Marcus' Macro Blog

Tips and News on Macro Recording and Automating Windows with Macro Scheduler

Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category



Chirp – Teaching the Machines to Sing

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 by Marcus Tettmar

Allow me to tell you about a fun new technology called Chirp created by some good friends of ours.

Chirp is an exciting new technology that shares information between devices using sound and you can try it out for yourself.

Chirp

Chirp works by using little more than your device’s speaker and microphone. Data is encoded into a sound which is then “chirped” over the speaker. Another device or devices within earshot will “hear” that sound and decode it.

The beauty of this is that it removes all technical obstacles to sharing data (no need for infrared, or setting up bluetooth etc) and makes it possible for the most basic devices (think Arduino boards, toys, TVs, games etc) to chirp without any special hardware. And it means that one device can very easily share data with multiple listening devices.

You can share URLs, notes, images and video between devices – and now from your desktop web browser. College lecturers and presenters find it very useful for sharing links to websites, slides and presentations to their delegates, without having to collect email addresses or use any special infrastructure.

You can download the free Chirp app from the Apple Store or Google Play to see it in action. It’s great fun! There’s also a Chrome Plugin which makes it a breeze to share links from your web browser to your phone/tablet.

And if you want to make your own apps chirp there’s an SDK you can get your hands on too. I had some fun not long back making a Lego EV3 Robot chirp. Why not!? Anyone for a Macro Scheduler -> Chirp Interface?

And if you like what you see why not get in on the action – Team Chirp are currently crowd funding to raise money to take Chirp to the next level and are exploring commercial opportunities – so you can even make a little investment.

Self Documenting Macro Recorder Snapshots

Thursday, May 7th, 2015 by Marcus Tettmar

Did you know that since Macro Scheduler 14.2 the Macro Recorder can store snapshots of windows and objects that you click on as you are recording?

This feature makes it easier to work out which bit of code does what as you can see the screenshots inside the script:

Note the thumbnail images in the script. To view a full sized version – as in the example above – double click on a thumbnail.

This feature is on by default but can be switched off before you record a macro by toggling the “Take Window Snapshot Images” option on the macro recorder settings dialog.

Macro Scheduler 14.2.03 Maintenance Update

Monday, March 16th, 2015 by Marcus Tettmar

We have today released Macro Scheduler 14.2.03. This is a minor maintenance release addressing a few small bugs and improvements.

For full details please see the history list here.

Registered Users | New Licenses | Trial Downloads

Awesome Image Recognition

Friday, February 6th, 2015 by Marcus Tettmar

We received this email today and I just had to share it …

Macro Scheduler image recognition just saved me 6 hours of mind numbing work and my program took me about 15 minutes to write, test, and start using. Such an AWESOME solution you provide.

Richard A. San Jose, CA USA

For more info on how to use Image Recognition see:
http://help.mjtnet.com/article/39-how-to-use-macro-schedulers-image-recognition-functions

Carbon Footprint – Doing Our bit for the Planet

Friday, January 16th, 2015 by Marcus Tettmar

Well, it’s a new year and with that comes new years resolutions. For MJT Net Ltd I decided we needed to do more to lessen our impact on the environment.

We’ve already made some changes:

Our web sites, mjtnet.com and clipmagic.com, are now hosted in a data center which runs directly on 100% renewable generated electricity.

Web servers run 24/7. So I think switching to green data centers is an important move.

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For our office electricity we have recently switched to ecotricity who generate all their electricity using renewable sources – the wind, sun and sea. We’re also planning to install our own solar panels this year.

Where possible we will source second hand/reconditioned IT hardware.

We’re not a large company, so these changes may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things. But it all helps and if everyone did this it will help much more.

Buy Someone a Macro Scheduler Subscription for Christmas

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 by Marcus Tettmar

Someone asked me how they could buy a Macro Scheduler subscription for a friend, for Christmas and I thought what a great idea!

A monthly subscription costs only $15. Or you can buy a three month subscription for $40.

More info and subscription signups here.

That would make a great Christmas present for someone. You can buy a three month subscription and then cancel before the end of the term and they get three months of uninterrupted, unlimited use. A great way to introduce someone to the power and flexibility of Macro Scheduler.

If you want to buy someone a subscription, use your details when you signup and then forward them the activation email. Keep the subscription going for as long as you want.

Case Study: Macro Scheduler Saves 3600 Elf-Hours and Gets Presents Delivered On Time

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 by Marcus Tettmar

“Here in the North Pole our elves work hard every year to ensure presents are created and delivered on time to good little boys and girls all over the world,” says Santa Claus, “but with a booming world population and the ever increasing demands of modern employment and elf-and-safety regulations, our task is getting harder and harder and we need to modernize without breaking the bank or requiring specialist skills”.

On Christmas Day Santa Claus delivers toys to well behaved boys and girls all over the world. Budgets are tight, especially with the collapse of the Icelandic banking system where most of Santa’s investments were held. As an ethical organization Santa’s operation must also be seen to be economic and efficient and now has to adhere to strict new guidelines on the amount of hours per day elves can work.

Up until now Santa’s operation was largely manual. “We are in an awkward position,” says Claus “people expect us to carry on our traditions of elf-labour and creating products by hand, but at the same time the world has moved on and we need to compete with the likes of Walmart and ToysRUs and cut our costs. So we needed to find ways of improving efficiency without losing our traditional appeal. 100% mechanization is a no-no. But something that would help with the repetitive manual number crunching and data entry tasks would be ideal. We also had to find something that didn’t require specialist IT knowledge. I mean, our elves, bless them, they’re wonderful at toy-making, but technology? Not so much. So we turned to Google and found Macro Scheduler.”

Many of the tasks carried out by the elves are repetitive and time-consuming, taking elves away from the more productive work of producing toys and wrapping presents. “Once a day we have to download the new lists from our incoming server. There’s the naughty list and the good list.” says Jingle, Santa’s Chief Elf, “We need to check for duplicates, then copy and paste each list into our own master list. Of course boys and girls can switch from list to list too, so we need to cross reference. If someone was on the good list but has been naughty we need to find their record, remove it from the good master list and place it on the naughty list. This used to be a manual process, taking around 6 hours a day. With Macro Scheduler we were able to automate the entire process. A macro trigger responds to the lists appearing in the inbox and then reads through the data and cleans our master list automatically. It’s entirely automated. We used to take turns doing this job and you wouldn’t believe how much happier everyone is now that they can make toys instead.”

That task alone is saving over 2000 elf-hours a year. But it’s not just the elf-savings that Santa’s team is benefiting from. Elves are happier too. It also saves a number of embarrassing mistakes. “In the past it was easy to mess up a change in the lists. Some poor kid ends up being put on the naughty list by mistake and he doesn’t get a present. That was a real PR nightmare! Santa would lose his rag too. I mean you didn’t want to be there! Yeh, the elves are much happier now and we’re now more likely to hit our toy-creation performance targets too. Everyone wins”.

Santa and his team are now using Macro Scheduler wherever they can and can see many opportunities to expand its use across their North Pole operations center over the following year.

“We’re really impressed with the product and the support that comes with it. None of our elves were programmers, with only basic IT skills, but they’ve picked up Macro Scheduler quickly. The possibilities are endless and we’re really glad we found it.” says Claus.

For more information on Macro Scheduler click here. For more case studies and success stories go here.

Macro Scheduler 14.2 – Python, JSON, XML and Auto Documenting Macro Recorder

Friday, November 7th, 2014 by Marcus Tettmar

I am pleased to announce that we have today released Macro Scheduler 14.2

Amongst other things this new version includes the following great new features:

  • Self Documenting Macro Recorder with snapshots of Windows/Objects being Activated/Clicked on
  • The ability to run Python code within your macros!
  • A native JSON Parser
  • A native XML Parser using XPath

Here’s an overview of these main new features, but for a more complete list of improvements view the history list here.

Self Documenting Macro Recorder

Ever recorded a macro and then tried to edit it but couldn’t figure out which bit did what? Well, now when you record a macro the macro recorder will take snapshots of windows that are activated and objects that you click on. These will be inserted into the script as image comments, right above the line of code they refer to. So, now, it’s easier to see exactly what your macro is doing and which bits you want to edit/copy.

Run Python Code Inside your Macros

In 14.2 there’s a new function called PyExec. It allows you to run real Python code and get back the values of any Python variables you specify. You’ll need to install the Python 2.7 DLL to your Macro Scheduler folder (or compiled .EXE folder) – there’s a link in the help file to a zip file with all the files you need.

You can run any Python code and even use third party Python imports. This is pretty wild IMO – the possibilities are endless. Here’s a simple example:

/*
First ensure Python27.dll and imports are in your Macro Scheduler program folder.
Download and unzip this file:

https://www.mjtnet.com/software/python27.zip

*/

Let>url=http://ip.jsontest.com/

/*
python_code:

import urllib2
import json

# grab data from http://ip.jsontest.com/ - see www.jsontest.com
response = urllib2.urlopen('%url%')

# load the json
dict = json.loads(response.read())

# get the ip member
myip = dict["ip"]

# make a nice string representation of the dict
sdict = json.dumps(dict)

# Anything we print to IO is returned in the PYExec output var
print "All Done"
*/

//Load the Python code to a variable
LabelToVar>python_code,pcode

//Run the code and request the values of the sdict and myip variables ...
PYExec>pcode,output,sdict,myip

//Display the IP address
MessageModal>Your pubic IP is: %myip%

Parsing JSON

In the last few years JSON has become a very popular way to transmit data objects. Most web services now use it so it cannot be ignored. While you can parse JSON using string handling/regex having an easy to use native parser is essential. Enter: JSONParse

In the above Python example we used Python’s own JSON handling to extract an IP address from some JSON retrieved from a web service. Here’s how we can do the exact same thing using native MacroScript code:

HTTPRequest>http://ip.jsontest.com/,,GET,,JSON
JSONParse>JSON,ip,myIP
MessageModal>Your pubic IP is: %myIP%

And here’s an example which gets data out of a more complicated structure:

//Requires Macro Scheduler 14.2

/*
MyJSON:
{ "uid" : "1234",
  "clients" : ["client1","client2","client3"],
  "people" : [{"Name":"Marcus","Age":"21"},{"Name":"Dorian","Age":"18"}],
  "color" : "red",
  "size" : 14 }
*/

LabelToVar>MyJSON,sJSON

JSONParse>sJSON,uid,result
JSONParse>sJSON,clients,result
JSONParse>sJSON,clients[1],result
JSONParse>sJSON,people[1].Name,result

Parsing XML

Of course XML is also still very popular. Up til now we’ve had to parse XML using substring handling/regex or use Microsoft’s XML object via VBScript – which is a little over-complicated IMO. We now have a simple to use native XML parser function – XMLParse. Here’s an example:

//Requires Macro Scheduler 14.2

LabelToVar>XML,sXML
XMLParse>sXML,/bookstore/book,val,numBooks
Let>k=0
Repeat>k
  Let>k=k+1
  XMLParse>sXML,/bookstore/book[%k%]/title/text(),val,len
  MessageModal>val
Until>k=numBooks

/*
XML:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>




  Everyday Italian
  Giada De Laurentiis
  2005
30.00



  Harry Potter
  J K. Rowling
  2005
29.99



  XQuery Kick Start
  James McGovern
  Per Bothner
  Kurt Cagle
  James Linn
  Vaidyanathan Nagarajan
  2003
49.99



  Learning XML
  Erik T. Ray
  2003
39.95



*/

How to Download/Upgrade

If you have a valid maintenance plan you can download the update from your account here. If your maintenance has lapsed you can also purchase upgrades and renew maintenance from within your account.

Trial versions can be downloaded here.

Be Gone Poodle!

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by Marcus Tettmar

Our servers have been patched for Poodle, the SSL3 vulnerability. Basically we’ve just disabled SSL3 and SSL2. These are no longer needed anyway as all modern browsers support their successor, TLS.

Those using IE7 or lower (why oh why!?) will, by default, not be able to load www.mjtnet.com without making a small change.

If for some unearthly reason (there really isn’t one) you HAVE to use one of those ancient browsers you can simply go into advanced settings, disable SSL2 and SSL3 and enable TLS 1.0.

But why bother doing that when you can just upgrade. Even those of you stuck using XP can upgrade to IE8 (or use a better alternative).

But if you need to do that you won’t be reading this unless you’ve connected via a different browser/PC!

According to our server logs 3% of visitors last month were using IE7 or less. That’s a low enough figure not to worry about lost visits and, anyway, it’s time these browsers and SSL3 were consigned to the scrap heap once and for all. Any other workarounds or fixes are just delaying the inevitable.

21% of visitors are still using IE8. They’re probably stuck on XP. I can’t wait to see that figure drop below 1%.

Macro Scheduler Referral Program

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 by Marcus Tettmar

Want to earn a little extra cash? If you are a registered Macro Scheduler user, you can now recommend Macro Scheduler to your friends, colleagues, customers – or anyone else – and we’ll give you 20% of every sale you generate.

You’ll find details in your account at http://customer.mjtnet.com/

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