automation

Some Obsidian Shortcuts and a Macro

One major shortcoming of Obsidian is that it does not integrate well with macOS or iOS so there are no conveniences for capturing text into an Obsidian note. I decided to learn a bit about the Obsidian URL scheme (which works on macOS and iOS) and create some Shortcuts to fill in the gap. New Obsidian Note This is a simple Shortcut that has one purpose: Give me a simple and convenient window to create a new Obsidian note on macOS and iOS.

Window Management with Keyboard Maestro on macOS

macOS Monterey comes with some new window management tricks but they feel incomplete and a little frustrating. I have one suggestion for the Apple team that works on Spaces and window management: Get a big ass monitor. I did. It’s a gorgeous 38" display that makes me feel like I’m working on a space ship. It was surprisingly hard to adapt to so many pixels but I’m loving almost everything about it.

Playbooks Before Automation

Jacob Kaplan-Moss in his “Simple Product Management Tricks” article: Playbooks are the middle ground I reach for in these circumstances. When I see a process like this, instead of either doing nothing or just diving in and writing some code, I’ll first write a playbook. A playbook is nothing more than a set of instructions for performing the task – a “recipe” if you will. The key is to be as specific as possible.

Keyboard Maestro 10

I’m so out of the mix with Mac automation that I didn’t even realize there was a new version of Keyboard Maestro coming out. Version 10 has a lot of new shiny features. I can’t wait to do some fun stuff with the new Menubar display but the new unlock and appearance change triggers will probably be saving me a lot of time with docking and undocking my MacBook Air.

Keyboard Maestro Master Class

Heck yeah! The new Keyboard Maestro Field Guide is the perfect intersection of my favorite Mac Utility and my favorite Apple Nerd. These are so great. Not only is the video a great way to learn Keyboard Maestro, but each segment includes a transcript and downloadable macros. I’ll buy pretty much anything David Sparks makes. It’s top quality and presented with enthusiasm and joy. For $24 I think this is a bargain.

A Siri Shortcut to Share as a Markdown File

The Problem I’m a big fan of Drafts for iOS. It’s a terrific writing environment and it can integrate with just about anything through URL schemes. But, URL schemes have a major limitation when I write long blocks of text. A URL can only support a finite number of characters (around 2000). I want to export text from Drafts and send it to other apps as a Markdown file. If I have a markdown header line with a “title” defined I want the file to be named with that title.

Lutron Switches, HomeKit Automation, and the Long Road Ahead

With two HomePods in my house (so far) I have moved on to giving them the keys to as much as possible. My second step was to deploy Lutron smart switches to replace some Hue bulbs. Why Not Hue Hue bulbs are excellent. They are responsive, last a very long time over traditional incandescent bulbs, and have a pretty good app. What I don’t love is that I have to cover every physical switch in my house because if you turn off power to a Hue bulb they magically stop working.

HomePod Multi-room Control

The rough edges of HomeKit, Siri, and iOS show themselves a lot more now that I have multiple HomePods in the house. I have a strong suspicion that the teams behind these products aren’t designing them for a fully integrated and automated home. Let’s just take the case of HomePod control. I can use a voice command to tell the HomePod to play on either of my HomePods. I can tell it to play in multiple rooms.

Troubleshooting a Stubborn Hue Hub

Now that I’ve added a HomePod I’m finally getting around to configuring HomeKit with all of my devices. One Hue Bridge was no sweat but I have a second Bridge at a far end of the house. This Bridge refused to associate with HomeKit. I’ve left it that way for over a year but now I want everything in HomeKit with Siri control. The root of the problem was caused by my network configuration.

Run Scripts on Your Mac from iOS Link

From Moving Electrons comes a nice tip about executing remote commands over SSH from Pythonista. It’s simple in design: Connects to the server. Executes the command passed as an argument to the script in Pythonista in the remote server (more info in the following section). Once the command is run, it disconnects from the server. Of course, this requires a remotely accessible Mac. I have some similar things I do with my hosts at Webfaction.