Good and Geeky

David Allen Wizardgold

David Allen Wizardgold

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Using Automator in Mac OSX to work for you

Otto - Automator.png

The task that I worked out for Hazel to do for me automatically when the files were simply drooped into the right folder last week works great but not I am trying to get the same job done with Automator which comes free with Mac OSX. No point in spending money if you can help it. Hazel is worth the small amount it costs though and has a few other tricks too. So lets have a look at how it has been going with Automator.

There a number of ways to go about doing it and the first way that seems to present itself is using Folder Actions. This is like in Hazel where you just drop in the file to be automated and there is a certain amount of hey presto and you have your desired end result. In my case I am looking for a pair of AIFF files from the single .MOV file I saved into the folder.

What would be great is to have the Automator do the whole job in one automator action but I can’t seem to get that to work. So like in Hazel I have split the task up. I made one folder action to split the audio into 2 tracks then another automator action to convert those files to AIFF. So far so good, I can make that happen, although sometimes I put the starting file in the folder and nothing happens. The file just sits there festering and getting impatient to have something happen to it.

test folder.png

In Hazel there is a menu where you can start a process for a folder manually and it does the rest by itself. SO what I have done is to create a Automator service that take the first part of the automation and starts it with a file that is selected. When the two files are spat out of that process the second automator folder action takes over.

As I write this the first automator action which I set in motion by the service menu in FInder is still running automator running.pngas can be seen in the picture here the cog wheel is turning indicating that there is an action running. The action did the opening of the file with the audio splitter application and now is waiting for the next part because of a pause I put in the action. I told it to delete the starting file after 30 minutes and it worked.

I did also put in the action that it should quit the application used to split the audio, but that didn’t happen, so I will have to back to the drawing board on that one. I will get to the bottom of this. Funny thing is though that the way it works is a bit fuzzy. A couple of times I have put a file in that should have been worked on but nothing happened. tried again a little later and it worked. I would like to think it would be fool proof and work every time.

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