September 2022

Oct 08, 2022

September has certainly been a memorable month for me. Something from my nerd bucket list has been ticked off and some other pretty significant professional stuff that I expect to be able to share in my October update. While I have not been churning out lots of blog posts this month, I have been busy behind the scenes on a few things and you’ll see some of those coming through in the next few months too.


It has been relatively quiet over on my website this past month, and it was only at the very end of the month I actually managed to get a post out. This one, on Drafts Action Templates came out of a discussion on the Drafts Beta Slack space. Another Drafts user was asking about default action steps, and I posted a response about my approach of template actions as starter actions. I realised shortly after that I’d never posted about this and it could well be rather useful to others, and so the post was written.

I did also post a few new shortcuts to my Shortcuts library . Somehow I had not noticed that I’d crossed the 100 shortcuts available some time back.

One final thing to note is that apparently I didn’t highlight a change to the navigation of the website I made back in July. The home page now features a revised and more compact featured content and projects section, making it easier to jump straight into the most popular content areas I have.

Maybe I should add Excel as well as my Excel posts have been rather popular over the years.

Tech Tutorials

Producing even short video tutorials remains a relatively slow process for me at the moment. I’m not producing stream of consciousness videos, but rather setting out everything ahead of time and trying to keep things as tight as possible to minimise the time to share the information I want to convey to the viewer. I think this is going to very much remain a secondary project, but I am very happy that I finally pushed into producing some videos and I hope that people are getting some value from them. It is closing in on 100 subscribers which is great. I’m not expecting to reach YouTube star status with my tutorials, but if I can help a small community of people with their needs then it’s mission accomplished for me.

I posted a new video in September on Creating a Custom Cleaner in TextSoap. TextSoap is a Mac application that you can use to process and manipulate text. In effect, to clean it up - hence the application’s name. It is a hugely powerful application and while I don’t use it regularly, it is one of those apps that when you need it, it saves you so much time. I can’t even begin to think how many hours it saved me migrating my website from SquareSpace to GitHub a few years back. But, it certainly paid for itself in that one job.

In the video I walk through how you can create your own custom workflow (a cleaner) to process some text and I demonstrate some basic to intermediate actions

In September I also made an update to my YouTube channel’s website. Each page now includes category tags at the bottom that link through to the tag pages, making discovery of related videos beyond the “see also” lists much easier.


The big news of the month for me was my debut appearance on the Mac Power Users podcast. I was asked to guest on the podcast before the summer, and this is definitely something I’d idly mused about in the past, but never thought would happen. I still find it hard to believe that people would be interested to hear me talk about Apple stuff for an hour, but it seems we managed to go for almost two hours (and I still had lots of stuff on my ‘we could talk about…’ list), and that’s excluding the little discussion we had afterwards in More Power Users where I talked a little bit about my newbie experiences with producing video for YouTube.

I think the reception was generally quite positive to the episode, and there was definitely one shortcut I shared that has proven incredibly popular. It is one that I use for capturing notes while listening to podcasts, and it seems to have really captured people’s attention - I guess talking about automation of noting stuff down on podcasts is perfect targeting for an Apple power user podcast!

If you haven’t heard it yet, listen along in your favourite podcast player, or via the Relay website where you can also find the show notes and links to most of the things I mention - not a short list.

Thank you to David and Stephen for inviting me to spend a few hours chatting with them. It was an absolute privilege.


As usual, I’ve also been doing what I can to help people out on a couple of my favourite forums.


There’s been quite a bit going on with Drafts recently, both in betas and on the forum.


The Automators podcast forum has either been a little quieter this month, or I’ve been a little busy doing other things. Probably the latter.


As noted above, Bypass v1.3.1 was released to deal with an edge case of Shortcuts names containing double quotes. This was down to Alfred using JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), which uses double quotes in the format, so any double quotes in a shortcut name then have to be “escaped” to mark them as literal double quotes (within the normal JSON double quotes).


Over the last few months I’ve been quietly compiling a few things in preparation for the MPU podcast episode (many of which I didn’t use and may make an appearance on some podcast in the future if - no plans, but I am open to invitations), and in addition, I’ve been working hard on something to do with my professional work that I expect to come to fruition before October is out. Together they have certainly had an impact on my other projects.

But, now I am back in the swing of things, and there are a few Alfred workflow updates in the works. They may not be thrilling updates, but there is a good chunk of background work going on in them, so I’m considering them to at least be solid foundation-updates.

There are no big new projects leading the way right now (not that there aren’t any big projects underway - I’ve just decided to shift focus for a bit and clear some things out of my backlog I’m itching to deal with), so I am hoping I will be able to ship a bit more content, etc. in the coming months.

Thank you to everyone who has bought me a coffee (or multiple coffees). I really do appreciate it. In fact, I’ve been sat in this coffee shop since 6 AM this morning and it’s now gone 9 AM, which gives you a sense of how long it takes to produce these monthly updates. Without your generosity, these sessions and updates simply wouldn’t happen.

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