Automators 105: Podcast Automation and Focus Modes with Scotty Jackson

In this episode of Automators, Rosemary and I are joined once more by Scotty Jackson. We take a look at home automation related to Focus Modes, and whether or not you can automate a podcast.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • TextExpander: Your Shortcut to Efficient, Consistent Communication. Get 20% off.
  • Electric: Unbury yourself from IT tasks. Get a free pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones when you schedule a meeting.

SummerFest 2022: The Festival Of Artisanal Software (Sponsor)

My thanks to SummerFest for sponsoring MacSparky this week. SummerFest 2022 is a terrific collection of some of my favorite and very useful Mac software. During SummerFest, they’re offering a super summer discount off some spectacular research and writing apps. Some of my favorites you can try for yourself at 25% include:

  • DEVONthink 3 – one of the most powerful research / artificial intelligence / do-anything-with-your-files apps
  • HoudahSpot – faster than Finder and better than Spotlight
  • Scrivener – so good for research-intensive writing

SummerFest doesn’t actually last all summer, so be sure to check out these and other apps at the SummerFest 2022 website before this sale ends.

Four Months with the Nimalist AirTag Wallet

In March, I was hunting for a better AirTag Wallet, and a friend showed me his Nimalist AirTag Wallet. I liked the way it looked and even ordered one while on-air recording the Mac Power Users.

My wallet eventually arrived (it took several weeks), and I’ve been using it exclusively since then. (By “exclusively”, I mean whenever I carry it when I leave the house, which does not happen every day.)

The wallet has three card slots, a transparent holder on the back for your ID, a cash pocket on top, and a receipt pocket on top. (In the official picture, they’ve got a Goldman card in that slot. Fancy.) The credit card slots are big enough to put two cards in one slot. (I’ve got my insurance and health savings account card in one.) Nevertheless, they are sufficiently grippy inside that I’m not worried about losing anything. I had a session of vigorous upside-down shaking before taking the below photos, and nothing came loose. For your Apple AirTag, there is a stitched circular slot with a button on the top to hold it in place. The button has stayed … well … buttoned since I first set it up.

The “Official” Image of the Nimalist AirTag Wallet

The leather quality doesn’t match the leather in the Apple wallet, but the Nimalist is less expensive. There is RFID shielding, and despite holding four cards, cash, my ID, and other bits of detritus along with a chunky Apple AirTag, it feels pretty slim in my pocket.

The Nimalist Wallet purchase was interesting for me for a few reasons. First, I didn’t do any research. It looked nice and I ordered one. Usually, I sweat the details on something as personal as a wallet a lot more. Second, I’ve had many emails from listeners and Labs members about this purchase. Several folks followed me down the path. Most feedback has been positive. Some of it has been negative. Some complained that their wallet isn’t holding up for them.

Mine is starting to show small bits of wear. My prior Apple Wallet was built much better and I expect that I won’t be using this wallet in a few years, but it doesn’t look bad either. It’s only been four months, and I haven’t been gentle with it. The wallet serves the dual purposes of 1) holding my stuff and 2) being admirably AirTag trackable. At $50, I’m happy enough with it. Ideally, I’d like this to last a year or two while better designs come to market (or better yet, Apple builds AirTag technology into their own wallet sans the bump. Below is a gallery showing the current status of my Nimalist Wallet.

This Month in The MacSparky Labs

I am enjoying The MacSparky Labs so much. I’ve traded all the time I used to spend being a lawyer to generate additional content, and let me tell you, this is a lot more fun than that. Below is a list of the content in the Labs from June. I’d love for you to join me.

  • 2022-06-30 – Deep Dive on Mid-Year Planning (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-29 – Text Capture via Shortcut (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-28 – Rethinking Email, Part 1 (Levels 2-3)
  • 2022-06-27 – Mid-Year Reflection Planning and Review Podcast (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-26 – Video previews for Early Access Subscribers (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-26 – Mid-Year Planning and Reflection Session Details (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-24 – The Lab Report (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-23 – Triggering a Focus Mode via Calendar Event (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-22 – iPad Status Board, Part 2 (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-21 – Duplicate Calendar Event to “Busy Calendar Shortcuts (Levels 2-3)
  • 2022-06-20 – WWDC State of the Platform Summary (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-17 – The Lab Report Podcast (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-16 – iPadOS Deep Dive (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-15 – Using AppleScript to Jump to a Specific Mailbox in Apple Mail (Levels 2-3)
  • 2022-06-10 – Details on iPadOS Deep Dive (Level 3)
  • 2022-06-10 – WWDC Virtual Meetup (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-09 – Project Creation with Craft, OmniFocus, and Shortcuts (Levels 2-3)
  • 2022-06-09 – WWDC Virtual Meetups (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-07 – WWDC Day Two Report and WWDC Virtual Meetup Links (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-06 – WWDC Day One Podcast and Photos (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-05 – Reporting in from Cupertino (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-03 – Lab Report Podcast (Levels 1-3)
  • 2022-06-02 – Creating Animated Hand-Drawn Slides for Keynote (Levels 2-3)

The Worst Default Setting on the Mac

Found under the Mission Control System Preference, “Automatically rearrange Spaces based on recent usage” takes any Spaces you’ve set up and scrambles them every time you open a new app. So it just adds a bit of chaos to your day. I’ll never understand why this is turned on by default.

P.S. I just checked. It’s also turned on by default with a macOS Ventura install.

Shortcuts for Mac Webinar Series

I’m starting a five-part webinar series this Friday for the Shortcuts for Mac Field Guide, Plus Edition customers. If you signed up for that course you should have received an email with a sign-up link. I’ve also added the sign-up link to the course under the “Shortcuts Webinars” Section. Let me know if you have any problems.

The Webinars will be new materials on Shortcuts for Mac. All of the webinars will be edited and added to the course. So if you can’t make the webinars, you’ll still get all the content as part of the Shortcuts For Mac Field Guide, Plus Edition content.

Rethinking Email – Inbox Serenity (MacSparky Labs)

I’m behind on my email, which made me rethink my email practices and how I can improve them. This is no less than my quest for email serenity. I’ve decided to do this as a series for the MacSparky Labs. Here’s the first entry talking about the problem, potential solutions, and some trouble areas where a specific email can gum up the works. I also share diagrams of some of my email workflows…

This is a post for MacSparky Labs Level 3 (Early Access) and Level 2 (Backstage) Members only. Care to join? Or perhaps do you need to sign in?