Macworld > Ask the Script Doctor: Working with Text

Ask the Script Doctor is a regular column in which we solve real-world Mac problems using AppleScript and Automator. If you have a problem you’d like us to solve, send an email to the Script Doctor for consideration.

Whether we’re writing novels or email, we all use text all the time. AppleScript is a great tool for making text-focused work easier and more efficient. For that reason, I get a lot of questions about how to simplify common text tasks. Here are a few of those questions and my answers.

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Do you have a scripting problem or a question for the Script Doctor? Send it to

Macworld > Ask the Script Doctor: Solving Mail problems

I'm very happy to announce my new scripting column for Macworld, Ask the Script Doctor.  The first one focuses on answering reader questions about AppleScripting Mail.

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Do you have a scripting problem or a question for the Script Doctor? Send it to


Macworld | iWorld 2012 Favorite Find: olloclip

More and more, my iPhone is becoming my camera of choice.  It takes great photos, and I always have it with me.  This year, at Macworld | iWorld, I was excited to stumble upon the olloclip.  It's a 3-in-1 lens that fits snuggly over your existing iPhone lens.  Included lenses are fisheye, wide-angle, and macro.  I have to say, I love this lens, and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to do more with iPhone photography.  It'll set you back about $70, but it's such a great little accessory, to me, it's well worth the price.

For anyone considering it, here are some observations…

  • The olloclip is tiny.  It will easily fit in your pocket.
  • It only works with the main iPhone camera (the one on the back of the phone), not the one that faces you.
  • You access the macro lens by unscrewing the wide-angle lens.  To use the macro lens, you need to get in very close, within about 1/2".
  • The fisheye lens has an extensive range, so you'll need to grip your iPhone more on the sides if you want to prevent your fingers from being visible along the edges of the photos.
  • The olloclip is a tight squeeze.  You'll have to remove your phone from its case to use it.  And, if you have a screen protector, it may push it out of the way if you aren't careful.
  •  The olloclip is designed for the iPhone 4/4S.  If Apple releases a new form factor iPhone 5, you'll probably need to purchase a new olloclip, assuming they release an updated version.
  • The olloclip comes with a small microfiber bag, which doubles as a lens cleaner.

In short, I concur with Stephen Hackett's Three-Word Review of the olloclip… Buy it now!


olloclip Gallery:

Automation and Productivity Sessions at Macworld | iWorld 2012

Well, it's that time of year again. Folks are gearing up for Macworld San Francisco. This year, the conference has been renamed Macworld | iWorld, and a secondary conference has been added specifically for MacIT. As usual, I'll be there, presenting a number of sessions on automation and productivity. Here's the list of my sessions...

MacIT Sessions

[More info about MacIT]

Macworld | iWorld Sessions

If you're planning to attend my workshop, you can save $25 using priority code CCU18842 and registering here.

[More info about Macworld | iWorld]

Going to be there too? If so, be sure to find me and introduce yourself.

Hope to see you there.

-Ben Waldie

Macworld Article > Automating Twitter – Use OS X’s Automator to automatically send Twitter status updates

May, 2009 - Automating Twitter - Use OS X's Automator to automatically send Twitter status updates

Jason Snell recently explained how to use Applescript to automate the popular Twitter client Twitterific. But, with the help of some simple shell scripting, you can also send quick status updates directly to Twitter from within an Automator workflow. [Read more at Macworld...]

Macworld Article > Best Automator Downloads: Building better workflows with third-party actions

July, 2008 - Geek Factor - Best Automator Downloads: Building better workflows with third-party actions.

Automator is a great tool for automating basic tasks on your Mac, no scripting or programming required. By dragging prebuilt actions together, you can quickly and easily create countless workflows to do things you might otherwise have to do manually.

Mac OS X comes with hundreds of Automator actions to get you started. These actions can handle basic tasks within the operating system itself, as well as in many of OS X's bundled applications, including Address Book, iCal, iTunes, Mail, and Safari. But as useful as all of these built-in actions are, they can't do everything. [Read more at]

Macworld Article > Automator Power: Variables and Looping

February, 2008 - Geek Factor - Automator Power: Variables and Looping.

The latest version of Automator (in OS X 10.5 Leopard) has several handy new features. Among the most useful: variables and looping. Unfortunately, unless you’re an experienced scripter, they’re also potentially the most confusing. [Read more at]

Macworld 2008 Presentation > Office 2008 and Automator

Macworld 2008 - A Day at the Office Series
Office 2008 and Automator: Creating Office workflows with Automator
[Watch now...]

Macworld Article > Automator for Travelers

February, 2006 - Automator for Travelers.

Travel has a way of magnifying even the smallest mistakes. Forget that little VGA adapter, and your entire presentation could be sunk. Forget that extra battery, and your laptop could poop out at the least opportune time. The fewer details you have to remember (or, as the case may be, forget) before, during, and after your trip, the better off you’ll be.

This is why Automator, Tiger’s new automation tool, can be such a valuable traveler’s aid. It can help you take care of all sorts of little travel-related chores. Here are a couple of Automator workflows that take advantage of the iPod to help mobile Mac users. They’re also examples of the kinds of things Automator can do, so feel free to mix and match them and experiment further. [Read more at]