Termly Dictionary Service

The built in dictionary in OS X is great, but sometimes I want a little more. Agile Tortoise, maker of Terminology and Drafts app, also provides a very good dictionary lookup Web site called I created an Automator service that allows me to select some text and then pop open the definition as a small pop-over panel. I can then select a word in and it will replace the selected word in my document and add the new term to my clipboard.

A Shortcut Viewer

I posted a tip for creating a Markdown cheat sheet a week ago. That solution used Marked to display the Markdown as formatted text. But I wasn't happy with needing to open and then close a Marked window. So I got to noodling around and remembered how useful Automator is. I've created a very simple Automator workflow that uses the URL viewer. Rather than loading a remote HTML file, it loads a local file that I created with Marked.

MPU Automator Link

Such a nice surprise to wake up and find an interview with Ben Waldie about Automator. Electron for electron, the 5By5 network content beats any TV network out there for pure enlightenment and entertainment.

Markdown Services Link

Just to prove how late-to-the-party I am, here’s Brett’s Markdown Services from September

Automator App Backup Link

Nice tip from Macworld to automatically backup versions of applications. I’m not sure I agree with the reasoning for doing it though. If a developer removes or changes a feature that I’m not happy with, I’m more likely to find a different app than to constantly skip updates or hassle with reinstalling an old version. It’s way too easy to choose “Download All Free Updates” than it is to selectively update individual apps.

What's So Fun About Fake?

I wrote about the Mac application “Fake”[1] awhile ago. From my very first use, I thought it was an incredibly clever tool. Fake is like a super-charged automator for Webkit. It makes automating interactions with webpages easy and simple. But why would I want to use Fake instead of Automator or curl or even a Python script? Here’s an example that I just started using. If I want to add an affiliate link for a Mac or iOS app, I need to visit the Apple Link Maker page with my affiliate id as a get-parameter in the link.

Remote Macro Execution

Keyboard Maestro macros can be executed several different ways. There’s the common hot-key trigger and text snippet trigger. These are great but sometimes I need to run a macro when I’m not sitting in front of my computer. That’s where the KM Webserver trigger and Keyboard Maestro iOS apps come in handy. Webserver This a somewhat understated feature of Keyboard Maestro. I can configure the application to expose a webserver running on a specific port.

Don039t Forget About Automator

It's a mature tool now, that has a huge amount of power. I often forget about how easy Automator is to use and set out writing Python or AppleScript when Automator provides a solution in a few clicks. Many times it's a one-off solution that I don't even bother to save. Here's an example I used tonight to convert a folder of .md and .mmd files to plain text files and also set their default application to Byword (Thanks for the recommendation Brett).

More Fun With Markdown Text Services

I couldn’t resist. Here are some more generic solutions for text processing via the Services Menu. Create an Automator Services project that accepts text and replaces the selection with the result as shown. Add a “Run AppleScript” step to the workflow. Here’s the AppleScript to convert a selection of text to a bulleted Markdown list: [cc lang=“applescript”] on run {input, parameters} set inputString to input as string set newList to {} set myString to paragraphs of inputString repeat with myItem in myString set NewItem to “- " & myItem set end of newList to NewItem end repeat set AppleScript’s text item delimiters to " " set combinedList to newList as text

Create a Text Service That Uses BBEdit

If you are a proud user of BBEdit, don't forget that it can help with text anywhere in the OS through the services menu. Using Automator, you can build new services that receive selected text and replace it with some processed text. Here's an example for use with Markdown enthusiasts. I hate when I am working in TextEdit or NVAlt and I forget to prepend a list with bullets. This service fixes that.