Jason Snell, on Six Colours:
Here was the plan: Find a device that could be controlled by my Mac and press the volume-up button on my iPod Hi-Fi every morning when I started up the computer.
I love it when you can get something done by tinkering with various technologies. I don’t love maintaining such designs over longer periods of time though, such as my Homebridge setup.
I’m always surprised by how many Mac hacks, tricks and workflows I keep finding out that boost my productivity and make my life easier. Sometimes they’re hidden features, sometimes clever workflows people come up with — and this is also where the Mac community shows its best side. So, here’s the idea: I’m asking a handful of Mac power users what are some things they do to be more productive with their Macs.
A good list. Found lots of inspiration on it.
Federico Viticci, on MacStories:
On the surface, Shortcuts the app looks like the full-blown Workflow replacement heavy users of the app have been wishfully imagining for the past year. But there is more going on with Shortcuts than the app alone. Shortcuts the feature, in fact, reveals a fascinating twofold strategy: on one hand, Apple hopes to accelerate third-party Siri integrations by leveraging existing APIs as well as enabling the creation of custom SiriKit Intents; on the other, the company is advancing a new vision of automation through the lens of Siri and proactive assistance from which everyone – not just power users – can reap the benefits.
I was afraid magic variables would go away, but I’m surprised and happy to see that they have been retained. I like to imagine Ari Weinstein fought a battle there because this is not something I expected Apple to keep.
I hope they keep Ari and his team happy, so he can continue to build on the foundations of the most excellent Workflow (now Shortcuts) app. I don’t want even think about going back to using iOS without automation.
Jordan McMahon, for Wired:
When Jobs took over, he went on a campaign to salvage Apple’s remaining resources by hacking and slashing under-performing departments. The problem, Jobs said, was that Apple had lost its focus. The company was making too many products that people didn’t want to buy. After years of leading innovation in the PC industry, the Macintosh’s operating system had fallen behind its biggest competitor. “It used to be easy when we were 100 times better than Windows. But now that we’re not, you don’t know what to do,” Jobs told the room. This was a big slap in the face—just two years earlier, Jobs had quipped that Microsoft “had no taste.”
Soghoian didn’t like that. As Apple’s product manager of automation, he was tasked with finding new and clever ways to for users take tedious and repetitive tasks on the Mac—like organizing a bunch of files at once or resizing massive groups of photos—and write small bits of code to complete those tasks quickly.
“No, you’re wrong,” Soghoian told the notoriously brutal CEO. Jobs fired back: “And you are?”
“I’m Sal Soghoian, and you’re wrong. My technology is better than Windows.”
From AppleScript, through Automator, to Workflow for iOS, and Sal’s future in The Omni Group — the path of automation over the years is definitely interesting, but I still cannot fathom why Apple let Sal go.
Anyway, I rely on automating my tasks on Mac and iOS every single day, so I can’t help but wonder what its future will be. Keeping my fingers crossed.