System Utilities

More file management with Keyboard Maestro

The spring cleaning of my drives has begun and with it comes several more helpful commands set up within Keyboard Maestro. While you can buy utilities that perform these same actions, by using Keyboard Maestro you can configure exactly how they work and chain them all together into a very handy set of utilities.

I used my previous applet to move a whole series of files and folders, now I'm using another to clean my drive of all sorts of useless and wasteful files. For example, I don't need readme.txt files of 1k. Or file_id.diz of 1k. Or empty directories. Or .nfo files. Or .url files. Just to name a few.

The may not take up much space, but in reality, they do. They occupy the full block of hard drive space, even if they are only a few bytes in size. Why clutter up the drive? Why clutter up a duplicate manager tool? Why clutter up an index tool like NeoFinder?

It's time to get rid of these and dozens more with some easy shell help and a quick UI from Keyboard Maestro.

In my case, the UI has a button to List, Count or Remove the items in question. It then has a dropdown for the drive I want to work with. The results are a text window where I can confirm what's to be removed. If I like what I see, I can run the command again to delete them.

The command in question looks something like this:

filename="Sample*"
find * -iname "$filename" -type d
find * -iname "$filename" -type d | wc -l
#find * -iname "$filename" -type d -exec rm -rf {} +

I also set up a small util to show me the largest files. Again, it has a simple UI to pick the file size I'm interested in, such as 1GB, 5GB, 10GB. In this case, show me all the files larger than 5GB, since those might need to be dealt with. The executed shell command is:

find * -type f -size +"$KMVAR_instance_size"

As I find more and more files I don't need, I add them to my growing list. I can either execute them as shell command within Keyboard Maestro, or create an .sh shell script that processes them as a batch.

Using Keyboard Maestro allows me to make a helpful UI that fills in the parameters of the shell command and lets me get the work done without worrying about the syntax.

Now that I have my command set up, I can use it over and over again, across multiple drives and delete hundreds, if not thousands of files, and clean up a slew of files with a single click.

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Keyboard Maestro makes a last minute appearance on the Party Barge

While researching Alfred, CopyLess and PopClip, I saw many references to Keyboard Maestro, but never quite understood what the app was for. It came across as a text expander, or a clipboard editor, or a keyboard mapper.

So, taking a moment out to pause and reflect, it finally became clear to me. All those functions are a part of Keyboard Maestro. How is that possible?

It makes a little more sense when Keyboard Maestro is presented as an extension or the next version of Automator. It uses a similar style of building blocks to chain actions together to accomplish tasks. At one end you can tie an action to a hotkey, and at the other, actions can be triggered by system events such as switching networks, or a USB drive being inserted.

After downloading a copy, trying it out, watching some videos and assembling some blocks of my own, Keyboard Maestro jumps aboard the Party Barge just as we cast off for 2020.

In reality there is some overlap between Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. They are both development environments for creating shortcuts for repetitive tasks. And in many ways they go about it the same way. However, they both offer distinct tools and functionality.

To give a simple example, in Alfred you can create a workflow to stop and start multiple applications using AppleScript.

In Keyboard Maestro, the same job can be set up as a macro using a series of the “Application Control” actions that list the applications to stop and start. It can also be done using the Execute AppleScript module.

In Alfred:

    tell application "Firefox" to activate
    tell application "Mail" to activate
    tell application "Messages" to activate

In Keyboard Maestro:

km-macro

Same end results, slightly different way of getting there.

But where Keyboard Maestro comes into it’s own is with system events. You can create actions for when a file is added to a folder, when you login, when the system goes idle, when the system wakes, when an application starts or stops, when text is copied to the clipboard, etc. There are dozens of events you can monitor and take action on.

Additionally, you can build loops, use IF statements, employ variables, set up decision making, and even prompt for input before continuing.

Or if you prefer, you can skip the module building part and use straight scripting in AppleScript, a shell script, Swift, or JavaScript.

I even watched a couple of videos where Keyboard Maestro was used to fill in forms on a Google page.

Once I took a serious look, I saw just how powerful Keyboard Maestro can be. I’ve already built a few simple macros with many more coming. There is a fair bit to learn, but like Alfred, there is a very active community of users and plenty of examples to study.

With their combined powers, very few computer tasks will escape me.

Keyboard Maestro

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TextSoap 8 on Bundlehunt

If you are the type of person that needs to handle a lot of Find/Replace functions, or parse through logs, or strip extraneous characters from text taken from the web, TextSoap 8 should make a great tool in your arsenal.

I just picked it up the other day from Bundlehunt for the super low price of $5 and I've already done a fair bit of text parsing.

TextSoap comes with literally hundreds of pre-made actions to strip out extraneous text or even add text blocks back in.

For example, you can add the HEAD, H1, and other block markers. Remove all the tags from some HTML source code. Convert to Lowercase/Uppercase. Wrap text at a specific column number. Remove Whitespace and Carriage Returns. Remove extra space. Change formatting styles. Parse text with RegEx.

And if that wasn't enough, you can always build your own "Cleaner."

I've already run through several conversions to strip away HTML, remove characters and get plain text from formatted text. For the $5, it is absolutely worth grabbing now.

TextSoap on Bundlehunt
TextSoap Web Page

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O&O Spring Cleanup Bundle and Discount

It’s time for Spring Cleaning and here is another computer bundle, this time from O&O software. It includes:

DiskImage for making a backup of your system or for cloning and entire drive
Defrag to keep files tidy.
AutoBackup for backing up files and syncing files to external drives
SafeErase for deleting Temp files, Internet files, Wiping Free Space and even the entire drive

I’ve used DiskImage in the past and it has worked quite well for me. It’s currently scheduled to make an image of my C:\ drive every two weeks. So if something goes wrong with that drive, it should just be a matter of replacing it, restoring the image and back up and running.

O&O is offering each program for $12 for 1 PC, or you can buy a bundle with all 4 apps to cover 3 PCs for $39. Clearly, the bundle price is far cheaper than buying 1 copy of each. It’s an 85% discount on the cost of each app.

https://shop.oo-software.com/36/purl-springcleanh

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Ashampoo Bundle System Utilities 13–Winoptimzer, Uninstaller, HDD Control

With Spring Cleaning comes the time to dig through your system and clean out some of those old files and programs you no longer need. Ashampoo has a bundle offer to help with the task and it comes with a really good price. The Bundle System Utilities 13 contains Winoptimizer to help clean out old files, Uninstaller which can be used to remove programs you no longer need and monitor new ones as you go forward, and HDD Control to keep an eye on your drives so you don’t suffer from data loss, a problem I seem to keep running into as I add more and more drives to my system.

Even at the lowest discount price, all three apps would be around $36. However, with this bundle, you can get all three for less than half of that. Using the link below, you can get all three for $19, or just over $6 a piece. That is a really good deal.

Ashampoo Bundle System Utilities 13–Winoptimzer, Uninstaller, HDD Control

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