Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Apple Productivity

Today as I was filing away my mail with the help of Mail Act-On, I decided it would be worthwhile to list out all the productivity apps/plugins/tricks I employ on a regular basis on my Mac (both at work and home).


If you’re using an Apple and you’re not using Quicksilver, then I’m sorry. It’s amazing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It puts every program at my fingertips and opens up parts of apps that I never would have used (bookmarks in Firefox for example). It’s more than just a launcher, it’s the hub of everything I do on my computer. For the lowdown on setting up and using Quicksilver to the best of its ability check out Dan Dickinson’s great tutorial and this entry from The Apple Blog titled “Quicksilver Changes Everything”.

Mail Act-On

This was a recent addition thanks to a tip from Merlin Mann over at 43 Folders. Essentially what Mail Act-On does is allow you to set up rules that are invoked by keystrokes. I have different keys set up to move messages to different important folders, which is a hell of a lot easier than dragging and dropping every one.


I’m not sure you can count this one, but I always have an open text document where I keep all my notes and save them at the end of the day. It’s easy to use, takes up no space and a snap to backup to my server and read online. Who said .txt was useless? (Not me, for the record.)

iCal Subscriptions

I’m subscribed to a calendar that gives me all the US Holidays as well as the Chicago Bears season schedule. They refresh automatically and beat the hell out of writing all those dates in yourself. Apple has a ton of calendars to subscribe to and there are lots of other sites as well. Also, check out Upcoming.org which is an event sharing site that provides you with an iCal file of events you’ve marked.
I’m sure there’s more, but that should be enough to chew on this Monday morning.

July 11, 2005