Automator, who uses it?

carpe diem

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
452
0
Hi there i was wondering which of you guys use automator i have never used it so it seems useless to me and i am just wondering if it is useless or not. If you do use it please state why.
Thank You
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,909
41
Andover, MA
I use it to automatically download the Astronomy Picture of the Day (http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/) to a folder on my Desktop, which is set up to automatically set any new file inserted into it as my new desktop picture. So, every day, a new astronomy image.
 

carpe diem

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 18, 2005
452
0
Thats a good idea, by the way how do you change your location is it automated?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,191
5
Adelaide, Australia
It's certainly not useless, but I still don't think it's as easy to use as Apple would have us believe. Or maybe that's just because I'm a little slow... :(

I don't really use it all that much personally.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,909
41
Andover, MA
I agree that it has plenty of room to grow. It's sort of like Visual AppleScript, and a lot of cool components are there, but not quite enough to make it truly useful.

And one thing I want to do is schedule workflows... but the current way (using an iCal alarm) is very non-intuitive... should be built into Automator.

Still... I think it's quite promising.
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,909
41
Andover, MA
carpe diem said:
Thats a good idea, by the way how do you change your location is it automated?
Yes, but not with Automator. I run a Java app to update it every 20 minutes or so. it's still a work in progress - it's been running in various forms for less than 48 hours. I want to make sure it's useful but doesn't use much bandwidth (don't want to get in trouble). As it is, only a few hundred bytes are sent several times an hour, so I don't think that anyone would care.
 

kretzy

macrumors 604
Sep 11, 2004
7,921
0
Canberra, Australia
Very freaky....I was just asking myself the same question a moment before i saw this thread.

I have never used automater, because I just don't seem to have a need for it. Maybe it needs to be more integrated into the actual OS rather than a separate program?
 

jsw

Moderator emeritus
Mar 16, 2004
22,909
41
Andover, MA
max_altitude said:
Very freaky....I was just asking myself the same question a moment before i saw this thread.

I have never used automater, because I just don't seem to have a need for it. Maybe it needs to be more integrated into the actual OS rather than a separate program?
If you dig into it, it's actually pretty cool - for example, you can add stuff to the Finder's right-click pop-up, which in a sense integrates it with the OS. But, yeah, it's still a bit rough.
 

Savage Henry

macrumors 65816
mad jew said:
It's certainly not useless, but I still don't think it's as easy to use as Apple would have us believe. Or maybe that's just because I'm a little slow... :(

I don't really use it all that much personally.
Same here. I've tried to rummage through it and find some rewarding use from it, but come up dry. Even searching for Automator in the hallowed Forums of Macrumors reads like a thread list of the unengaged.

It will probably end up next to Sherlock in my Apps folder.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
It's marvellous once you figure out a use for it and understand the structure of creating workflows

I find it really useful using with Image Capture to download selected pictures, rename them sequentially with a sensible file name and then import them into iPhoto. It's also great for resizing images on the fly and renaming groups of files.

I've used it to download lots of files before too which was much faster than having to click on each individual link - especially if you set it to run while you're not there.
 

SilentPanda

Moderator emeritus
Oct 8, 2002
9,992
30
The Bamboo Forest
I was going to pose this same question but I figure maybe people can append... anybody using Automater? It's probably the least asked about piece of software around here but one of the "big" features of our latest OS. I don't even know if it's installed on my machine to be honest (although I assume it is). Anybody using this for things?
 

XNine

macrumors 68040
Automator has some great uses. When I worked at the Apple Store, I was the only guy who knew anything about Automator. I taught everyone else about it and even sent out scripts to everyone. Backing up files to a network drive with two clicks of my mouse which automatically deletes the file off the main computer after it's been moved, downloading images from porn sites enmass, and many many other functions. Automator works well for some things. Others you not so much. It's getting there.
 

.Andy

macrumors 68030
Jul 18, 2004
2,964
931
The Mergui Archipelago
There was a fantastic thread last year that had a lot of people's workflows in it for Automator. I can't find it now but it was great. Had all the steps you needed to do for different tasks that people found helpful. I used it to lift quite a few scripts at the time. I can't seem to track it down now though......I'll update this if I do.
 

quigleybc

macrumors 68030
Automator rocks

I use it for iTunes

I download a lot of free concerts from livearchive.com, (legal) and a lot of the times the shows are all in Aiff, So I highlight all the tracks, and use my automator plug in (right click) to import all the songs as aac 192, add to a new playlist called "aac convertions" and then add all the songs to my iPod, all with one click....love it.
 

Project

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2005
2,297
0
I have an iTunes 'watch' folder that has a folder action assigned to it. Basically, I have all my music downloads set up to go directly to this folder. Once its downloaded, Automator automatically encodes if need be and imports into iTunes. Saves quite a bit of time.

Thats my only use though. Its still pretty difficult to use Automator....
 

swindmill

macrumors 6502a
Mar 17, 2005
944
4
KY
The only thing I've used it for is to make an app in the dock that connects to my Linux file server. All it really does is allow me to click to the dock icon rather than go to Finder-Network-fileserver, but it's very handy.
 

IanF0729

macrumors regular
Dec 3, 2005
169
0
Washington, DC.
I never used Automator until I got tired of downloading *.pdf files off a county clerk's website and then converting them manually to *.tiff at work (I work for an imaging department). I'd been boasting about my mac for a few weeks now so I whipped it out, hooked it up to the network and started converting, renaming, and copying them to the proper network location all while doing other things.

My coworkers were shocked and they vowed, especially after seeing exposé that their next computers would be macs. We're even working on pitching getting a few macs for our imaging department now (the department I work in).

It was the only time I used Automator before, but it did the job while I was able to keep using my PC in the office for other activities. :D
 

cwedl

macrumors 65816
Jun 5, 2003
1,398
26
I used it to take files out of the iphoto library and put them all in one folder so that I could put them onto my PC.
 

fradac

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2003
127
0
Atlanta, GA
lately i have used it often, when i realized i needed to do a tedious task. the other day i had about 150PDF files where i needed the first page of each pdf file as a jpg so i used automater. then after i got the jpgs extracted, i need to resize them to 640pixel width, for that i used one of photoshop automater scripts.


and day before, i had to go through 5 300+ page reports and pick from each page the Purpose Line.

so i used automater to do that, they have a text automation which will sort paragaphs containg a specific text
 

dolphin842

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2004
1,168
28
I agree that Automator needs quite a bit of polishing, both in regards to the UI and the featureset.

However, I have done a few basic things with it that nevertheless save time. I have the following plugins for the contextual menu in Finder:

-Encode MP3 (adds it to the iTunes library and puts a copy on the desktop)
-Encode AAC (same as above)
-Erase CD-RW (no messing about with Disk Utility)
-Set Background (the one contextual menu item I missed from Windows ;))

I also have a workflow that launches all the apps I regularly use, and checks my mail. I take advantage of the batch file renaming quite a bit, too.

On my wish list is an automator action that launches a folder of bookmarks in tabs (I'd like to integrate that with my app-launching workflow).

All in all I think Automator has promise... hopefully it'll get a much-deserved revamp in 10.5.
 
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