Now on Twitter—and praise for Anne-Marie Concepción, the Vin Scully of lynda.com

Automated Workflows now has a company account on Twitter: @scriptsmatter

It's my first venture into Twitter-dom, and I owe many thanks to Anne-Marie Concepción. Her excellent Twitter for Business course at lynda.com was very helpful. I’ve viewed several of Anne-Marie’s courses over the years, and they were all outstanding.

Anyone who has followed Anne-Marie’s career at Seneca Design, InDesignSecrets and elsewhere knows that she is extremely knowledgeable about the publishing world and covers some other fields as well. I’ve seen her give conference presentations on InDesign and would rank her among the best.

Confession: I have a very critical nature. Show me an Apple keynote and I’ll list 20 things which could have been done better. I’m so critical that when I’m leading a seminar I think, “Please, please don’t let there be anyone in the audience like me.” I don’t want to see that person's feedback form.

Still, there are many top-notch presenters and trainers deserving of praise. Among lynda.com authors, Anne-Marie is the best. What makes her so special?

Then I realized…Anne-Marie as the Vin Scully of lynda.com. Yes, I love baseball. And although I’m not a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, frequently I will tune into a Dodgers broadcast just to listen to Scully call the game. He’s simply remarkable, broadcasting the entire game solo as opposed to the two- or three-person crews covering most other teams. The rest of the announcers have conversations with each other throughout the game. Somehow Scully manages to have a conversation with the viewer.

That’s what Anne-Marie does at lynda.com: she has a conversation with the viewer. There are some very good lynda.com authors, but it is obvious many are reading from a script. Not so with Anne-Marie. She comes across as having something to share with you—the viewer—and she wants you to know it because it is important, as if she were talking with you at a coffee shop. That's very challenging to do when it is just you and a computer in a recording room.

In general, I find lynda.com a great resource, well worth the monthly fee my business pays. Imagine all the various Mac programs which people ask me to automate. Knowing a program well is just as important as knowing a scripting language. How can I keep track of the ever-changing features?

I could turn to documentation, books and web searches, but the written word often goes to torturous lengths to describe an interface, with long descriptions and screenshots spread across multiple pages. Videos are so much better for this type of learning. What about free videos on YouTube and elsewhere? A few can help, but the lynda.com courses are far more consistent in quality, and the interface has some very helpful features, such as the complete written transcript (love it) and the new ability to save notes.

With all that being said, not everything at lynda.com is great. I can’t recommend the AppleScript course, even as an intro. And the most common problem is authors talking way too fast. As in I've-got-so-much-to-tell-you-but-want-to-keep-this-section-under-x-minutes-so-I-will-cram-in-so-much-that-you-will-retain-almost-nothing. Critical me.

Back to Anne-Marie. I've received nothing but positive feedback when I’ve recommend her courses to others. Don't think she does this well just because she is a natural. A lot of hard work goes into each video course, to say the least. At last count, she appears to have done 22 videos on social media and Adobe products. In my mind, that’s the equivalent of writing 22 technical books. Wow.

I don’t know the inner workings of lynda.com, but I would hope there is some type of internal course for first-time video authors—something every presenter must view before developing a course. If there is such an internal video, by all means it should be done by the best: Anne-Marie Concepción.

Full disclosure: I’ve met Anne-Marie three times at events, and about 10 years ago she was kind enough to make a home-cooked dinner for me and a travel-weary Australian in the land of Chicago. A memorable meal.

-Ray Robertson
ray@automatedworkflows.com

Stepping in…

Apple has made a great decision in hiring Ben Waldie.

As another consultant in the automation world, I've long admired Ben’s work at Automated Workflows. He is far more than just an expert developer. He has been a great advocate for AppleScript, Automator, and other Mac-based automation technologies. Through presentations, articles, books and app store products, Ben has shown what great things can be done with Mac automation.

I also happen to know that Ben and his wife Jen are just really nice people. I’m sure great things await the Waldie family in California. In accepting the new job, I know Ben had concerns about making sure his clients and products would continue to be supported.

That's where I step in. My main goal is to provide the same great custom-developed solutions and prompt service to existing clients. I also look forward to continuing to maintain and enhance the company's excellent products, as well as taking a larger role in serving as an advocate for automation technologies.

Filling Ben’s shoes would be a difficult task for anybody. Fortunately, we share the same commitment to quality service and much of the same technical expertise. I've been working with AppleScript and other Mac automation technologies for over twenty years, and have also worked with other languages and applications. I’ve even done some iOS programming, creating an early iPad app which was recognized as New & Noteworthy by Apple.

If any tasks are outside my area of expertise, I have a network of skilled developers and consultants. A long-time associate is Shane Stanley, who many recognize as an expert in this field. Shane wrote the book on AppleScript Objective-C programming, and more recently has branched into Objective-C development with his own application, ASObjC Explorer.

As a trainer, I organized and co-taught AppleScript Pro Sessions, a five-day in-depth training event. I've led seminars for Adobe and Apple, including a very successful European tour focused on automating InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator with AppleScript. I enjoy teaching and sharing videos with helpful tips and techniques.

Like Ben, I've been able to create some very sophisticated custom solutions for a wide range of purposes, helping individuals, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. I look forward to continuing this role through Automated Workflows. I've told students and clients that automation is often only limited by the imagination. I have years of experience in coming up with creative solutions to some difficult workflows.

Contact me today about saving time and money through automation, and let’s get to work!

-Ray Robertson
ray@automatedworkflows.com

 

 

Macworld Article > Power tools: Make events on your Mac trigger iOS notifications

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Let’s say you’ve got a really cool Automator workflow that saves you tons of time but takes a while to run. Do you really have to sit around, twiddling your thumbs while waiting for it to finish? Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could go get a latte instead and get an alert on your iPhone when the workflow is finished? That’s just one example of the kind of thing possible with the latest version of If This Then That (IFTTT). [Read more on Macworld.com...]

Send Keynote 6.2 Presenter Notes to Evernote with AppleScript

A while back, I wrote an article for TUAW that demonstrated how to send presenter notes from a Keynote presentation to Evernote. This week, Apple released Keynote 6.2, and it contains some updated terminology. Here's an updated version of the script, which works with Keynote 6.2.

NOTE: You can download an example presentation containing presenter notes here.  You can download the completed AppleScript here.

MacVoices Interview > Road to Macworld – Ben Waldie Will Automate The Web

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Chuck Joiner's Road to Macworld series continues with AppleScript guru Ben Waldie, who will deliver a session that you will want to attend if you’re interested in getting more out of your Internet activities. In Automating The Web, Ben will discuss making your workflow faster and more efficient by integrating your online workflow with your Mac and other web-enabled devices and services. He gives us preview, and also updates us on the state of AppleScript in iWork and beyond.

[Listen in iTunes]

[Listen or Download Online]

Adobe Illustrator Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

ai_pack_icon110x110I'm pleased to announce that my AI Automator Action Pack, which includes 20 actions for interacting with Adobe Illustrator in Mac OS X, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Automator action packs can be found here.

-Ben

Adobe Photoshop Automator Actions Released in the Mac App Store

PSDPack_110x110I'm pleased to announce that my PS Automator Action Pack, which includes 35 actions for interacting with Adobe Photoshop in Mac OS X, has been released in the Mac App Store. It can be found here.

Information about my other Automator action packs can be found here.

-Ben

MacVoices Interview > Ben Waldie Clarifies the Situation with AppleScript and Mavericks

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Ben Waldie helps cut through the controversy surrounding OS X Mavericks, the iWork suite and get to just the facts. There has been concern about the current lack of support in Mavericks, and also in Numbers, Pages and Keynote. Ben calms the waters a bit, explaining what is missing, what still works, and what his expectations are for scripting in both Mavericks and iOS 7 going forward.

[Listen in iTunes]

[Listen or Download Online]

MacTech Article > Workflow Quick Tips > Productivity App Pick: File Juicer

I develop custom automation solutions for lots of clients, but I don’t like reinventing the wheel. If there’s an existing tool that works well and reduces development time, I tend to use it.  File Juicer, from Echo One (http://echoone.com), is one such tool, which I’ve used with great success in numerous client projects.

[Read the full article in MacTech magazine's September 2013 issue, available in print and in the MacTech iPad Newsstand app]

Automation Changes in Mavericks – Official Tech Links

Lots of AppleScript and Automator changes were introduced with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Here are links to official Apple technical resources that discuss some of them...

For a general overview of the automation changes in Mavericks, visit macosxautomation.com (not hosted by Apple Inc.).