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Keyboard Maestro: 8 unexpected uses for the old-school Mac-hacking tool

Anders Lundberg | Sept. 24, 2014
OS X includes all kinds of tools to help speed up your Mac's workflow--scripting, keyboard shortcuts, and Automator among them. But the venerable utility Keyboard Maestro can be more useful, in more different ways, than any of those built-in tools.

Add an action and pick If Then Else from the Control Flow group. Change the first drop-down to If None Of The Following Are True, then click New Condition. Choose Wireless Network Condition and add The Wireless Network With Exact Name, select the name of your home network, and Is Connected. Continue adding similar conditions for all the Wi-Fi networks you regularly connect to.

Finally, add the action Execute Applescript and add the following script:

tell application "System Events" tell current location of network preferences connect service "Your-VPN-Service" end tell end tell

Replace Your-VPN-Service with the exact name of your VPN service as listed in System Preferences Network pane. If you have several different VPN services, you can further enhance the macro by adding conditionals to determine which service to use.

Open a website at a set time

If you have any websites you regularly check, especially at certain times, you can use Keyboard Maestro to do it for you. So, for example, you might like to check the results for last night's games, some stock quotes, and a forum thread on a site that doesn't offer automatic email updates.

To do so, make a new macro in the Global group and pick Time Trigger. Set the time and days of the week you want the workflow to run.

Next, add a new action and pick Safari Control then New Safari Tab or Google Chrome Control and New Google Chrome Tab. Copy and paste the address to the site(s) you want to have opened at the specified time.

Finally, pick Activate a Specific Application from the Application Control group, then choose Safari or Chrome. Uncheck All Windows and Reopen initial windows. Now the browser should open and stay active whether it was running or not while opening your site.

Keep your social networking in check

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter: the list of distractions that can easily suck up your time and leave you with piles of work and regret at the end of the day grows ever longer. If you haven't reached the level of focus and self-discipline of a Buddhist monk just yet, you can use Keyboard Maestro to keep yourself from wasting hours on social networks when you should be working.

Make a new macro in the Global group, and pick Time Trigger, then While Logged In and choose how frequently the macro should trigger. (I chose every two minutes.) I also set the trigger to run between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. seven days a week; adjust that as you wish.

For the action, I chose to activate MacJournal, the application I use to write with. I also added an additional action and picked Hide Other Applications from the Application Control group to hide all other applications.

 

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