TUAW Post > Triggering AppleScripts from Calendar Alerts in Mountain Lion

calendar_scriptAppleScript's are great tools for increasing your daily productivity. They're even better when they can be set to run unattended, at night, on weekends, or during downtime.  In Lion, iCal included a handy option for attaching a script to a calendar event.  Just create an event, add a Run Script alarm, point it to the desired script and you're good to go.  Things changed in Mountain Lion, though.  Presumably for security reasons, the Run Script alarm option was removed from the Calendar app.  Despite its removal, however, there are still some ways you can trigger scripts from Calendar events.

[Read more on TUAW...]

TUAW Post > Build a Photo Calendar with Automator

I'm very happy to announce that I am now writing automation and productivity tips for The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).

My first post is an Automator how-to.  It shows you how to create a Print Plugin that shows up in the PDF menu when you print a document. This specific plugin lets you print a photo calendar right out of the Calendar app.  It's fun, and it shows off some of the cool stuff you can do with Automator.

[Read more on TUAW...]

Save 35% on Peachpit Mac Automation Made Simple Videos

My 8 chapter Mac Automation Made Simple video series is 35% off through the end of the year if you use coupon code VIDEO12.

[Learn more here or visit the Peachpit website]

Mac Productivity: Scheduling AppleScripts

If you're an Automator user, you probably know how to create iCal Alarm workflows, which can be set to run at scheduled times, allowing processing to occur during downtime.  If you're not familiar with Automator or iCal Alarm workflows, check out some of my other tips to get acquainted...

Using Automator: Scheduling Workflows

Mac Automation Made Simple: Scheduling Automator Workflows (video)

What about AppleScripts?  Can't they be run on a schedule too?  You bet.  There are actually a couple of primary ways this can be done. [Read more on the Peachpit blog...]

Now Available: New Mac Automation Made Simple Videos!

Peachpit has bundled a new series of my Mac Automation Made Simple videos on Automator.  They're now available for purchase as DRM-Free downloads, so you can play them on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.  Topics in this 8-part series include:

  • Automate generating job folders - If you use job folders for multiple projects to keep organized, learn how to save time and reduce errors by building workflows in Automator to create job folders consistently and quickly. You'll also learn the basics of actions and variables in Automator.
  • Batch-create folders from an Excel list - If your workflow ever requires you to create a large number of folders or sets of subfolders with specific naming conventions, Excel and Automator can work together to eliminate the manual creation of folders. By using the powerful features in Excel to build lists of file names in large numbers and use Automator to process those lists into hundreds of folders in minutes.
  • Display Growl notifications for new content - File sharing over a network is great for larger files that you wouldn't send via email, but how can you be sure that you're always notified when a new file lands in your folder? Learn how to team Automator with the popular notification software Growl to build a great workflow that eliminates the need for you to get an email or phone call notifying you of new files.
  • Schedule backups via a network - Do you manually back up your Mac to a server? If so, you've probably had to set up calendar reminders and run through the process on a regular basis or risk losing your data. In this lesson, learn how to make that process automatic and painless with Automator and iCal.
  • Share files via Dropbox - Take the powerful PDF tools offered in OS X a step further by building your own Print Plugin with Automator. You'll learn how to set up a Print Plugin that automatically posts any document you print to PDF to the online file sharing tool Dropbox. You'll also learn the basics of setting up actions to rename files to be friendly for upload tools by removing offending characters.
  • Batch-convert image files to PDF - If you've ever had the daunting task of scanning a book or a box of images with a flat bed scanner, you know that it isn't easy to combine all those files into a single PDF without some heavy-hitting applications like Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. But what if you don't have those applications or are just looking for an easier way? Learn how to set up a quick and easy way to combine multiple images into a single PDF without the hassle.
  • Batch-process images for iPhoto - If you're like most people with a smart phone, an amature photographer or have a large photo digitizing project on your plate, you'll import, manipulate and save hundreds to thousands of images a year. In this lesson, you'll learn how to unleash the power of Automator and free third-party tool to streamline your workflow and make importing images to your iPhoto library a snap.
  • Batch-process multiple InDesign files to PDF - Exporting multiple InDesign files to PDF can be as quick and easy as dragging and dropping your files. You'll learn how to create a drag-and-drop application with AppleScript and Automator that opens, exports, names, and saves PDFs from InDesign. You'll be able to use the same custom application for both InDesign CS4 and CS5.

Sold as a set, or individually, you can find them on Peachpit's website.

Peachpit Blog Post > Using Automator: Scheduling Workflows

03.05.09 - Using Automator: Scheduling Workflows.

Automator workflows are great at saving you time by automating tasks that you'd otherwise have to do manually. Want to become even more efficient? Try scheduling your workflows to run at night, on weekends, or while you're at lunch. In Automator, you can quickly and easily save any workflow as an iCal Alarm, to be run automatically whenever you see fit.  [Read more at Peachit.com...]

Mac Automation Made Simple Video Podcast > Extending Automator Workflows with Third-Party Actions

Episode 16
Date: 02.17.2009
Duration: 00:08:48
Extending Automator Workflows with Third-Party Actions
In this episode of Mac Automation Made Simple, Ben Waldie demonstrates how to extend the power of Automator with third-party actions, allowing you to build Web photo galleries, a birthday calendar in iCal, a photo contacts sheet in InDesign, and more..
[View in Tunes...] [View at Peachpit.com...]

Mac Automation Made Simple Video Podcast > Scheduling Automator Workflows

Episode 6
Date: 10.01.2008
Duration: 00:04:16
Scheduling Automator Workflows
In this episode of Mac Automation Made Simple, Ben Waldie demonstrates how to save Automator workflows as iCal alarm plug-ins, allowing them to be scheduled to run during downtime, such as at night or while you're away from your desk.
[View in iTunes...] [View at Peachpit.com...]

Apple.com Article > Creating a Scheduled Automator Workflow

Automator workflows are a great way to speed up those time-consuming and repetitive manual processes on your Mac. But perhaps it would be even more efficient if you could perform some of those tasks outside of the normal workday. Do you know that you can schedule Automator workflows to run when you are away from your desk?

The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an Automator workflow, which will be saved as an iCal alarm that will be triggered in the middle of the night, allowing you to accomplish tasks even when your office is closed. This particular workflow will be scheduled to run at midnight, and it will generate a summary of the new day’s iCal events in TextEdit, ready for your review first thing in the morning. [Read more...] (pdf)

Apple.com Article > Backup Current Week’s Files

Backup should be a part of every Mac users’ workflow. However, a lot of the time, regular backups are not being performed. Automator is here to help. Using Automator actions that are built right into Mac OS X, anyone can now create a workflow to back up their modified files on a regular basis.

The following steps will walk you through the process of creating an Automator workflow that will run every week, and will back up to CD or DVD any items in your Documents folder that have been modified during the current week. [Read more...] (pdf)