OS X: launcher for iOS Simulator and bypassing Xcode

iOS Simulator Launcher - Simulator AppOn OS X, the best way to almost natively test apps or websites is by using the so called “iOS Simulator” (now named simply “Simulator”) which is available as part of the installed Xcode Development Tools. Even though it requires a development suite installed, the tool itself is not only relevant for developers but also for testing or previewing e.g. mobile optimized websites or do a Screen Recording in iOS!

By default, after having Xcode installed on your Mac, the Simulator.app must be started via

Xcode.app > Xcode > Open Developer Tool > Simulator

This way to start it is cumbersome and takes a lot of time.
iOS Simulator Launcher 01 - Xcode default launch

But good news: the iOS Simulator is delivered as a standalone app actually – hidden inside the Xcode.app Package Contents!

So to bypass Xcode for starting the Simulator, I wrote a simple Automator application which directly launches the Simulator.app!
You can download it here or – by following these steps – create it yourself.
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OS X: Add new Reminder to Reminders.app using Automator Service

Reminders Application IconI found myself not so satisfied with Wunderlist, as it started to cause some troubles with high CPU load on my Mac. At this time, Apple started shipping OS X Mountain Lion and included the great Reminders.app with it! So I gave it a try… and stayed loyal to the Reminders.app until today (thanks to it’s iCloud sync).

So this is an adaption of my previously posted Automator Service to add Text as Tasks to Wunderlist.app. I adjusted the Automator Service to do the same for the Reminders.app:
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Using Automator to quickly access a website – TV show episode list example

Automator IconAutomator itself is a really powerful tool for automating recurring tasks in OS X. Unfortunately it’s still not really something regular Mac users are using for making tasks and working in OS X more efficient. If you add the powerful AppleScript into Automator you can even get much more out of it, but of course this requires some basic programming knowledge.

I always hate spending time on manual tasks, which I think should somehow be automated. Why not let computers do work more for you?

One of my most recent ideas is an Automator application combined with some basic AppleScripting in order to open a particular website. But not just like a static shortcut, but adding some flexibility. The following example will show you, how to directly open the Wikipedia page containing the List of Episodes of a given TV show. Think outside the box in order to adapt this for many other uses.

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Automator-Service to add Task to Wunderlist

Wunderlist Logo
I started using the fantastic app “Wunderlist” for my personal Task Management on the Mac, of course with synchronisation to iPhone and the web.

Before I used to write all my To-dos simply into the Stickies.app – which worked, but was not too flexible. While migrating all pending Tasks from my notes, I realized that I’d love to be able to use the right-click-contextmenu to send the current text selection to Wunderlist. As I have done similiar things already for image manipulations, etc. using an Automator Service, I knew where to start for my new requirement :)

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OS X: Create ZIP archives without hidden System files

ZIP from Mac to Windows

It’s a common problem between Mac and Windows users, when you create a ZIP archive under Mac OS X, that it will contain a bunch of unwanted files, which you don’t want to have included in the archive. In OS X’s Finder you won’t notice that, because the Finder is hiding them from you. But they will show up on the Windows side after unzipping the archive.

OS X Standard ZIP Archive with hidden Files

Fortunately there is quite a simple and straight-forward solution for Mac OS X to create so called “Clean Archives”, using a predesigned Automator action.

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OS X: Start der Startobjekte mit Automator kontrollieren

Ich hatte bisher diverse Applikationen in meinen Startobjekten, welche ich – sinngemäss – automatisch gestartet haben wollte wenn mein Mac hochfährt. Darunter sind beispielsweise auch reine “Internetapplikationen” wie Mail. app, Skype oder mein RSS-Feedreader.

Was mich aber störte war, wenn ich unterwegs war und keine Internetverbindung bestand, belasteten diese Applikationen beim Start erstens die Startgeschwindigkeit und meldeten anschliessend sowieso nur eine Fehlermeldung, da keine Daten abgerufen/kein Login möglich war. Es nervte mich jeweils, wenn ich ja WUSSTE, dass keine Internetverbindung vorhanden war, dass ich nichts gegen den automatischen Start dieser spezifischen Applikationen machen konnte.

Diesem Problem trat ich mit einem entsprechenden Automator-Workflow entgegen:
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