rooSwitch is Nifty

Via Daring Fireball: “Nifty $15 utility by Brian Cooke; RooSwitch lets you switch between different “profiles” for application data. So, for example, you could create “Work” and “Home” profiles for an app like NetNewsWire — switching between RooSwitch profiles would allow you to switch between two entirely different sets of feed subscriptions.”

rooSwitch has Applescript support, and of course Automator, with an included “Switch Profile” action. I’ve seen utilities like this for specific apps before, but a system-wide one is a great idea. The UI is simple and slick, too.


AppleCore releases “The Complete Book of Mac OS X Shortcuts”

AppleCore Solutions this week released The Complete Book of Mac OS X shortcuts: Desktop Reference Guide. This 125-page eBook contains over 1,500 Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts for 16 Mac OS X applications. It also has a comprehensive list of operating system shortcuts and a table that fully clarifies Mac keyboard symbols and their meaning. It’s available as a downloadable PDF for US$25. This guide is very well designed, and easy to read, search and navigate. If you’re looking for a centralized source for OS X shortcuts, this is a good one. Hopefully it will be updated for Leopard and more applications will be added (such as Automator!).


ADA Winners

Apple has posted the winners of the 2006 Apple Design Awards, held last night at WWDC. For automator, the winner was Ben Waldie’s Ultimate Productivity Action Pack 1.0. The runner-up was Lecture Recording Workflow 1.2 (which I can’t seem to find anywhere online).

Site News

Automator World Turns Terrible Twos

Today, July 1st, is the second anniversary of Automator World. We opened our doors with the posting of the amazingly-cool and complicated workflow “Convert Images to Sepia/640”. At the time there wasn’t much you could do with Automator beyond simple workflows like that, but the past two years have brought a great flood of 3rd party actions for both general use and specific applications.

Apple has been slowly tweaking the program, making it less buggy and more efficient (with a very good speed-up issue just this week). Here’s hoping at the August WWDC Steve Job’s preview of Mac OS X Leopard will include a peek at a major upgrade of Automator.


OS X 10.4.7 Updates Automator

Apple has released OS X 10.4.7 Update, which has a stack of bug fixes and improvements. On the Automator front, it has these changes:

  • Automator supports more file types, including JPEG, TIFF, and HTML, in the Filter Finder Items action.
  • Automator supports more websites that require cookies and sessions, specifically those where the authentication is passed along with the URLs, in the Get Image URLs for Webpage, and Get Link URLs from Webpages actions.
  • Improves responsiveness when dragging Automator actions in the workflow. Note: I have tested this one, and can vouch that performance is significantly improved. It’s about time!

Fetch 5.1 Released

Fetch Softworks has released Fetch 5.1, which had previously been available as a public beta. Fetch 5.1 includes a Dashboard widget and 11 Automator actions. A single-user license for Fetch is $25 US. Fetch 5.1 is a free upgrade for Fetch 5 users. If you purchased a license for an earlier version of Fetch between January 1, 2001 and March 9, 2005, you can upgrade to Fetch 5.1 for $15.


Complete Digital Photography Releases ACR Version Control

Complete Digital Photography has release ACR Version Control, a collection of Applescripts and Automator actions for managing multiple versions of Photoshop raw image conversions. The included Automator actions maybe used to create thumbnails and ful-res PSDs of the versions generated by the Applescripts.

Hints & Tips

System-Wide iPhoto Browser

From MacOSXHints (by way of Daring Fireball), a one-step Automator workflow that allows you to retrieve iPhoto images from within any application:

  1. Open Automator, and click iPhoto.
  2. From the list of actions, select Ask for Photos, and drag it to the right-hand pane.
  3. Save this as a plug-in, and select Script Menu (the script menu that displays in the menu bar) so it is accessible anywhere. (If this menu is not visible, launch the AppleScript Utility in /Applications/Applescript, and check ‘Show Script Menu in menu bar.’)

Next time you need a picture from your iPhoto library, select this action from the AppleScript menu, and you’ll have a media browser that lets you do so without opening iPhoto.

Hints & Tips

Scheduling Workflows with Energy Saver

MacWorld has a brief tutorial on how to “Turn your Mac into a musical alarm clock”. Aside from being a handy little workflow, it also illustrates how to schedule them to run when a sleeping Mac wakes up:

“Save this workflow as an application, open the Accounts preference pane in System Preferences, click the Login Items tab and drag your workflow to the login items list.

Open the Energy Saver preference pane, click the Schedule button, and choose the time to wake up your Mac. When it wakes up, the Automator workflow will run, telling your Mac to play the selected iTunes playlist.”


Design a Workflow, Win Serious Hardware

Apple is sponsoring its 11th annual Apple Design Awards, with winners to be announced at WWDC 2006 in San Francisco, August 7th-11th. If you have an idea for the “Best Mac OS X Automator Workflow”, you could walk home an indecently cool prize package; but you gotta be in it to win it.


New Automator Book – Discovering Automator

Hanaan Rosenthal, author of Applescript: A comprehensive Guide to Scripting and Automation on OS X has released a new book, Discovering Automator.

Discovering Automator is also comprehensive, detailing the ins-and-outs of Automator: basic workflow construction, deployment, debugging and advanced topics such as creating shell scripts, Applescripts and plug-ins. The tone is direct and humorous, with screenshots and illustrations making for an easy and informative read.

Discovering Automator is available for $14.99 at Amazon. Your purchase allows you to download over 80 free actions for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, being the largest independent collection of Automator actions ever released (many readers of Automator World have asked for MS Office actions, and these alone are worth the purchase price).


New York Region AppleScript Pro Sessions

AppleScript Pro Sessions have announced three special guest speakers for the May 8-12 event in Secaucus, New Jersey. Late Night Software developer Mark Alldritt will be joining the group remotely for a demonstration of new features in Script Debugger 4. Gary Cosimini of Adobe Systems will be doing a presentation on InDesign Server (a fully scriptable product). And AppleScript author Matt Neuburg will be returning to cover Automator, and creation applications and Automator actions in AppleScript Studio. Fewer than five seats are still available for the conference, so prompt registration is encouraged. For more details, e-mail Ray Robertson at aspro@scriptingmatters.com, or visit the AppleScript Pro Sessions website at http://www.scriptingmatters.com/aspro.


Griffin Technology’s Proxi

Griffin Technology has released a public beta of Proxi, an application that “simplifies complicated tasks by acting as an intermediary between various parts of your system, even your network.” Sound familiar? More »


Apple Remote Desktop 3.0 Automates

Apple has released Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) 3.0. This major update features a slew of improvements, including remote spotlight search, file drag-drop and copy/paste (finally!) and of course Universal Binary for Macintel goodness. Oh, and it also sports “more than 30 Automator actions.”

Update: Apple posted a page detailing the Automator actions in ARD 3.0. There are also supplements at Automator.us.

Site News

10,000 Users Can’t be Wrong…

Jesse Hogie has taken note of something I missed; his workflow Maintenance (recently updated to version 3.4) has surpassed the 10,000 mark for downloads here at AW. Maintenance is a great workflow, and clearly lots of people agree. Great work, Jesse!