As The Omni Group keeps working on OmniFocus 2 for Mac and Apple continues seeding new betas of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks to developers, I have been reconsidering Reminders’ simplicity and enjoying the built-in iCloud sync, which, unlike other types of iCloud, is working fine for me. However, two things I miss from OmniFocus are the possibility to integrate the app with a web browser through bookmarklets and the system-wide Quick Entry panel; I use both tools on a daily basis to easily save a browser’s tab into OmniFocus’ Inbox, or to bring up a text field where I can jot down an idea and know that, no matter the app I’m using, it’ll be saved into OmniFocus. Luckily for me, Apple’s Reminders app comes with a good AppleScript Dictionary, which is likely something that Reminders’ core mainstream audience won’t ever care about, but that we can leverage to extend the app’s capabilities and input areas beyond Mountain Lion’s leather-and-paper window.
Posts tagged with "applescript"
I’m aware of the fact that it’s a common trend to call email a “nightmare” these days, but the truth is – email works for me. I have multiple addresses set up, I have my filters and smart folders to automate the process of filing and finding emails, and I’m enjoying the renewed interest of iOS developers in building email apps that solve old problems in new ways. But there is one thing I don’t like: Apple’s Mail app and how many clicks it takes to switch between configured accounts and signatures. As you can guess, I came up with a way to automate the process using AppleScript and (optionally) Keyboard Maestro.
I receive several messages every day to different email addresses, but I always want to reply with the same address and the same signature. Apple’s Mail app makes it easy to see all messages sent to all accounts with the unified Inbox, but it makes it surprisingly hard to set default accounts and signatures that should always be treated as, well, default ones. I don’t want to click on menus for accounts and signatures: I want to hit ⌘R and receive a new Reply window with the account and signature I want already set.
Also new in iTunes 11.0.3 is an update to the app's AppleScript dictionary that adds support for controlling AirPlay speakers. The AppleScript additions contain several options: you can check on an AirPlay device's name, activity, availability on the network, kind (computer, Apple TV, other AirPlay device, etc), network address, and even if it supports audio or video.
This is a particularly welcome addition as it has been requested by users willing to script iTunes' speakers for years now. Previously, the best option was to rely on GUI scripting to enable/disable speakers; as I wrote in December, it's good to see Apple is still actively supporting AppleScript on OS X.
Doug Adams has already put together a basic AirPlay script for iTunes 11.0.3.
Improved AppleScript support in a modern Mac app isn't something you see every day.
These are nice additions. I like how you could use the examples provided by Rdio to quickly add a song to your collection or mobile library by hitting a keyboard shortcut.
A few weeks ago I switched back from Safari to Google Chrome. I wanted to give Safari a fair chance, especially after the introduction of iCloud Tabs, but, alas, the browser never "clicked" for me the way Chrome did. Worse, using Safari on a daily basis for work-related tasks became an unsafe bet, as it was crashing too often, taking several minutes to sync my iCloud Tabs, or generally hanging for no apparent reason. I'm still figuring out the ins and outs of Chrome -- particularly how to handle the lack of a "default browser" option on iOS -- but, so far, Chrome is working better for me.
One thing I miss from Safari is the ability to launch bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar with a simple CMD+1...9 keyboard shortcut. I use a lot of bookmarklets (which, by the way, Chrome syncs faster than Safari across devices), and I'm too used to hitting CMD+2 for OmniFocus and CMD+4 for Pinboard to give up the convenience of quick bookmarklet activation. Unfortunately, Chrome uses Safari's CMD-based shortcuts for switching between open tabs.
The solution was laying in my dock the whole time. As cleverly shown by Patrick Welker, you can use a Keyboard Maestro macro to assign a keyboard shortcut to what is, essentially, Keyboard Maestro's own GUI scripting, only done with a visual workflow. Make sure to read Patrick's post to see how you can create a simple macro to "click" a bookmark in Google Chrome.
For the non-Keyboard Maestro users, a solution is to actually use AppleScript GUI scripting to simulate clicking a bookmark's name. Using something like the script below, you can use any launcher that supports assigning a keyboard shortcut to an AppleScript to quickly launch a Google Chrome bookmark.
tell application "System Events" tell process "Google Chrome" click menu item "pin" of menu "Bookmarks" of menu bar 1 end tell end tell
The script could use an error-checking system to see if Chrome is the frontmost application, but I avoided adding it because I know I won't use the shortcut anywhere else.
As for Chrome on iOS: because the browser forces you to type out bookmarklet names to launch them, my suggestion is to use a standard prefix so you'll be able to launch them easily from the iOS keyboard. For instance, I prepend "xx" to my most used bookmarklets, so Chrome for iOS will filter the names right away.
I’ve already expressed my preference for archiving webpages as PDFs rather than simple “bookmarks” on an online service. When I come across a webpage that I know I want to keep for future reference, I like to generate a clean-looking PDF file with selectable text that I can rely on for years to come.
Lately, I have become obsessed with turning longer articles I find on the Internet also into PDFs for long-term archival. For as much as I like Instapaper, I can’t be sure that the service will be around in the next decades, and I don’t want my archive of longform and quality content to be lost in the cloud. So I have come up with a way to combine Instapaper with the benefit of PDFs, Dropbox, and automation to generate documents off any link or webpage, from any device, within seconds.
Yesterday I put together an iOS and OS X workflow to generate PDFs remotely on my Mac, starting from a simple bookmarklet on iOS. On an iPhone or iPad, I can simply hit a button in Safari, and wait for Pythonista to turn a webpage (that’s already been passed through Instapaper’s text bookmarklet) into an .html file in my Dropbox, which is then converted to PDF and added to Evernote. It sounds complex, but in actual practice I can go from a Safari webpage on iOS to a PDF in the Evernote app in around 30 seconds. Hopefully you’ll find this quick solution useful; feel free to modify it and/or send suggestions.