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Posts tagged with "automation"

Automation Academy: My Collection of Advanced Shortcuts for Things

Earlier today, Federico released a series of seven advanced shortcuts for the task manager Things as part of his Automation Academy column, an exclusive perk of Club MacStories+ and Club Premier.

Federico explains in the introduction of the story why he returned to Things a few months ago and has been happy with the decision:

not only does the design of the Things app create a more relaxed environment for me to manage my responsibilities, but Cultured Code’s embrace of Shortcuts automation has allowed me to create dozens of custom enhancements for Things.

It’s the flexibility that Things’ Shortcuts actions offer that allows for such deep customization. The shortcuts shared today include automations to:

  • Automatically move tasks scheduled for a certain time to Things’ Evening section
  • Postponing evening tasks
  • Rescheduling tasks to the next evening
  • Tag selected tasks as active
  • Pin tasks
  • Select from a menu of Things shortcuts
  • Create tasks, an updated version of a previously-shared shortcut

All of the shortcuts are ready to be used immediately and are accompanied by a detailed walk-through of the techniques used to build them and an explanation of how Federico is using them.

Discounts are just one of the many Club MacStories perks.

Discounts are just one of the many Club MacStories perks.

Automation Academy is just one of many perks that Club MacStories+ and Club Premier members enjoy including:

  • Weekly and monthly newsletters 
  • A sophisticated web app with search and filtering tools to navigate eight years of content
  • Customizable RSS feeds
  • Bonus columns
  • An early and ad-free version of our Internet culture and media podcast, MacStories Unwind
  • A vibrant Discord community of smart app and automation fans who trade a wealth of tips and discoveries every day
  • Live Discord audio events after Apple events and at other times of the year

On top of that, Club Premier members get AppStories+, an extended, ad-free version of our flagship podcast that we deliver early every week in high-bitrate audio.

Use the buttons below to learn more and sign up for Club MacStories+ or Club Premier.

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Juno 1.1 for visionOS Adds the Ability to Open YouTube.com URLs in the App

Opening videos in Juno from the YouTube website.

Opening videos in Juno from the YouTube website.

John covered Juno, Christian Selig’s new YouTube client for visionOS, on MacStories last week, and I’ve been using the app for the past few days as my default way of watching YouTube videos on my Vision Pro. Today, Selig released version 1.1 of Juno with some welcome quality-of-life enhancements such as the ability to choose video quality, faster load times, and support for dropping YouTube links in the app to watch them directly in Juno. You can read more about the changes on Selig’s blog.

The one new feature I want to call out here is the addition of URL schemes which have, once again, come to the rescue to help me navigate the early limitations of a new Apple platform.

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: Shortcut Buttons Turns Your Shortcuts into Spatial Launchers

Shortcut Buttons for visionOS.

Shortcut Buttons for visionOS.

I received my Apple Vision Pro yesterday (for the full story of how it eventually found its way to Italy, you don’t want to miss the next episode of AppStories), and, as you can imagine, I’ve been busy downloading all the apps, learning my way around visionOS and – just today – using the extended Mac display mode. The first 24 hours with a Vision Pro are a whirlwind of curiosity and genuine nerd excitement, but despite my attention being pulled to a hundred different places, I’ve found the time to test one app in particular: Shortcut Buttons by Finn Voorhees.

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An Investigation into the Home App’s Clean Power Forecast Feature

Ever since Apple’s OSes were updated in the fall, I’ve been intrigued by the Home app’s new Clean Grid Forecast feature that predicts periods when the energy you use is ‘More Clean.’ The feature immediately reminded me of Clean Energy Charging, which works with Optimized Battery Charging, to charge your iPhone during periods when the electricity generated in your area is cleanest.

However, Clean Grid Forecast also raised more questions in my mind than it answered, like ‘What does More Clean mean?’ and ‘How does Apple know if the energy is cleaner?,’ and ‘How much cleaner is it anyway?’ These are the kind of answers that GridStatus.io, a website that offers electrical grid data, set out to answer by comparing Apple’s ‘More Clean’ periods with publicly available energy generation data.

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GoodLinks Adds Even Deeper Shortcuts Integration with Ability to Retrieve Current Article, Selections, and More

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

A few weeks ago on AppStories, I mentioned to John that I was looking for the “Things of read-later apps”. What I meant is that I wanted to find an app to save articles for later that felt native to Apple platforms, had a reliable text parser, but, more importantly, featured deep Shortcuts integration to let me create automations for saved items. As I followed up after a few episodes, I realized the app I’d been looking for was the excellent GoodLinks, which we’ve covered on MacStories several times before.

Today, GoodLinks developer Ngoc Luu released a small update to the app that, however, cements it as the premier solution for people who want a read-later utility for iOS and iPadOS that also features outstanding Shortcuts support.

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Automation Academy: Introducing ThingsBox, an All-In-One Shortcuts Capture System for the Things Inbox

ThingsBox.

ThingsBox.

One of the perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership are special columns that Federico and I publish periodically. In today’s Automation Academy, Federico shares ThingsBox, a shortcuts capture system that can handle multiple media types on every Apple device, sending the results to the Things inbox.

As Federico explains, ThingsBox originated from a suggestion I made on AppStories recently, which he took and ran with to add functionality tailored to each type of media he saves, creating:

a versatile system for quickly capturing text, Safari webpages, URLs, App Store apps, and even images and save them as new items in the Things inbox. ThingsBox runs on every Apple platform and can be used from a widget, the share sheet, or manually inside the Shortcuts app; it is optimized for the Apple Watch, where it defaults to dictation input; on the Mac, ThingsBox integrates with AppleScript to see what the frontmost window is and capture its data accordingly.

Sharing different types of input with ThingsBox…

Sharing different types of input with ThingsBox…

…and the resulting tasks in the inbox.

…and the resulting tasks in the inbox.

Automation Academy is one of the many perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership and an excellent way to learn advanced Shortcuts techniques that are explained in the context of solutions to everyday problems.

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Automation Academy: Leveraging Reminders to Make Saving Tasks to Things More Reliable On-the-Go

One of the perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership are special columns published periodically by Federico and John. In today’s Automation Academy, which debuted a refreshed format, Federico explains how he leveraged the tight integration of Reminders and Siri with Things by Cultured Code to improve the experience of saving tasks to Things on the go.

As Federico explains:

One of the features I missed from Reminders was its deep integration with Siri and background sync privileges. Whether you’re using Siri on the iPhone or Apple Watch, you can quickly dictate a new task with natural language and rest assured you’ll find it a few seconds later on any other device signed into your iCloud account. For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I added a reminder (with dates and times) using Siri while driving via my Apple Watch and immediately found it on my iPad once I got home. You just don’t have to worry about sync if you’re using iCloud and Reminders, which is one of the most important advantages of the app.

Among other techniques, the post explains how to use ‘Repeat for Each’ blocks with magic variables and an always-on Mac running Lingon X, which is available for 20% off on the Club MacStories Discount page, to create a rock-solid way of creating new tasks from an Apple Watch or other device using Siri.

Automation Academy is one of the many perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership and an excellent way to learn advanced Shortcuts techniques that are explained in the context of solutions to everyday problems.

Join Club MacStories+:

Join Club Premier:

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Introducing MultiButton: Assign Two Shortcuts to the Same Action Button Press on iPhone 15 Pro

MultiButton for iPhone 15

MultiButton for iPhone 15

I got my iPhone 15 Pro Max last week, and I’m loving the possibilities opened by the Action button combined with the Shortcuts app. But as I was playing around with different ideas for the Action button, I had a thought:

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of just one shortcut, I could toggle between two shortcuts with the same Action button press? That’s exactly what my new MultiButton shortcut does.

With MultiButton, you’ll be able to assign two separate shortcuts to the Action button. Unlike other solutions you may have seen that always make you pick shortcuts from a menu, MultiButton automatically cycles between two shortcuts if you press the Action button multiple times in rapid succession. You don’t need to pick shortcuts from a list; just press the Action button and MultiButton will take care of everything.

Toggling between two shortcuts with MultiButton.Replay

Allow me to explain how MultiButton works and how you can configure it for your Action button. In the process, I’ll also share some new shortcut ideas that you can start using today on your iPhone 15 Pro.

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S-GPT 1.0.2 Brings Date and Time Awareness, Integration with macOS Services Menu, Passthrough Mode, Better HomePod Support, and More

S-GPT 1.0.2.

S-GPT 1.0.2.

I just published version 1.0.2 of S-GPT, the shortcut I released last week to have conversations with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and integrate it directly with native features of Apple’s OSes. You can find the updated download link at the end of this post, in the original article, and in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive; before you replace version 1.0.1 of S-GPT, save your existing OpenAI API key somewhere as you’ll have to paste it again in the shortcut later.

I’m going to include the full changelog for S-GPT 1.0.2 below, but long story short: S-GPT is now aware of the current date and time, and I’ve heard all the requests about improving interactions with the HomePod and Siri, so I made that part much better. S-GPT can now perform a variety of date/time calculations with natural language, and you can end a conversation by saying “no” or “stop”.

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