March 19, 2013 at 4:15pm • 1 hour 18 minutes
This week, Dan and Merlin try to tackle the complexities of memory.
Why do we remember things from childhood with unimpeachable detail, but then forget our own phone number or PIN code? How can the same person remember the name of everyone he's ever met, and then space a phone call a couple hours after it was scheduled? Why do we remember and why do we forget?
Unsurprisingly, few concrete answers appear, but there's plenty of lively conversation on savant syndrome, tactical memory aides, and the precise location of Merlin's pills.
March 12, 2013 at 8:00am • 1 hour 42 minutes
This week, Dan and Merlin tackle stupidity. And, brother, there sure are a whole lot of flavors of stupid.
Are we really talking about being clueless, unaware, dumb, absent-minded, or just plain-old ignorant? Because they're actually pretty different animals.
Whether you're dropping your library book in the mailbox, leaving your iPad at home, following baseless medical advice, or doing whatever Dan did with his garage door (don't worry: the car is fine), it's really helpful to understand where your real problem really lives.
From a tactical standpoint, try some useful failsafes, rituals, and habits. But, at a higher level, learn to develop the curiosity to keep evolving. Stay open to how you might be wrong by always seeking out the smartest person you can find who disagrees with you.
March 5, 2013 at 2:15pm • 1 hour 25 minutes
TOPIC: Not So Much
This week, Dan and Merlin eschew ““topic”” to freely discuss razors, beef, They Might Be Giants, prolapse, Genesis, dogs, Spider-Man (and -Womyn), pretender marteenies, truck butt, the lonely plaster casts of our youth, blind harmonicists, those awesome blue IKEA bags, ceviche, E.L.O., Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, bumping, hypoglycemia, how Merlin named his daughter, Hyman Roth, endive, and, of course, The Big Lebowski.
Then, they go and blow it all by unintentionally having a really useful discussion about Merlin's three key elements of optimal and sustainable workflows.
February 26, 2013 at 4:00pm • 1 hour 28 minutes
TOPIC: Shaving a Yak
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about The Hierarchy of Fiddling. When does self-improvement silently shade into navel-gazing, and how do we realize that it's happening?
Some fixes mean applying a fast change that produces outsized results (a true "life hack"). But, most of our more circuitous excursions into the world of ““productivity”” lead straight into a recursive black hole of lost time, sheer frustration, and soul-sucking existential onanism (let's call that one a "life whack").
Learn how to live with your dirty debit card, just satisfice with your dish-washing skills, and quit trying to solve non-problems with non-solutions.
Yes, learn the key commands, but, don't feel like you need to learn all the key commands. Iterate with mindful sanity.
And, like it says on the tin: always focus on how you'll get back to work.
February 19, 2013 at 6:45pm • 1 hour 22 minutes
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about compression. What happens when we don't account for how long something really takes to do? And, worse still, what if we don't think about what has to happen before we can even start it?
If you find you're stressed-out, over-scheduled, under-resourced—and not particularly loving the things you're making—there's a pretty good chance you've become a victim of your own compression.
Acknowledge and understand the problem, and then learn how to avoid the classic pitfalls by falling in love with your calendar all over again.
February 12, 2013 at 4:30pm • 1 hour 36 minutes
TOPIC: Duplicates, duplicates, duplicates.
This week, Dan and Merlin conclude their discussion of media management by focusing on dealing with duplicates. Just so many duplicates.
Music, Photos, Contacts, and Finder files. It's all thorny business, but a canny combination of backup, cool apps, and paranoid discretion can make your digital life more manageable and fun.
Also, some handy tips on sharing files, hosting media, and finding a digital home for your comic collection.
February 5, 2013 at 2:30pm • 1 hour 24 minutes
TOPIC: Cool stuff Merlin loves.
This week, Merlin is delirious and may be in a fugue state, so he and Dan talk about a bunch of cool apps and gadgets--stuff that Merlin likes and really recommends.
Special attention goes to Drafts for iOS, the Logitech K760 Bluetooth keyboard, Verbatim's Tuff 'n Tiny USB drive, Cortex Camera for iOS, Cobook Address Book, with many more suggestions along the way, including handy tips based on how Merlin uses each.
January 29, 2013 at 3:00pm • 1 hour 33 minutes
TOPIC: Modern Media Management: Metadata and Smart Playlists
This week Dan and Merlin continue their 3-part series on Modern Media Management: handling your iTunes Library, iOS Devices, and iTunes Match without making yourself crazy.
In this episode, the focus is on fixing audio metadata, with a big discussion of the awesome MusicBrainz and Picard.
January 22, 2013 at 6:00pm • 1 hour 39 minutes
TOPIC: Modern Media Management: iTunes Match
This week Dan and Merlin begin a 3-part series on Modern Media Management: handling your iTunes Library, iOS Devices, and iTunes Match without making yourself crazy.
In this episode, they cover setting up and using iTunes Match, being safe and paranoid, what to do after you get the iTunes ping, some smart playlists that will help you exclude kwanzaa music, find stuff you don't want to listen to, and maintain your sanity.
Next episode they'll discuss wrangling metadata and smart playlists. Then in the last episode of the series, they'll cover managing the libraries on your devices and some grab bag stuff.
January 15, 2013 at 2:15pm • 57 minutes
TOPIC: Creative Costumes vs. Pushing Out Product
This week Dan and Merlin talk about how the legends and mythologies around creative people and beautiful losers can become such a destructive MacGuffin for us aspiring civilians.
Getting gakked out on Hunter S. Thompson's cocaine and buying Sylvia Plath's oven are unlikely to take you anyplace useful, interesting, or…creative.