Update to 'Apple Frames' Shortcut Supports Apple Watch Series 7, 2021 MacBook Pro

Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci updated his Apple Frames shortcut. This is a brilliant tool I use nearly every day to frame my screenshots into an Apple device frame, or outline. He recently updated it to support the Apple Watch Series 7 and 2021 MacBook Pro. You can find Mr. Viticci’s article at the link below. “Starting with Apple Frames 2.1, the Shortcuts app will detect whether you have an older version of the Frames.json installed in iCloud Drive, and it’ll automatically replace it with the latest one from the MacStories CDN. That’s it. If an old version of the Frames.json file is found, Shortcuts will send you a notification and re-download the file from cdn.macstories.net.

Ex-Apple Staffer Discusses Shortcuts on macOS Monterey

In a new AppleInsider podcast, former Apple employee Matthew Cassinelli to discusses the integration of Shortcuts in macOS Monterey. For those of us still getting used to the addition, it’s a conversation worth listening to.

Since the public release of macOS Monterey, users can now create, edit, and sync their iOS Shortcuts directly on a Mac. Announced earlier this year at WWDC, Shortcuts on macOS will also slowly replace the previous automation tool, Automator, bringing one system to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Matthew Cassinelli previously worked on the original Workflow app, which was acquired by Apple in 2017 and evolved into the Shortcuts app. After staying on the team at Apple for a short time, Matthew became an independent creator, helping others learn Shortcuts, and reporting on new actions available with every update.

[Headline corrected November 26  to clarify that Mr. Cassinelli was not an engineer at Apple.]

Trapped In The Terminal — Mac Geek Gab 901

This week John and Dave find themselves trapped in the Terminal. Will your two favorite geeks escape? Press play to find out as they dig through a few Terminal commands, new and old, invoke some Shortcuts, talk about self-service repairs, empty the Trash, solve a draining battery, and more! You’re guaranteed to learn five new things or your money back!

Meet 'Actions' a New App to Add More Actions to Shortcuts

Actions is a new app for Shortcuts, and it adds actions that Apple doesn’t provide. So far there are 25 actions with more planned in the future. There are actions such as Generate UUID, Get File Path, Trim Whitespace, Remove Emoji, Random Date & Time, and more. I’m most excited about the Get File Path action. It should be useful in a particular shortcut I have that creates a “changelog” of new files I need to remember to back up to my SSD.

'Data Jar' App For Shortcuts Has Arrived on macOS Monterey

Data Jar is a Shortcuts-adjacent app that lets you store data for use in a shortcut as persistent key-value pairs. You can store text, numbers, booleans, lists, dictionaries, and files. This lets you read and update data directly from Shortcuts. As an example of how I use Data Jar, I have a shortcut that lets me rename a bunch of files at once. Some files are renamed sequentially and Data Jar helps me store the latest number for the files, and it gets updated with every new file I rename with it. It’s a great app, free for Mac and I personally recommend giving a big tip to the developer if you find Data Jar useful.

Here's How to Force Files to Download on iOS

Redditor u/kevingrabher wrote about a shortcut that can force files in iCloud Drive to download. This helps you keep important files handy for offline access. Here are the steps: Open the Shortcuts app and create a new shortcut. Add Action “Get Contents of Folder” (*). Press the triangle icon and enable “Recursive.”  Add Action “Get Details of Files.” Set the detail variable to “File Size” (if not set by default).   In the first action you’ll probably want to choose Ask Every Time, so you can download a different folder each time.

How to Use Regular Expressions, or Regex, in Shortcuts

Regular expressions, or regex for short, are certain characters used as search functions. They are powerful, confusing tools. Justin Meredith wrote a guide on how to get started.

In case you don’t know, a piece of text within another piece of text is called a “string” in programming. For instance, the word ‘green’ is a string of characters from the text “I wore green pants today.”

So put another way, regex is a way to locate a string of text in a larger body of text. And because regex is written in code, you can use it to perform some pretty complex operations.

Security Researcher Finds CloudKit Bug That Broke Apple Shortcuts

Security researcher Frans Rosén wrote about a CloudKit bug he accidentally found that affected Apple News, Shortcuts, and iCrowd+.

On the third day, I started to connect the dots, realized how certain assets connected to other assets, and started to understand more how things worked. This is when some of the first bugs popped up, finally restoring my self-esteem a bit, making me more relaxed and focused going forward.

I dug up an old jailbroken iPad I had, which allowed me to proxy all content through my laptop. I downloaded all Apple owned apps and started looking at the traffic.

This AI Text Generator Shortcut Will Replace Our Blogger Jobs

Over the weekend, u/ryandeanrocks shared an AI text generator via the r/Shortcuts subreddit. It’s an open source version of GPT-3. Of course, how good the output it produces depends upon the input, but I’ve seen it spit out some decent things. Here’s an example; I pasted the first sentence of this piece, and here is part of the output: “You’ll notice that if you type something and then choose to send it to someone, that the chat box in the corner will turn green. In theory, that’s the easiest way to see if someone is typing something out and waiting to send it, but it can take awhile to see the difference. With real-time chatting, it’s almost instantaneous.“