March 17, 2005

Life Hacks

Danny O-Brien, Merlin Mann

(DoB: last year's summary)

  • hackers ♥ plain text
  • my other app is in ~/bin ( keep your own scripts; make lots of glue)
  • network, network, network. Share everything. Social organisation rules

This year: It's not just for α-geeks
great apps:

  • decent email search – gmail, lookout, tiger spotlight
  • social file sharing for everyone – flikr, novell iFolder, Groove
  • easy web scraping – RSS
  • keyboard macros for win/linux: c.f. quicksilver

(MM: What's popular on 43Folders right now?)

  • GTD - especially implementing it in real life
  • lo-fi hacks: whereover possible, think about the simplest way to solve a problem – paper
  • make failure difficult (the 'forehead ticket hack')
  • quicksilver: like a GUI bash – minimise distractions
  • remind
  • more people wanting to tailor their own working environment

(DoB: What crossed over, and why?)

  • text editors – didn't make it into the mainstream
  • keyboards: people like them. When you're using the keyboard you can get into the 'zone', mousing disrupts flow
  • novice users never get 'flow' so the keyboard doesn't mater for them
  • why big screens? (c.f Mary Czerwinski). big screens are more productive and reduce cognitive load – no overlapping windows
  • there's no muscle-memory to alt-tab – this is why quicksilver is so much better
  • The dark secret of life hacks: turn off the sodding computer. Eliminate navigation, eliminate distraction

this years killer apps

  • google suggest (p=1)
  • passive informants – dashboard, emacs remembrance, IRC - background info (p=0.7)
  • unified notification (Growl API) (p=0.6)
  • the nightmare of desktop search (p=0.3)

MM: what is a life hack?
A) It's a way of patching around a problem. What happens if you fix, rather than patch? What comes after the hacks ?


- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. good grief!

    18 Mar 2005, 01:59

  2. Just to say the notes on ETech from you and John have been very interesting – especially the stuff on social software. Any additional detail when you return from sunnier climes would be useful.

    18 Mar 2005, 09:42


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