711: Getting Some Wisdom with Merlin Mann


This was pretty interesting, though Merlin cut David off a lot it had good flow. Always interesting to see these characters so immersed in this world struggling with picking a task manager.


Ah, Merlin. Brilliant yet utterly nuts, always highly entertaining.

Merlin appeals to the ADHD part of me that loves to go down rabbit holes, yet always finds the most efficient way to get work done - though my methods do not work for non-neurodivergent folks.


Ugh yes. I love Merlin, but c’mon Mann.


Love this episode, of course. I wish more guests could handle David at his teasing-est.

Can we all pause to acknowledge the strength of character @MacSparky needed to walk past “Siracusa is my rubber duck” as a show title.


I saw a t-shirt at a science fiction convention (the fan run, done for love of the genre kind, not the big media company, let’s make money from the suckers kind) years ago:

   Where people interrupt you 
     to show they're listening

That’s how I think of Merlin when he’s like this: he’s so into what David is saying that sometimes he has to jump in to express just how much he appreciates what was just said.


I appreciated the conversation in the middle regarding mindfulness and meditation. I’ve been on and off with meditation, mostly off for the past few years, but have started trying again this week so it was timely advice for me. Like you guys said, it’s incredibly hard but that’s why you do it!

The hard part for me is focusing on creating just one habit at a time. I often will try to “improve” everything body, mind, and soul in one go and that’s how you fail.


In New York we call that participatory listening, although “appreciation” isn’t always the sentiment offered.

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I attended a presentation at a con by a sociologist who had been studying the fan community. She said, “In fandom, people argue to be polite. It shows they’re engaged with the discussion.” Somebody in the audience shouted, “That’s not true!”

No, that someone was not me. I wish it was though…

This was an excellent episode.

And I’m glad to hear MPU seems to be off its home automation kick. I see very few uses for the current generation of home automation. If I want a light switched on, I get up and switch it on (and then, at first opportunity, I put in a lamp next to the chair where I had been sitting). I understand the desire to tinker for the sake of tinkering, but this particular outlet has never appealed to me.


When I was a child adults called it rude. :grinning:


You sound like me — before I saw the light (turn itself on).

(I also have an allegedly witty retort to “this particular outlet,” but I think one of those per post is enough to expect anyone to endure.)

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The wisdom project needs to have a line,

Don’t speak over others.


Aside from Merlin cutting David off, did none of you catch that @MacSparky has gone for a treadmill desk?

Also did anyone figure out the trick to creating a shortcut to append thoughts to an ongoing Draft?

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On this episode, it sounds like they’re saying that dictation is largely reliable - and that’s just not my experience.

I’ll dictate a couple sentences, “I need to go to the store and get coffee. I’ll be back in 5 minutes” - and it’ll miss the first two words. Sometimes it will do that even if I wait several seconds to start. Or it will catch all of the words in the beginning, but ten words in it will suddenly decide that I didn’t really say “I” at the beginning, and just delete it.

Are there some magic settings I’m missing that make this thing function properly?

I love the dictation. It works well for me. Actually, it makes me very very happy.

That said, occasionally it does miss the first few words, but I think (can’t prove) that that happened much more when I first started using it a couple of weeks ago.

From the lock screen, Drafts misses the first couple syllables every time for me if I start talking when I would using dictation on the system keyboard. It doesn’t seem to matter if the app is already active in memory, if other audio was playing or if the last draft is new enough to append.

Hard agree! (Obviously I can just not listen to those shows)


One of the few “automation” things that I see a current value in is motion detection. We have rooms where the switches aren’t always convenient or accessible.

But yeah - apart from that, not so much.

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Came here to say that this was such a wonderful episode!!! I love listening to Merlin and hearing how his brain works. @MacSparky Please don’t go too long without having him back on to talk about the probably hundreds of other things you had to table. :joy: