Creating an iTunes Dropbox on a Mac

By · Published · apple, applescript, appletv, howto, mac, osx


I recently added a Mac mini to my setup at home, that I'm using to drive my in-home "video on demand" system. With many of the TV's in the house on AppleTVs, any TV in the house can watch any movie in the library at any time. I put the mini (headless) in the closet, along with the Drobo and a printer.

But, the new Mac mini lacks an optical drive. So, how to continue ripping the DVDs I already own?

The solution, it turns out, is to continue doing the actual work on my iMac when it comes to ripping, filtering the files through iDentify and MetaX. But I don't want to have to go to screen sharing on the Mini and add a file to iTunes. I want that to happen automatically. That's where Automator - one of the most underrated pieces of software that comes with every Mac - comes in.

With Automator, you can attach an action to a folder, so that that action will be performed whenever anything is added to that folder. So here's what I did to get files from a folder into iTunes:

  1. Create a folder somewhere on your system. I put mine in my user directory.

  2. Open Automator.

  3. From the dialog box, select "Folder Action."

  4. At the top, where it says "Folder Action receives files and folders added to," select "Other" and select your new folder.

  5. Search for an action called "Set Var of Value". Drag that action over to the right.

  6. From "Variable" select "New Variable." Call it "Source"

  7. Search for an action called "Import Files into iTunes". Drag that action over to the right underneath the variable action. Be sure to select "Library" from the empty dropdown.

  8. Search for an action called "Get Var of Value". Drag that action over to the right underneath the iTunes action.

  9. Be sure the selected variable is "Source".

  10. Search for an action called "Move Finder Items to Trash". Drag that action over to the right.

  11. Search for an action called "Run AppleScript." Drag that action over to the right.

  12. In the AppleScript action, paste this:

on run {input, parameters}
    tell application "Finder" to empty trash
    return input
end run
  1. Save the action. You're done.
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