of it than the ones from Merlin on 43Folders.
In today’s episode of the podcast, it’s another case of the conversation that happens between the conversations. We talk about Tweetbot, the almost universally lauded new Twitter client from Tapbots. I say “almost” because both my friend Ben Brooks and Marco Arment both publicly sighed a collective “Meh!”. Which seemed to start off a war of positions between they and the Tapbot crew and fans.
In addition, we discuss some of the other upcoming podcasts we will be guesting on. Also, why one should always ask why.
People who are lucky enough to actually own Apple stock may have paid attention to the fact that Apple released their Second Quarter Results today. In fact, even those not directly benefiting may have gotten word that they now effectively own the US Federal Reserve. You see, the US government no longer had enough currency to print the giant piles of cash-on-hand Apple has at their disposal. So, Apple simply called in their chips and, starting today, will be printing their own. Thus replacing the faces and common names we formerly called our currency.
In order to help with this transition, I have created this handy guide. Please feel free to share this. You may also copy and paste it into the iPhone Notes.app but, if you do, please use something other than Marker Felt. Here we go:
$100 bill – Is now to be commonly referred to as a Steve
$50 bill – To be commonly referred to as a Cook
$20 bill – To be commonly referred to as a Schiller
$3 coin – To be commonly referred to as a Woz
$1 bill – Now cancelled due to lack of usage and replaced by…
$.99 – To be commonly referred to as a Sucker and used only at the end of the round numbers above to drive purchasing. Don’t expect change.
(Note to our international readers, none of this is really true. The post is done in humor though, if you read the results, not far from the truth.)
Start with your favorite bloggers and podcasters. Write personal, thoughtful, and specific emails to each of them. Give them a promo code (or two — one for themselves and one for them to give to a friend). Tell them why they might like your app and give a few quick points about why. Don’t give an entire feature list, simply mention some previous articles of theirs and touch on why you think your app would be interesting to them in light of what you know they have already written about.
Like Shawn, I get a lot of pitches. Most do not end up here. I suspect if everyone with a product to promote took the advice herein, the reverse would be true.
That said, the ones that have ended up here have done so because they took the above approach and I bet you could ask any of them and they will tell you it was well worth their time and in the case of some, the traffic actually caused their site to break…
Battery life is the new benchmark — it’s the first thing that I look at on any new piece of hardware. We can now, finally, make the reasonable assumption that both the hardware and software is fast enough on most devices — so now what matters is portability — with battery life being the bullet point at the top of the list, set in bold.
Ben makes a strong argument for a new standard by which to measure computers. It’s funny, before even reading this today I was thinking to myself what a leap forward it is not to have to think much about battery life anymore. My Macbook Air, iPad, and iPhone are never really away from homebase for long enough anymore that I have to.
The latest episode of Enough – The Minimal Mac Podcast is another “rambling” episode where we record the chatter between shows and see what happens. This time, we talk a lot about my very un-minimal domain name addiction, how various “vanity” domains are being affected by world crisis, a recent post about a reporter who uses an iPhone 4 for his work, and how the evolution of a thing has a value that is often never considered.
So, as a little test, and because I really need some proper downtime, I’m going to disable Mail on my iPhone on Thursday night and not switch it on again until I’m back on Tuesday morning. Who’s with me?
Those who have emailed me may know that I also only check and respond to emails at specific times. During the weekdays, that is often late in the evening (9PM or so). On weekends, I have been known to take digital semi-sabaticals starting on Friday afternoon and continuing until Sunday night. Therefore, such a challenge is not new to me. That said, I urge you all to read this and perhaps consider setting up some similar schedule for yourself. Be pavlov, not the dog.
So, I was sitting around my local co-working space today, when someone asked me what I thought about offsite backup services and what I would recommend. Without missing a beat, I said, “The one I offer.” I then proceeded to give the elevator pitch and explained the benefits.
“Great!”, the other person exclaimed. Then, a few minutes later he stated his desire to sign up and asked when we could set up a time.
“You have your laptop sitting there so how about right now?”, I asked.
To his amazement, and appreciation, I took my wallet out of my pocket, removed the tiny USB 8GB drive I keep within. I plugged it in, launched the installer for the backup client software, entered the settings, and began the backup.
“So, how will I pay you? Do you need me to send you a check? PayPal?”, he asked.
“I can take a credit card right now, on the spot, if you prefer.”, which he agreed to.
I took out my Square reader, plugged it into my iPhone, swiped the card, charged it, and sent him the receipt via email. The entire process from decision to completion took about 5 minutes.
In today’s episode of Enough – The Minimal Mac Podcast we are once again joined by my friend Julio Ojeda-Zapata, reporter, tech pundit and author of iPad Means Business. Julio talks about his journey from self-confessed slob to a simpler lifestyle. It’s a great discussion and an example of how one can get there by slow iteration and reducing friction wherever possible.
Included, I give away a couple of tricks I use to make sure I only keep clothing that I will wear and/or “self shop” instead of buying things.
In 1984 I stood behind a guy at the local computer shop and watched him work with a program called MacPaint. I got it, both the concept and the computer. It was a zillion dollars and not a great productivity tool. I bought the dream.
I would love to have that last sentence on a t-shirt.
This is pretty neat. FileShuttle is one of these ultrasimple file sharing apps like CloudApp, but you host the files yourself.
I gave it a go by creating a directory called “shared” on one of my sites. Files are uploaded via FTP or SFTP when you drag them onto the FileShuttle icon in the Dock. It does a few things that CloudApp doesn’t like zipping up files before uploading them (could be good or bad) and creating txt files for any text that is dropped on the icon, making it a personal pasteboard. After uploading, a short link from bit.ly or the unfortunately named sht.tl is copied to the clipboard.
There are a few features that are going to prevent me from using this app despite the limits of the free CloudApp plan. First, there is no menubar icon, which I prefer over a Dock based application. Second, I can’t use the awesome “save screenshot to clipboard” trick I learned recently. Lastly, I can’t delete uploads or access recent links from within the app. It’s very likely that these features are planned for future releases, so I’m going to keep on eye on this one.
I just downloaded this and set it up in about two minutes. Works as advertised. If you care at all about, well, owning the stuff you want to share, and have the FTP space to support it, this is the way to go. It’s like a little slice of awesome between fresh bread.
On today’s episode of the Minimal Mac podcast, we invite my friend Julio Ojeda-Zapata, reporter, tech pundit and author of iPad Means Business ( a book to which I wrote one of the Forewords by the way), on the show. Herein we discuss how the iPad is changing not only business but computing for regular folks as well. It’s the first of a two parter with Julio so make sure to subscribe.
The Dynabook is still remembered as a vision of what computers could eventually become. Kay described a plasma screen with a contrast ratio approaching that of a book; a keyboard with no moving parts; a network connection with the ability to purchase, transfer, and download “instantiate” files; global information connectivity, such as libraries; media connectivity; and a target price of $500
Further proof of the present-future.
(via Aaron Mahnke who also provides some insightful commentary on this piece)
I would like to thank TipToe for being this weeks RSS Feed sponsor. TipToe uses Bing, Blekko, and a bit of artificial intelligence to deliver only the search results that matter. It is pretty much the only way I search for things when on the go now. Only $.99 and highly recommended.
Condition ONE, under development for the Apple iPad and other tablets, uses a custom camera system developed by Dennis that “fuses the ethics, method and aesthetics of photojournalism with the tradition of cinematic filmmaking with virtual reality,” he says. “The entire human field of view is captured on these camera systems, and the stories are edited specifically for the tablet application to create a truly immersive experience.”
The word “future” is not even adequate to describe this. Amazing. (via Coudal)
All of these are great, but this is really just a reason to link to Ben Brooks and point out, once again, that if you are not reading everything he writes, you are missing some of the best Mac review and commentary available today. I proudly stand behind my statement that The Brooks Review is on the same level as Daring Fireball, which is the highest of praise in my book.
Sometimes when you need to fire off a quick e-mail reply to someone you hit the Reply button… quickly. As you compose your brilliant reply you realize that what you really wanted to do was “Reply To All”. Instead of forcing you to close your composition window and start over, Mail.app features a handy “Reply To All” button right in your message composition window toolbar. Simply click to add the recipients and carry on with your brilliance.
Holy crap! I had no idea. Gosh this would have saved me countless hours had I known this.
Update: Also, it’s a toggle button. If you hit reply-all, then the button will switch it to reply and vice-versa. Also, the keyboard command equivalents work here as well.
For today’s episode of the podcast, we enjoy a great conversation with Matthew Bischoff, one of the developers behind my new favorite iPhone app, Quotebook. We not only discus the app but also share some of the favorite quotes we have in ours. Also, tune in to find out how we may have singlehandedly caused the Simplenote icon to change. This one was a lot of fun to record.
Anyone who knows me knows that one of the things I believe in is supporting local businesses whenever possible. Especially when the quality of the goods warrant it. That certainly looks like the case here. Landmarks & Lions is a new purveyor of affordable handmade leather and felt goods for your iOS device. Crafted by hand, with love, in Minnesota.
Speaking of the present-future, this sure feels like it. I have been using Square to accept credit cards on the spot for my consulting business for a few weeks now both on my iPhone and my iPad. Though I have known about it for quite some time it was an article about it’s founder, Jack Dorsey (also founder of Twitter), that pushed me over the edge to try it.
Seriously, folks, this has been a game changer. It is super simple, minimal, fast, and the money transfers into my bank account in just a couple of days. Every time I use it it feels like a magic trick, especially as I see the wonder and delight in the eyes of my clients. It actually makes it fun for the customer to pay and makes the freelancer feel like a “real business”.
Once you sign up, the reader is sent to you for free with no commitment. The fees are already more than generous at a flat 2.75% which, if you have ever used any other credit card processing, is a bargain. That said, right now they have a promotion where the first 30 days of fees are waived for new signups.
If you have any business at all that excepts credit cards for payment and an iOS device, you need this.
Now, with the Apple iPhone 4 and several apps, I can produce intricate audio and video reports, broadcast live, take and edit photos, write web content and distribute it through social media from a single device.
Hide your wallets, folks. In today’s episode of Enough – The Minimal Mac Podcast, we are joined by Terry Lucy of The Bro Show. Terry is not only a new MacBook Air 13 inch owner, but also new to the Mac itself. We asked Terry on to discuss why and how he is keeping his Mac minimal and his observations from a switcher’s perspective.
Also, a programming note, we have a lot of great and diverse guests coming up on the show. If you have not subscribed yet, today would be a good time.
So while I like my paper notebooks, I’m now trying something different: using a cloud-based To Do list application to maintain the “big picture” on ALL of my projects, and then opportunistically assigning time to them as it strikes me. In other words, I’m trying to create a constantly-changing buffet of benefit-producing opportunities.
You all should be aware by now that I love peeking at other peoples productivity and organization systems. I have followed David’s work for a long time so looking at how and what he uses to keep it all together is a real treat.