Automators 40: Automating with Tim Stringer

2 Likes

It was a pleasure to be a guest on the Automators.

To complement what I shared on the podcast, here’s some information on the automation technologies that I’m currently using. I’ve also included summaries of a few of the many automations that I use to make life and work easier and to help prevent things from slipping through the cracks. And I’ve included some guidance if you’re not sure where to begin your automation journey.

I’ll also keep an eye on this thread and look forward to any questions or feedback you have.

5 Likes

Just posted my travel time automation shortcut. Uses the car Bluetooth as a trigger. Works well.

2 Likes

Thanks for the name check. :slight_smile:

For clarity, I have 2 StreamDecks:

  1. Mini - 6 (2 x 3) - used for temporary actions.
  2. Standard - 15 (3 x 5) - used for permanent actions.

When I say “temporary actions” I’m moving my blog (526 posts) over to mainframeperformancetopics.com. This has involved a huge amount of editing the HTML for each post and also jiggery pokery with the Wordpress web interface. So I have actions that automate quite a bit of that, together with updating my master Markdown table of blog posts. When I’m done I won’t want any of these actions anymore.

Curation of what button pushes do remains a bit of a pain. I might work on tooling for that - if I ever need a hobby project. :slight_smile:

@timstringer - Do you have a detailed description of, our could you even share, your “Prepare to Zoom” automation? I’m a heavy Zoom user as well, so it’s always great to learn what others are doing when it comes to preparing for a Zoom session.

I’m happy to share some additional details.

The “Prepare to Zoom” Shortcuts automation is pretty simple and currently does the following:

  1. Sleeps the Apple TV in the next room.
  2. Prepares the lighting in my office for video.
  3. It looks to see what’s next on the calendar. Based on the name of the event, it determines if my next event is a client call or a Learn OmniFocus LIVE session.
  4. If it’s a client call, the script creates a note in Bear with the date and some headings. It then triggers a Keyboard Maestro macro that runs in the “Tim Stringer” user account on my iMac.
  5. If it’s a Learn OmniFocus LIVE session, the script triggers a different Keyboard Maestro macro that runs in the “Learn OmniFocus” user account on my iMac.

I’m also thinking of popping up a checklist of items that can’t be handled automatically (e.g. filling up my water container and plugging in headphones). I already keep some checklists in OmniFocus, so the macro would just need to open the appropriate checklist in OmniFocus.

The Keyboard Maestro macros do different things depending on the type of meeting.

For example, the Bear app is automatically opened on my Mac if it’s a client meeting, but not for Learn OmniFocus LIVE sessions. And the Learn OmniFocus macro launches apps that I typically use when doing LIVE sessions (e.g. Keynote, OmniFocus, Safari, ScreenFlow).

Some things that they have in common:

  1. Turn on Do Not Disturb
  2. Launch Zoom
  3. Adjust Camera Settings (zoom level, autofocus, etc).

I’m planning to create another Keyboard Maestro macro (possibly triggered from the “Prepare to Zoom” one) that does some more configuration in Zoom, including doing things like adjusting the position of the windows, locking screen sharing, and making sure the audio and video source is correct (assuming all of this is technically possible).

I also make good of my StreamDeck XL while I’m in Zoom meetings (e.g. turn audio and video on and off). I’m planning to further customize this setup to make it more dynamic.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,
Tim

1 Like

Thanks, @timstringer , for sharing what you’re doing.

I have 2 Zoom-related Keyboard Maestro scripts, one for when I’m presenting vs. one when I’m only attending. Hence my question.

I mainly turn off things in these scripts; when I’m presenting I turn off more compared to me attending. Also, I live in the corporate world and I have not figured out how to automate Outlook or Exchange actions yet. Just a matter of time and research.

Currently, I’m working on another Zoom script to turn everything back on once I quit Zoom. Should be relatively straight-forward.

Thanks again!

1 Like

You’re very welcome @veit. Thanks for sharing more info on your use cases.

Having another Keyboard Maestro macro to turn things back on after a Zoom meeting makes sense. It could be triggered automatically when Zoom quits. I just added this to my automation ideas list.

When listening to this episode you mentioned Zoom. I use both FaceTime and Cisco Webex. My guess is I could write an automation - like yours - that pops up the “which one do you want?” Question somewhere in the middle.

If the call is on the Mac, you could add a prompt and conditional logic to a Keyboard Maestro macro quite easily.

If the call is on iOS/iPadOS, a Shortcuts automation could look at your calendar and try to determine automatically what app to use for the call and only prompt you if this determination could not be made. For example, it could look for a meeting link that identifies it as a Webex meeting.

To take this a step further you could have a prompt such as “Are you ready to start your Webex call?” that invokes the URL if the answer is “Yes”.

1 Like

My case would be Mac and via KM: The button on the Streamdeck would kick off a KM macro - as many of my buttons do.

1 Like