Simple AppleScript to Open A URL From A List In Text File

One of the reasons I've always liked using an Apple Macintosh is AppleScript.  I know there is PowerShell on Windows but I don't find it as easy to just solve a problem as seamlessly with AppleScript.  

Here is an example ...

I have been subscribed to an email feed from DefenseLink that gives you pictures taken by DOD photographers.  However, the links get messed up (BLOCKED) by the anti-malware software on the mail servers at work.

So I take the messed up URLs and save them to a text file.   Then I run this script when I want to review the pictures:

property myURL : ""

tell application "TextWrangler"

activate

select line 1 of window 1

set myURL to contents of selection

delete line 1 of window 1

end tell

tell application "Google Chrome"

activate

set myTab to make new tab at end of tabs of window 1

set URL of myTab to myURL

end tell

Pretty easy.  Meets my needs. Solves a problem.  Good deal.


Tech Tracking #001 - New News, Mobile, Video, Security, Books, Training, Etc

Here are some new items I am tracking --


Recommended - Introduction to Snow Leopard's Automator & Services

Macbreak-auto-servMacBreak Weekly #235 (Part 1) starts off a great informative series (Part 1 of 4) to introduce the new features found in Automator and Services in Snow Leopard.

There are additional videos: #236 (Part 2), #237 (Part 3), and #238 (Part 4). More information can also be found at: www.macosxautomation.com

Moving From Microsoft Outlook To Macintosh Mail & Address Book

I just read a Walt Mossberg's Mailbox article about how to move from a Windows PC to an Apple Macintosh when you have a great deal of information in Microsoft Outlook, and it reminded me of the work around I came up with recently.

Christy recently migrated from a Windows XP based laptop to an iBook G4 with Leopard.  And she was using Microsoft Outlook on the PC for email and contacts.

I moved over all her email using Google GMAIL's IMAP service.  This was pretty easy, because once I had the IMAP account configured on Outlook I could just drag and drop the emails she wanted on her Mac.  Then I fired up the Mail client in Leopard and configured it for the same IMAP account, and I was done.

I figured I could use the export functions in Microsoft Outlook to get me a contacts file that would import into Apple's Address Book, but every file I tried ended up hanging when I tried to import on the Macintosh.

So, I came up with this work around. 

I went into Microsoft Outlook's contact view on the PC, and did a select all.  And then did a right mouse click to Send vCard of all the selected contacts.  This created a new email message with all her contacts vCards.  I then selected all the 'attachments' and saved them to a folder locally on the PC.  I then copied the folder to a USB flash drive and moved them to her Macintosh.  She then clicked through that folder and added the people she wanted into the Leopard Address Book.  Pretty easy and it also cut down on some clutter in her new Address Book because she picked just the vCards to import that she wanted.

Walt suggested a $10 tool from Little Machines' O2M (Outlook To Mac).  I haven't used the tool but from what I read on their site it appears to be a possible alternative solution.


iPhoto'08 Printing To Costco Challenge

I recently made a bold decision to move Christy off the PC to Mac OS X Leopard and iLife'08 plus iWork'08.  This will mean the only PC at home would be my work ThinkPad X61 TabletPC.

The migration has been relatively smooth(probably better than going from XP to Vista), but the latest hiccup is the feature in iPhoto'08 to wall off your photos in Apple's iPhoto proprietary document repository that appears to be more locked down to a standard user than the iTunes library.

From what I can tell you can't easily get to individual pictures from the standard file system interfaces, so if you want to print some pictures to Costco via their web interface you have to first export from iPhoto the pictures you want into the Apple file system so the browser can see them.  The older version of iPhoto would let you in the photo library from the file system but the new one does not.  So there is now an extra step that is going to trip up basic users and if you are a new switcher, this will really be frustrating.  On the PC it is pretty darn straight forward to print one's pictures online.

I hope there is a better work around available either by a suggestion from someone smarter than me or a new tool. The Costco website does mention a new Macintosh tool seems to be planned but nothing has been announced. 

The search is on, Christy is not happy. ;-)

UPDATE (12/28/2007): There is a new version that appears to work with iPhoto'08.


Preview QuickLook Bug With Mac OS X Leopard

I really like the Quick Look feature in Mac OS X Leopard.  It is very handy in Mail if someone send you an attachment.  For those that never open attachments, this might be a happy medium. 

I did notice something strange though when doing a Quick Look with a Microsoft Word document.  The arrow cursor changes to text select cursor if you move it over the document, and gives you the impression that you could grab some text to do a cut and paste with it.  But no selection seems to take place.

Maybe it is user error but it feels like a bug to me.


MP2 Preview Feature Missing in Mac OS X Leopard

I recently updated my Mac Book Pro to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.  The upgrade process was pretty seamless and I only had a few initial performance issues that seemed to go away with time.

I did notice one missing feature this morning while doing some audio troubleshooting on a just eBay purchased Telos-One with Paul Figgiani and Victor Cajiao that the Leopard's Finder no longer allows you to preview MP2 files in the Columns view or in the new Quick Look feature.

This feature was in Mac OS X 10.4, and I am perplexed on why it would go away. 

For podcasters and other audio engineering folks MP2 are used a great deal in collaborative post production.

If anyone knows a work around or a way to enable the lost feature, please let me know.


New Media Expo 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Session

I will be at the New Media Expo 2007 this weekend (Sept. 27-30).  I am giving a presentation on 'Getting Started With Audacity' in the Podcaster 101 track:

Session 8 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Ballroom B
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2007
http://www.newmediaexpo.com/saturday2007.htm#Audacity

If folks are bringing their laptops to the session, then it is highly recommend that the come with Audacity pre-loaded ... http://audacity.sourceforge.net. I also have upload some demo audio files in zip format that I will be using if folks are interested in working hands-on with the same material: http://www.newmediaexpo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1634.

If you'd like to meet-up at the Expo please drop me an email or post a message to me on Twitter.


Investigating Options For Commenting On Specific Podcast Episodes

I have been wanting to come up with a quick way to comment on specific podcasts that I've been listening to.  In a recent brainstorming session with a friend we considered that maybe Apple iTunes was keeping the RSS referral post link in the meta data of the iTunes music library XML. 

Unfortunately after digging into the XML file and looking at what iTunes exposes to AppleScript, it doesn't appear to work.

Maybe I should output the podcast OPML file I have from iTunes, and use something like Google Reader to manage my options for specific podcast episode commenting. Thoughts?!?


Less Typing Strategy Underway

For the last 6 years or so, I have been very observant about my workplace ergonomics, especially related to typing, since as an IT professional my ability to type is a key requirement. 

I've invested both at home and at work in great keyboards, chairs, desk layouts, and Handeze gloves (which I highly recommend).   I also use a text short cut tool both on my Mac (Textpander - no longer free) and on my Windows (Short Keys - free version still available) systems. 

But apparently that has not been enough to ward of potential problems.

About three weeks ago I noticed a lump in my left hand, right at the base of my thumb but above my wrist.  A quick visit to the doctor came back with good news - Ganglion Cyst - which is not cancerous and unless there is pain, is probably something to just monitor.  I don't have any pain, so I'm going to just monitor it for the time being as suggested by my doctor.

Mean while, I have loaded up Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0 on my TabletPC and using it a lot when I'm in my office or at home.  It seems to be working very well.  In fact, most of this blog post was done with me speaking vice typing.

I noticed that IBM's ViaVoice for the Macintosh is available but I can't seem to tell if it has any support since the last version posted is from 2005.  Comments?