Does your Mac come with everything you need? Probably not. That’s why we add apps such as Microsoft Office or various utilities which add even more functionality to our Mac experience.
An automaton is a self operating machine. Our Macs don’t compute by themselves, but we can enhance the level of assistance they provide with a judicious use of utilities. Automaton for your Mac is a utility that does more than the sum of the parts.
Automating The Parts
I like utilities which are so elegantly crafted that they do more than two or three other utilities. That’s Automaton.
It’s a utility which captures and stores notes on your Mac. Plenty of utilities do that.
Automaton also captures clipboard clippings, and stores them in a neat hierarchical stack, easy to get to, easy to paste. Yes, there are other Mac utilities which do that, too.
It’s also an auto filer, which helps to manage your Mac’s folder structure, and puts files where you want them to go without you doing the work. And, again, there are other Mac utilities which do the same thing.
Finally, Automaton is an auto typer which automatically replaces short cut text with different text. You guessed it. There are other tools which do that, too.
Here’s The Auto Deal
Many Mac users have such utilities, the cost of which can add up quickly. What Automaton does is bring all those useful functions to a single location on your Mac.
Without much effort you can move seamlessly between the functions, which improves your efficiency and productivity, saves time and effort, and gives you the bonus of peace of mind.
Automaton resides in your Mac’s Menubar. Now you know why Apple went to wide screens. Menubar real estate is quite valuable. We use what’s in the Menubar far more often than what shows up in the Dock.
If Automaton is four basic tools in one (letting your replace other utilities, or not buy them in the first place), how difficult is it to get started?
It’s easy. And difficult at the same time. Automaton causes us to think about what we do before we do it. Each of the four basic functions work the same way.
AutoNotes. AutoClips. AutoTyper. AutoFiler. Each has to be set up, and that requires a few minutes of your time to acclimate you with configuration and steps.
So, step-by-step, let me walk you through the installation, set-up, and usage steps on Page 2.
Continued from Page 1…
Install, Setup, Configure
Installation is straightforward. Download Automaton, unzip the disk image, drag and drop to your Mac’s Applications folder. Then, double click to start.
Getting started is straightforward but requires a few steps to get going.
Automaton automatically sets up an Automaton folder in your Mac’s Documents folder. Notes, Clips, AutoTyper, and AutoFiler go in their respective folders, and each has a specific configuration.
This is where the effort begins and ends. Configuration. To get started, take a quick look at the built in Help. There’s also a link to a help video (click on any image for a larger, pop up view).
I suggest that you take a moment to walk through the Getting Started section. Remember, Automaton does the functions of four different Mac utilities, but with far more efficiency. So, getting started on the right foot is important.
Preferences appear, at first glance, to be simple, too. They’re not quite, hence the above steps to get started. Automaton is only four basic functions, but each has plenty of features. Click the Open button on on, then double click the file path to open the configuration.
For example, Notes looks like a mini-word processor. It is. So the basic functions you expect are already built in. Even the Notes toolbar can be customized. Drag and drop toolbar functions to match your needs. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?
Double clicking on the other functions in Preferences brings up additional configuration windows. It may seem cumbersome, but the result is worth the effort. For example, try the AutoTyper.
In AutoTyper, you create short cuts; abbreviations which are replaced by text that you designate. You can even set AutoTyper to work in specific applications (or not), and set up Hot Keys to invoke, copy, create, and so on.
Likewise, AutoFiler needs to be set up so Automaton knows where your files need to be placed.
AutoFiler will automatically place specific files (downloaded, copied, saved, etc) to appropriate locations in your Documents folder hierarchy. If you really need to get your geek on, both have additional configurations for rules and folders which can be saved and exported.
Added benefits include auto deleting preference files from applications or utilities which you drag to the trash.
Don’t go crazy over the configurations. Set it up, get started. You can make changes later as you become more acclimated to what Automaton can do. How do you get started using Automaton?
The |A| in your Mac’s Menubar is home to Automaton. Click and hold and a bunch of functions magically appear in a nifty pop down menu.
Everything you need is merely a click or drag away. Clips, Typer, Notes, Filer. Even Preferences, Configuration, and Help are in the same menu.
Frankly, if there’s a beef I have with Automaton, it’s that set up and configuration take more effort than using the features.
All four basic functions seem to integrate nicely in my work flow. I’m especially enamored with the Clips function, because it replaces other clipboard managers I’ve tried.
Ditto for AutoTyper, which is immensely handy, assuming you can remember the appropriate short cuts.
AutoFiler does something special, too. It forces you to set up a file organization in your Documents folder. Organization is a good thing. My Mac must have half a dozen notes utilities of one kind or another. AutoNotes replaces those, too.
There’s much to like with Automaton. The whole is certainly greater than the sum of the parts, each of which is as good as many standalone tools. But since it’s four tools in one, setup takes four times as long.