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Aperture Automator Actions

Aperture is in users hands now, and the reviews are a bit mixed, to put it mildly. But hey, it wouldn’t be the first time a 1.0 didn’t live up to the hype. Aperture comes preloaded with a set of Automator actions: Retrieve Item References, Store Item References, Assign Keywords to Images, Export Images, Set Image Rating, Set IPTC Tags, Choose Albums, Choose Projects and Import Photos. Assuming you aren’t obsessing over the quality of Aperture’s raw conversion, these actions should be handy in enhancing your imaging workflow.

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News Briefs

MacWorld is featuring an excerpt from the eBook Take Control of Customizing Tiger on some Automator basics … also at MacWorld, Ben Long has written Automate Photoshop chores, a tutorial aimed at photographers looking to automate repetitive Photoshop actions … along the same lines, MacNN has reprinted Building an Automator Action from MacTech, a very concise tutorial on creating your own actions with Xcode.

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Definitely a Treat: Mac OS X 10.4.3 Update Released

Apple has released the Mac OS X 10.4.3 updater. This update brings a slew of improvements and fixes to Automator (now at version 1.0.2 build 63), the most we’ve seen yet; it will take some time to verify all of these! Read on for the full list. More »

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Automator QuickPick for Backup 3

Apple’s Backup was one of those utilities that should have been better than it turned out. The interface was weird, the options obfuscated and the file scanning slower than any reasonable person should endure. Backup 3, which appears to be something of a ground-up rewrite, solves nearly all those problems. I actually use the thing now; it’s oddly fun creating backups, and even more so checking the logs and seeing they actually ran.

Backup 3 has QuickPicks, which are basically shortcuts to backing up folders associated with specific apps (it’s not immediately obvious, but QuickPicks appear when you manually add a new item to a backup set.) The folks over at Wishingline have created a bunch of custom QuickPicks, including one for Automator. Worth checking out.

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Stuffit 10 Adds Automator Support

Allume Systems has released Stuffit Deluxe 10.0, a major upgrade to the venerable compression application. Stuffit 10 adds a new JPEG compression algorithm and Automator support, including the ability to compress and expand StuffIt, Zip, and Tar archives. Stuffit Deluxe 10.0 is available now for $79.99 and upgrade for $29.99.

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News Briefs

Matt Neuburg, author of AppleScript: The Definitive Guide, will be speaking at the Applescript Pro Sessions, running October 31-November 4 in Chicago. The session will cover AppleScript Studio and Automator, including using Studio to create custom Automator Actions.… MacDevCenter has posted What Is Automator (and Can It Make Your Life Easier), a solid and somewhat critical overview of Automator.

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Macworld Poll: Automator Neglect?

A Macworld UK poll, indicating that only 8% of respondents use Automator, is discussed in this article. User’s primarily found the interface daunting or slow, and Apple’s included actions limited.

With a response of 1,165 votes, it’s not particularly comprehensive (175 voters aren’t even using OS X 10.4, which is a bit disingenuous). Still, valid points are raised; despite the myriad of third-party actions available online, many users are simply not aware of them, and the interface can be buggy and slow. MacSlash readers have also chimed in on this subject.

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DEVONthink Pro Debuts

Devon Technologies has released DEVONthink Professional 1.0, a personal file management system. DEVONthink includes 14 Automator actions and 10 sample workflows, and is available for $75.

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Intaglio Actions

Intaglio, the “traditional Macintosh drawing & illustration application” from Purgatory Designs now includes nine Automator actions, including Get Selected Intaglio Graphics, Group Intaglio Graphics, Open Images in Intaglio and Rotate Intaglio Graphics. Intaglio costs $89 for a single user license, and a demo is available.

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DeBabelizer Pro 6 Creates Custom Actions

Equilibrium is now shipping DeBabelizer Pro 6. This update includes 50 Automator actions and a powerful new feature which enables users to create customized actions from DeBabelizer workflows. A 30-day trial is available.

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David Pogue Automator Podcast

David Pogue has created a podcast covering Automator (other podcasts are available). In the 4 minute session, Pogue discusses “…how to use Automator to automate backups, zip up applications, and set alarms for automatic processing.” Thanks to David for mentioning this site in his podcast.

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OttoMate Automator Web Test Actions

Developer Todd Ditchendorf is announcing the release of OttoMate Automator Web Test Actions, “a suite of four Automator Actions that allow you to graphically configure user-acceptance tests for your web-based applications via Mac OS X’s Automator application.” The actions are Assert Attributes of Current Webpage, Set Form Values in Current Webpage, Click Link or Button in Current Webpage, and Do Specified JavaScript in Current Webpage.

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FileMaker Releases Automator Actions

FileMaker has released the set of “technology preview” Automator Actions for FileMaker Pro 7 as originally reported. The download consists of 15 actions, including Find FileMaker Pro Items, Close Database, Get IDs of Current Records, Get Record Data and Go to Layout. A comprehensive ReadMe is included.

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Script Timer 2.3 Released

Apps & More Software Design has released Script Timer 2.3, a script and application scheduling application for Mac OS X. Script Timer “lets you schedule the execution of AppleScript, perl, and shell scripts, and can also be used to schedule the execution of Automator workflows (OS X 10.4 and up only) or applications.” Script Timer is available as a 30-day trial, with user licenses starting at US$12.

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Automator = Profit!

Apple Developer Connection (ADC) has posted Using Automator to Expand the Market for Your Software, an overview for developers to aid them in leveraging Automator to grow marketshare. According to Apple, Automator is “…a delivery mechanism for a developer to increase sales and gain mindshare with customers who might not otherwise realize that the product has value.” The article goes on to describe how and why, including examples.