automators

Automators 32 - Shortcuts and iOS 13

The latest episode of Automators is posted. In it Rose and I cover the breakdown of how Shortcuts will fit into iOS 13.0 and 13.1, some of our favorite new shortcuts, and the looming release of the Shortcuts Field Guide next week.

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Automators 31: Making Your ScreenFlow Flow and More with J.F. Brissette

On the latest episode of Automators, Rosemary and I get to talk to J. -F. Brissette, who really loves to automate. From automating Screenflow with Keyboard Maestro, to using the Terminal as a launcher, as well as regular expressions and looking into combining Dropbox and Chronosync, this episode will definitely teach you something—even if it's only about finding opportunities for automation!

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • ExpressVPN: High-Speed, Secure & Anonymous VPN Service. Get 3 months free with a 1-year package.

  • Pushcut: Automation your way. Trigger iOS Shortcuts from anywhere. Try it free.

Automators 30: Some Favorite Automations

The latest episode of Automators is now available for download. In it, Rose and I share some of our most beloved recently created automations. 

Rosemary has an automation to help to deal with her garbage email address, and I have an email-related automation dealing with Basecamp. Rosemary built a magic album player using Shortcuts, and I used Shortcuts to help deal with meetings. Finally, Rose got a new Mac mini, and she's adding all sorts of automation to it.

This is a great episode with lots of exciting ideas. We've got several blog posts and sample videos linked to explain what we've done and there something in there for everyone. If you haven't subscribed to Automators yet, you should.

This episode of Automators was sponsored by Creative Next: The new podcast future-proofing creatives.

Automators 29: The Dark Dungeon with Adam Tow

On the latest episode of Automators, Rose and I talk to Adam Tow, creator of MsgFiler and writer of a few amazing Shortcuts automations. From having photos taken on his DLSR automatically shared to him via iMessage, to playing text adventure games with Shortcuts, there is plenty of automation fun to be had!

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

Automators 27: Shortcuts in iOS 13 — Diving into the Deep End!

In the latest episode of Automators, Rose and I throw caution to the wind and install iOS and iPadOS betas on everything. There are crashes and updates, all in the name of finding out just how impressive the new Shortcuts really is.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • Away: Thoughtful luggage for modern travel. Get $20 off a suitcase with promo code AUTOMATORS.

  • TextExpander, from Smile: Give your productivity a boost with TextExpander. Get 20% off your first year.

Automators 26: Getting Started with HomeKit

Check out the latest episode of Automators to learn more about how to get started with HomeKit, from building your system to real automations that actually make your life easier! And you don’t want to miss out on Rose versus the Leaf: Chapter Two.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • Timing: The automatic time-tracking app for macOS. Use this link to save 10% on your purchase.

  • Creative Next: The new podcast future-proofing creatives.

Automators 25: WWDC 2019 Automation Update

On the latest episode of Automators, Rose and I are on the ground at WWDC in San Jose to bring you up to speed on the new automation heading to iOS and iPadOS. We also recap WWDC, the Automator's meetup, and Rose describes how she lost a fight with a leaf.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • Timing: The automatic time tracking app for macOS. Use this link to save 10% on your purchase.

  • PDFpen 11, from Smile: Your ultimate PDF viewing and editing app for the Mac.

Automators 23: Diving into Drafts Automation with Tim "The Drafts Man" Nahumck

In the latest episode of Automators, Rosemary and I get Tim “The Drafts Man” Nahumck to talk about how he uses Drafts, sharing actions, tips and tricks.

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • TextExpander, from Smile: Try the new release with the visual editor. Get 20% off your first year.

  • Luna Display: The only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your Mac. Use promo code AUTOMATORS at checkout for 10% off.

Automators 22: Text Expansion

The latest episode of the Automator's podcasts is now available for download. In this episode, we go back to basics and talk about text expansion. I joke in the episode that text expansion is a gateway drug or automation, but that's really kind of true. Just about anybody can do text expansion and as you start to get your mind around some of the more powerful text expansion tools, you're going to find a lot of ways to use it.

The thing I like about this episode is that we not only talk about the basics, but we move into the advanced. No matter what level of usage you are at with text expansion (or if you've never used it at all), I think this is a great episode to help you move the ball little further down the road toward getting your work done faster and more accurately.

Automators Assemble!

Rosemary and I aren’t looking to vanquish Thanos. Our endgame is to show you how automation can make your life so much easier. We just want to enhance your super powers. You don’t have to wear a cape, but there is an awesome Automators Assemble! hoodie and t-shirt now available at Cotton Bureau. You may not always be able to display your prowess as an automator, but you will definitely be able to show the world your keen fashion sense when you sport this hoodie or tee. Shop soon, though. They’re only available for a limited time.

Automators 21: Invoicing, Writing, and Regular Expressions with Dr. Drang

In this episode of Automators, Rosemary and I interview the mysterious internet legend Dr. Drang. We talk about Python, Perl, and AppleScript and dive into regular expressions, Shortcuts, Drafts, and Keyboard Maestro. Then, we show how you can combine all of these in various different workflows!

This episode of Automators is sponsored by:

  • Luna Display: The only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your Mac. Use promo code AUTOMATORS at checkout for 10% off.

  • TextExpander, from Smile: Try the new release with the visual editor. Get 20% off your first year.

Automators 14: Automated Journaling

Get out your artistically crafted paper notebook and favorite fountain pen as we talk about journaling in Automators episode 14. Actually, forget that stuff. We are nerds so while the focus of this episode is journalling, it’s really about automating the process so you can get more efficient at your navel-gazing.

We start out talking about the idea of journaling and why automation can help. The first app we recommend is Day One.

Last year I bought a year subscription to Day One, and I'm digging it. We both approve of Day One’s automation tools with things like IFTTT along with several built-in features (like the activity feed) that ease the process of journal entry creation so you can focus on your precious words. Day One can integrate with third-party apps, like Instagram and Swarm.

Much Love for Day One

Day One is also friends with Siri Shortcuts, which opens you up to lots of potential automation, although I would like more. This leads to the discussion of automating Day One entries in a “prompt style” with a new journal entry generated out of Siri Shortcuts and used to create a Day One entry. I created a sample shortcut on a meditation journal. You can watch it in the Automators course at Learn.MacSparky or on YouTube.


Rosemary goes a step further by using Launch Center Pro to launch her Siri Shortcut to launch her journaling prompts. This lets her present different prompts on different days of the week. Clever. We’ve shared a link to Rose’s shortcut in the show notes.

I also explain audio transcription in Day One, that works much better than you think it would be.

If This Then That (IFTTT) can also create a Day One entry, pulling data from other web services. Think about that one for a moment. Simple things, like a Google Calendar event, can be enough to trigger a new Day One entry. Rose has a cool automation that helps her log and journal television consumption using automation between trakt.tv and Day One.

Another way to automate journal creation is through text automation. You could use tools like Drafts or Text Expander to give you prompts to easily create journal entries.

Other Options

We then talk about journaling solutions outside of Day One. Using third-party applications like Ulysses or even just a plain text file, you can use many of the above referenced prompt-based journal automation to create new entries. There can be some challenges with things like photos and other media, but it can work. I even at one point suggests using Pages, which would work better than you think if you want media in your journal.

Next, we discuss automating public journals with services like micro.blog.

Fancy Pens and Paper

Finally, we break out the pens and paper. Just because you have a fancy pen and paper, doesn’t mean you can’t bring some technology to the table. Use ScanBot or Scanner Pro to grab an image for a digital backup. If you like the idea of us a pen but not paper, there are some great iPad-based digital alternatives like GoodNotes and Notability.

It’s January and a great time to develop a journaling habit. Why don’t you use some automation to make it easier?





Automators 12: Holiday Automation

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The holidays are upon us, and the Automators are ready to automate with episode 12, Holiday Automation. We start with simple things like wallpaper and voice-in-a-can technologies.

Next, we get to holiday music. It’s great that you can automate music playback, but I want to go deeper with Siri Shortcuts and automation around my music. I have a white whale concerning HomePod destination for audio, but we all need holiday wishes … right? Rose has a cool holiday music Siri Shortcut.

Then we get into our favorite automation contraptions for automating holiday lights. I have a thing for making Christmas just happen using HomeKit Automation, and Rose tempts me by talking about homebridge. Open my front door, and the magic starts happening.

Then we get to the best ways to automate holiday cards. It’s harder than you think. Finally, we move into automating and collaborating on present lists, grabbing multiple browser tabs via automation, and turning my Christmas card into a nerd project.

It’s all there. Get Automating!