<caveat>I work in a school district, supporting Windows, Macintosh, and
yes, even Linux (both server and desktops)</caveat>
All computers suck. But they each suck in their own unique fashion.
Although I'm primarily Windows guy (at least since 2000, now that I
don't see the BSOD every other hour), I thoroughly enjoy reading 43F --
it gives me an insight into the different types of apps that are being
built there. I assume it has to do with Mac's lineage as a more
For me at least, the OS on my desktop doesn't matter so much, since I'm
trying hard to make GTD work with my Palm (actually, a Treo) -- I have
it with me all the time, but at work the desktop environment makes
typing into it easy, and I especially like being able to cut-n-paste
from other apps (e-mail, pdf's, etc.).
So all in all Merlin, I say keep up the Mac focused info. Even if I
can't run the programs, simply reading about how they work and how they
help you work broadens my horizons.
In future editions, I will try to include a Bryce-specific footnote
that addresses your interests. ;)
Thanks a million for the proofreading.
I don't consider myself any kind of crazed mac-head - I'll use
whatever's in front of me, and make it productive, I just choose a mac
for my personal use/time. BUT, I love what I can do with my mac, that
I can't do on a pc (windows os that is) I love the 'wow' people elicit
(whether in their face, or audibly) when they see something I can do
(so simply!) on my powerbook.
But as you said merlin, it ain't for everyone. A friend of mine got
one because she saw all the neat things I did on mine. I pour hours
into modding my user environment with apps and tweaks and the like.
She's more a casual user. any computer will do what she needs, but she
fell under the mac spell anyway. she doesn't get out of it what I do.
The only reason I don't worry about it, is she made the decision on her
own without asking my thoughts on the decision.
"they will say, "what can a mac do that a wintel computer can't?" and
the truth is they do the same things, it's just that the mac does them
better. maybe only slightly better, but better nonetheless. the pc
industry, however, is all about feature checklists. whoever has the
most features wins; if you offer the same features, whoever is cheaper
wins. and so if you compare macs and pcs that way, there seems to be no
logical reason to decide to use a mac."
"that's ok. if someone doesn't perceive any difference between the mac
and windows, they should just use windows."
Hell, just being able to nod knowingly as you read Gruber
(http://www.daringfireball.net) is reason enough to use a mac.
BTW, is the word wrapping in these google groups all over the place or
is just me?
Why would we (as Mac users) want the whole world to move to our
platform of choice? The only real reason Windows users are plagued by
malicious malware while the rest of us are not is because we are not
where the action is.
This may be a "well, duh" for many of you, but I just realized that
Macintosh is like that great little cafe two blocks off main street
that you really love. It's got great service, great atmosphere, and
terrific food and drink.... and it's not too crowded either-- just
enough to stay in business.
If too many people find out about that little cafe, it (and all of the
current customers) will suffer from its success. The same would happen
to the Mac.
Perhaps we're better off letting those Windows users think what they
like, and enjoy our well-kept little secret.
Oh, and let a close friend in on it, every once in a while.
I just took offense to the comment:
"But, if the existence of information outside your single area of
interest causes you stress, you should either stick with the non-Mac
categories or just not visit here at all."
In other words, deal or shut up. Awww, isn't there a slightly more
tactful way to put this?
This is the best new blog on both OS X and productivity. I appreciate
the categories, but do wish there was a simple method to show all posts
from one that AREN'T in the other. I also wish that the OSX
category be divided-it is good to see a Quicksilver category, but I
wish there were more. In particular, I want a CLI category: many of
the tips are also useful to me (I run Linux).
I do like having access to and do read all the content: I like OS X &
am interested in hearing what I could do if I was willing to pay more
for both hardware and software. I just wish there were better ways to
get at the posts which are most relevant or immediately useful to me.
Possibly, Derek, but it was intended as a polemical post, and I stand
by what I said.
I do wonder what sort of reception *I* would get from telling PC
Magazine that they report too heavily on Windows-based computers.
Again, though, this is a site that's intended to help OS X users first
and foremost. Anyplace I can work in a little trick or hack, I most
Having said that, thanks for visiting and for your interest. If it's
any consolation, I think sites about GTD and productivity will really
be taking off in the near future (esp. after that post, I imagine! :)
), so I wouldn't be surprised if other options presented themselves to
My experience of Mac, nine months after 'switching', has been fourfold
unhappy. Part is poor quality hardware, and a threat from Apple that
if the machine is returned and declared by them not to be faulty, they
will charge me just for inspecting it. Part is what I feel to be a
poorly designed and 'unergonomic' interface, and a third part to be an
inflexible and uncustomisable OS. (It crashes and locks up a lot too,
but no more than Windows XP)
But the worst quarter has been the response from the Macophiles who
were trying to encourage me to 'switch' late last year. They were a
lot more present and encouraging and as wide-eyed as Moonies about
getting me to buy an iBook than they were to help me sort out the mess
three months later, when I started regretting my decision.
I'm delighted to read your GTD efforts and it's a great and readable
blog. But a lot of the helpful advice you ladle out seem to me to be
answering problems that definitely exist on my Mac at home, but not on
the Windows XP and 2k machines I use (and support) at work.
I bitterly regret spending my hard-earned home money on a Mac, but I
have no money right now to switch back. (It did, after all, cost me
twice as much as an equivalent PC clone) Hopefully I'll be a little
more solvent by Christmas.
Of course, the appropriate slogan here is 'your mileage may vary'.
Obviously Merlin Mann gets a lot farther on a tankful of OSX than I do.
Reading 43 Folders, I'm wide-eyed with delight for all the fat promises
held out. But I feel a lot like Oliver Twist overhearing Mr Bumble the
Beadle tell Mr Limbkins how large the portions are at dinnertime in the
Macs are hard to use for Windows users. I know this. Go to a
university computer lab. No one knows how to close an application-
they just close windows. You'll go up to a computer with 10+ open
applications, and no open windows. People run IE even though Safari
and Firefox are right there, begging to be clicked on. When things
don't work the way they expect them to, they don't blame their own lack
of knowledge, they blame the computer. Macs are more logical and
intuitive, I think, to new computer users and to people who are
interested in interface design, usability, and that kind of hoo-ha.
But most people who are going to have a computer, already have one, and
it's a Windows box. Habits are hard to break, and for most people,
it's just not worth the energy.
That said, I tell people the main reason that they should buy Macs is
that if they're asking me, that means I'm the computer nerd they know.
And I can hook them up with Mac stuff. If they want to buy a PC, they
can depend on the Web OS if they want any good software.
> Having said that, thanks for visiting and for your interest. If it's
> any consolation, I think sites about GTD and productivity will really
> be taking off in the near future (esp. after that post, I imagine! :)
> ), so I wouldn't be surprised if other options presented themselves
> you soon.
Perhaps, but I'm sure I will continue to enjoy reading your site too!
Well, I was willing to read as long as you kept in your place, but now
that you've come out as a wild-eyed platform fanatic ....
I kid! I'm primarily a Windows user for reasons of professional and
personal history, but I've had Linux and Mac boxen on and off for years
as well. I'm way behind on the Apple side because I don't have anything
that will run OS X, so I enjoy reading about all the cool new tools and
gadgets you guys have for that. Although I'm not going to be a
switcher, it's always been my impression that Macs have a much more
organic and interoperative field of software to work from.
Also, I definitely like to take the comparison and see what might be
useful from those tools, and seeing them (at least through your eyes)
*in operation* really teaches me more than just reading the specs in a
review. If I can, I'd like to get back into tool-writing, so there's
plenty of opportunity to learn in that regard as well.
This is one of the few blogs I bother to check on a daily basis. Keep
on doing what you've been doing, and I'll keep reading. :)
It seems that the richness of knowledgeworking tools in the Mac space
along with the increasing number of people who routinely use separate
personal laptops alongside their office PCs (thanks to corporate
lockdowns on installing applications, security, filtering, etc.) is a
potentially new niche for you Mac zealots to jump on.
All the cool Mac tricks here have inspired me to get learnin' so I can
move on from muttering ["I don't understand... where's my
taskbar...goddamit there's only one button on the mouse..."] to doin'
interesting type things.
All this *and* the hipster PDA! Don't stop.
I'm the mac nerd all my friends know. If and when they switch (and a
lot have), they can come to me to ask questions and get quick answers,
and that eases the transition until they reach the magical point where
they grok the way the mac works, and start teaching themselves.
Whenever I find out that someone has switched to mac because of
evangelism by friends who (for whatever reason) aren't going to be able
to be there for them to aid the transition, I wince.
43 Folders is performing a wonderful function, then, of being a
friendly voice to OS X users who haven't figured this stuff out for
themselves. And it's doubly valuable to the rest of us.
At some point, when I finally retire this Mac, I'll go back to a PC
with whatever seems to be the best version of Linux (another OS I like,
but still isn't the perfect OS). I enjoy having a Mac centric site
without the evangelism of some of the others. But mainly I come here
for the GTD, which seems to work fine on my plain vanilla Mac.
Apple has the few customers that it does because we like that they
don't make compromises. We like that Macs haven't had floppy drives
for years. We like that there are no serial ports.
One thing I like about OS X is that new versions run faster on older
hardware. Panther is faster and does more than Jaguar, and previous
versions of OS X were absurdly slow. Plus, each revision adds lots of
functionality. My iBook runs faster now than when I bought it.
On the other hand, I can't have my girlfriend improve her PC by
switching it to XP from Windows 98. A Windows 98-era PC won't run XP.
I think a big reason that updates to Windows always require more
hardware is that there are too many levels of backwards compatibility
that are an overall drag on performance.
Anyway, lots of people like backwards compatibility for lots of
reasons. Joel Spolsky wrote a classic article on the topic . And I
wonder how this fits in with the notion of "software that lasts 200
I really appreciate everyone's kind motives in suggestions such as "One
of the reasons I choose to invest in the Apple hardware is because I
knew that even if I ended up totally hating MacOS X, I'd be able to run
However, to me, that's back to the same bad experience as Windows - but
without the mass-understanding of Windows.
Simple example: I live in the UK, and grew up on typewriters and UK
keyboards that have the double quote (") over the 2, and the @ sign
over the single quote. And all Windows and other PC keyboards work as
UK Macs, I've learned, have them transposed, for reasons I don't know
and don't care. To my thinking, any sophisticated OS ought to offer a
simple key remapping system. It ought to be very simple, surely. But
the Macs don't have this built in. And I've been offered ways of
changing this setup, and I don't understand it. Should I? I support
an NT network. Would you expect a non-computer expert to understand
the solution if I don't? (work it out!)
My sister gave up a Mac in despair, and switched to a PC. She didn't
understand a Win98 machine too much better, but at least she had me and
all her friends, who all understood it.
All computers have a long way to go. I wish we'd all stop arguing the
merits and start discussing the consensus.
Sorry, I've said my piece, and I'll now shut up.
I just wish there was a Linux-centric site like this. I've seen
Windows-centric sites, and they're only a help because I have to use
Windows at work, but I would love to find a Linux-centric site, or at
least one that had some hints on interoperability (is that a word?)
between Windows and Linux. I have a base Linux system and I prefer the
command line for most of the things I do, but I realize my big
challenge will be finding something which will allow me to move
information back and forth from my home system to work.
You can even draw a little bezel in the middle of the screen so you can
My problem lately, as probably emerged in the [review post], is the
volume of clue-resistant sales people who've obviously never even
looked at the site but seem determined to have me buy and try their big
flagship Wintel widget. It's doubly frustrating given that a) I don't
even _own_ a PC and b) Mac advocacy is part of the _point_ of the site.
Anyway, I am very grateful for all the folks who visit 43F--especially,
I should say, the ones who have to wade through the stuff that doesn't
appeal or apply to them.
Too many Google spammers already had your idea, Bryan! ;-)
You can put me down as another frequent reader of your blog who's
disappointed in the recent reiteration of your 'platform prejudice'.
Kind of like finding out that your favourite movie star turns out to be
a proslytizing neo-con (j/k) :>.
> My problem lately, as probably emerged in the [review post], is
> volume of clue-resistant sales people who've obviously never even
> looked at the site but seem determined to have me buy and try their
> flagship Wintel widget.
All good and well, but I'd wager that none of them were readers of your
blog, who are, to a man, intelligent, kind, understanding,
compassionate individuals and wouldn't dream of offending your
sensibilities with any flagship Wintel widgets.
> It's doubly frustrating given that a) I don't
> even _own_ a PC and b) Mac advocacy is part of the _point_ of the
Hey - it's your blog, I'm only here to leech the good bits (and click
on a few sponsored links - always click on links if you like a blog).
However, I'm going to be coming by less, and not contributing much to
the wiki since you put up the "No Windoze Riff-raff" shingle.
All my productivity management is done on the other side of the fence:
I might have plenty to offer, but despite your protestations of
welcome, you have made this feel a little like tagging along with your
female friends on girls-night-out: under other circumstances everyone
is fine (mis)behaving however they want, but on this night, the hang-up
that you aren't 'a part of the club' ensure that the evening devolves
into the stilted, self-concious and inane.
(For the record, I own multiple pcs and macs, at home and at work
(video and audio producer), as well as several Unix servers. You can
probably put me in category 2.5 category (open, unbiased, and dying for
sucour from the Bloatware-is-Goodware, obscene disingenuity of M$, yet
even less impressed by the 'Keep it Stupid! Simple.',
All-Hat-No-Cattle, obscene disenguity of the Cupertino Cult.)
If you feel a burning need to 'advocate' your platform, may I suggest
that you try the more credible option of leading by example? If the mac
is such a great productivity tool, you won't be able to keep it for
yourself for long.
Too bad you're leaving right as things are starting to get more
interesting on the wiki:
Oh, you know. What's a party without someone pinching a loaf on the
I think we'll muddle through just fine. :-)
If Merlin loves the Moleskins and wants to post about them he should do
so to his hearts content. Although I like them, I will stick to my
cheapo 95 euro-cent notebook anyway ;). If the Moleskin-to-useful-stuff
ratio reaches an unacceptable level just stop reading.
Caveat: GTD newbie.
I think that they are appealing to our desire to have nice, cool,
tools. One of the reasons DA recommends buying a labeller is because it
is fun to use. Well, my Space Pen and Moleskine are fun to use.
I also don't think that "ridiculous amounts of money" is the correct
phrase; I spent $30 on a Moleskine calendar, some cahiers, and a pocket
notebook. For less than a penny day, I have incentive to use my cool
tools. A dayrunner costs approximately as much, is way less cool, and I
don't get the same joy from it.
Self-control can also be taken as the self-control to purchase the
right tools for the job, even if they are trendy, ignoring the jibes of
jayturley at gmail dot com
Yes, it comes up a lot, and yes, people are batshit crazy about how
much they love it, but I'd consider it a proper if everyone who enjoys
43F would resist the persistent urge to equate it note for note with
I think the real "problem" here is that so many people have their own
individual view port for the site, which is actually kind of great--I'm
entirely pleased that people are familiar enough with it to have an
opinion. What I don't accept (or ever intend to cater to) are folks who
try to remind me what I'm "supposed" to be talking about at any given
If an admixture of costly notebooks, squirrely productivity schemes,
and software that's interesting to a single digit fraction of the globe
is appealing to every single visitor, I'd be truly surprised. And it's
not the goal. Cool?
I'm fine with backlash, and the wild opinions, and the half-truths, but
this talmudic "here's what 43 Folders needs to be" crap is a
non-starter. At least inasmuch as it guides what actually makes it onto
Can we go back to talking about fun stuff, please?
But the good news is: all fences are mended on the wiki, and we're
moving forward with...well...whatever people want. :-)
I've backed off (what some people perceived as) Mac Snobbery™ (even
though I think that's not _really_ what I was trying to say), and we're
all happily chugging along, building a sweet-ass site that should
appeal to a broader audience than the mothership--including our friends
who are fans (or unwilling captors) of Redmond's biggest employer.
I'm very pleased with the progress and the stone soup attitude people
seem to have. Very encouraging start, I'd say.