Hazel helps automate Flac to iTunes conversion

I’ve written about XLD and how cool it is to convert FLAC and APE files into iTunes. Using that program is only part of my workflow though.

After using XLD for a while I wanted a more streamlined automated workflow. Ideally, I wanted to take a bunch of FLAC files put it into a folder and automatically launch and convert and import the files into iTunes.

This might sound like a hard thing to do but it’s really easy if you use Hazel. Hazel watches folders and then allows you to perform actions on files that are dropped into the folder.

So, what does this Hazel setup look like?

The first step is to create a folder for Hazel to monitor. I put this folder into my Music folder and named it FLAC Stuff.

Hazel help transcode

Next, you need to build the rules that Hazel follows. The first rule tell Hazel to traverse subdirectories. This lets me put an albums worth of FLAC files in a folder into the FLAC Stuff folder. Hazel will dive into the second folder to find the actual files.

Hazel traverse folders

Finally, the real work is done with the Transcode and Tag Rule. Transcode and Tag launches XLD and starts the transcoding job.

2016-05-08 at 6.58 PM

At the end of the process, it tags the files with a “transcode” tag. This prevents XLD from running the rules over and over again on the same file.

Hazel is a really powerful tool to automate workflows on your Mac. Download it and give it a try. If you use Hazel today I’d love to hear your favorite workflows in the comments.

Interact | Agile Tortoise

I am always looking for a better way to manage my contacts. The Mac and iOS Contacts App leave much to be desired. I just came across Interact, a contact manager from Greg Pierce, the guy behind Drafts.

This one might be worth taking a spin.

Do more with your contacts! Interact helps you create, organize, and communicate with your contacts in ways that just haven’t been possible before. It’s built to help you do more in less time and flex for the way you work.

Source: Interact | Agile Tortoise

OS X Automation Swiss Army Knife

I spend an unhealthy amount of time tweaking my Mac. I think if I was born in the 50s I would totally be that guy who spends all his time tinkering with his car.

In my never-ending quest to setup my Mac in the best way possible I stumbled upon a number of tools that I can use to automate OS X. I’ve mentioned Slate before. Today I want to talk about Hammerspoon.

Hammerspoon, like Slate lets you assign hot keys to control window size and position. However, to say Hammerspoon is a window manager really doesn’t do it justice.

Hammerspoon is an automation tool for OS X. The tool exposes a bunch of pieces of system functionality in a way that is scriptable.

With Hammerspoon you can write scripts that interact with OS X APIs. You can do the aforementioned window management. You can also control applications, the clipboard, audio devices, retrieve information about the battery, access the filesystem and a whole bunch more.

Here are some of the practical things you can do with Hammerspoon.

  1. Control your window sizes and positions
  2. Move windows between Spaces
  3. Throw windows to different monitors
  4. Configure windows differently when you unplug your monitors
  5. Auto-reload it’s configuration whenever the config file changes.
  6. Cycle your browser between multiple user agent strings
  7. Lock your computer using a hotkey combination
  8. Prevent your Mac from going to sleep
  9. Launch specific applications when you come home.
  10. Launch your scanner application whenever you plug in your scanner
  11. Defeat paste blocking
  12. Send a text message to your spouse whenever your arrive home
  13. Replace your clipboard with a clipboard manager
  14. Implement a Pomodoro timer
  15. Control iTunes

I’ve used to to replace Keyboard Maestro. I’m likely going to replace Slate when I have the time to recreate my window management functions.

You can see my hammerspoon config file in my github repo.

Have you used Hammerspoon or do you have a favorite Mac automation tool? Let me know in the comments.

Keep Your Mac Desktop clutter free with Hocus Focus

Hocus Focus hides unused windowsI usually start out the day with a nice clean Mac desktop free from the clutter of application windows. Over the cource of the day that changes until by the end I have so many app windows open I often lose track of which application window I need to work in.

If you’re like me then you should check out Hocus Focus – a Mac menu bar app which automatically hides inactive apps.

On launch, Hocus Focus will default to hiding inactive apps after 30 seconds. I’m currently trying it out so that’s a reasonable default setting for me. If you want more fine grained control over your applications Hocus Focus let’s you configured the settings on a per-app basis. You can also disable hiding for certain applications.

I can see me using these extra controls to hide things like Glui after I’ve taken a screen shot but keep Omnifocus open all day because I’m always bouncing in and out of it.

Due to restrictions that Apple imposes on developers, Hocus Focus isn’t available in the App Store. You can download it for free directly from the developers website.

How do I take a Screenshot on my Mac?

My day job requires me to take screen shots on my Mac. I’ve come across a number of tools that will do this for you. The simplest way to do this is to use [intlink id=”513″ type=”post”]Grab which is built into OS X.[/intlink]. For many things it’s pretty simple.

If you need advanced features there are other applications for you to use. For years, I used Skitch. They were bought by Evernote a few years ago. This purchase in my opinion has caused the quality to suffer.

Until recently I didn’t have a good alternative to Skitch but have just discovered Annotate and think I finally found the screen shot utility for me.

Annotate lets you grab a window or a portion of the window. It has a bunch of great annotation features which should be familiar to anyone who has used Skitch. The icing on the cake for me was tight integration with Dropbox. You can grab a screenshot and upload it directly into a Dropbox folder.

Check out Annotate (Formerly Glui). It’s a paid app but it’s well worth the money.