Welcome to Thought Asylum a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences with the rest of the world.  I try to post reasonably regularly and if you like the content consider subscribing to the site feeds.  If you're trying to find something specific try the search, otherwise just have a browse.


Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Remove Recent Screen Shots

The final part of my blogging about Workflow workflows is focussed on tidying up. When I produce the composite screen shot described in the Blogging About Workflows blog post I almost always end up with a small stack of screen shot files sat on my device. Once the final cropped image is produced, I have no further need for them and this workflow is used for deleting them, but it will work stand alone just fine; deleting any screen shots generated in the last twenty minutes.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Crop Workflow Screen Shot

A big piece of my workflow blogs (and something readers have commented on many times) are the workflow screen shots I produce. As detailed in the Blogging About Workflows blog post I take several overlapping screen shots and use an iOS app to stitch them together into the mega-length screen shots that you'll see scattered through the workflow related blog posts on this site. However the images that it creates include parts that I don't which to use. These are the top bar that shows my time, battery level, etc. (which many people including Federico Viticci and Dr Drang find a need to remove - ref. MacStories) and the workflow bottom bar (Actions and Workflow buttons). I've automated the cropping of the screen shot with a workflow to do exactly this. It also saves the file into Dropbox for me and offers to delete it from my device camera roll.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Save Workflow Icon

One of the elements I use in my blog posts (among other places) are workflow icons. I try and choose meaningful pictographs for the icons (though the set could do with a significant expansion) and I try to use the base icon colour in a meaningful way. Within my blog posts I often use them as the intro image - as I do in this post and so having a copy of the icon image ready and waiting for me when I blog is a real boon.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Save Workflow File

This workflow I don't tend to use as part of the process of creating my blog post information. Rather it is a way of giving myself a backup of the workflow in case I need to restore it and find for some reason that the online page is unavailable. Remember it is easy and painful to not have enough backups and only slightly more effort and a lot less pain to have enough ... I've yet to meet someone who has too many. Also since this runs as a fully automated part of my blog post preparation process it really is no effort to have it included and run.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Save Workflow Name & Link

Part of my blogging about Workflow workflows involves me capturing some basic details about the workflow. This includes the name of the workflow and the link to download it. As part of my reference system these are both key items that I wanted to make available in a text file in my Workflow folder in Dropbox. This is the first workflow step in my blogging process.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Blogging About Workflows

Since the release of the Workflow application for iOS I've written quite a few workflows and as time as permitted I've been sharing many of them out to the world via this site. They've taken the form of full blog posts describing how the more complex workflows work through to simpler example workflow posts where I've just posted a description of what the workflow is intended to do.

As part of these posts I've been creating full screen shots of the workflows which a number of people have asked me about. In this post I'll be revealing how I create them along with some details of a workflow that I developed out of these blogs and has enabled me to fairly quickly put together the example workflows.

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Thursday
Jul092015

Workflow: Chaining Workflows

Workflow is a fantastic iOS automation app that allows you to do many wonderful, amazing and even crazy things. One of the problems for me through has been controlling process flow can be quite cumbersome - particularly with the larger and more complex workflows as well as workflows that I'd like to loop in some way or re-use. The programmer in me has certainly been pining for this sort of feature.

Of course workflow being workflow there is a way to work around this limitation - at least to an extent which has improved workflow creation vastly for me.

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Sunday
Jun282015

VBScript: Flip Line Endings

Recently I was working for a client who had particularly strict controls around access and tools that I could use. Whilst the bulk of the work I was carrying out on their Linux box could be managed using VI, I found it a little limiting when analysing some of the log files the work was producing. On the Windows machine I was using to access the files I only had Windows notepad and this really doesn't handle Linux file endings well. As a result I put together a quick VBScript to help with this.

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Sunday
Jun072015

Workflow Examples

The Workflow app is one of my favourite iOS apps.  As well as being incredibly innovative and useful in so many ways, it is also something I enjoy exploring and tinkering with.  In fact I've pitched in on Twitter several times to give people a hand figuring out how to do what they want in Workflow.

As a result I've started amassing a collection of example workflows.  I figured rather than letting them be lost to the Twitter-stream of yesterday I'd start providing links to them here on my web site.

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Saturday
May302015

TextExpander: Clipboard Snippets Using Javascript

Smile Software have just released a new update to their TextExpander product that brought a particularly interesting new feature. The option to run JavaScript based snippets. At first this may appear unremarkable given that the previous OS X snippets could take advantage of AppleScript, or shell script based options such as BASH, Perl and Python (to name just a few). The exciting thing to me however was that the JavaScript based snippets could also run on the iOS version; whereas AppleScript and shell script based snippets cannot.

As an initial foray into using JavaScript snippets on my iOS devices I decided I'd try recreating one of my existing snippet groups.

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