Automatically Joining a Group Chat with Adium

At dealnews, we have an internal Jabber server that we use for our internal communications. As part of that, we have a number of internal chat rooms for the various areas of the company.

I’m a big believer in automation - that is, scripting various repetitive actions that I have to do every so often. One of these little things is joining our developer chat channel each morning when I get to the office. Unfortunately, there’s no built in way in Adium to do this, nor does Adium expose native AppleScript commands to join group chat. It does for other functions, but group chat functionality is conspiciously absent, even though there’s a long standing feature request to implement this.

So, we have to hack it. In this case, I used AppleScript to imitate keyboard input

set CR to ASCII character of 13
tell application "System Events"
tell application "Adium" to activate
keystroke "j" using {command down, shift down}
keystroke "development"
keystroke CR
end tell

So we have a script, but how to automate the launching of it?

I mentioned MarcoPolo before. It has quickly become one of my favorite pieces of Mac software. In this case, I use MarcoPolo to launch the AppleScript (with a 10 second delay to allow time for Adium to start and connect to the Jabber service). You can launch AppleScripts using the osastart utility like so:

/usr/bin/osastart /Users/codelemur/Scripts/DevChat_AutoJoin.scpt

It sucks that it’s like this, and I wish they would expose a more native way to do this, but it does work.

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Creating an iTunes Dropbox on a Mac

Download 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: Create a folder somewhere on your system. I put mine in my user directory. Open Automator. From the dialog box, select “Folder Action.” At the top, where it says “Folder Action receives files and folders added to,” select “Other” and select your new folder. Search for an action called “Set Var of Value”. Drag that action over to the right. From “Variable” select “New Variable.” Call it “Source” 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. Search for an action called “Get Var of Value”. Drag that action over to the right underneath the iTunes action. Be sure the selected variable is “Source”. Search for an action called “Move Finder Items to Trash”. Drag that action over to the right. Search for an action called “Run AppleScript.” Drag that action over to the right. In the AppleScript action, paste this: {% highlight applescript %} on run {input, parameters} tell application “Finder” to empty trash return input end run {% endhighlight %} Save the action. You’re done.

Automatically Setting Adium IM Status with AppleScript

I have more than 20 various IM accounts set up in Adium on my Macintosh. But during the day, the only one I really want to be active is the one I use for work. The remainder, I want to leave logged in, but showing as away with a warning not to bother me unless it is important. But half the time I forget to set all those accounts as away, or I forget to set the work one as available, or some other issue that would arise out of a manual process interferes and too often it doesn’t get done. Enter AppleScript. I whipped up a surprisingly easy AppleScript to do just this: {% highlight applescript %} tell application “Adium” go away with message “Working. Please do not disturb unless necessary.” go available first account end tell {% endhighlight %} Because the work account is the first one, this makes it easy. It just sets all accounts as away and then sets the work one available. I shove this in my MarcoPolo ruleset to fire when I arrive at the office. The script to reverse the change when I leave is even easier. This is fired when I leave the office: {% highlight applescript %} tell application “Adium” to go available {% endhighlight %}