Two of my favorite Mac apps are also two of the least used apps on everyone else’s Mac. Automator and AppleScript.
What is compelling about each is the ability to make something happen on a Mac without programming. Automator is like an erector set or tinker toy set. Construct a sequence of actions to run, one after the other. For the security minded Mac user, Digital Sentry provides a similar cause and effect sequence.
Automate, Script, Or Point And Click?
Apple’s Automator is easy to use, even for the Mac technophobe. It’s like building blocks that make things happen; decidedly point and click, and with nearly endless uses.
AppleScript requires more effort and skill, but can do so much to improve your Mac workflow with working scripts.
On the other hand, Digital Sentry is a Mac app that focuses on security—perfect for the paranoid, excellent for the office, and a good way to lock down your Mac in a shared environment.
Let me give you an example. Whether you’re at home or work, do you know who’s looking at your Mac while you’re not around? Digital Sentry can monitor specific functions on your Mac—such as waking from sleep, incorrect password attempts, app launches and quits, any mouse or keyboard input, and much more.
Then, with each attempt, Digital Sentry can perform specific tasks in response, such as shutting down your Mac, sending you an email alert, taking an iSight camera shot of whoever is using your Mac. It can even speak a warning or start a simulated self-destruct sequence (which probably would scare someone in the middle of unauthorized access attempts.
The setup process is straightforward. Add a New Monitor from the Digital Sentry toolbar. Assign an event function, then assign an action. Events include when an app is launched or closed, when a file was changed, when an incorrect password was entered, or simple ones like a pressed key or clicked mouse.
Assigned actions can be custom shell scripts, fake security alert, logout, restart the computer or shutdown, display an alert or speak a text message. All the event functions and actions are recorded in Digital Sentry’s logs.
There’s just not much to not like about Digital Sentry’s set up and capabilities.
In a way, it’s like Automator which stacks specific actions which are assigned to specific apps or the Mac itself. Then, when an event function is tripped, the action gets started.
A lot of complex programming makes it simple for the non-geek to set up and run. As your skill in mixing and matching events to actions grow, you can also venture into Automator and AppleScript to provide more capable functions that work elsewhere on your Mac. You’re not limited to security items.
Digital Sentry isn’t free, but it’s not expensive, either. Regardless, the 15-day trial is more than enough time to give it a good tryout. If anything, you’ll have a better idea of how Automator and AppleScript work, and they’re both included in your Mac.