My TextEdit Preferences

Everyone knows I have more ideas and websites than I do time. Therefore, here’s a gift to the makers of the world. Here is a free website idea that I’ve had for a while and I’m giving it away. For free. I welcome anyone to take it and run. And by all means, let me know when it is up. OK, ready? Here you go…

I would love a site that asks folks for screenshots of preferences, for various programs, and asks them to explain why they have things set up that way. I’ll go first.

Application: TextEdit

Why?: For me, Plain text is the most basic building block one can use to start something special. I like to get the words down in a format that is easily transportable and upgradeable.

Window size is important. Needs to be long enough to seem like a page but only wide enough to allow one to have two windows side by side. As well as plenty of space around them.

While Menlo is a perfectly fine monospace font, I’m always on the search for one I like more. That said, Helvetica has never left me with longing.

Author? Well who else could that be? I’ll decide the copyright later. Rights are not something my people have not had for very long. I still don’t feel I have a strong grasp of what they really mean.

Thank the closest deity for spellcheck. You and I both know I should check grammar as well but English is a nuanced language and I often disagree with the rules. Speaking of rules, rulers are good when formatting a page, especially if you care how they print. And copy and paste should be smart. As should text replacement.

Update: Wow. That was fast. So was this. Note to self, one or two people actually read this site.

Freedom From Choice

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

– DEVO, Freedom of Choice

When you choose Apple, in many ways you are choosing a sensible default. You have made a choice that greatly narrows the field thus making your options, due the the scarcity, that much easier. When you go to buy a new computer, you no longer have hundreds of choices to choose from, as Windows or Linux users do. You now have only a few. All made by one company. Those of us who have made the choice, based on need, to always buy a laptop or desktop, have narrowed that choice even further. Other purpose based needs narrow this even further. Are you are a professional photographer who needs plenty of storage for RAW photos and a large screen for editing, yet needs that in a portable package that can be used reasonably outside for the occasional wedding shoot? Guess you are getting a Macbook Pro with a 500GB drive and a matte screen then.

I’ll bet, at some point, Steve Jobs woke up one morning, looked in his closet, and had to decide what to wear that day. He choose a black Gap mock turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans, and a pair of New Balance sneakers. It then occurred to him that it was the perfect outfit for most occasions and weather he found himself in. He may have even worn it around for a few days, in a variety of circumstances and environments, just to test it out and make sure it was the right thing for him. Then, he went out and got a dozen more of everything and threw out the rest. At this point, he made the final choice, to make this outfit his default, thus freeing himself of the weight of having to decide what to wear based on so many temporal and ever changing factors…

Hot? Cold? Raining? Dry? Sunny?

Black Mock Turtle. Levis. Sneakers.

Does he wear shorts sometimes if the situation calls for it? Sure. How about a tux? Yep. But the point is that he has the vast majority of his needs covered with the sensible default.

For many of us, there is a certain freedom that comes from not having to choose. But that freedom does not come from having choices foisted upon us. It comes from having made some decisions, up front, about what is appropriate for the majority of situations we may find ourselves in.  It comes from reduction and filtering. Such decisions are born of evaluation, reflection, and knowledge. But, most of all, it comes from the desire to live a life that is focused not on things like what to wear or to buy, but instead on doing everything else with that much more thought, consideration and care.

Podcast Microphones

So, many may now know that I’m working on a Minimal Mac podcast. We will be recording the first episodes this week and will have the first one up “soonish” after that. With my doing more podcasts for others and working on one of my own, it has become quite obvious that the built in mic just wont do. While it is perfectly fine for a minimal solution, it is past the time to upgrade to something more appropriate.

I recently asked on Twitter for some suggestions for good podcasting mics. My only requirement was that it had to be USB as I will be plugging it directly into my Macbook Air. Here, in no particular order, are the suggestions I got:

And here are two excellent resources that were suggested to learn more about microphones in general:

Now, the most “minimal” looked to be the Blue Snowflake and I was heavily tempted to just go with that for now then upgrade later if needed. It is small, portable, and gets high ratings as a “good enough” solution but…

The one that I went with was the Blue Yeti. The main reason being that it is the one that my friends at The Bro Show use and, since they are helping to produce the podcast with me, I felt it best to have the same kit on all sides. Plus, I thought with my desk setup the Snowflake would end up too far away from my mouth to get the audio quality I wish. I also liked the humanistic look of the mic and stand. But at 3.5 pounds and a foot tall, it’s about as minimal as a Hummer. 

That said, if money was not an issue, I likely would have gone with the Rode Podcaster because it got a really strong endorsement by Dan Benjamin in the episode of The Mixdown linked above.

Hope others in the market find all of this info useful.

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