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Back to Work

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Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more. Hosted by Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin.

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418: This Man…This Monster!

1:13:23 | Mar 19th

DISCUSSED: Top o' the Morling!; praise for the home release of Spider-Verse; Dan and Merlin offer some more TV recommendations; Merlin endorses an excellent "turns out" podcast; a deep dive on slow-rise squishes and related stress toys; Merlin wears ...Show More

417: Fish Bishop

1:10:29 | Mar 12th

DISCUSSED: Merlin is trying some new things and probably needs to adjust his DIP switches; audio equipment is discussed; remembering Hal Blaine; German words; fish dropsy; dining at Alamo Draft House; kids and crafts; follow-up on Power Puttering; re...Show More

416: A Squishy for the Ages

1:15:27 | Mar 5th

DISCUSSED: Merlin is living the Domino lifestyle; R.I.P. Two Cats Comics; praise for iA Writer; Merlin needs help with his sudden Gmail spam; a meditation on comics as some awesome fun and an ugly damned business; nostalgia for hobby shops and Expedi...Show More

415: Fifty and Monogamous

1:10:39 | Feb 26th

DISCUSSED: Dan has an awesome new video; Spider-Verse is out!; Merlin's dorky Segway is discussed; app recommendations for a clean new Gmail and an even-smarter Dark Sky; Dan spills the beans on his new sound bar setup; TV selection and purchase is a...Show More

413: Bumbleditch Cumperdam

1:16:25 | Feb 12th

DISCUSSED: It's the optimistic day, but Merlin really screwed up an edit; there's some Inside Baseball about how podcasts get made; it's nice to have someone notice the shaving cream on your jowl; movie ratings are explored; why all the bosoms in 80s...Show More

412: A Hobo in a Cartoon

1:16:08 | Feb 5th

DISCUSSED: Gong Hei Fat Choy!; follow-up on the FaceTime bug and the complexity of getting bug and security reports from normals; the weirdness of bug-finders demanding a bounty; Merlin is fascinated to learn about "combinatorial explosion" and how i...Show More

411: It's Not Butt

1:21:40 | Jan 29th

DISCUSSED: Dan's fighting his computer and explores font corruption; Merlin hates pebbles in his shoe; Dan has an anecdote about massages; Merlin has an anecdote about the FaceTime exploit; this leads to discussion about how big companies deal with h...Show More

410: The Childhood Cocktail

1:01:23 | Jan 22nd

DISCUSSED: dreams and whether people like hearing them; turns out: Merlin recommends a podcast episode about mental stuff; practice vs. rehearsal; visualization as a rehearsal thing; follow-up on science fair projects; our new, post-search-engine hab...Show More

409: He Says Hard

1:04:40 | Jan 15th

DISCUSSED: moisture; kids and watches; some recent media consumption; encouraging kids to have good taste; memories of watching VHS movies in school; follow-up on Dan's new keyboard experiment; Drobo concerns; thinking about modern backup and, gosh, ...Show More

404: Very Advanced Camping

1:13:08 | Dec 11th, 2018

Discussed: Merlin worries that Dan is getting ground down; web sites are getting very thirsty; Dan thinks it's like pads in football; Dan has updates and more thoughts about doing development work on an iPad; Merlin thinks we should talk more about w...Show More

403: It's Just a Salad

1:22:33 | Dec 4th, 2018

Discussed: Why Tuesday is the optimistic day; pourover coffee for Dan's wife; confirm shaming; updates on iPad keyboards and covers; approximately annual history of "Bawk Bawk!"; some thoughts on Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart; kids and learning P...Show More

402: Watches & Barbecue

1:23:40 | Nov 27th, 2018

Discussed: Thanksgiving; spatchcock chicken; kids and their stupid eating; Dan's concern about how we talk to each other; Merlin encourages people to try not to be terrible. Also, some odds and sods on iPad Pro updates, and thanks to our nice listen...Show More

401: Carrier Fluid

1:17:03 | Nov 20th, 2018

Discussed this week: Dan's MOSH setup on iPad; Dan's new NEW iPad; ease of setup on iOS; some iOS photo editing app recommendations; two things Merlin learned this week; and a little rant about how everybody apparently already knows everything.

400: In The Penal Colony

1:16:43 | Nov 12th, 2018

Dan and Merlin talk about their first week using the new iPad Pro.

399: Blue Whale Salt

1:06:45 | Nov 6th, 2018

Discussed this week: coffee water, voting, inertia, new iPads on the way, difficult buying decisions, returning merchandise (as a thing), some TV suggestions, Dan's new ODROID, 80s video game nostalgia, asking for your iPad-at-work input, plus seekin...Show More

398: So Much Unnecessary Beauty

1:23:39 | Oct 30th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Apple's Fall event in Brooklyn today. They liked the event.

397: My Manager is Water

1:20:11 | Oct 23rd, 2018

Discussed: nailing it, the optimistic valence of Tuesdays, difficulties finding replacement parts on Amazon, headphone preferences, Alexa's service outage and new whisper mode, Austin's big water crisis and what it says about epistemology, reason, an...Show More

396: Bean in the Sleeve

1:21:59 | Oct 16th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the FitBit Charge 3 and where it fits into their worlds—as well its place in the larger tracker and smart watch ecosystems. Excursions also include: BroBot, weather stations, weather apps, some TV and movie talk,...Show More

395: My Sleeves are Dynamic

1:07:51 | Oct 9th, 2018

Discussed: the tyranny of earliness, the benefits of timeliness, an interesting horology episode about Apple Watch, more watch talk, a blog recommendation, a quick look at Merlin's new FitBit, an update on home WiFi options, Merlin raps a little, Dan...Show More

394: Dead or Angry

1:16:45 | Oct 2nd, 2018

This week: some TV and movie stuff, Dark Mode and accessibility, OS stability and beta temptation, Merlin has an anecdote, the powers and frustrations of Siri via Apple Watch, updates to the Fitbit family, tech that does enough, Dan tried Bear, updat...Show More

393: Legacy Meat Stuff

1:28:07 | Sep 25th, 2018

This week, Merlin's got a LOT going on. Full Catastrophe Living! Discussed: booger colors, some tv and movies, a dream deferred, various X-Persons, loving GoodTask 3, plus Dan and Merlin just cannot remember many, many things. Next, your hosts dive...Show More

392: Gentleman's Calling

1:20:20 | Sep 18th, 2018

A classic odds-and-sods episode, featuring important discussions about sleep tracking, the Apple Watch, Succession, sound bars, Chris Nolan's Batman, and Nintendo Online.

391: The September Issue

1:16:38 | Sep 11th, 2018

Discussed: upcoming Apple announcements; do people with bigger screens use more apps more often?; some follow-up on adaptive testing; and comics for kids. Your hosts answer a listener question about knowing when it's time to quit something.

390: A Festive Merry-Go-Round for the Very Lonely

1:15:38 | Sep 4th, 2018

Skype gets way too ambitious; sprinkling sauce on a service; a mandatory social network for doorbells; Dan acquires a new deity; some excellent listener follow-up on Computerized Adaptive Testing; Dan takes his boy to see a bona fide cinema classic; ...Show More

388: Defcon Water

1:26:49 | Aug 21st, 2018

Discussed: courting a vegetarian; The Information Problem; FU on Dan's new slide remote and keyboard; also, belts; travel pre-screening options; a recommended article on hypocognition; Dan saw IT; thoughts on Twiki and Erin Grey; and Dan's recent hom...Show More

387: Deploy the Dongle

1:11:52 | Aug 17th, 2018

Discussed: tech that's gotten so much more dependable (and, yeah, so much less dependable); Dan needs a new presenter remote; Marvel's First Family (finally) returns; who would win if The Hulk fought The Thing?; Merlin introduces Dan to the Ponyverse...Show More

386: Cherry Brown

1:21:00 | Aug 7th, 2018

Discussed: Merlin sounds like a saxophone, keyboards are extensively discussed, pros and cons of various MacsBooks Pro, Dan likes using one monitor, pining for best-of-class hardware from Cupertino, Merlin has dorky and boring follow-up, recommending...Show More

385: A Picture of a Clown

1:17:38 | Jul 31st, 2018

Discussed: current monospaced font preferences, experimenting with text sizing, getting on the sucker list, old McDonalds had some styrofoam, new tech that would kill old stories, kids bewilderment with old tech, the bonkersness of Face/Off, wonderfu...Show More

384: Cosmic Jazz Hands

1:08:12 | Jul 24th, 2018

Merlin really likes the ones where Dan prepares. Discussed: four-twenty in The Mile High state, some tv and movie recommendations, the creativity that comes from constraints, The Information Problem, plus thanks for some lovely gifts to Cash from li...Show More

383: Funding the Unicorn

1:15:50 | Jul 10th, 2018

This week: Dan may or may not be sanguine, and Merlin is having another meetup; comics, movie and TV discussion (and recommendations) abound; Cash is impatient for a red DS; the magic of ubiquitous capture is extolled; Merlin has a problematic thumb ...Show More

382: Bad Tech Dad

1:18:04 | Jul 3rd, 2018

Dan's ex-cold, some media recommendations, strobe light problems, Dan's new phone, bad eyeglasses, your fault versus your problem, plus listener feedback about estimating hours and costs.

381: Sandwich Doctor

1:12:02 | Jun 26th, 2018

Discussed this week: head colds, Florida, vitamin shots, Pleiades, Pigeon Pose, a new kind of spam, some media recommendations, iOS 12, and a listener question about a job they just don’t wanna do.

380: Chung Chung Machine

1:32:51 | Jun 12th, 2018

Follow-up on the Benjamin family phone plan, what it's like to use a phone that's not a phone anymore, excitement for Siri Shortcuts, an AR measurement app recommendation, Dan's new TV recommendations, some travel headphone recommendations, massive d...Show More

379: Permanent Hole

1:11:54 | Jun 5th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some of their favorite announcements at the big computer show. They also deep dive into how to handle the Benjamin family's need for a new phone.

378: A Hong Kong Phooey Situation

1:10:15 | May 29th, 2018

Discussed this week: media dustups, the deleterious career effects of social media, a week or so of Instagram, love of dogs, a podcast appearance, two great services for spotting fake Amazon reviews, some Netflix recommendations, Inspector Gadget, re...Show More

377: Packs a Lot of Lux

1:17:06 | May 22nd, 2018

Discussed: trust my method, beards, foo bar baz, casting Mysterio, villains of Peter Spiderman, an unpaid debt to Dan, medieval electric billing, endorsing Evil Genius and Belief, the power of Spotify podcasts via Alexa, more on Apple TV and voice co...Show More

376: Alexa, Light It Up!

1:10:17 | May 15th, 2018

Discussed: lame patents, Salvador Dalí, allergy season, backpack discrimination, friend cosplay, things Dan can't say, AT&T woes, Merlin saw a bear, a YouTube rabbit hole, and some excellent historical Disney content. Dan and Merlin answer a listen'...Show More

375: Night Punching

1:19:35 | May 8th, 2018

Discussed: time flies, nesting dolls, cloud saves for Switch, oy vey the service subscriptions, wheat and chess boards, WiFi and health, abdomen cinchers, more Netflix recommendations, the hollow face illusion, Marked 2 update, and a couple more reco...Show More

374: Pouchboy

1:25:07 | May 1st, 2018

Discussed: places that are closed, dinosaur eyes that follow you, a TV show about makeup, some thoughts on Infinity War, the joy of content that really nails the medium, more on B2W shirts, Merlin hates everything, eminent domain, Dan has questions a...Show More

373: Red Cheekums

1:48:52 | Apr 24th, 2018

Discussed: Dan's gummi vitamins, vitamins in general, the childhood shame of those weird plaque pills, exotic sickness images, Fifth Disease comes to Austin, Dan's car troubles, Faraday Cages and how to build them, a potential t-shirt for you. Dan w...Show More

372: Hole That Rabbit

1:31:00 | Apr 17th, 2018

This week, the boys discuss Drafts, The Archive, Merlin's love of Spotify, some great playlists, and weird rules for cheerleaders. In extensive follow-up, your hosts talk about the listener who was having trouble with addressing employees and social...Show More

371: Avocado People

1:34:55 | Apr 10th, 2018

Bula vinaka, bee tee dubs nation! This is an epic odds and sods episode, replete with TV follow-up, font follow-up, and Wild, Wild Country follow-up, along with book recommendations, happy Splatoon 2 talk, and a pretty terrible 70s board game. Also, ...Show More

370: King Jeremy the Wicked

1:40:53 | Apr 3rd, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Jessica Jones and the problem of super power constitution, plus some more Netflix recommendations ("Look away! Looooook awaaaaay!"). They also do a dive into updates on the monospace fonts they like and use. Next, up...Show More

369: Comic Blood

1:19:36 | Mar 27th, 2018

This week, your hosts say "Bula Vinaka!" They also discuss phone cards, some Netflix recommendations, Merlin's phone usage, and "accidentally" getting punched in the face by your kid. Of course, they also talk about the TV and voice control ecosys...Show More

368: Call the Mouse Guy

1:14:22 | Mar 20th, 2018

This week, your hosts discuss Steely Dan, digital mastering, The Police, Dune, high-quality VCRs, and Dan's brother-in-law's close call. Next, they dive into a fascinating article on why projects fail. Finally, the boys respond to a listener's ques...Show More

367: A Favorite Child

1:19:35 | Mar 13th, 2018

This week, your hosts talk about some stuff they're doing, loving Spotify, some Echo podcast-listening tips, the attraction of Google Drive, some thoughts on backup strategies, getting swole, the joys of rock tumbler ownership, scary times in Austin,...Show More

366: Five Sides of the Street

1:23:35 | Mar 6th, 2018

This week, your hosts talk about using Windows, technology modalities, making sane decisions as a developer, reality TV, 20th anniversary of The Dude, Merlin's new fondness for Spotify, analyzing takes on the HomePod, options for high-quality in smar...Show More

365: Volume Eight

1:23:30 | Feb 27th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about weather as a thing and giving up on Cash's dumb iPad problem. This leads to discussion about the risks, opportunities, and frustrations of having lots of data in different places (probably). The main topic this w...Show More

364: The New Fudge

1:24:20 | Feb 20th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a little too much about Harry Potter, but also manage to cover some other media properties as well as the shockingly limited options for British casting. Dan has a new task management app, and Merlin decides to give it ...Show More

363: She's My Horcrux

1:20:03 | Feb 13th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about lots of recent experiences with the weird and often-frustrating world of streaming TV. What a mess. There's also some discussion of sauna suits, The Eagles, Mummers, and Dan's victorious t-shirt. Also, Dan needs...Show More

362: A Yuck and a Yum

1:09:44 | Feb 6th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the Eagles' big win, what constitutes a catch, Dan's cool new shirt, Merlin's surprisingly positive interactions with Kabletown, the seeming magic of Movies Anywhere, some recent TV recommendations, and a great li...Show More

361: Caveman Arithmetic

1:23:58 | Jan 30th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about crazy kids' homework, Dan's exciting nerd field trips in the Bay Area, the magic of PIXAR, a handy Netflix companion site, and using Siri on Apple TV. Things get a little heated during a discussion about all the ...Show More

360: I Haven't Lost My Knife

1:16:14 | Jan 24th, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about writing and respond to feedback from listeners.

359: You Can't See Inside the Dog

1:18:23 | Jan 16th, 2018

This week, Dan has some weather, Cash makes a battery, homework can be a silly drag, management is about scalability and quantification, how to figure out how much you have to do, 80s movies can be problematic, ultracrepidarianism, making fish wanna ...Show More

358: Dumb Ohio Mouth

1:32:13 | Jan 9th, 2018

This week, your hosts cover some odds and sods, share some recommendations, design some fantasy podcast apps, and introduce an exciting new feature involving the Internet Science Site. They also respond to a listener's thorny question about dealing ...Show More

357: Scrolling Carousel of Pain

1:26:31 | Jan 2nd, 2018

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why they're trending, an exciting update on the Mr. Robot ATV bug, the frustrating opacity of using Apple's stuff, Dan's love for Nintendo Switch, nostalgia for NASA, Merlin's love for the Amazon Spot, the problem...Show More

356: Politics or Gender or Iron Man

1:19:51 | Dec 29th, 2017

The boys wrap up a big year—a huge year—with an unintentionally thematic episode about feelings, expectations, nostalgia, and the black boxes of life, technological and otherwise.

355: Eleven Dollars and a Bottle of Yoo-hoo

1:39:52 | Dec 19th, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about keyboard preferences (and their noises), Merlin catching Dan's weird "Mr. Robot" bug on Apple TV, feedback about "inside jokes," exclusion as a weapon, more good Robert Wright interviews, a deepish dive on Netflix...Show More

354: One Whale

1:45:45 | Dec 12th, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about (partial) resolution to Dan's Apple TV bug, some venting about delivery problems, general complaining about customer service, a good TV podcast episode, a very good Buddhism podcast episode, some excellent Buddhis...Show More

353: Superagency

1:40:30 | Dec 5th, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss theories on Dan's Mr. Robot/Apple TV bug, living in an opinion bubble, an update on flu shot efficacy, Dan's recent insane mail delivery, speculation on how giant ad buys work, consternation about memory-holed media....Show More

352: Get Away From My Formular!

1:43:46 | Dec 1st, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about…so many things. Merlin had a lot of coffee. Big topics include: Flickr nostalgia (and smart photo backup tips) Dan's crazy Apple TV bug A terrific podcast episode about Buddhism and the human mind A tough liste...Show More

351: Your Chest Is a Tunnel

1:30:12 | Nov 21st, 2017

This week, your hosts discuss: holiday disruptions, life patterns, the joys of regularity, discovering unnecessary existential vulnerabilities, scheduling as a video game, getting your head around sous vide cooking, modern kids' arithmetic, CBD dosag...Show More

350: Stacking Stones and Inspiration

1:42:05 | Nov 14th, 2017

TOPIC: Integrity and Fear. This week your hosts discuss: sandwiches, solar power, some recent movies and what makes them memorable (or not), the glory of Edgar Wright, fun movie commentaries, Dan's rowing machine, big changes for Chairman Bendis, a ...Show More

349: The Kid Who Never Won Anything

1:44:52 | Nov 7th, 2017

TOPIC: Trials, Trophies, and Trying Harder. This week, the boys arrive from either the past or future to talk about Dan's spoon problem, the refuse racket, the slog of incremental improvement, the perils of black and white thinking, folding paper se...Show More

348: Optionitis

1:21:35 | Oct 31st, 2017

Dan and Merlin talk about Halloween, the Chromebook, Apple, WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), and hair removal.

347: Beast Coast

1:29:41 | Oct 24th, 2017

TOPIC: Too much ambiguity in time. This week, your hosts discuss hot weather adjustments, Merlin's Skype woes, the state of the union on Skype replacement contenders, ruminations on Mac troubleshooting, the fraught future of retail comic book stores...Show More

346: Disagreement of the Genders

1:19:14 | Oct 23rd, 2017

TOPIC: Turns out. This week, the boys talk about audio problems, hot dogs, kegeling, Merlin's next meet-up, Tsum Tsums, comic suggestions, Battle of the Sexes, excellent recent TV series, All the President's Men, the app Pacifica, warming buns, Dan'...Show More

345: Chow Mein Hour

1:21:58 | Oct 10th, 2017

TOPIC: Surface Tension. This week, Dan and Merlin discuss names of cities in Florida, wireless neckbands, elliptical bikes, chore systems (and parental withholding), iOS battery life, canny Mac laptop battery monitoring, how battery cycles work, Tod...Show More

344: The Microwave Moment

1:40:19 | Oct 3rd, 2017

TOPIC: You're not supposed to pet the car. This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Nest Cam updates, Ring doorbell tracking, Echo family additions, HDMI questions, the fraught landscape of 4K HDR TV stuff, and how shopping makes Merlin feel kind of vulner...Show More

343: Lo Sierra Mucho

1:22:24 | Sep 26th, 2017

TOPIC: Publix Hustle This week, Dan and Merlin talk about grocery store promotions, transactional help, the racket of school photos, Occam's Razor for public schools, Time Machine troubleshooting, the scourge of The Crackle, and BMO the salesman. T...Show More

342: Ultraman Scenario

1:21:09 | Sep 19th, 2017

After some Followup and Front Matter, your hosts dive into iOS 11. (Spoilers: it's really good.)

341: Rich Boy Phone

1:36:00 | Sep 12th, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin convene to talk about today's big Apple event.

340: It's-a Me, Dan!

1:32:27 | Sep 5th, 2017

This week, Dan has useful updates on Windows backup options and answers questions about building a Hackintosh. Both of your hosts extoll the virtues of their new Apple TV remote case dinguses. The big topic this week is Nintendo Switch, and Dan has ...Show More

339: True Love Weighs

1:26:50 | Aug 29th, 2017

TOPIC: Don't provoke Dan. This week, Dan and Merlin (once again) complain about what works and what just kiiiinda works with smart devices. Who's winning the voice control game, and who's struggling to play catchup? Ecosystems! Next up, the boys ta...Show More

338: Ambush Site

1:26:45 | Aug 22nd, 2017

TOPIC: It's like elevator buttons. This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about komodo dragons. Also, homework sucks, seed codes rule, and @Movesapp drools. How do we get so scared about things? How cool did flying used to be? Your hosts respond to ...Show More

337: Cognitive Bottleneck

1:11:21 | Aug 18th, 2017

TOPIC: How do you know when you're legitimately overwhelmed? This episode, your hosts catch up on Florida, schedule and sleep consistency, ladders vs. walls, travel mania, and the fraught landscape of personal device security. Your hosts respond to...Show More

336: Town Centre Plaza Spot

1:05:32 | Aug 18th, 2017

TOPIC: Keep your hand away from the giant's mouth! This week, Dan and Merlin look back on summer and forward to the new school year. Also, some excellent ad hoc Business Analysis about the past and future of malls and other retail outposts. Your ho...Show More

335: Personal Assistant to Darius

1:32:56 | Aug 1st, 2017

TOPIC: Start treating yourself like a dummy today. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about iOS 11, the trade-offs of running betas, and waking up to how we're using devices differently. Merlin has thoughts on the usefulness of the will to live. Dan ha...Show More

334: The Little White One

1:15:36 | Jul 25th, 2017

TOPIC: Mapping Your Focus and Motivation This week, Dan talks about a cool new addition to his Fireside.fm service, and Merlin interviews him about how he likes to choose, plan, and evolve the features of an app. Two questions this week, both from ...Show More

333: Your Whiteboards Will Not Survive Reality

1:20:03 | Jul 18th, 2017

TOPIC: Help! My bosses are doing a really dumb thing! This week, Dan and Merlin help a listener and his youngster get started with Spider-Man. Also, hey, support your Local Comic Shop! Listener Molly asks how to help prevent a terrible, damaging ch...Show More

332: Piggybacking on Anger

1:40:33 | Jul 11th, 2017

TOPIC: Making the spice flow. This week, Dan and Merlin dive into the thriving ecosystem of Florida's ad hoc roofing and lawn care professionals. Merlin gets The Boeing Contract, and Dan leaves a check under the mat. Your hosts admit they don't rea...Show More

331: Hidden in Wigs

1:31:21 | Jul 7th, 2017

TOPIC: Time Tetris in Difficult Mode This week, Dan and Merlin do a VERY deep dive on one listener's question about life with an excruciating shared Google Calendar. Merlin, unsurprisingly, has a lot to say about this. No. Like, really. A lot a lot....Show More

330: Frowny Face for You

1:01:35 | Jun 27th, 2017

TOPIC: Drawing effective water. In this week's tight and bright episode, Dan and Merlin do dome followup on food bars and CBD oil, then discuss how to get better at letting people just enjoy what they like. In this week's main topic, your hosts add...Show More

329: Stop all the OTUS

1:51:04 | Jun 20th, 2017

TOPIC: Thirty cable boxes. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about beloved late night talk shows, Planet of the Apes, and the future of TV. Dan introduces his new thought technology about "Protoforms." Your hosts also respond to listener questions abo...Show More

328: Donkey in a Biscuit

1:43:05 | Jun 13th, 2017

TOPIC: Asterisks and Question Marks. This week, Dan and Merlin cover corgis (and other pets), asking for lettuce wraps, high-floor sandwiches, bread in a tube, John Wick (no spoilers), and the wonderful comic infographics of Kate Willaert. There is...Show More

327: Slightly Semitic Bird

1:26:20 | Jun 6th, 2017

TOPIC: She was only 15 years old! This week kicks off with some thoughts on yesterday's WWDC Keynote and some potentially promising signs for Apple's future. Dan declares YouTube videos from The Trip to be the greatest thing Merlin has ever shown h...Show More

326: The Ronald McDonald of Feeds

1:37:09 | May 30th, 2017

TOPIC: "The results have been increbidle." This week, Dan and Merlin opine about various Apple feelings and wondering where the heck things are going. Merlin is sanguine. Merlin is mad at KFC, and Dan reminds us how great 1974 was for movies. Fina...Show More

325: The Real Celebrity Chefs of the Hollywood Hills

1:22:19 | May 23rd, 2017

TOPIC: Again with the motivation. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what motivates the companies who make set-top boxes vs. the providers of the content for those dinguses. What attracts fans to a given platform, and why are we getting so resista...Show More

324: Delivery Status Not Updated

1:32:54 | May 16th, 2017

TOPIC: Odds 'N Sods In this sprawling "odds 'n sods" episode, Dan and Merlin discuss: superheroes, scary movie trailers, (yes, more) egregious package delivery drama, customer service Buddhism, some excellent kids books, updates on the pretty good H...Show More

323: A Horse Named Chili

1:25:54 | May 9th, 2017

TOPIC: Lady in a tube. This week, Dan and Merlin unexpectedly end up doing a pretty deep dive on Amazon voice products and the evolving ecosystem around them. Which is way more interesting than it sounds. Deep dive.

322: The Passive Voice of Water

1:24:59 | May 3rd, 2017

TOPIC: Curiosity before fear. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the experience of Apple stores and repairs, The Handmaid's Tale, Dan's invertebrate-sensing skills, and some follow-up on "look left, go left." Listener Molly asks about how to beco...Show More

321: Need Some Velocity

1:28:35 | Apr 27th, 2017

TOPIC: Velocity! This week Dan and Merlin talk about lice, Kenny Rogers, strange memory phenomena, an intriguing new oil, and popcorn nugs pricing. A question from Listener Ben leads to suggestions for finding velocity.

320: Log Cabin Portal

1:49:35 | Apr 25th, 2017

TOPIC: Triangles Everywhere! This week, Dan and Merlin shuck and/or jive about stealing, Publix, airlines, driver’s ed, douchebagerié, Twitter bots, and more. Main topic this week is a question from Listener Brian about project management. Merlin e...Show More

319: Contract with the Universe

1:26:11 | Apr 11th, 2017

TOPIC: Oh my GOD, this is torture. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about—amongst other odds and sods— the Mean FedEx Guy, the weird future of gig economies, and Adventure Time. Then, there's some handy tips on how to leverage iOS Accessibility setti...Show More

318: Emotional Goggles

1:12:35 | Apr 5th, 2017

After some brief shucky-jivey, the boys resign themselves to discussing the big Apple announcement. They ponder why and how the message was delivered in the way it was as well as what it means. Dan has thoughts on modularization and Merlin reveals a ...Show More

317: Zero Gun Salute

1:20:04 | Mar 31st, 2017

After some very important follow-up, and more than a little shucking and jiving, your hosts answer questions from listeners. This is a good one!

316: Corona MacGuffin

1:11:26 | Mar 21st, 2017

This week, Dan and Merlin have one of their beloved "odds and sods" episodes. Something for everyone in this diverse and bewildering episode. "Same day delivery!"

315: The Nakamichi Deal

1:36:37 | Mar 14th, 2017

TOPIC: "Delivery Attempted." This week, Merlin struggles with his coffee-making options, and Dan recalls his days of fishing lures. USPS deliveries, several TV shows, and Wolverine's disturbing bone claws are also discussed. Listener Jackson writes...Show More

314: Which Fellini You Want to Be

1:41:45 | Mar 7th, 2017

TOPIC: "Remember this film is supposed to be a comedy." This week: Dan struggles with his progressive lenses, but he really liked the movie, Logan. Merlin's daughter has made four piles, and he finally accepts that he really should be watching more...Show More

313: Parents, Old People, and Perverts

1:34:24 | Feb 28th, 2017

TOPIC: You can't perfect life. This week opens with the carnage of today's Amazon S3 problems and why so much of the internet seems broken. A brief history of outage monitoring is provided and a praxis for improving the process is proposed. Dan and...Show More

312: Snake Eating Its Own Goodwill

1:38:38 | Feb 21st, 2017

TOPIC: You're living in the future! This week, Merlin is in a bit of a tizzy as he tries to make coffee, redo his ads, and change his productivity system at the same time. Todoist and the evolving landscape of task apps are discussed. Dan likes Trel...Show More

311: A Fair Eight

1:13:09 | Feb 14th, 2017

TOPIC: Alice hopes to hear from you. This week's episode is packed—literally, packed—with useful tips, tricks, and even a crazy challenge. Psyching yourself into falling asleep, learning how to breathe, using your iPhone's secret trackpad, and a ga...Show More

310: Nominally Mine

1:19:38 | Feb 7th, 2017

TOPIC: My place is here—I fight with you! This week, Dan and Merlin cover a meetup announcement, Merlin's Les Mis obsession, Dan's new Hackintosh Method, and the Benjamin Family's slippery bar problem. Merlin advocates for "The Tiny Life Improvement...Show More

309: Hard Pass

1:17:15 | Jan 31st, 2017

TOPIC: Celebrating your successful failures. This week, Dan and Merlin kick off with discussion of night bears, the ascendance of Netflix, and some very nice emails from listeners. Merlin also shares an important life hack for Twitter. Merlin bring...Show More

308: When Does the Fork Go on the Sat?

1:38:44 | Jan 24th, 2017

TOPIC: Act like you're somebody that you like. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the evolution of voice recognition and touch interfaces and reminisce on the early days of making the turtle move. Dan brings in the topic of how fears of both fail...Show More

307: #43 on The Ladder of Kindness

1:38:35 | Jan 17th, 2017

TOPIC: Youth is the aberration. This week, Dan provides updates on his Hackintosh project, which leads to a discussion of finding reviews and advice with context. The hosts realize, acknowledge, and quickly move past their program’s 6th anniversary,...Show More

306: Sunday Pant

1:47:15 | Jan 10th, 2017

TOPIC: Reframing the conversation with yourself. This week, Merlin talks about his weird mortgage ads and compliments the literally fancy pants he got from the silver underpants people. Suggestions are offered for running a dehumidifier in a “smart ...Show More

305: Quadruple Down

1:29:35 | Jan 3rd, 2017

TOPIC: This is a feeling I'm feeling. This week, your hosts look at the announcement of Dish's new Air TV box, along with the rapidly evolving landscape for cord-cutters. Also, fantasies of monk holes are entertained. The big topic this week is a d...Show More

304: The 2016 Compilation Episode

1:01:00 | Dec 31st, 2016

This is the Best of 2016 Compilation Episode, featuring your favorite moments of the show over the last 12 months. Each clip was suggested and submitted by you, our amazing listeners. Have a great new year!

303: A Liver Runs Through It

1:32:20 | Dec 20th, 2016

TOPIC: Is Tim firing us? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenge of dealing with email that's only kind of from a real person. There's some follow-up on Apple and wishing they'd just give us a "Get out of here!" Merlin recommends some po...Show More

302: Rabbi for the Rabbi

1:15:17 | Dec 13th, 2016

This week, the boys talk about slicing sand, unboxing videos, Overwatch, and some recommended TV viewing. Odds and sods, as you say. Main topic is follow-up re: listener feedback on recent Apple conversations.

301: Not on My Timeline

1:41:19 | Dec 6th, 2016

TOPIC: Vaio Life! This week, Dan and Merlin respond to listener feedback and talk about the tightrope walk of caffeine consumption. Merlin suggests a new AudioDharma talk, which leads to a discussion of whether you have to be an X to learn about Y....Show More

300: A Room Where I Don’t Matter

1:51:29 | Dec 1st, 2016

TOPIC: Kipple and Boomboxes This week Dan and Merlin start by talking about purging junk and answering listener feedback about kids and phones and teachers dealing with email. Main topic this week is whither Apple? Based on how the company is evolv...Show More

299: Unhook from the Comparison

1:14:13 | Nov 23rd, 2016

TOPIC: Your "backstage" vs. their "onstage" This week, Merlin shares some useful thoughts (via Patrick Rothfuss) on being careful about how we compare ourselves to others. The hosts also share some terrific listener suggestions for fantasy books fo...Show More

298: Night Boot for Big Beef

1:25:08 | Nov 15th, 2016

This week, Dan and Merlin do another of their beloved Odds 'n Sods episodes, with tons of great recommendations for movies, TV, apps, services, and nighttime medical appliances.

297: It Takes Craftspersonship

1:28:12 | Nov 11th, 2016

This week, Dan and Merlin are a little out of sorts, so, after some chat and followup, they talk about some of the things that make them happy. Plus, awesome Mac key commands.

296: Surely You Can't be Sirius

1:43:54 | Nov 1st, 2016

TOPIC: Leaving Dropbox Vegas Merlin survives a sleepover, and Dan has a concern about Dropbox.

295: I’m Not Talkin’ for Clapping

1:19:19 | Oct 25th, 2016

Dan's still a little under the weather What home automation is good at right now (and what it mostly isn't) Updates on Hiya and call-blocking apps not working so much Merlin is getting pretty good at making Trump hands Hey! Follow-up and listener que...Show More

294: Sufficiently Advanced Friendship

1:48:32 | Oct 18th, 2016

TOPIC: How to pester people responsibly. Dan's a little under the weather. Maybe kids should be in balls. Who knows? "Wrap a hot towel around your head." Westworld. It's definitely a thing. Follow-up… TaskPaper 3.5 is awesome. Yes. There are good b...Show More

293: The Frame for Our Relationship

1:49:15 | Oct 11th, 2016

TOPIC: The Minimum Viable Waste of Time. Some awesome odds and sods, a great new Markdown editor for OS X, and a main topic on dealing with those aggressive email follow-up people. Dan's Concern™ regarding his annoying smoke detectors Why things s...Show More

292: Rat King of Crush

1:12:43 | Oct 4th, 2016

TOPIC: A Surfeit of Merlin Mannsplaining. This week, Dan and Merlin produce an undisputed instaclassic odds and sods episode. When technology makes you feel crazy. Are retweets endorsements? Universal New Yorker captions. Cursed Images is amazing....Show More

291: Three Healthy Holes

1:31:50 | Sep 27th, 2016

TOPIC: The Unreliable Narrator of You This week, Dan and Merlin talk about weather, compost, small changes, plus some Sling TV followup. The main topic involves Merlin helping Dan sanely enter the Philips Hue Light ecosystem. It's not just for nerd...Show More

290: Table Scraps for Cable Cutters

1:26:07 | Sep 20th, 2016

TOPIC: Nobody's favorite thing. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about update failures, magic, and attention. Their ongoing dive into the fractured and frustrating world of the modern cord-cutter ecosystem continues. It's ponderous.

289: John Rhetoric

1:40:34 | Sep 13th, 2016

TOPIC: Every week (and every time you think of it) This week, Dan and Merlin start by talking about some of the great updates iOS 10—alongside the usual strident advice about backing up before you do anything. Merlin also shares the late-night debac...Show More

288: History is Not Made for Horses

1:38:40 | Sep 6th, 2016

TOPIC: Find My Mac. Please. With Apple's big iPhone event coming tomorrow, Dan and Merlin discuss what makes this particular day such a black box in Apple's history. This is likely to be the last day for some time when we will know SO very little ab...Show More

287: You Are Now Cleared for Salad

1:29:55 | Aug 30th, 2016

TOPIC: Frantic SM 10 Pieces This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the problem with wraps, the problem with notebooks, and the problem with Amazon reviews.

286: Secret Rap Name

1:18:02 | Aug 23rd, 2016

TOPIC: Hey, try this. This week, Dan and Merlin have a shortie, so they talk about stuff they're loving right now and make some recommendations on gadgets, music, movies, and more. Also, the scientific link between chemtrails and morgellons can fin...Show More

285: A Baller VCR

1:44:55 | Aug 16th, 2016

TOPIC: Kids don't need VCR Plus+. This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates. The topic this week is all about media consumption—in particular, the massive changes to how they learn about, locate, obtain, schedule, and consume media...Show More

284: Wake Up, Van Hœt

1:38:48 | Aug 9th, 2016

This week, Dan and Merlin open with an unintentionally deep dive on how Merlin has been tricking out his house with home automation stuff. The main topic this week returns to the theme of updates; in this case, how ubiquitous devices have changed pr...Show More

283: Cognition to Completion

1:37:16 | Aug 2nd, 2016

This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates, talking about the evolution of electronic task management in their lives. Hint: simplify, simplify.

282: Boring and Yet Wonderful

1:16:25 | Jul 26th, 2016

TOPIC: Orinoco Flow This week, Dan and Merlin continue their series on updates, focusing on the difference between the days before and after ubiquitous wifi. Also, lots of fun odds and sods on Scrivener and surviving summer with kids.

281: The Mayor of Chocolate Sundaes

1:42:46 | Jul 19th, 2016

TOPIC: Way of the future. This week, Dan and Merlin continue their discussion on updates to their systems and their productivity worlds. In particular: how have new technologies and critical masses of users led to wanting or needing fewer intermedia...Show More

280: The Big Filter

1:37:36 | Jul 12th, 2016

TOPIC: Updates on Productivity and a modern Kobayashi Maru Scenario This week, Dan and Merlin start a new series on updates. Which sounds really boring, but it isn't, we swear. This time out, the boys start by diving deep on how and why just so muc...Show More

279: The Fishery Loophole

1:41:40 | Jul 5th, 2016

TOPIC: …and, then what happens? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the unexpected cognitive benefits of ritual, repetition, and thinking through the fascinating question: "…and, then what happens?"

278: Yelling at an Idea

1:30:39 | Jun 28th, 2016

TOPIC: People, amirite? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the complexities of communicating with each other. And, brother, is it ever complicated.

277: Everything's Hard

1:37:57 | Jun 21st, 2016

TOPIC: Varieties of pain. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's progress on building fireside.io and its imminent beta release. Lots of fascinating details on why he's made it and who it might be great for. Then, there's discussion of the unex...Show More

276: Do You Even Lift?

1:36:02 | Jun 14th, 2016

TOPIC: Merlin's never sent his heartbeat. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some of this week's WWDC announcements, the past and future of Apple, and that awkward feeling of wondering whether and when new technology is personally relevant.

275: The Lies of Big Shoe

1:36:33 | Jun 7th, 2016

TOPIC: Fill one bag. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about our relationship with the stuff in our lives and how overwhelming it can be. Solutions are offered—throw out that old cinnamon!

274: A Goat in the Pipe

1:36:15 | May 31st, 2016

TOPIC: Disruptions in Service This week, Dan and Merlin talk about that ineffable but growing feeling of disconnection from the collections we used to treasure. Music, Photos, Movies, Books—all the stuff we increasingly entrust to The Cloud. Seems ...Show More

273: Knives and Spoons

2:08:51 | May 24th, 2016

TOPIC: True or false dilemmas? This week, things kick off with a discussion of how to be helpful. Especially at your kid's school, but really just in general. This leads to a rumination on "roots" and what makes us feel like we're part of a communit...Show More

272: Surprise Endoscopy

1:42:59 | May 17th, 2016

TOPIC: Such small hands. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's acquisition of an iPhone SE and how much he's loving it. This leads to some ruminative discussion about how we pick devices based on how we prefer to use them. Also, some love for ...Show More

271: Gravy Dumpster

1:52:41 | May 10th, 2016

TOPIC: Grow what? Grow HOW? This week, Dan and Merlin have a surprisingly passionate discussion about growth. Companies gotta "grow," right? But…what the hell does that really even mean? Lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous. Also, an impor...Show More

270: According to the Cabinet

1:36:26 | May 3rd, 2016

TOPIC: Opinion at Scale. This week kicks off with a confession that Dan and Merlin are increasingly less interested in coverage of Apple's finances and the related Kremlinology and blind guessing about the company. Merlin announces the unlikely prod...Show More

269: 65 Cigarette Butts

1:54:24 | Apr 27th, 2016

TOPIC: Finding stories and insights hiding in your data. This week, Dan and Merlin dive deep into the new world of personal tracking. Dan has a new FitBit, and Merlin has a surprisingly complicated system involving many devices and apps. Great stuff...Show More

268: Tumblo Drylo

1:46:54 | Apr 19th, 2016

TOPIC: Putting an Overt Stake in the Ground. This week, Dan and Merlin end up talking about the surprising stuff a Fitbit can do for you. Dan even buys one. Also, some discussion of pope hats, NASCAR, (the amazing) Screens 4, and that failing resta...Show More

267: Dear Iowa, I Have Enjoyed Your Corn

1:39:17 | Apr 12th, 2016

TOPIC: But, alas. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Smile's updated announcement about TextExpander and the ugly problem of blind internet rage. Also, lots of talk about ponderous 80s movies and old TV shows, including Dan learning which program...Show More

266: European Bachelor

2:04:14 | Apr 5th, 2016

TOPIC: Wow, times change. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenges and opportunities of subscription-based payment models. When do they work (or not) and how quickly does autopay fatigue kick in?

265: Especially Doris

2:04:54 | Mar 29th, 2016

TOPIC: Welcome to Costco. I love you. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about breakfast sandwiches, the pain and suffering of dealing with Apple IDs, managing kids and their iOS devices, Merlin's weird week with Playstation Vue, and the science (or oth...Show More

264: This Made Me Think of You

1:59:10 | Mar 22nd, 2016

TOPIC: Serving the super-motivated super-fan. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about: a modest request from Merlin some interesting new options for viewing OTA broadcast television on Apple TV the evolution (and often lost opportunities) of media de...Show More

263: The Working Definition of Love

2:07:09 | Mar 15th, 2016

TOPIC: No one cares about your demo anymore. This week Dan & Merlin talk about realizing when life isn't all about you and getting better at learning how to say "thank you." Also, lots of great practical (and philosophical) suggestions for getting ...Show More

262: Large Platinum Spoon

2:23:57 | Mar 8th, 2016

TOPIC: Staying out of Technology Detention This week, Dan and Merlin do another giant-size grabbag episode that covers a lot of ground, including: movies, kids, and ratings, oh my! better text editing on iPad, faster typing on iOS complexities of ...Show More

261: The Illusion of Ease

2:02:55 | Mar 1st, 2016

TOPIC: That's Not How the Future Works. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about evolving technology culture, the weird landscape of semi-smart devices, and why Merlin does and kinda doesn't do Getting Things Done so much anymore.

260: Stuck in Green Forever

2:01:58 | Feb 23rd, 2016

TOPIC: Grab Bag. This week, Dan and Merlin cover the waterfront. This wide-ranging episode covers lots of listener feedback, corrections of egregious errors, D&D alignment, the danger of guessing why people are how they are, some fun Tumblr recommen...Show More

259: The Transitive Quality of Misunderstanding

1:44:16 | Feb 16th, 2016

TOPIC: Epistemology and Parenting as Dumpster Fire This week, Dan and Merlin end up talking a lot about what they don't know and how they know they don't know it. The biases, errors, and frames that make us feel wiser than we probably are. Sometime...Show More

258: Means of Egress

1:45:03 | Feb 9th, 2016

TOPIC: Feelings, Slide Rules, and The Franklin Test This week Merlin hasn't had enough coffee and may have early-onset toxoplasmosis, so he and Dan respond to great feedback from listeners, mostly on feeling feelings.

257: Homemade Science Mayonnaise

1:34:53 | Feb 2nd, 2016

TOPIC: Information, Context, and Courage. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the reaction to last week's episode about work and identity and respond to follow-up questions from listeners. Also, Merlin buys a faucet.

256: Every Minute Weighs the Same

1:37:22 | Jan 26th, 2016

TOPIC: Coder, Kayaker, Father, Person. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's attempt to vastly rejigger his schedule in the interest of mental and physical health. This leads to a long discussion of work, identity, expectations, and choosing w...Show More

255: A Ladle of Ladling

1:46:10 | Jan 19th, 2016

TOPIC: Say something funny. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about entertainment as a career and how difficult it can be to know whether you're suited for it. Plus, discussions of X-Men, San Francisco's collapse, and the best way to get vomit out of ...Show More

254: Fixed Points in Time

1:13:21 | Jan 12th, 2016

TOPIC: Budgeting the Primary Secondary Project This week, Dan and Merlin do a deep dive on a very old and very thorny topic: managing time. Thing is: this is not about bookkeeping—it's about accounting. Being honest, humble, and diligent in mindful...Show More

253: Ty Lambo

1:53:23 | Jan 5th, 2016

TOPIC: Elephants all the way down. This week, Dan and Merlin do a deep dive on communication, perception, persuasion, empathy, and understanding, as illustrated by everything from The Force Awakens to Don LaPre to PR emails to Donald Trump to a vari...Show More

252: The Chocolate Boys

1:47:08 | Dec 23rd, 2015

TOPIC: Something something the things we own. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the way shopping changes how we buy stuff—and how buying is changing what we can actually shop for. Then, there's a ruminative discussion of the Mast Brothers chocol...Show More

251: Manna Goy

1:27:03 | Dec 15th, 2015

TOPIC: Maybe quit being so "busy." This week, Dan and Merlin drop a lot of science on the miraculous taxonomies of Judaica. Mazel Tov! For the big topic, Merlin launches into an animated jeremiad on words meaning things, with a focus on being termi...Show More

250: Step One: Don't Dress Like the Hamburglar

1:57:34 | Dec 8th, 2015

TOPIC: Sunrise, Sunset. This week, Dan and Merlin celebrate their 250th episode with an extensive discussion of McDonaldland and its horrific culture and citizenry. The main topic addresses the ““sunsetting”” of the Mailbox iOS app—and what it high...Show More

249: A John Nash Moment

1:49:41 | Dec 1st, 2015

TOPIC: Personal Crazy Walls This week, Dan and Merlin start by covering a lot of things that you might actually be thinking of. The meat of the episode focuses on a listener question about deciding what things go where—leading to a pretty nerdy exe...Show More

248: A Rye Bread Made of Birds

1:32:08 | Nov 24th, 2015

TOPIC: More Songs About Buildings and Food This week, Dan and Merlin talk about transitions, microwave ovens, air conditioning, and the likelihood of salmonella.

247: On a Farm with a Monkey

1:23:09 | Nov 17th, 2015

TOPIC: A Mark on a Page This week, Dan and Merlin kick off by talking about Dan's recent interview with "Weird Al" and how he's such an interesting harbinger of changing times for media and platforms. Next, Merlin responds to a listener's question ...Show More

246: Venn Diagram of Confusion

1:54:37 | Nov 10th, 2015

TOPIC: Medieval or Renaissance? This week, Dan and Merlin start out by helping listeners learn to identify the subtle differences between all things Renaissance and Medieval. The remainder of the show is split between an in-depth introduction to th...Show More

245: The Least Broken

1:57:15 | Nov 3rd, 2015

TOPIC: First impressions of the new Apple TV This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the triumphs and travails of their first few days with the fourth generation Apple TV.

244: You Have to Be a Stag

1:55:17 | Oct 27th, 2015

TOPIC: You are who you choose to be. This week Dan and Merlin talk about making buying decisions, dealing with unsolicited email, preventing stupid from sticking to you, and finding systems that may or may not work.

243: The Device at Hand

1:35:05 | Oct 20th, 2015

TOPIC: It's Business All the Way Down. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about joys and frustrations of contemporary consumer technologies. So great yet so frustrating. So powerful yet so hobbled. It's weird how, as great as the newest tech ever gets, ...Show More

242: Not My Bird

1:33:26 | Oct 14th, 2015

TOPIC: Procrastination is a life sentence. This week, after some high-level discussion on the topics of Marvel and media reduxes, Dan and Merlin (maaaaybe) wrap up their initial and very positive impressions of iOS 9 on modern Apple devices. More f...Show More

241: We Went to Princeton

1:38:40 | Oct 6th, 2015

TOPIC: iOS Amazement This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's new iPad Air 2 and continue their discussion of how much iOS 9 on modern devices is already changing how we do our work. Also, some nerdy updates on how Merlin uses synced text files v...Show More

240: The Third Phase Is Now

1:43:18 | Sep 29th, 2015

TOPIC: Speed, Reliability, and Expectations This episode, Dan and Merlin talk about this week's massive leaps forward with the pairing of iOS 9 and iPhone 6s.

239: Starving African Child

1:49:28 | Sep 23rd, 2015

TOPIC: Block! Block! Body blow! Uppercut! This week, Dan and Merlin talk less about ad-blocking and more about what kind-of feels like (but might not actually be) a point of change for web advertising, podcasting, and media as a whole, which could a...Show More

238: A 100-Year Problem

1:55:53 | Sep 15th, 2015

TOPIC: Knowing what you'll need to know. This week, Dan and Merlin answer a listener question about how the "slow your roll" thought technology can apply to learning new skills.

237: Slow Your Roll

1:38:23 | Sep 8th, 2015

TOPIC: Stop that train! This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some ideas for noticing and then battling the surfeits of negative thought that sometimes threaten to overrun us. Also: talk of a cool new computer mouse, evolution in the comic book indu...Show More

236: Finished for Now

1:35:01 | Sep 1st, 2015

TOPIC: Practice, practice, practice. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the perilous wonders of practice of all kinds.

235: This is a Thing

1:22:57 | Aug 25th, 2015

TOPIC: Losing hit points. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the stuff you have to do to stay healthy and well—and the rocky path to realizing when you have to actually "make it a thing." There's also some follow-up on OTA antennas, car keys, and...Show More

234: Two Inches Behind the Board

1:41:45 | Aug 18th, 2015

TOPIC: Compensatory muscles This week, Dan and Merlin talk about how much emotions can become like physical injuries—and what happens when we try to overcompensate for either.

233: Emotional Density

1:19:49 | Aug 11th, 2015

TOPIC: Can I ask you a question? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the complexities of communicating effectively via email. They also begin to sketch out a unified field theory for escalating communication media based on informational and emotion...Show More

232: You Got This.

1:53:54 | Aug 5th, 2015

TOPIC: Don't just be the meatbag in the room. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about "the fill-in guy," TV shows they're loving, listener feedback, improving presentations, The Smiths, the evolution of podcasts, contact management woes, and rememberin...Show More

231: Hot Rod Hospital Ship

1:58:37 | Jul 28th, 2015

With Merlin on sabbatical (returning next week), Dan is once again joined by John Roderick. They discuss the significance of dreams, sleep paralysis, unexplained phenomenon, alien abductions, a relationship with magic, the importance of history, nigh...Show More

230: My Emotional Reservoir

2:08:32 | Jul 21st, 2015

With Merlin on sabbatical, Dan is joined by John Roderick to talk about being a candidate, taking care of yourself, managing introversion, trying on ideas without fear, the Thirty Years War, and the struggle of being a generalist.

229: Shrimp in the Desert

1:32:52 | Jul 14th, 2015

TOPIC: The perils and joys of just getting started. This week's episode is chockablock with awesomeness, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It ends on a very inspiring note. But, en route: Mexican guys love Morrissey Shabbos goys cause fire to be...Show More

228: Tibet's Next Top Buddha

1:18:29 | Jul 7th, 2015

TOPIC: What kind of "perfect" can you tolerate? This week, Dan and Merlin have a big week. A huge week. Opening with a thank you to generous listeners, the boys then proceed to tackle some FU on the complicated world of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III ...Show More

227: The Treasure Room

1:21:46 | Jun 30th, 2015

TOPIC: Learning to shut up and relax. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenges and benefits of getting out of your own head.

226: Only Child*

1:25:20 | Jun 23rd, 2015

TOPIC: Hitting and sharing and dietetic lunch. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about having and not having siblings (and what it may or may not actually mean) as well as addressing some of the rapid changes coming to the business of podcasting.

225: A Different Kind of Happy

1:30:50 | Jun 16th, 2015

TOPIC: You can't have ALL the phone calls. This week, Dan and Merlin battle Skype to talk about Dan't hissing floor, text editing on iOS, plus more followup on WWDC announcements. Spotlight on a second look at last week's conversation about how we ...Show More

224: Sugar Pills and a Pack of Cigarettes

1:52:15 | Jun 9th, 2015

TOPIC: Poundsign Communication This week, Dan and Merlin talk about evolutions in how we do and don't communicate with each other.

223: Normal is Whatever is There

1:10:33 | Jun 2nd, 2015

TOPIC: Interstitial time and why you want it back. This week, after some preliminary discussion of smoking and the children who throw rocks and run track, Dan and Merlin answer questions from listeners.

222: Full-Stack Obsessive

1:42:27 | May 28th, 2015

Merlin and Dan use The Aviator as a jumping-off point to talk about OCD as it relates to perfectionism, creativity, and drive in the workplace. They discuss rituals and their consequences, the importance of mise en place, and eliminating disruptive p...Show More

221: Minimally Viable Interruption

1:38:07 | May 19th, 2015

TOPIC: Time, Stones, and Giving Yourself a Break Just…give yourself permission to not feel like a dick today. Especially if you think you don't deserve it.

220: Canadian Gentle

1:33:16 | May 12th, 2015

TOPIC: Hopeless and Impossible. This week, Dan and Merlin, delve deeper into the impossibly hopeless nature of email.

219: At Sixes and Sevens

1:36:44 | May 5th, 2015

TOPIC: Jumping Over the Precipice. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what to be courageous about and when. It's rarely as easy or as simple as it seems.

218: The Tigers in Your Kitchen

1:35:13 | Apr 28th, 2015

TOPIC: Fear, Anxiety, and Existential Whack-A-Mole This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Color Guard, the science of binge watching, and the uncertain future of podcasts. But, mainly, they talk a lot about fear and anxiety. Deep dive here. How are f...Show More

217: The Worst Most Advanced Teenager

1:59:53 | Apr 21st, 2015

TOPIC: Take it personal and make it personal. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about culture, solipsism, hiring, and needle-moving things.

216: Safety Sword

1:11:38 | Apr 14th, 2015

TOPIC: Kremlinology and Verbing This week, Dan and Merlin follow-up on Dan's neighbor and The Trailer Incident. They also undertake a rather circuitous exploration of how little we understand about how stuff gets made. This leads to a semi-useful di...Show More

215: Legacy Cat

1:40:09 | Apr 7th, 2015

TOPIC: With great power comes…uh, uh, what-have-you. This week, Dan and Merlin cover a lot of ground. What makes a great comics movie. What movies to show (and not show) your kids. The majesty of The Big Lebowski. And, what exactly Dan should do abo...Show More

214: Destroyed by Farm Equipment

1:16:01 | Apr 1st, 2015

TOPIC: Youth as exception. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about chess, the problem with SEO, and why getting old is normal (if you're lucky).

213: That's Not Where Rogue Goes!

1:16:52 | Mar 24th, 2015

TOPIC: Thinking Patterns and Thinking Bias This week, Dan and Merlin talk in detail about how our unconscious patterns of thinking can damage our quality of life and hinder our ability to grow.

212: That Tuesday Feeling

1:12:23 | Mar 16th, 2015

TOPIC: A lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. This week, Dan and Merlin are all thrown off since they're recording on a Monday. Weird, right? They mostly talk about the respective states of comics and Apple fandom.

211: Squeeze the Teabag

1:07:43 | Mar 10th, 2015

TOPIC: The weather is not the sky. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about discovering the challenges that help you to thrive—and grow.

210: Fighting with Garbage Can Lids

1:35:40 | Mar 3rd, 2015

TOPIC: Less of an Island. This week Dan and Merlin talk about time, negotiations, and what we want (and don't want) from our email apps.

209: Habitual Ritual

1:40:30 | Feb 25th, 2015

TOPIC: Throwing Stars and Managers This week, Dan and Merlin talk about working in a beehive and discuss whether they played D&D properly.

208: Don't Touch Daddy

1:33:51 | Feb 18th, 2015

TOPIC: Illness, Late Night TV, AI in the home, and Talking Baby Dolls This week, Merlin battles the flu to talk with Dan about late night television, binge watching, talking baby dolls, and the kind of artificial intelligence we really need.

207: Vampires in the Wallpaper

1:40:39 | Feb 10th, 2015

TOPIC: Scoping the Minimally-Viable Me This week, Dan and Merlin catch up on illness, Marvel comics, and what-have-you, but end up talking a lot about who we really are—who "I" actually am. Merlin eventually slips into an imbued and mildly-psychedel...Show More

206: Talking to Santa

1:18:43 | Jan 27th, 2015

TOPIC: Work as Practice This week Dan and Merlin chew on some of the numerous eternal imponderables of creative work—with a special focus on "work as practice."

205: Obsolete, circa 1993

2:08:51 | Jan 22nd, 2015

With Merlin on sabbatical, Dan is joined by John Roderick to discuss his recent visit to Africa, the military, corporate friends, strategic thinking, the Internet, digital books and albums, echoes, playmobil figures, measuring your arms, the tribal w...Show More

204: Space Geisha

1:43:20 | Jan 13th, 2015

TOPIC: "I am NOT talking about bartending." A kind of two-parter this week. First up, a meditation on invasive thoughts, how they can take over our lives, and how we can maybe learn to deal with them. Second (starting about 38 minutes in), a VERY ...Show More

203: I Blame the Media.

1:31:13 | Jan 6th, 2015

TOPIC: The things you did or didn't say. This week, Dan and Merlin sympathize with their pal Marco's recently becoming "way too popular for a day." What happens when something we said or wrote gets quoted, misquoted, taken out of context, or amplif...Show More

202: Choosing is a Radio Button

1:26:09 | Dec 30th, 2014

TOPIC: The Life You Actually Want. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about organization, multitasking and new year's resolutions.

201: Never Enough Bathrooms

1:08:35 | Dec 23rd, 2014

TOPIC: The Opacity of the Stack In this depressing holiday episode, Dan and Merlin talk about how tenuous our modern infrastructures feel. How great it is when everything in the stack "just works"; how increasingly seldom all the pieces work; and ho...Show More

200: Blitzkriegscheiße

1:12:03 | Dec 16th, 2014

TOPIC: He'll only do three of these. This week, Dan and Merlin mark their 200th episode by responding to listener feedback and talking about Led Zeppelin and lunch tables.

199: Merlin Mann's Best of 2014

1:21:54 | Dec 9th, 2014

TOPIC: When You Love a Voice. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about podcasts they're loving right now. And, yeah, Merlin rants a little about overthinking and fetishizing podcast production.

198: Gardening Leave

1:18:43 | Dec 2nd, 2014

TOPIC: Time to reboot. This week, Dan and Merlin respond to a note from Listener Tim on how to stay busy and active during his garden leave. The Boys encourage him to experiment with the personal rebooting that's almost impossible to do when you're ...Show More

197: Way of the Brown Lego

1:42:56 | Nov 25th, 2014

TOPIC: Mail Bag. This week, Dan & Merlin respond to listener email and toots. Specifically, dealing with passive-aggressive team members, bulbous "CC:" lines, and what constitutes "stability."

196: The Circle of Lice

1:48:19 | Nov 20th, 2014

TOPIC: Hakuna Matata. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about home pest control, misleading beef jerky, and becoming a more conservative electronics consumer.

195: Prima Facie Butter Coffee

1:42:12 | Nov 11th, 2014

TOPIC: Working alone together. This week, Dan and Merlin look at the many ways workplaces have changed over the years, and how they can be great or not so great.

194: The Company of a Clown

1:24:30 | Nov 4th, 2014

TOPIC: What gets us on the moon? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about varieties of clowns, rogue walruses, bloody elevator buttons, taking risks, and catching footballs.

193: Disappointment Delivery Mechanism

1:35:56 | Oct 28th, 2014

TOPIC: You Are That Little Dot. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about notifications, beeps, bloops, flashes, and all the stuff we have zero control over. There's about a million ways people can contact us and just as many ways we can unintentionally ...Show More

192: Party City Trophies

1:33:58 | Oct 21st, 2014

TOPIC: Reinforcement, Aikido, and Fear This week, Dan and Merlin try to tackle positive versus negative reinforcement.

191: Heisenberg Uncertainty Dog

1:27:08 | Oct 14th, 2014

TOPIC: People, amirite? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about neighbors, dogs, Macs, MLB.tv, and flavors of reinforcement.

190: C-3PO's Beard

1:21:35 | Oct 7th, 2014

TOPIC: The Ultimate Existential Investor This week, Dan and Merlin vent about Apple as only its superfans really can. What happens when things…don't…just work?

189: That's How You Roll When You're a Lobster

1:17:53 | Sep 30th, 2014

TOPIC: Starting the stuff we haven't started. This week—after some entertaining random talk and a handful of hardware and software recommendations—Dan and Merlin dive back into a familiar evergreen topic: why is it so hard to get started with a proj...Show More

188: The Smell of Snake Anxiety

1:48:36 | Sep 23rd, 2014

TOPIC: Media, Rarely Well Done This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the modern consumer media landscape and how we seem to be changing almost as fast as the technology. Almost.

187: Peeling a Dangerous Onion

1:29:53 | Sep 16th, 2014

TOPIC: Knowing What You'll Need to Know This week, Dan and Merlin talk about a recent presentation Merlin gave on expertise and curiosity. They also pour out a 40 for Macworld Magazine.

186: I Wish John Siracusa Were Here

1:06:27 | Sep 9th, 2014

TOPIC: Grab bag. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about—what? Well. They talk about privilege, empathy, bikes, bass players, Merlin's new mic, more bathroom signs, and a controversial anecdote about how Apple was maybe kinda not nice to a customer.

185: David Foster Wallace Morning

1:29:52 | Sep 2nd, 2014

TOPIC: The Durable Impossibility of Email. This week, Dan and Merlin return to an evergreen topic: the impossibility of email. Chaotic, paradoxical, debilitating, frustrating, buoyant, and occasionally capable of causing short-term madness, email i...Show More

184: Days of Bathrooms Past

1:28:40 | Aug 26th, 2014

TOPIC: Is there anything else you want to tell me? This week, Dan and Merlin discuss what bathrooms can teach us about learning, expertise, and empathy.

183: Remember Who Has the Cannon

1:30:30 | Aug 19th, 2014

TOPIC: Wait, what'd I DO?!? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about anger, misunderstandings, and trying to do the right thing. How bewildering (and emotional) it can be to feel misunderstood—as well as trying to better understand what we may have done...Show More

182: Non-Canonical Suspenders

1:27:29 | Aug 12th, 2014

TOPIC: Thinking, Thinking, Thinking. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the inextricable links between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. They also take some time to fondly remember Robin Williams.

181: A Broom Pusher for Johnny Carson

1:07:49 | Aug 6th, 2014

While Merlin takes a short sabbatical, Dan is joined by special guest David Sparks to talk about presentations, making your thing, balancing acts, iBooks author, paying for your kids' school with side projects, old man glasses, and more.

180: Deus Ex Machina for Your Gut

1:10:25 | Jul 22nd, 2014

TOPIC: Stupid can't stick to me. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the distinction between being against something vs. not having an opinion about it vs. just choosing not to let the world stick to you.

179: 7 Most Important Breasts for Your Re-Fi

1:16:09 | Jul 15th, 2014

TOPIC: A Personal History of Personal Publishing This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the constantly-changing landscape of online publishing. How we got from home pages to blogs to social media and beyond. Things move around, things get shorter (or ...Show More

178: Fake Laminated Bull Poop

1:19:44 | Jul 8th, 2014

TOPIC: Yes. Yes. This week, Dan and Merlin follow-up on their recent 5by5 at the Movies episode about Glengarry Glen Ross, talking more about sales culture, media consumption, how our personal data gets used to close us, and why Dan admires Ricky Ro...Show More

177: Motivation Has Pit Stains

1:20:17 | Jul 1st, 2014

TOPIC: Motivation This week, Dan and Merlin talk about their upcoming 5by5 at the Movies episode on Glengarry Glen Ross, which segues naturally into a discussion of the many aspects of motivation. Carrots, sticks, bonuses, fear, status, and just gr...Show More

176: "ENJOY YOUR MEAL"

1:15:41 | Jun 24th, 2014

TOPIC: (Not) Solving People Problems With Technology. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the challenge of finding business workflows that…actually work. And, what happens if you try to fix a "people problem" with a technical solution. Also, detai...Show More

175: Andy is the Stuff of Nightmares

50:11 | Jun 10th, 2014

TOPIC: "Creativity" where you din't expect it. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about PIXAR, creativity, and FoldingText before finally succumbing to the treachery of Skype.

174: I Dont Deal in Abstractions

56:55 | Jun 5th, 2014

TOPIC: Dan & Merlin in Fancy San Francisco This week, Dan and Merlin visit across a table in a darkened room to talk about WWDC, San Francisco's lesser-known features, and how to spend less time bogged down in day-to-day junk.

173: The Best Days End in Tears

1:14:08 | May 27th, 2014

TOPIC: Culture is what we DO. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about processing a hotel room and leading by example.

172: Somewhere Between a Habit and a River

1:03:09 | May 22nd, 2014

TOPIC: How to undig a river. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about an email message from a listener who's having trouble getting away from his inbox long enough to do what he needs to, introducing a mindfulness exercise that may help point to a deepe...Show More

171: Put a Sweatshirt In My Wallet

1:17:29 | May 13th, 2014

TOPIC: It's like wallets and backpacks. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about H.R. Giger, Dan's latest Android experiment, more on app privacy, and why we need both wallets, backpacks, and suitcases. You know. Analogies.

170: Useful, Creepy, Gross

1:34:03 | May 6th, 2014

Merlin and Dan talk about Marked, Drafts, MLKSHK shutting down, App.net, routers, Hong King Phoey, poisoned meatballs, and more.

169: Upgrade Your Skateboard

1:27:24 | Apr 29th, 2014

Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin talk about comiXology and the future of online digital purchases.

168: It's Okay for Cats to Wander Around on Planes

1:11:06 | Apr 22nd, 2014

TOPIC: Standing up to Attention Bullies. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the world's impossible expectations regarding each of our own time, attention, and access. What happens when we tacitly allow the universe to ask us anything any time for...Show More

167: Second Banana

1:12:18 | Apr 15th, 2014

TOPIC: Ubi Sunt, LCS? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the uneasy future of local comic shops—especially in light of Amazon's announced acquisition of comiXology.

166: 404 - Friends Not Found

54:11 | Apr 8th, 2014

TOPIC: The future we can't know. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about how quickly technology is evolving, how janky that evolution can be, and how terrible we all are at forecasting what will come next and beyond. Could Merlin have ever imagined he...Show More

165: The Opposite of Attrition

1:13:34 | Apr 1st, 2014

TOPIC: Words mean things. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the blight of buzzwords, jargon, and douchespeak writ large.

164: Back in the Medieval Village

1:38:54 | Mar 25th, 2014

TOPIC: Curiosity & Creativity This week, Dan and Merlin talk more about expertise and how it relates to the ineffable qualities of curiosity and creativity. Can curiosity be inspired or taught? Or, is it just something you either have or don't? How ...Show More

163: Head Lice :-(

1:26:54 | Mar 18th, 2014

TOPIC: LEGO and Expertise This week, Dan and Merlin talk about LEGO and what becoming a Master Builder can teach us about expertise. Also: tooth fairies, binder clips, and the pedagogical warning shot. WARNING: This episode of B2W contains informa...Show More

162: We're All Waiting in the Same Line

1:24:02 | Mar 11th, 2014

TOPIC: ““Experiencing Issues”” with Customer Service This week, Dan and Merlin analyze what's really going wrong when we get bad customer service. Spoiler: The brand is only as sound as its day-to-day implementation.

161: Zeitgeist Helmut

1:32:30 | Mar 4th, 2014

TOPIC: Time, Sleep, and Aspirations This week, Dan and Merlin talk about impossible trade-offs and the benefits of remembering this is actually your life.

160: Reverse Spider Sense

1:14:58 | Feb 26th, 2014

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about shaving, lights, and Dan's amazing new superpower.

159: You Become Your Catch Phrases

1:27:34 | Feb 18th, 2014

Merlin and Dan talk about Library Elf, app launchers like Quicksilver and Alfred, Stanley Kubrick, pushing people to create greatness, not knowing what you like until you see it, the typefaces of Moon, and more.

158: Merlin-Sized Hole

1:38:04 | Feb 11th, 2014

TOPIC: Why We Have Doors. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about internet nostalgia, hacking vs. whacking, and why we have doors for a reason.

157: Non-Dominant Hand

1:22:05 | Feb 4th, 2014

TOPIC: The Spreadsheet of You This week, Dan and Merlin talk more about sleep and how self-quantization can goose your mindfulness.

156: Not the Monk I Used to Be

1:41:34 | Jan 28th, 2014

TOPIC: Better Sleep Habits This week, Dan and Merlin do a deep dive on building better sleep habits with a focus on the paradoxes and planning of daily activities that can make all the difference.

155: Newton's Fifth Law of Politeness

1:31:12 | Jan 21st, 2014

TOPIC: Isolation and Identity This week, Dan and Merlin talk about civility, identity, Florida, and how you can't unsee Idiocracy.

154: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

1:23:00 | Jan 14th, 2014

TOPIC: The Attention Stack This week, Dan and Merlin talk about—what?—maybe the attention stack. How what we pay attention to (and, yes spend our time on) can't help but affect how we see, think, feel, and decide. Not happy with any of those things...Show More

153: Anxiety's a Goat

1:15:21 | Jan 7th, 2014

TOPIC: The thoughts we think. And think. And think. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about anxiety, compulsive thoughts, and how to at least crack an air hole in a big problem. Way of the future.

152: Tiny Hands, Large Desires

1:15:18 | Dec 31st, 2013

TOPIC: Consistency, Change, and Counting-Down This week, Dan and Merlin return to the evergreen topic of new year's resolutions. Remember: in the main, you are what you've already done a lot.

151: The Christmas Pants

1:07:22 | Dec 24th, 2013

TOPIC: Christmas and Control This week, Dan and Merlin meander through holiday matters, including the Winter Warlock-like impotence of having your electric meter blow up on Christmas Eve Eve.

150: Ask for John Klumpp

1:27:22 | Dec 17th, 2013

TOPIC: Enough. This week, Dan and Merlin meander around the meaning of, "enough," pondering the deep existential pit we dig for ourselves and maybe how to get out of it. Merry Christmas. Get your head out of your ass.

149: Vixen Haler

1:19:35 | Dec 10th, 2013

TOPIC: Criticism and Its Discontents This week, Dan and Merlin talk about criticism, people who don't like you, and how much to let each have anything to do with the work you produce.

148: Activity Seat

1:01:38 | Dec 3rd, 2013

TOPIC: Gooseneck Options This week, with Dan re-sick and Merlin full of beans, the boys do a deep dive on hand washing, purpose-built bathroom activity gadgets, and the benefits of arming our children.

147: Five-Dollar Murray

1:20:34 | Nov 26th, 2013

TOPIC: Perfectionism and Procrastination This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why the classic meanings of perfectionism mostly miss the mark; it's less about being scared to finish and more about being terrified to start.

146: Phantom Bell Syndrome

1:35:04 | Nov 19th, 2013

TOPIC: Going Mobile-er. This week, Dan and Merlin are very sick, so they talk about being sick. Then, they talk about what it would take to move to using just an iPad Air on the road.

145: Nine-Thousand Words of Holden Caulfield

55:58 | Nov 12th, 2013

TOPIC: Grab bag This week, Dan takes a minute to sit down with Merlin to talk about bathroom GIFs, Marvel movies, private school ejection, and a new interview with Merlin that is very very long.

144: Habituate a Goat

1:19:14 | Nov 6th, 2013

TOPIC: Perception and Perspective. In their second ever live, face-to-face episode, Dan and Merlin talk about goats, noise gate, and taking a step back for a better view of where you are.

143: Chimpanzee Scallop Throwing

1:22:18 | Oct 29th, 2013

TOPIC: Preparation This week, Dan and Merlin talk about preparation.

142: 86 Jam Pack

1:33:59 | Oct 22nd, 2013

TOPIC: Traveling Like a Gentleman. This week, Dan and Merlin revisit the travails of air travel. How to prepare, how to survive--and how to be a better and more mindful person along the way. Also, some timely discussion of this morning's Apple prod...Show More

141: Counterclockwise. Like a Gentleman.

1:13:57 | Oct 15th, 2013

TOPIC: Learning the Wheres and Whens of Productivity This week, Dan and Merlin talk about learning from how you work to improve your basic productivity infrastructure, with specific attention to using Perspectives in OmniFocus. Whether it's consoli...Show More

140: Silicon Circus

1:24:09 | Oct 8th, 2013

TOPIC: Special Guest, Matt Alexander This week, Merlin is joined by Bionic co-host, Matt Alexander. They discuss ““technology ecosystems,”” life as a self-described trans-atlantic, tech scenes that thrive and don't, dating someone from Florida (and ...Show More

139: Tap Your Meat Stack

1:25:47 | Oct 1st, 2013

TOPIC: Grab Bag, plus Tasks vs. Calendar Items This week Dan and Merlin administer an epic grab bag episode, chockablock with new app, book, podcast, and music suggestions. Also, a return to the evergreen topic of where stuff goes. How to decide wh...Show More

138: Mindfulness...Whether I Want It or Not

1:30:53 | Sep 24th, 2013

TOPIC: Informal Background Self-Quantization This week Dan & Merlin discuss the merits of self-quantization. Which is fancy way of saying, "Merlin got a new Fitbit." Why is anecdotal self-reporting a sucker's bet? What are the benefits of making y...Show More

137: Alice Two Arrows Bob

1:24:12 | Sep 17th, 2013

TOPIC: Etiquette, Intros, and Endorsements This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the surprisingly complicated topic of email introductions. Who emails whom? Who gets cc'd and for how long? How much homework are we making (or accepting)? And, thornie...Show More

136: Scared of Your Own Life

58:59 | Sep 11th, 2013

TOPIC: Fear of Your Own TODO List This week, Dan and Merlin cover a topic suggested by listener, @jeff_nordstedt: not wanting to look at your todo list. From capture to completion, there are a million ways to fall off the path. The boys take a deep...Show More

135: There's No "I" in Success

1:20:29 | Sep 3rd, 2013

TOPIC: Joss Whedon GTD; Meeting Redux This week, Dan and Merlin talk about getting specific with your productivity and why every meeting needs an agenda. Now, take a drink.

134: A Boss You Don't Even Know About

1:29:28 | Aug 27th, 2013

TOPIC: Talk Shows, Baseball, and Inboxes. This week, Dan and Merlin cover a range of topics related to expertise, experience, professional repetition, and management, culminating in a tour of Merlin's current email filtering strategy.

133: I'm Glad Your Computer Died

1:14:04 | Aug 20th, 2013

TOPIC: How many keys do you really need? This week, Dan and Merlin return to the question, "What do you want ten times more of?" and weigh the risks and benefits of increasing the amount of complexity in your life.

132: C+ Objective Stack

1:14:22 | Aug 13th, 2013

TOPIC: Fraud vs. Failure This week, Dan and Merlin dive into what makes us feel like frauds and what makes us feel like failures.

131: The Peacock Dance of Men

1:27:34 | Aug 7th, 2013

TOPIC: Power, Yelling, and Airport Kung Fu This week, Dan and Merlin continue their discussion of power and how it does or doesn't work. Do real leaders actually talk like the douchebags, serial entrepreneurs, and screamy travelers struggling to im...Show More

130: Cobb Salad Lawyer

1:28:11 | Jul 30th, 2013

TOPIC: Delays This week, Dan and Merlin talk about delays, agency, power, and why yelling at people about your problems rarely helps anyone.

129: Putting Your Meat by the Pool

1:32:43 | Jul 23rd, 2013

TOPIC: Lists This week, Dan and Merlin talk about 3½ kinds of lists that can change your game. Merlin knows a lot about Productivity.

128: Eating Scones in the Closet

1:33:14 | Jul 19th, 2013

TOPIC: Time Awareness & Scope Wormholes This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why we (and Frank) are terrible at estimating time, as well as what we can do to get better at it.

127: Loki Situation

1:33:54 | Jul 9th, 2013

TOPIC: Employers, Bosses, Leaders, and Managers This week—in what may easily turn into a multi-episode arc—Dan and Merlin talk about bosses. Whether we're looking at it from up or down, management is tricky business. The question is, what makes a b...Show More

126: Howard Chicken

1:53:02 | Jul 4th, 2013

TOPIC: How many Saturdays do you get? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about time. Its scarcity, its passing, its tyranny, and its possibilities.

125: Hakuna Potato

1:59:12 | Jun 28th, 2013

TOPIC: There are Only Two Prices: Free and What It Costs This week, Dan and Merlin return to the classic lineup and some classic topics, including knowing your value, learning what to charge, and realizing what you can live with. Also: jury duty, t...Show More

124: The Tuesday Afternoon Version of Me

49:54 | Jun 24th, 2013

TOPIC: The Chinese Symbol for 'Pants' Inside of The Chinese Symbol for 'Jury Duty.' This week, Dan's away, so Merlin goes solo, taking a break from jury duty to talk about the opportunities that can be hiding inside change, inconvenience, and tumult...Show More

123: I Want to See Your Face the Whole Time (LIVE)

1:29:29 | Jun 11th, 2013

TOPIC: First Meeting, Gifts, and Grifts This week—after 122 episodes, plus almost a decade of internet pal-dom—Dan and Merlin finally meet and record in a room together for the first time. With only passing nods to the nominal topic of "gifts," Dan...Show More

122: The Crowbar of Loyalty

1:46:15 | Jun 4th, 2013

TOPIC: Loyalty, Altruism, Reality Check, or Extortion? This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what we talk about when we talk about "loyalty."

121: I Just Had a Dog Delivered

1:09:19 | May 28th, 2013

TOPIC: Dan's Recent Bathroom Incident, et al. This week, Dan and Merlin exhale. Don't search for secret doors.

120: Egg MacGuffin

1:36:53 | May 21st, 2013

TOPIC: What would you do differently if you had a "safety net?" This week, Dan and Merlin congratulate their pal, Marco, on the acquisition of a company he helped co-found. Which leads to the nominal topic: what kind of safety net would you need to...Show More

119: Big Bag of Pandora's Potatoes

1:28:33 | May 14th, 2013

TOPIC: Macintosh Nostalgia and Utter Apple ID Madness. This week, after an entirely appropriate amount of very important follow-up, Dan and Merlin talk about Susan Kare's original Mac icons, why they're not going to be appearing on John Siracusa's t...Show More

118: One-Step Corn Kerneler

1:35:49 | May 7th, 2013

TOPIC: Toward an (Admittedly Dubious) Unified Field Theory of Creativity This week, Dan and Merlin consider a framework for understanding the basic modes and focal lengths involved in producing creative work. Why and how do we get so hung up and fr...Show More

117: The Flu Shots of Siracusa County

1:31:41 | Apr 30th, 2013

TOPIC: Offices, and when to get out of them. This week—in what will surely be remembered as the greatest Back to Work episode of all time—Dan and Merlin eventually talk about working at a desk and when to take it someplace else.

116: Beagle Removal Service

1:34:32 | Apr 29th, 2013

TOPIC: Quit & Analyze, and Marvel Character Speculation. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's "Quit & Analyze" episode, then proceed into a very useful conversation about which characters from the Marvel Universe they're each most like.

115: Invitation to a Blame Party

1:39:21 | Apr 26th, 2013

TOPIC: Fixing the Culture of Meetings This week, Dan and Merlin address the problems with meetings, and how we can each choose to improve them. Ten quick ideas? Purpose Agenda Grazing Policy Hard Edges Scheduling Guests Timekeeper No Ratholes Foc...Show More

114: I'm Moving to FudgePacker

1:21:30 | Apr 17th, 2013

TOPIC: Quicksilver and the OS X App Launcher Landscape This week, Dan triumphantly returns from two weeks of crippling illness. So, the boys ease their way back into the groove with a grab bag of great follow-up, some Adventure Time talk, and a long...Show More

113: Entropy's Gonna Do Its Business

1:21:22 | Apr 2nd, 2013

TOPIC: Drafts for iOS, and Who You Want to Be This week, Dan and Merlin cover two very different topics. First, there's a detailed discussion of one of Merlin's favorite iOS apps, Drafts, including a deep dive on the app's extraordinary interaction...Show More

112: Touching Pizza and Robotron

1:34:43 | Mar 26th, 2013

TOPIC: Choosing Your Forks. This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some of the deeper and more slippery issues behind changes in our career and life. In particular, how do we go from a vague tickle to that feeling of full-blown intolerability that ca...Show More

111: You Get There Early for Pancake Day

1:18:30 | Mar 19th, 2013

TOPIC: Memory. 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 ev...Show More

110: Okay, Then.

1:42:44 | Mar 12th, 2013

TOPIC: Stupidity. 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 actua...Show More

109: Two Paragraphs on Bourbon

1:25:51 | Mar 5th, 2013

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 harm...Show More

108: What Can I Spray?

1:28:58 | Feb 26th, 2013

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 outsiz...Show More

107: Pull Out Your Dingus

1:22:47 | Feb 20th, 2013

TOPIC: Compression 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 yo...Show More

106: Enough Candy to Last Forever

1:36:05 | Feb 12th, 2013

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,...Show More

105: Fissures of Men

1:24:27 | Feb 5th, 2013

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 Logi...Show More

104: Grab Your Revolver

1:33:20 | Jan 29th, 2013

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 episod...Show More

103: Lotta Little Knives

1:39:12 | Jan 23rd, 2013

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 u...Show More

102: Hunter Ready to Write

57:37 | Jan 15th, 2013

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 ...Show More

101: Sprinting Straight Into a Wall

1:29:06 | Jan 8th, 2013

TOPIC: Those New Years When We're Not Actually Resolved. This week, Merlin and Dan step back from resolutions and shooting yourself in the face with a wrist rocket to talk about what you're actually trying to change. You're failing and feeling bad ...Show More

100: Go Ahead, Caller.

1:29:18 | Jan 3rd, 2013

TOPIC: Yes. The caller is there. This week, in celebration of their hundredth episode, Dan and Merlin do the first call-in episode of Back to Work. A bevy of the beloved jackals and nerds ask questions about GTD, creative autonomy, sleep and energy...Show More

99: Nobody Wants to Live in a Scaffolding

1:35:21 | Dec 22nd, 2012

TOPIC: Troubleshooting for Saner GTD This week, Dan and Merlin wrap up their epic summer crossover series on David Allen's book Getting Things Done, focusing on the trouble spots, hang-ups, and occasional rat holes that people often encounter in im...Show More

98: Bagged and Boarded

1:36:05 | Dec 18th, 2012

TOPIC: Working Getting Things Done to stay current, complete, and creative. This week, Dan and Merlin continue their discussion of David Allen's Getting Things Done system. Learning how to leverage GTD's modality to firewall time for guilt-free cre...Show More