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Tag: automation (page 1 of 4)

Make Your CAPS LOCK Key Do Double Duty As a Modifier Key and Caps Lock

Your Caps Lock key might be underused on your Mac. If you’re a big automation geek, why not use it for something else, in addition to its built-in functionality? Karabiner Elements is a Mac tool that lets you customize the keyboard on your Mac, including the Caps Lock key. In this post, I’ll talk about how I’ve set up my Caps Lock key to be used as an extra modifier key (similar to the Command, Control, Option, and Shift keys), while at the same time preserving its normal functionality.

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TECHSHOW “Mac Mastery” Downloads

In addition to attending great sessions and meeting interesting people, I presented two sessions at the ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago last week. One of them, Mac Mastery: Top Mac Workflows Used By Real Attorney, featured a few automation workflows and other processes I use in my practice. I shared a link to a page during the presentation, and indicated I would later publish downloads of the various workflows to the page. That page is now populated with the downloads and other information:

TECHSHOW 2019 – Mac Workflows


Bring Devices into HomeKit with Your Synology →

Casey Liss, at Liss is More:

The final piece that really opened everything up for me was realizing that my Synology has Docker support. Furthermore, after but a moment of digging, I was able to find instructions specifically for setting up Homebridge on a Synology in Docker.

Following those instructions, within about 10 minutes, I had a Docker container on my Synology, running Homebridge, and allowing me to see my not-yet-updated Wemo devices in HomeKit!

Homebridge is a software bridge that allows you to use certain non-HomeKit devices with HomeKit. Two years ago I installed Homebridge on my Mac mini server, which let me add my garage door and my Wemo switches to HomeKit. This process, which required command line dabbling in Terminal, was convoluted enough (for someone of my skill set) that I eventually abandoned it.

A week ago I resurrected Homebridge. This time I installed it on my Synology. As the above post by Casey Liss suggests, this process was MUCH easier than my first go-around. I had planned to publish a complete write-up of the process, but Casey’s post (and the link it contains) should get you on your way.

I followed a slightly different process than Casey followed, as I hadn’t discovered the instructions he referenced. I instead began by installing Docker on my Synology via the Synology’s Package Center, and then used these instructions to upload and install Homebridge.

No matter how you get Homebridge up and running, I encourage you to give it a shot if Homebridge has intrigued you. Aside from pasting text into a configuration file to get plugins working, the entire process was mostly a point-and-click process.


The Friction of an iPad for the Middle User →

Gabe Weatherhead at Macdrifter:

I don’t count bloggers and podcasters as normal iPad users. There’s a different kind of drive for these folks. Part of that drive is being able to write about their impressive accomplishments with an iPad. That will always take some of the sting out of losing hours trying to figure out how to upload a file to a website.

Gabe Weatherhead was writing about a post by Thomas Verschoren, who highlights some of the limitations of iOS. Weatherhead’s comment got me thinking about how iOS usually satisfies the needs of power users and basic users, but not those in the middle. Power users cook up workflows with tools like the Shortcuts app to overcome almost any hurdle, and casual users never run into those hurdles in the first place.

It’s the people in between who need to get over those hurdles, and don’t want to build a tool or workflow to do so. They just want something that works. The iPad won’t be a laptop replacement for those users until those gaps are filled.

Most users aren’t like us. They don’t want to have to build a workflow that, in their eyes, is a Rube Goldberg machine. Most of my automation workflows on the Mac are to speed up processes I can already perform without automation. Too many of my automation workflows on iOS are to perform tasks I couldn’t otherwise perform at all. 1


  1. Siri Shortcuts, not to be confused with the Shortcuts app, is the exception to this.


Finally Making Sense of Magic Variables in the Shortcuts App →

Dr. Drang:

All those green bubbles come from a single Magic Variable and its many parts. I’m going to show how to put them together—partly because it might help you, but mostly in the hope that doing this will reinforce the use of Magic Variables with me.

The introduction of Magic Variables in version 1.7 of the Workflow app was supposed to make the use of variables easier. Magic Variables never clicked with me, though, probably because I never spent the time to understand them. I finally grasp how to use them, thanks to this post by Dr. Drang. If you want to use Magic Variables in the Shortcuts app (the successor to the Workflow app), Dr. Drang’s post is a great place to start.