System Utilities

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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Black Friday Deals for O&O Software Products. 50% Off Entire Catalog

The Black Friday Specials are coming in faster than I can read/delete them. A couple of good ones caught my eye like the entire O&O Software catalog on sale for 50% Off. That is a pretty sweet deal considering it covers O&O Defrag, O&O DiskImage, O&O SafeErase and others. These guys make some really good software not only to keep your system running smoothly, but to resurrect it from the dead if something goes wrong. O&O DiskImage is a personal favorite of mine to take snapshots of the entire drive so all I have to do is boot from the Recovery CD and restore the image. I’ve actually had to do this more than once and it’s incredibly easy to use and restored all my files perfectly. I currently have DiskImage cloning the drive in my main machine and putting the image file on a data disk.

Click the link below and add whatever items you want to the cart, each will get the sale price.

Save 50% on O&O Software Products

You can also still get the Autumn Bundle which includes:

O&O Defrag
O&O CleverCache
O&O AutoBackup
O&O MediaRecovery
O&O SafeErase

If you don’t need all those or already have some, go for the mix and match option.

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