421: Summer of Automation


00:00:00   [Music]

00:00:12   From Real AFM, this is Upgrade, Episode 421.

00:00:17   Today's show is brought to you by Sourcegraph, Fitbod, DoorDash, and Doppler.

00:00:21   My name is Myke Hurley and I'm joined by Jason Snow.

00:00:23   Hi Jason Snow.

00:00:24   Hi Myke Hurley, it's very exciting.

00:00:26   It's the summer of fun.

00:00:27   Summer of fun!

00:00:28   Summer of fun!

00:00:29   - Oh, I realize I haven't said that in a couple of weeks.

00:00:32   - We got a special episode for you.

00:00:34   You know, you're here now and then you're gonna go away

00:00:38   and then you're gonna come back.

00:00:39   And in between, we'll have a special episode.

00:00:42   - All of this episode was recorded in advance

00:00:45   in various stages of advance, which is fun.

00:00:48   - Indeed.

00:00:50   - So we have some guests later on,

00:00:51   which we'll talk about in a minute.

00:00:52   This was recorded after we recorded episode 420.

00:00:56   - We did.

00:00:57   Then we put the thing in from further back in time

00:01:00   and brought it forward and that's how time works.

00:01:02   So anyway, 4.21, here we are.

00:01:04   - I have a #snowtalk question for you.

00:01:07   - Okay.

00:01:08   - Comes from Savva who wants to know, Jason,

00:01:10   what's your tea set up when you're not at home?

00:01:13   (laughs)

00:01:14   Well, I mean, unless you take the robot with you,

00:01:17   is it just tea bags? - I don't take the robot

00:01:18   when I stay at home.

00:01:19   - Something more elaborate, what happens?

00:01:21   - So we do pack tea bags just in case

00:01:25   there's no tea that we like,

00:01:26   'cause that happens.

00:01:28   We were just traveling and day one,

00:01:31   there were two English breakfast tea bags left

00:01:33   at the hotel breakfast and so we used those.

00:01:36   And then we came back the next day and guess what?

00:01:38   There were none 'cause we apparently finished that off.

00:01:41   So then I used the English breakfast tea bags

00:01:43   that we brought.

00:01:44   So we bring some tea with us.

00:01:46   Usually in scenarios where we can't,

00:01:50   we don't have a kettle or something like that,

00:01:53   we will bring tea bags just in case.

00:01:55   for that very reason, like they've got hot water,

00:01:59   but not the tea that we like.

00:02:02   If we've got access to a kettle,

00:02:04   I have a little pot that holds,

00:02:09   it's like metal, I got it on Amazon.

00:02:12   It holds actually the same amount of water as the T-robot.

00:02:17   And it's like a thermos and it's got a tea strainer in it.

00:02:20   So I can actually, if I have a kettle,

00:02:23   I can pour the hot water in over the leaves and then remove the leaves and I've got a

00:02:30   thermos dispenser thing with two, with four cups of tea in it, which is perfect.

00:02:37   So I bought that.

00:02:38   It's a good fit and I will take that when I travel if I'm going to be somewhere where

00:02:41   I can make tea with like boiling water.

00:02:43   But if we're just going to Oregon and we're staying in one of these motels that's got

00:02:46   a hotel breakfast, we just bring the tea bags and deal with it.

00:02:51   Making water for tea in hotel rooms is terrible because it used to be that there was a coffee maker,

00:03:00   but the water you get out of the coffee maker just tastes like coffee already, because they use it to make coffee.

00:03:07   And now it's all like pods, all like coffee pod things, which you can't-

00:03:14   - The Nespresso nonsense.

00:03:15   - Even more, you can't get the, just get me the hot water out of it.

00:03:21   So in the end, you know, in situations like that,

00:03:24   we will either go down and use the hot water from the hotel

00:03:27   or we stay on the street we stay on when we go to Oregon

00:03:30   is next to a Starbucks.

00:03:33   You just go over there and they actually have black tea

00:03:36   for us to drink.

00:03:37   So those are our choices.

00:03:38   - The typical answer is just find a Starbucks or whatever.

00:03:42   Right, 'cause you can get those basically everywhere.

00:03:45   - Yeah, and bring the emergency teabags

00:03:47   in case the place that you're staying doesn't have

00:03:50   any tea that you want to drink. But like I said, if I have access to a kettle, if it's

00:03:53   an Airbnb or something like that, I will bring the little pot and it works great.

00:03:59   Yeah, I will say as a coffee drinker, I do envy tea drinkers.

00:04:07   Why? Because it's easier, I think, to get a possible

00:04:12   version of what you're looking for. Oh, that's probably true. I view it from the

00:04:17   the other perspective, which is in America especially,

00:04:20   it's a coffee culture, and so everybody knows

00:04:22   how to make coffee.

00:04:23   We were out to breakfast the other day,

00:04:26   and well yeah, we'll get to it,

00:04:28   but we were out to breakfast the other day

00:04:29   at a place that served hot tea,

00:04:31   and they were like, even though they serve it,

00:04:33   they were confused about, they brought it in a little thing

00:04:37   with the leaves in it, which was really nice,

00:04:39   but they didn't have a strainer,

00:04:41   so you're like pouring the leaves out?

00:04:43   - That's pretty bad.

00:04:44   - We had to get them, and that just happens a lot,

00:04:46   where people don't know, or they bring it

00:04:48   and they expect it to just sit forever in the hot water,

00:04:52   which is like, well, no, you can't do that.

00:04:53   It gets all bitter and bad, but they don't know

00:04:55   because they only know about really how to do coffee.

00:04:57   Now to your point though, I appreciate the fact that

00:04:59   if you like good coffee, it can be harder to come by

00:05:03   and harder to make for yourself and all of those things.

00:05:05   I get that.

00:05:07   - Yeah, I will say that bad coffee is everywhere

00:05:12   and really bad.

00:05:16   That's what I hear.

00:05:17   Mm-hmm.

00:05:18   Don't like it.

00:05:19   Get a McDonald's coffee?

00:05:22   Especially in—you know what, actually?

00:05:24   McDonald's coffee for, like, high street coffee?

00:05:29   Pretty decent.

00:05:30   Interesting.

00:05:31   I have heard that from other people, that McDonald's seems to have realized that they

00:05:36   would not be able to sell food to people if they couldn't have decent coffee in their

00:05:41   stores.

00:05:43   So I think they do a pretty decent job.

00:05:45   - Interesting. - I think.

00:05:46   There are chains in the UK.

00:05:50   In my opinion, the worst is Costa Coffee.

00:05:55   I don't care if you like Costa Coffee.

00:05:57   I think Costa Coffee's terrible.

00:05:59   I prefer a McDonald's coffee to a Costa Coffee

00:06:01   any day of the week. - Interesting.

00:06:02   All right, how about Starbucks?

00:06:04   - That's my choice.

00:06:05   - All right.

00:06:06   - If I have to go, if I need a chain coffee,

00:06:11   that's the one that I'm gonna go for,

00:06:12   'cause I know that there is some level of reliability

00:06:16   out of it.

00:06:17   I always recommend the blonde roast at Starbucks

00:06:19   because it's not really, really, really dark,

00:06:23   which Starbucks is very dark roasted coffee.

00:06:26   I mean, obviously I would always prefer

00:06:29   the small coffee shop, the independent coffee shop,

00:06:31   but you can't always get them.

00:06:32   They're not always available.

00:06:33   - Right, well, there's something,

00:06:35   that's the thing about chains that's great

00:06:37   is that there's usually a consistency there.

00:06:39   And if you find something you like consistently at a chain,

00:06:42   It may not be great, but it's consistent and you at least know what you're going to get.

00:06:46   There's something to that.

00:06:49   If you would like to send in a question of your own to help us open an episode of the

00:06:52   show, you can just send in a question over Twitter with the hashtag Snowtalk, or you

00:06:56   can use question mark Snowtalk in the Relay FM members Discord.

00:07:01   You can get access to this Discord if you're a Relay FM member.

00:07:03   You can go to getupgradeplus.com and you can become a Relay FM member and also get access

00:07:09   to Upgrade Plus, which is longer, ad-free versions of the show,

00:07:14   every, each and every single week, which is amazing.

00:07:18   Even on episodes where we record them in advance,

00:07:20   you still get extra content.

00:07:21   - Amazing. - Because we care about you.

00:07:23   - We care. - We want you to have

00:07:24   that extra content that we promised you.

00:07:25   So I said that there was something coming up today.

00:07:27   So on this episode today, Jason,

00:07:30   you're gonna be joined by Rosemary Orchard,

00:07:32   Federico Vittucci, and Matthew Castanelli

00:07:34   to talk about what?

00:07:36   - Automation. - Could you imagine it?

00:07:37   - I've assembled the automation, Apple automation,

00:07:40   in specific automation all stars.

00:07:43   Yes, automation all stars, automation Avengers,

00:07:46   if you like, that's fine.

00:07:48   To talk about the present and future state

00:07:53   of automation shortcuts and otherwise on Apple's platforms.

00:07:56   So I've brought in Rosemary Orchard

00:08:00   from the Automators podcast and Federico

00:08:02   from all the things Federico does that are related to--

00:08:04   - From Federico.

00:08:06   from Federico's business, Max Stories, et cetera,

00:08:09   connected Max Stories universe.

00:08:10   And Matthew Casanelli, who used to work on shortcuts

00:08:13   and now does shortcuts stuff at his website,

00:08:16   which is just matthewcasanelli.com, very clever.

00:08:19   And he is his own brand.

00:08:22   But they're never usually talking about automation together,

00:08:26   so I got them together.

00:08:28   - So you got that to look forward to.

00:08:30   Jason mentioned automators, relay.fm/automators.

00:08:33   That's a place where you can go to get Rosemary

00:08:36   and David Sparks show all about automation here at Relay FM.

00:08:40   Jason, I noticed you posting something

00:08:44   about the iOS 16 audio scrubber.

00:08:49   - Right, did that a few weeks ago, yep, the scrubber.

00:08:51   - You seem to like it.

00:08:53   - Yeah.

00:08:54   - And I'm not sure.

00:08:57   - In the beta, what they've done is they've taken

00:09:00   the little dot away that indicates

00:09:03   where you are in terms of volume

00:09:05   or in terms of location in a track

00:09:07   and replaced it with a contrast.

00:09:11   It's like a gray, a light gray and a dark gray or something.

00:09:14   There's a contrast between them that shows the progress.

00:09:16   But more than that, the dot is gone,

00:09:19   which means the touch target of like where to drag is gone.

00:09:22   And that's good because you can actually touch anywhere

00:09:24   and then drag left or right to move the progress

00:09:27   or volume up or down.

00:09:29   And I think it's a less,

00:09:32   less precision being required is a good thing.

00:09:36   I've heard counterarguments that maybe

00:09:39   they could leave the dot or some other more,

00:09:43   more noticeable indicator of status

00:09:46   while making the whole area swipeable

00:09:49   and that would be a compromise.

00:09:51   The thing that I like about it is that I like

00:09:53   that the whole area is swipeable

00:09:55   so you don't have to feel like you have to hit

00:09:57   the little tiny target or you miss.

00:09:59   and then nothing happens.

00:10:01   And also I like the fact that when you hit it,

00:10:04   it expands, it gets bigger.

00:10:06   So it's more visible as you're swiping.

00:10:08   I think that's actually a nice effect.

00:10:10   - I think I'm just gonna get used to it.

00:10:12   'Cause I think when I immediately saw it,

00:10:16   I was like, "Oh, you can't do it anymore.

00:10:19   Like you can't scrub anymore."

00:10:20   That was my immediate reaction.

00:10:22   I don't know why I thought that was the case,

00:10:25   but that's just how it looked.

00:10:26   because the bar looks the same, really.

00:10:29   It's just the dots gone. - No control.

00:10:31   No control.

00:10:33   - This feels very iOS 7 to me.

00:10:35   - It is, and that's why I think that I saw people

00:10:40   pushing back against it, and I initially thought,

00:10:42   oh no, what have they done?

00:10:44   And then I used it and I thought,

00:10:45   oh no, this is better, I actually like this better.

00:10:48   I can see there's an argument that the keeping it

00:10:51   in the bar and having it be two shades of gray

00:10:56   is perhaps a little too subtle if you're trying to get a quick read on where you are in a

00:11:00   song or what the volume level is. I get that. I'm not sure the little dots are the right

00:11:05   approach. I don't know, because the little dots are, they are, a little skeuomorphic.

00:11:11   I'm not sure the little dots are the right thing to do, but I can see the argument that

00:11:17   there ought to be something a little more visible about where you are in the spectrum

00:11:22   from far left to far right.

00:11:24   And I think that's a fair point,

00:11:27   but I really love the behavior.

00:11:29   I love not having to hit that little tiny touch target

00:11:32   'cause I think it was unreasonable.

00:11:34   And I cannot tell you how many times I tried

00:11:36   to grab the volume slider and slide it up and missed

00:11:39   and did a whole gesture that did nothing

00:11:41   because I didn't get it exactly pixel perfect

00:11:44   on that little teeny tiny dot.

00:11:46   And that's stupid, right?

00:11:47   Like you've got that whole bar there,

00:11:48   view it as a little scrubber bar

00:11:52   that you can touch anywhere to adjust it either direction.

00:11:56   That interaction is better,

00:11:58   but the visual that one, that you can touch it,

00:12:01   and that two, like at a glance, where are you?

00:12:04   I can see the arguments.

00:12:05   I definitely, I think the contrast got better in later betas.

00:12:08   In early betas, I actually looked at it and I couldn't,

00:12:11   I thought it was just a gray bar.

00:12:13   Like I didn't even realize there were two contrasting bars

00:12:18   because, and I think they've amped up the contrast,

00:12:21   - Yeah, yeah.

00:12:22   - Later betas it looks better, yeah.

00:12:24   - Here's the thing, I've kind of,

00:12:27   after I read your article, I liked it more

00:12:29   because I realized you could do the thing

00:12:30   where you could start the scrub from anywhere.

00:12:32   - Right.

00:12:33   - I would never assume that that's something

00:12:34   you'd be able to do though.

00:12:37   I would always just assume,

00:12:38   unless until I was told by you,

00:12:40   I would just assume I have to get my finger

00:12:42   to try and be like basically where the middle is,

00:12:45   like where it used to be, you know?

00:12:47   - Yeah, so how do you communicate that if you're Apple?

00:12:50   That's a question.

00:12:53   - You can't.

00:12:54   And then what will happen is,

00:12:56   some point in nine months from now, someone will tweet,

00:13:00   "I can't believe that nobody knew you can do this."

00:13:05   And then everyone goes wild.

00:13:06   - It'll be a TikTok video.

00:13:08   And it'll be like, "Oh my God, look at my finger.

00:13:10   It goes back and forth, and oh, oh."

00:13:12   And that'll be like a bazillion people will watch it

00:13:15   and reveal that that was a feature that was there.

00:13:18   and Jason will say like, "I wrote about it in July."

00:13:21   And they'll say, "Go away, old man."

00:13:24   - Old man, no one reads your blog,

00:13:25   turn it into a TikTok.

00:13:26   And then there'll be a bunch of other articles written about

00:13:29   has Apple's discoverability issues gone too far

00:13:32   with software and like, why can't Apple make a tips app?

00:13:35   But they do and no one wants to use it.

00:13:37   And then we go around and around and around.

00:13:39   - Yeah, why isn't this more skeuomorphic?

00:13:41   I want the volume slider to be made of like a wood grain.

00:13:45   Sure.

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00:15:41   Okay, it's time for the summer of automation with my special guests. Let me introduce them

00:15:48   to you now from MacStories and the Connected Podcast and so much more. Federico Viticci.

00:15:54   Hi Federico. Hello Jason, thank you for having me. How are you? I'm doing great, thank you

00:15:59   for being back on Upgrade. I think maybe the last time you were here you predicted, successfully

00:16:03   predicted the downstream podcast, so thank you. Yes I did. For doing that. You got the

00:16:08   name a little bit wrong, but close enough. I'll give you full points. Close enough. No,

00:16:11   thank you, thank you. You were sort of the inspiration. I've been thinking, you got in

00:16:14   my head, I was like, oh that would be a good podcast, maybe we should do that sometime.

00:16:18   Do these points count for the connected quiz? Consult Myke, I guess. Ask him if they count.

00:16:23   It's like turning in a coupon or something. I got this coupon that Jason wrote that says

00:16:27   a hundred points. I got a coupon from Jason. Does it count? And he'll discount it to one

00:16:32   point or something like that. Rosemary Orchard is also here from Automators and iOS today

00:16:36   and rosemaryorchard.com and so many other things. Rosemary, welcome.

00:16:40   Hi, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. I mean, especially with all of you awesome

00:16:45   people.

00:16:46   It's where we're doing cross. Like I wanted people from all over who don't always talk

00:16:52   every week about automation to talk together to get together. And that's also why I invited

00:16:58   Matthew Casanelli of the perfectly named MatthewCasanelli.com.

00:17:03   Hello, how are you?

00:17:05   - Hello, thank you for having me on.

00:17:06   I'm super excited.

00:17:07   This is gonna be a great conversation.

00:17:09   - Yeah, I think so.

00:17:10   A few years ago, there was that Masters of Automation event

00:17:13   in Santa Clara that Paul Kent put together

00:17:16   and Sal Segoian was there.

00:17:17   I believe the Shortcuts team was present but silent

00:17:25   'cause they had been absorbed.

00:17:26   Were you at that, Matthew?

00:17:28   - I was not.

00:17:29   I think I knew that they were there though.

00:17:30   - They were there.

00:17:31   It was funny too,

00:17:32   'cause we're all talking about Apple automation

00:17:34   and they're like, do, do, do, do, do, do,

00:17:35   'cause they hadn't been announced.

00:17:37   There was nothing.

00:17:38   It was, they were in sort of stealth absorbed

00:17:41   into Apple mode.

00:17:42   And we did an upgrade episode way back when about that.

00:17:45   And I thought this would be a fun way to revisit automation

00:17:47   and also not bore Myke.

00:17:50   So Myke can take a step back.

00:17:53   I mean, not excite Myke too much with automation talk.

00:17:56   I know he gets a lot of it from Federico too.

00:17:58   I wanted to start with the personal.

00:18:02   I wanted to start by asking all of you sort of like what,

00:18:05   we talk about user automation

00:18:07   and creating like computers are dumb.

00:18:09   And so you create tasks that computers are good at

00:18:14   and that humans shouldn't have to worry about.

00:18:16   And that's like the core of what doing user automation

00:18:19   is all about.

00:18:20   And we all write and talk about automation professionally,

00:18:25   but I'm curious about your own personal use,

00:18:29   the stuff that you are really using the most these days

00:18:33   in your lives to automate your lives.

00:18:37   Rosemary, what about, let's start with you.

00:18:39   What are you automating with these days?

00:18:42   - I mean, my house.

00:18:44   That's one of them.

00:18:45   And the shortcuts app, of course, is another,

00:18:48   but it really depends on what the problem is

00:18:50   that I'm looking to solve.

00:18:51   Is it that I'm struggling to wake up in the mornings,

00:18:53   in which case automated curtains and blinds are a useful solution, or is it that I need

00:18:58   to be able to add a consistent list of things I need to do to prepare for going into the

00:19:02   office for a day to my TALs list, in which case shortcuts is, or actually combined with

00:19:09   drafts in that case, are going to be my automation weapon of choice.

00:19:13   Is it a weapon?

00:19:14   I don't know.

00:19:15   It can be.

00:19:16   Tool seems a little bit minimizing the effect that automation can have, because it really

00:19:20   can have a huge effect on everything in your day and actually help construct your day,

00:19:26   I find. But yeah, I've been doing a lot specifically home automation related, but of course all

00:19:31   of the personal automations and shortcuts are constantly, especially thanks to the betas,

00:19:35   going through some kind of evolution.

00:19:38   What about you, Matthew?

00:19:40   I've been automating like every inch of my life. And so that's been a little bit of an

00:19:46   an undertaking and way, way too much, I think.

00:19:50   'Cause I've kind of been going for,

00:19:52   I still am trying to like teach people

00:19:53   about all of the possible capabilities

00:19:56   and I got so into it myself that I feel like

00:19:59   I started to recognize I needed to share more with people.

00:20:03   And so I have been focusing a lot more on my actual workflow

00:20:06   and publishing articles and doing live streams

00:20:10   and kind of stacking all those things within a week

00:20:13   because that's one of the big things is

00:20:15   It's multimedia and it's a lot of context switching.

00:20:18   And so shortcuts is really good for setting you up

00:20:22   for the right context when you need it

00:20:23   and then hiding things when you don't need it.

00:20:25   Or I guess that's part of iOS now too,

00:20:27   but I'm doing tons with focus modes and widgets

00:20:31   and then also like stream deck on the Mac

00:20:33   to kind of replicate that experience there.

00:20:36   - Wow, focus modes.

00:20:37   I am only, I still am just sort of like,

00:20:39   I have one focus, I have a focus mode

00:20:41   (laughs)

00:20:42   that I use sometimes when I'm writing

00:20:45   and sometimes I forget, or what I do is I'm writing

00:20:47   and then somebody bugs me and I think,

00:20:49   oh right, this should be focus mode so they don't bother me.

00:20:52   - All right, team, we have a mission.

00:20:54   - Yeah, I have just have not gotten down that path as much.

00:20:56   - Yeah, the way they did it in iOS 14 was kind of weird,

00:20:59   so I think it's probably better this year.

00:21:02   - Yeah, yeah, probably so.

00:21:03   Federico, I know you've talked about Obsidian a lot,

00:21:06   but is that your big automation right now,

00:21:10   or are there other things that you're doing

00:21:11   that are key to what you do?

00:21:13   Well, yeah, so I really go back and forth on this because I've been through the various stages of life where I try to automate everything, right?

00:21:21   And you try to automate your house and you listen to music and when you work out.

00:21:26   And then over time, I kind of realized two things that if you at least personally, when I try to automate everything and anything, it's easy to lose control.

00:21:38   And it's easy to forget, like, things start happening and then you realize, oh, I didn't

00:21:43   realize I set up this automation months ago. And so and also, I should mention that, you

00:21:48   know, sometimes, especially when you live with someone else, your partner doesn't necessarily

00:21:53   appreciate all the crazy automations you've set up. Right. So you've got to be especially

00:21:57   mindful of what you're setting up in the house and if the other person or other people agree

00:22:02   with what you're doing. So I've been through that. I've been through that stage as well.

00:22:06   But I think lately what I realized is that yes, there's I would say 50% of the automations

00:22:13   that I use on the Mac and now also on the iPad I want to say, in some shape or form

00:22:19   integrate with Obsidian.

00:22:21   But the other types of automations I think are most useful on the iPhone.

00:22:26   And these are automations that are used for, they are work related but also for personal

00:22:31   use.

00:22:32   I really like it when they just happen reliably and consistently without any input.

00:22:40   So to give you an example, something that I do all the time is when I copy a link to

00:22:45   a tweet from the official Twitter app, the Twitter app appends all those ugly tracking

00:22:51   parameters to the tweet.

00:22:53   And I don't really want to have those things in my URL when I send it to somebody else.

00:22:58   So a simple automation that I have is whenever I close Twitter, that's a trigger that you

00:23:04   can use, it cleans up the link for me.

00:23:07   I don't have to think about it.

00:23:09   I don't have to do anything else.

00:23:10   I set it up months ago.

00:23:12   It uses a regular expression to take care of the unnecessary part of the link I don't

00:23:16   want, and it cleans up the link for me and it pastes it back into the clipboard.

00:23:21   And that's the kind of automation that I find myself relying on most these days.

00:23:25   There's the Obsidian commands for sure, but there's also the stuff on the iPhone that

00:23:28   it just happens, but I'm very judicious about it, I guess. I have maybe five of these. I

00:23:35   don't want to overdo it. It's a lesson that I've learned, I think, over the past couple

00:23:39   of years.

00:23:40   Is it basically doing, like, it's looking when you leave Twitter, it looks at the clipboard

00:23:46   and says, "Is there a Twitter link on the clipboard?" And if so, I rewrite it and put

00:23:50   it back on the clipboard. So when you exit Twitter, that clipboard gets cleaned up to

00:23:54   something nice.

00:23:55   Exactly, and only if it's a link to a tweet, not a link to a profile, for example, or not

00:24:01   a link to an image. So it looks at the type of link and it cleans it up and it copies

00:24:07   it back so that by the moment I'm opening iMessage or Discord, the link has already

00:24:12   been cleaned up.

00:24:14   That makes perfect sense. I really like that sort of thing. And there is a lot to be said

00:24:18   about reliable automations, right? I'm sure all of us at some point have created something

00:24:22   to demo something to somebody else and then forgotten about it. And then gone, "Wait,

00:24:27   why is my phone doing this weird thing?" I had a really weird issue with an alarm going

00:24:30   off at like 6.25 PM every day for a week until I realized it was one that I'd set up to demo

00:24:36   I think was on iOS today. It's like, "Oh, right. I really need to start disabling those

00:24:41   like the second I finish the show."

00:24:43   I have a lot of unnamed… I mean, I know this is just sort of more for people like

00:24:48   us than for regular people, but like my shortcuts file window is littered with badly named or

00:24:57   not named shortcuts that are like, let's try this or here's a sample. And then it just

00:25:02   stays there forever. And I, and every once in a while I think, what are these things?

00:25:07   And the answer is they're all garbage. And I just have left them there.

00:25:10   I create those in a folder. So I have a specific folder for demo, which I always go to before

00:25:16   I start creating like random examples like that because then I know I can just nuke everything

00:25:20   in that folder and it's gone because otherwise especially now because this is something the

00:25:24   shortcuts team have done to try and improve things right there they're giving things like

00:25:27   a name from like a variable or the first auto action step but that means that it's no longer

00:25:33   really easy to find all of your untitled shortcuts it's just automatically with like a search

00:25:40   in the app which is it's both a great thing and also a bit of a shame I think for the

00:25:44   the vast majority of users, this is a win. And possibly, you know, us here on the podcast

00:25:50   are the outliers going, this is potentially a bit of a problem because I can no longer

00:25:54   find the unnamed shortcuts in my library.

00:25:56   I had a shortcut that used the iOS 16 action to search shortcuts. And I searched for the

00:26:02   word new shortcuts so that I could find the ones that I hadn't finished yet. It's too

00:26:07   much for your shortcuts.

00:26:08   This is what Federico was talking about, about getting too deep down in.

00:26:12   - I mean, you say that, but also it is a very easy way

00:26:16   to find those ones specifically,

00:26:18   and especially combined with the new delete shortcut action.

00:26:21   Like I'm using that to clean up my demo folder now,

00:26:23   which is great, but you know, it's surprising actually

00:26:26   how far very short action shortcuts can get you.

00:26:29   Like Jason, my immediate instinct to you

00:26:31   saying you don't use focus modes

00:26:32   is you press the stream that button

00:26:34   when you start recording.

00:26:35   Why don't you tie focus mode into that,

00:26:38   triggered via a shortcut, and you can have it

00:26:40   auto turn off after two hours or whatever it is.

00:26:43   Or you could have the turn off tied into the other side

00:26:47   of the button that stops your recording

00:26:50   so that it turns off your focus mode.

00:26:52   - You're absolutely right.

00:26:52   - Because I find that a lot of the benefits

00:26:55   from automations are actually small building blocks

00:26:58   that then you stick together so that you have a bigger thing

00:27:00   so for example, Federico's tweet,

00:27:03   that ends up building part of a bigger workflow for him,

00:27:05   I'm guessing in some cases, but not in every case,

00:27:08   But it's a very useful building block, which you can reuse as you need to.

00:27:13   And I think that's where automation can really become a much bigger and easier thing for people to understand when they realize,

00:27:23   "Actually, I've got lots of little Lego bricks together, and I can stick them together, and I've got a little wall, and then you've got a house, and then you've got a castle.

00:27:29   And before you know it, you've got a moat and a trebuchet, and there's no chance of invaders, even if that's not what you're aiming for.

00:27:35   But hey, your curtains open and close automatically."

00:27:38   It's funny that you mentioned that

00:27:39   'cause that's actually one of my favorite automations

00:27:41   right now and it's a very simple home app automation.

00:27:44   But I did get some blinds for my office

00:27:49   after being in it for seven years.

00:27:50   And in the summer, just basically I would run outside

00:27:54   and I had a thing that I would throw over the roof

00:27:55   that would block the sun from shining right in my face

00:27:58   in the afternoon.

00:27:59   And I finally got some blinds that are,

00:28:02   they're the smart blinds, they're Lutron Casita smart blinds.

00:28:08   And the automation is great because it's keyed on sunset.

00:28:11   And I was able to figure out how many hours

00:28:13   or minutes before sunset does the sun shine in my face.

00:28:17   And now they go down at that time

00:28:20   and it's just as the sun is starting to hit my desk

00:28:23   and they go back up right before sunset

00:28:26   after the, but after the sun is already

00:28:28   kind of behind the house next to mine.

00:28:32   And I love that one. - Nice.

00:28:33   - But most of my active automations are

00:28:37   I've been doing a lot of Stream Deck stuff

00:28:39   and I know before we started recording,

00:28:41   I mentioned that my favorites are the basically press

00:28:45   to start recording kind of thing,

00:28:46   because I like the tactile nature of that

00:28:50   and not having to open AudioHijack

00:28:52   and get the right thing out and press the button

00:28:54   and having the ability to just press this one button

00:28:56   and now that AudioHijack has JavaScript scripting

00:29:00   inside of it, having it be able to fire off

00:29:03   the exact right thing.

00:29:05   And then at the end, when I press that button,

00:29:08   and it changes because I'm using Keyboard Maestro

00:29:10   as an intermediary, it is changing the content

00:29:14   of the button, really wish that there were other ways

00:29:16   of doing that, really wish that Stream Deck,

00:29:19   well, I mean, really wish Stream Deck was better.

00:29:22   It's the Stream Deck app was better.

00:29:23   - I mean, it does have that toggle, right?

00:29:25   It's got that, I can't remember what it's called now

00:29:27   in Stream Deck terms, but that doesn't--

00:29:29   - Two-way switch or something like that.

00:29:31   And it does, I mean, the challenge there is that

00:29:34   It's not very smart.

00:29:36   Whereas my automation is actually getting a response back

00:29:41   and evaluating it and deciding whether it's truly on or off

00:29:44   and changing based on that.

00:29:45   Whereas the Stream Deck thing, if it gets out of sync,

00:29:48   it's just stays out of sync on its toggle.

00:29:51   I also have some multi-switch toggles.

00:29:53   So for upgrade, I go through the state

00:29:56   where I press the button and it opens the Zoom chat

00:29:59   and the show doc, and then I press it again

00:30:03   and it starts my recording and I press it a third time

00:30:06   and it stops the recording and moves the recording

00:30:09   into Dropbox for mic.

00:30:10   So it's a three stage thing and I changed what's

00:30:13   on the button for all three stages.

00:30:16   And recently I upgrade,

00:30:18   I think we mentioned this on upgrade,

00:30:20   recently there was an episode where the first 10 minutes

00:30:22   of my audio is from Zoom because I forgot

00:30:24   to start recording.

00:30:25   And that led to an automation, which is something

00:30:29   that Rosemary, I think you mentioned about that,

00:30:30   kind of like you start to build.

00:30:32   where I ended up with a new step in my process

00:30:37   when I pressed that button the first time

00:30:39   to just connect to the Zoom.

00:30:40   It starts a, almost like a throwaway disposable recording

00:30:45   of my microphone.

00:30:46   And then when I press it again

00:30:48   to start the actual recording,

00:30:50   Audio Hijack actually has this built

00:30:51   into its automation library.

00:30:54   If it's less than 15 or 20 minutes of audio,

00:30:56   it just throws it away.

00:30:58   And because I've done the right thing,

00:31:00   But what it does mean is that if I don't press that button,

00:31:04   I have a recording anyway, that I can send to Myke.

00:31:07   And that's just, at that moment where I thought,

00:31:11   okay, this needs to be better.

00:31:12   This automation needs to improve

00:31:14   because it's not serving this failing of mine,

00:31:17   which is I didn't press it a second time.

00:31:19   So how do I fix that?

00:31:20   And that led to another step.

00:31:23   - Is there any reason you wouldn't just use

00:31:25   like multiple buttons instead of the same one?

00:31:28   'Cause that's kind of my, I don't know,

00:31:29   this might be too much Stream Deck technique,

00:31:31   but like I have pages and I just use multiple pages

00:31:35   and have one step for each part of the process.

00:31:38   - I'm trying to be as minimal as possible.

00:31:40   So I do have multiple profiles in Stream Deck,

00:31:43   but I don't like the idea of having multiple pages

00:31:46   and having to do a lot of Stream Deck work.

00:31:48   I kind of want to keep it to, in this case,

00:31:49   the five by three grid of my little Stream Deck here.

00:31:52   And I kind of, I would rather, you know,

00:31:55   I have an upgrade button, so it should know.

00:31:57   And the incomparable button is the same way

00:31:59   where it goes through three states and it changes based on that. That's basically my

00:32:03   preference. I think because I started out with a Stream Deck Mini, my focus has always

00:32:08   been like multi-use buttons.

00:32:11   Well, it's whatever you feel comfortable with, right? Because the best automations are the

00:32:15   ones that actually work for you and it doesn't matter if it works really well for me or for

00:32:19   Matthew or for any of the people listening, it's got to work for you, the person who's

00:32:23   actually using it, which is one of the reasons why I think, you know, some people do struggle

00:32:28   with things because they're looking at how somebody else is doing something and maybe

00:32:32   they don't have that piece of hardware or they don't, you know, they're not sure that

00:32:36   whether or not NFC tags are going to be the right thing for them and things like that.

00:32:40   And you get very stuck into the, well, this is how, you know, other people do it. So being

00:32:44   able to reshape it to fit whatever your actual needs are. And also as Federico mentioned,

00:32:50   you know, the needs and the wants of the other people in your house, which may not be blinds

00:32:54   It's opening and closing automatically all the time.

00:32:56   And lights turning on and off to let you know

00:32:59   that it's time to go do this thing.

00:33:01   Flashing the lights in the whole house

00:33:02   when you're not the only person living in your house

00:33:04   is probably gonna-- - It's not good.

00:33:05   - Yeah, at the very least, not necessarily

00:33:07   make you everybody's best friend.

00:33:09   So you've gotta figure out what works.

00:33:11   And that certainly sounds like it would work for me.

00:33:13   Though my concern would always be the

00:33:15   it's got out of sync situation,

00:33:17   which you alluded to with the two-state button.

00:33:20   - Yeah, that's nothing worse than an automation

00:33:22   that doesn't know whether it's open or closed or on or off.

00:33:25   (laughs)

00:33:26   - Yeah, yeah.

00:33:27   I mean, that's where Key Vault Maestro's really good

00:33:28   with the Stream Deck because it can just say,

00:33:30   "Hey, you're in this state now,"

00:33:32   'cause it can maybe poll,

00:33:34   maybe poll or do your hijack to see whether or not

00:33:36   it's recording or something like that.

00:33:38   - That's actually, I mean, it's a complicated,

00:33:40   so after the break, I wanna talk about

00:33:43   where we are with Apple, Apple automation

00:33:45   and where it's strong,

00:33:46   and then we'll talk about where it's weak.

00:33:48   I would say that one of the things that I love

00:33:50   about my current state of automation is that I've got all this stuff working together.

00:33:55   I wrote a Six Colors piece a while ago about how you can integrate a command line script

00:34:00   and a shortcut and a keyboard maestro thing and a stream deck thing and they all just

00:34:05   kind of work. On the other hand, it is kind of ridiculous that I have to go through sometimes

00:34:12   three or four different tools in order to get what I want. And so it strikes me that

00:34:17   sometimes I would, you know, I want the tools to be a little bit better so I don't have

00:34:21   to do it. It's nice that I can, right? But I have those moments where I think, like,

00:34:26   Stream Deck Buttons is a great example where like, I've got to use Keyboard Maestro if

00:34:29   I want to set the exact image on a Stream Deck Button because Keyboard Maestro doesn't.

00:34:35   And I'm glad that it does, but I have things that are entirely handled in shortcuts except

00:34:40   for the keyboard maestro image part that has to be in.

00:34:45   So I ended up having a keyboard maestro macro

00:34:48   that runs a shortcut and sets an image.

00:34:51   And I don't love that, but that's where we are right now.

00:34:55   I wanted to mention before we take our first break

00:34:59   that the other automations that I'm using a lot are,

00:35:04   and this goes to like, everybody's gonna have to build

00:35:06   their own for their own jobs, but it's my favorite stuff,

00:35:08   which is I find a menial or boring task

00:35:12   that should be automated.

00:35:13   And so like I built, inspired by Federico actually,

00:35:16   and one of Federico's shortcuts involving Safari,

00:35:19   I built a shortcut that lets me select the text

00:35:22   from my Mac world column that I write every week.

00:35:24   And I run the shortcut and it converts it to markdown

00:35:28   and it gets the link of the URL

00:35:30   and it opens up WordPress and puts in,

00:35:34   using the WordPress API,

00:35:35   It puts in that as a post to link to it from six colors.

00:35:40   And I don't have to clean it up because it cleans it up.

00:35:42   I don't have to paste in the link

00:35:44   'cause it puts in the link and the headline

00:35:46   and the story text and checks the box

00:35:48   that says what kind of thing it is,

00:35:50   which is an offsite link.

00:35:52   And I love stuff like that where sure I could do it,

00:35:54   but first off they post that thing in the morning.

00:35:56   So I'm invariably writing that thing like from bed

00:35:59   when I'm drinking my tea.

00:36:01   I would rather not think about it

00:36:03   and not have to precision paste things in various places

00:36:08   when the shortcut can handle it for me.

00:36:10   Or when I post the Six Colors podcast, it's the same thing.

00:36:13   It's an automator finder service,

00:36:18   but basically I right click on the MP3 of the podcast

00:36:22   and say, this is the Six Colors podcast,

00:36:24   and it uploads it, opens Mars edit,

00:36:27   puts the URL of the MP3,

00:36:29   puts the title of the podcast in the title field,

00:36:31   checks the box that says this is a podcast.

00:36:34   And it's just, I love that stuff where it's just, you know,

00:36:37   not that I couldn't do those five steps,

00:36:39   but I'd rather do one step.

00:36:41   That'd be easier.

00:36:42   - Yeah, yeah.

00:36:43   - I need that exact workflow right now

00:36:45   'cause I'm doing that exact thing manually

00:36:47   every time I publish my article.

00:36:49   And that's a good example of the exact kind of thing

00:36:52   that I would automate and takes me 10 to 15 minutes

00:36:55   and instead could take me one minute

00:36:57   and I can move on and immediately keep going,

00:36:59   which is very powerful.

00:37:01   I think that's the prize when we talk about automation,

00:37:03   it's stuff like that, which is,

00:37:05   it's not the overwhelming,

00:37:06   oh God, Jason's got a stream deck

00:37:07   and he's got all those buttons

00:37:08   and what are they gonna do?

00:37:09   And Rosemary's entire house is completely automated.

00:37:12   It's more like, do you have a really awful, boring,

00:37:16   you're totally capable of doing it,

00:37:17   but it's literally like an eight step process

00:37:19   you have to do five times a day.

00:37:21   - Yeah.

00:37:22   - You could probably automate that.

00:37:23   And your life will be--

00:37:24   - Even if you automate two steps, right?

00:37:26   - Your life will be better. - Just start by doing two.

00:37:29   I have like thousands of shortcuts

00:37:31   and the average of them has eight steps in it.

00:37:34   And that's exactly why I just kept going

00:37:35   and kept solving new problems.

00:37:37   And then it's like, oh God, I need,

00:37:39   I can't believe we barely still even have folders, so.

00:37:43   - Yeah.

00:37:44   All right, let's take a break.

00:37:46   And then when we come back,

00:37:47   we are going to talk about where we are now

00:37:51   with Apple's automation story.

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00:40:09   All right, I'm back for the summer of automation.

00:40:11   I wanted to ask our esteemed panel of automation experts

00:40:16   who have not, they're not phoning it in,

00:40:18   they didn't automate this.

00:40:20   They're actually here.

00:40:21   Let's start with the positives here.

00:40:24   Where do you think Apple and its platform automation,

00:40:28   and you can include apps that are on the platform as well,

00:40:30   where are they strong right now?

00:40:33   And then we'll follow that up by,

00:40:36   after we're done with this praise part,

00:40:38   where they fail.

00:40:40   Federico, let's start with you.

00:40:41   Where do you think Apple's automation story

00:40:43   is actually doing pretty well right now?

00:40:45   - Well, I think they're doing pretty well

00:40:46   on the iPhone and iPad,

00:40:47   where the story of the shortcuts app

00:40:51   seems to be more complete than on macOS.

00:40:54   And I think they're doing a good job there

00:40:56   in terms of giving users multiple options, right?

00:40:59   So you have the personal automations

00:41:02   that you can only set up on the iPhone and iPad,

00:41:04   and you have the home integration,

00:41:06   You have the share sheet, you have Siri,

00:41:09   you have spotlight integration.

00:41:12   And I think, as I mentioned before,

00:41:15   setting up these personal automations on the iPhone

00:41:17   and iPad, and especially on the iPhone

00:41:19   because it's always with you, can

00:41:20   be so valuable in terms of saving time,

00:41:24   cutting down steps from processes

00:41:25   that you find yourself doing manually every single day.

00:41:28   I also think they're doing a pretty good job

00:41:32   in terms of catching up.

00:41:34   And I think if you look at this year's release of iOS 16

00:41:37   and iPadOS 16, what is new in shortcuts,

00:41:40   you will see a lot of catching up

00:41:41   in terms of bringing actions for apps

00:41:45   that had very minimal, if at all, maybe,

00:41:50   integration with shortcuts before.

00:41:52   And so you have these new Safari actions, for example,

00:41:54   that just got added in the latest iOS 16 beta.

00:41:57   You have voice memos actions, you have clock actions,

00:42:01   you have better mail integration.

00:42:03   So it's good to see that they are paying attention

00:42:06   to apps that were sort of integrated with workflow,

00:42:11   really, back in the day, that got brought over to shortcuts,

00:42:15   but the shortcuts app wasn't really taking advantage

00:42:18   of them.

00:42:19   And so with iOS 16, they are catching up

00:42:21   and allowing users to create more integrations than ever.

00:42:25   And from a design perspective,

00:42:29   the shortcuts editor itself,

00:42:30   I think we've seen, you know, it's been a long path

00:42:35   in terms, it's been a long journey

00:42:38   in terms of getting to this state of the shortcuts editor.

00:42:43   Obviously, you know, we've been through two, three redesigns

00:42:47   in the past four to five years for shortcuts.

00:42:50   And last year, obviously, they redesigned the whole thing

00:42:54   and they rebuilt the whole thing with SwiftUI.

00:42:57   And that caused a variety of problems,

00:43:00   especially on Mac OS.

00:43:02   But I think now, the design of the shortcuts editor--

00:43:06   again, on iPhone and iPad, I haven't really

00:43:08   played around with Ventura yet, so I can comment on that.

00:43:11   But I think at this point, I really

00:43:14   like what they're doing in terms of doing things

00:43:17   like choosing variables.

00:43:18   Drag and drop is more reliable, picking properties

00:43:22   from an individual variable or magic variable.

00:43:25   So I think the story is also pretty strong there.

00:43:28   But I would say overall, by far on iPhone and iPad,

00:43:32   you have still the strongest shortcuts story and presence,

00:43:37   if only because on macOS,

00:43:39   you're still missing those key integrations,

00:43:41   like the personal automations

00:43:45   and the integration with the share sheet,

00:43:47   which is maybe happening now,

00:43:49   but it's still kind of a half-baked.

00:43:52   - Rosemary, what about you?

00:43:54   - Yeah, I mean, I have to say, I agree with Federico,

00:43:56   and it does feel a little bit like it's been playing catch up,

00:44:00   but I do feel like they're definitely watching what people are doing

00:44:03   and then responding to that with adding new features.

00:44:07   So a really great example of this is, you know,

00:44:10   a lot of people were trying to do things like switch their backgrounds automatically,

00:44:14   like the home screen backgrounds, the images there automatically,

00:44:19   and their watch faces based on focus modes

00:44:21   or other things that they were doing in the last version of iOS.

00:44:24   And that's actually now baked into the focus modes in iOS 16,

00:44:29   setting your watch face and changing your background.

00:44:32   And I have to say, I think like they're not,

00:44:34   they're not taking away from shortcuts.

00:44:36   You can still do, you know, you can still set your wallpaper,

00:44:38   you can still set up watch face in shortcuts,

00:44:40   but they found a better place to put that,

00:44:43   that surfaces that for users in a much easier way

00:44:46   than adding shortcuts actions, which, you know,

00:44:49   even somebody who's a little bit technical,

00:44:51   who's not encountered it before,

00:44:53   trying to choose your watch face is tricky because you just don't have a picture. Like

00:44:58   in watch faces, you know, you've got two different modular complication ones and you don't know

00:45:05   which one's which. You have to go look in the watch app and assume that the order is

00:45:08   the same, which it is, as a side note for anybody who's listening for that. But you

00:45:13   know, they've taken what people are doing and they've just made it easier for them.

00:45:18   which I feel is great, and I'm really glad that they're doing that.

00:45:24   And similarly, it seems that they've listened to developers, they've made it easier for

00:45:28   them to add shortcuts actions and surface those for users.

00:45:32   So inside of the Shortcuts app, in the section at the bottom, so on the iPhone, you would

00:45:39   tap to go to the Shortcuts menu area and on the iPad and the Mac, it should just be at

00:45:43   the bottom.

00:45:44   They've got app shortcuts right there.

00:45:46   I feel like this again is them responding to users and developers and just bringing

00:45:51   it all together.

00:45:53   And it certainly feels like they are doing a good job with pulling that all in.

00:45:59   And as Federico said, we've got new actions in various apps.

00:46:02   They're directly integrating with focus modes with the whole set your filter on mailboxes

00:46:08   and set your tab group in Safari.

00:46:10   Yes, tab groups get some love.

00:46:12   That's good to hear.

00:46:14   I feel like by adding to this and taking it,

00:46:17   so I have a podcasting focus mode,

00:46:20   but then I can customize further within that with shortcuts.

00:46:24   And so if I want to have a separate one for Automators

00:46:27   versus iOS today versus nested folders, I can do that,

00:46:30   but I can also just leave it as podcasting

00:46:32   or I can try and handle it all inside of

00:46:34   the focus modes themselves and split it up into three,

00:46:38   but it gives me more flexibility and choice,

00:46:41   which as a power user, I greatly appreciate,

00:46:44   but I also think, you know, is good for your average user

00:46:49   in that they've got quite a bit that they can do.

00:46:51   And when they want more,

00:46:52   there's a safe place that they can go

00:46:54   to find out how to do this without running into something

00:46:56   that says jailbreak your device now,

00:46:59   which I feel like is just not a good option

00:47:01   for let's face it, the vast majority of users.

00:47:04   - Matthew, what do you think about

00:47:06   where Apple's automation is working right now?

00:47:09   - Totally.

00:47:10   I agree with all those points.

00:47:11   integrations are a lot better.

00:47:16   And I love that they've been listening to our needs as the power users,

00:47:19   because that stuff definitely affects us a lot.

00:47:23   I think I'm still just super psyched on the app shortcuts and the capabilities that they're adding to that.

00:47:27   I've been following Alex Hay, who makes Toolbox Pro, and he's been diving really deep into just what you can do,

00:47:32   and the kind of capabilities that actions can have now that they couldn't really.

00:47:39   And I don't think I totally realized they couldn't have that before.

00:47:44   I think that the story of how powerful actions are hasn't matched what even shortcuts itself could do.

00:47:48   And it's confusing, or even Apple's other apps weren't adopting that same level of capability.

00:47:56   And so now I think we're starting to see that with the actions that they're developing, and we're going to see that from developers too.

00:48:05   So it should be a lot better.

00:48:10   Like, why can't this be automated?

00:48:12   It can now.

00:48:14   I guess it's still going to take time to roll out there.

00:48:15   And I think for me, still just the whole scripting interface,

00:48:19   even though it's still confusing for new users,

00:48:23   I still can't really do much in something like Zapier

00:48:26   or if this, then that beyond a couple of steps.

00:48:31   And I have some ungodly shortcuts

00:48:32   that do all this kind of scripting capabilities.

00:48:37   And that's still something that's only ever been approachable to me.

00:48:39   I've never learned how to code and probably never will, but I am a full on developer because of shortcuts.

00:48:43   And so that still is really understated about how much potential there is.

00:48:49   I mean, even just the way we were talking about before, we all use shortcuts kind of differently.

00:48:55   And there's like 50 ways to run one single shortcut.

00:48:58   So there's so much out there.

00:49:00   And I think getting the entire industry up to speed

00:49:05   with what shortcuts can even do is still a huge thing

00:49:08   because it's still constantly in development.

00:49:11   I mean, we can talk about the next part too,

00:49:13   but they kind of focused on the Mac.

00:49:16   And then now they're like, "Here's the Siri story,"

00:49:19   and didn't talk about the Mac this year,

00:49:20   which is kind of confusing.

00:49:22   - You mentioned shortcuts being, and I agree,

00:49:26   underrated a little bit.

00:49:28   Anybody who lived through the launch of Automator,

00:49:31   which had such promise, and you know,

00:49:34   Sal came up on stage, who you all know,

00:49:37   and demoed Automator and was like,

00:49:39   "Oh, I get it, I get it."

00:49:41   And for whatever reason,

00:49:43   Automator really didn't get a chance to flourish.

00:49:46   I think it was a little too complicated

00:49:47   and it didn't have any, you know,

00:49:50   it didn't have enough capabilities, you know,

00:49:53   and block by block for it to become

00:49:55   what it was supposed to be.

00:49:59   And when I first saw Workflow, I thought,

00:50:01   "Oh, oh yeah, this is what Automator was supposed to be

00:50:04   and never made it there."

00:50:05   And to Apple's credit, they bought it,

00:50:08   they integrated it, they advanced it.

00:50:10   And it is, I mean, for all of the criticisms

00:50:13   that we will often, and I think justifiably levy at Apple

00:50:16   and at the shortcuts app for the issues

00:50:20   that we all have with it.

00:50:22   I think it is worth taking a moment to praise the fact that it gives you access to that

00:50:31   level of power, but fulfills a lot of that Automator promise, which is you build a block

00:50:38   by block and it's visual and you don't need to write lines of code and it could be easier,

00:50:45   sure.

00:50:46   You know, are there things about it that are head-scratching?

00:50:47   Absolutely.

00:50:48   But like, having lived through Automator and the promise and the basically failure of Automator

00:50:55   as a thing, I think the number one thing on my list is about Apple's automation today

00:51:00   is that they have the vision to grab workflow and turn it into next generation Automator,

00:51:09   but one that succeeded rather than failed like Automator did.

00:51:13   It's my number one praise for what Apple's doing now,

00:51:17   is that ShortCats is good.

00:51:18   Is it great?

00:51:20   I mean, maybe, but it does have limitations, huge,

00:51:23   but it is so strong in so many ways,

00:51:27   and I think has so much more potential yet to be realized.

00:51:31   - Totally.

00:51:32   I think I'm in the realm where the only reason

00:51:35   I'm not doing more with it is because of those limitations,

00:51:40   and I'm waiting for those shackles to be removed so I can do even more.

00:51:45   Because it's just the fact that I still have a single file list of 3000 shortcuts

00:51:50   in the main menu that can't scale the interface is the problem.

00:51:55   Not anything that shortcuts can actually do.

00:51:59   And so I think so much of it is growing pains and I'm just waiting for those to get

00:52:02   resolved so that other people can join us because we're all doing this.

00:52:06   and I think everybody else kind of looks at it and is like,

00:52:10   "That seems cool, but it hasn't gotten there yet."

00:52:12   And we're living in this future of drag-and-drop programming

00:52:17   that Apple still hasn't even--

00:52:20   seems like they don't even tell their audience about it.

00:52:22   And so I'm like, "Hello, let's do this.

00:52:24   This is so cool."

00:52:25   And I love doing shows like this because it really is so powerful.

00:52:31   And it still hasn't even gotten started yet.

00:52:34   So I'm just stoked on that.

00:52:37   - I have one more thing that I'll say positively

00:52:39   before we go a little negative,

00:52:40   or at least constructive criticism,

00:52:42   which is, as somebody who's been using the Mac

00:52:46   since the '90s, I actually,

00:52:49   I did not expect the Mac's automation story

00:52:52   to be as good right now as it is.

00:52:55   I thought the transfer, first off,

00:52:58   I didn't expect shortcuts to actually come when it did.

00:53:01   I mean, I wrote articles like several of us did

00:53:05   demanding that it happened, but then it happened.

00:53:08   And it's usable.

00:53:09   That's the thing that really, I mean, from last summer,

00:53:11   even early on last year, it was usable.

00:53:15   And the fact that today,

00:53:17   as we're on the precipice of going to Ventura,

00:53:21   I have many Mac automations that are based in shortcuts.

00:53:25   And I really didn't think that would happen that quickly.

00:53:29   I really thought we would be in a painful transitional

00:53:33   period where the shortcuts didn't quite do the job

00:53:36   and the old stuff was falling apart

00:53:38   and that you wouldn't be able to do

00:53:41   what you needed to do on the Mac.

00:53:42   And that hasn't been the case.

00:53:44   There are still cases where I don't reach for shortcuts

00:53:46   first on the Mac for various reasons.

00:53:48   But an increasing number of those are me reaching

00:53:53   for an old system out of habit

00:53:55   and not because shortcuts can't do the job.

00:53:57   Sometimes it's because shortcuts can't do the job,

00:53:59   but a lot of times it's not.

00:54:01   And so I would put that in a win column for Apple

00:54:03   is that it may be going slower than people would like,

00:54:06   and it is kind of complete.

00:54:07   But I have to say, I didn't expect shortcuts

00:54:12   to be as functional on the Mac as it is,

00:54:14   or that Mac automation would be as sort of not broken

00:54:19   during this transition.

00:54:20   Maybe I'm too much of a pessimist,

00:54:22   but like I thought it would be a lot worse,

00:54:23   and actually it's fine.

00:54:25   It actually is pretty good.

00:54:28   - Yeah, and I would add to that,

00:54:29   that maybe one thing that Apple did really well,

00:54:33   because I was also surprised by how solid

00:54:36   the automation story is on macOS,

00:54:38   but they have enabled people like me

00:54:40   who have been using Workflow and then Shortcuts

00:54:42   on the iPhone and iPad for years,

00:54:43   and then decided, you know,

00:54:45   I actually wanna check out macOS again,

00:54:47   and I wanna play with this M1 Macs,

00:54:49   but they've made it possible,

00:54:51   they've created this path for people like me

00:54:54   to just so seamlessly take all of their shortcuts

00:54:58   and make sure they would continue working on the Mac, right?

00:55:01   And so they've made it easier for someone like me

00:55:03   who used an iPad for seven years and then decided,

00:55:06   "You know, I wanna try and work on a Mac for a few months

00:55:09   "and see what it's like."

00:55:10   And when I did, all my shortcuts were there

00:55:13   and they were just mostly working.

00:55:15   And I mean, the problems were problems at a technical level

00:55:19   with, you know, SwiftUI and how the shortcuts app itself

00:55:23   was made under the hood,

00:55:26   but the core of the automation technologies were all there.

00:55:30   And I think that's pretty remarkable

00:55:32   that that's been possible in just a single release,

00:55:36   if you think about it.

00:55:37   - Yeah, I've been using the Mac

00:55:39   for like less than nine months probably,

00:55:41   and it's like the same, or not Mac with shortcuts, I mean,

00:55:44   and I think every single one of my shortcuts

00:55:47   works on the Mac now,

00:55:47   except for unless it uses something specifically for iOS.

00:55:51   - Yeah, and it was fairly easy to get those things.

00:55:53   I'm sure we all did it where you end up with the,

00:55:55   if this is a Mac, do this, if this is an iPad, do this.

00:55:58   - Yeah, totally.

00:55:59   - But you can, it was so easy.

00:56:01   Like I had some that ran out of the box

00:56:03   and others where I added one additional step to say,

00:56:06   no, no, do it this way on the Mac.

00:56:08   And then it just worked.

00:56:09   Like all the other logic remained,

00:56:11   all the other shortcuts elements from iOS remained

00:56:13   and worked fine on the Mac.

00:56:14   It was just that last, you know, thing in Safari

00:56:17   or whatever that had to be slightly tweaked.

00:56:19   and pretty good for a first release.

00:56:21   All right, let's turn it a little bit,

00:56:23   not necessarily negative, but constructive.

00:56:25   Where is Apple's automation story lacking right now?

00:56:28   And they need to, what would a teacher say?

00:56:32   They need to apply themselves a little bit more.

00:56:35   Federico, let's start with you again.

00:56:37   - Well, okay, so if I had to play devil's advocate here,

00:56:42   I would say that the weakest point

00:56:46   of Apple's automation story is the risk

00:56:50   of an identity crisis, maybe,

00:56:53   where the shortcuts app might end up being too difficult

00:56:58   for new users and not advanced enough for power users.

00:57:03   So that I think is the single most important weak point

00:57:07   where I think Apple should pay close attention here

00:57:10   because you could argue,

00:57:12   and I think Matthew actually wrote about this last week,

00:57:16   You risk of sort of making it too difficult for new users

00:57:20   to get started with shortcuts

00:57:22   and to understand the power of shortcuts

00:57:24   and what it can do.

00:57:25   But at the same time, you also,

00:57:27   if you only devote your attention

00:57:30   to that part of the user base,

00:57:32   you also risk of upsetting power users

00:57:34   who are waiting for, I don't know,

00:57:36   more control over conditional blocks,

00:57:40   like more control over these advanced scripting actions

00:57:44   or things like keyboard shortcuts,

00:57:45   Like you need to take care of both sides of the equation here.

00:57:53   And I think in iOS 16, and I mentioned this because, you know, if I had to point

00:57:58   out the negatives, I would say in iOS 16, I see a lot of taking care of the new users

00:58:06   and maybe very little of taking care of the advanced users, because as Rosemary

00:58:12   mentioned a few minutes ago, you have those new app shortcuts

00:58:15   that make it super easy to get started

00:58:17   and to discover these shortcuts that developers

00:58:20   can bundle into their apps.

00:58:22   And they are ready right there in the shortcuts app,

00:58:25   waiting for you, no need to set them up.

00:58:27   That's great.

00:58:28   And that's something that you're doing to introduce people

00:58:32   to shortcuts.

00:58:33   And I love it.

00:58:34   But maybe I would have liked to see something, anything,

00:58:38   something for power users as well.

00:58:41   So maybe that's the single weak point that I want to point out here.

00:58:46   And then, you know, there's specific stuff like, yeah, for example, Mac OS still doesn't

00:58:51   have personal automations.

00:58:53   That's something that really surprised me and I don't understand why.

00:58:56   Or if I can mention two more, why is it that on the Mac I can set up shortcuts with hotkeys

00:59:05   and I cannot do the same on my iPad Pro despite the iPad Pro having first class keyboard

00:59:11   support now. You know, there's so many of these inconsistencies, like, you know, shortcuts

00:59:16   on the Mac has quick actions in Finder. Now, we also have quick actions in files for iPhone

00:59:23   and iPad in 16, except for shortcuts. So like, if I had to sum it up here, I would say consistency.

00:59:30   Consistency can still be a weak point because you still, as much as things have improved,

00:59:35   I mean, we just discussed this a few minutes ago, you still don't have that feature parity

00:59:40   between platforms.

00:59:41   Rosemary, what do you think?

00:59:42   Yeah, I mean, I completely agree with Federico and it feels to me like the Shortcuts team

00:59:47   needs internal support within Apple so that when something appears in the Files app, then

00:59:53   somebody from the Files team, possibly the same person that did this in Finder on MacOS,

00:59:59   would then work with the Shortcuts team to bring those quick actions in.

01:00:03   Because I don't, I mean, I suspect it's part of the problem from that perspective is the

01:00:08   fact that they do keep things a secret until pretty late in the day just to avoid leaks

01:00:12   and also you know because if they drop something you know they don't want everybody to know

01:00:18   necessarily what got dropped or versus made it in and things like that.

01:00:22   So Apple are doing a better job at WWDC of saying and these features are coming this

01:00:27   year rather than in September and then it appears in March or whatever which I think

01:00:33   is good.

01:00:34   don't load all the pressure onto people to have it absolutely perfect for September or

01:00:38   October when the Mac beta ships.

01:00:41   But I feel like there needs to be some more internal support from various things because

01:00:44   I know, you know, like if you're an app developer when you write an app you have to write your

01:00:50   own shortcut support, you know, and I'm pretty certain it's the same within Apple.

01:00:55   So the mail has to write its own shortcuts, actions and support and maybe somebody from

01:01:02   the shortcuts team collaborates with them on that, I don't know and I'm not going to

01:01:05   pretend to know, but it feels like there needs to be somebody who can pull those people together

01:01:11   and say, "Hey, mail, you need to step up our messages? What's going on here? We need the

01:01:17   ability to get your most recent message. Why isn't there a shortcuts action for that?"

01:01:22   Because maybe it depends on what APIs and so on are available to them internally to

01:01:28   fetching call data, but the shortcuts team can't possibly do everything. And I feel like

01:01:33   they're getting an awful lot heaped upon them, which just makes things really difficult.

01:01:39   And I have to say, I do feel like perhaps whoever is testing shortcuts maybe needs,

01:01:45   or maybe they just need more testers, because I can't paste a shortcut action on macOS.

01:01:51   You just can't. You can copy an action, you can duplicate an action, and on iOS you can

01:01:56   paste an action, I have yet to be able to in over a year,

01:02:01   paste an action on macOS.

01:02:03   And it's things like that which give people

01:02:06   a really bad impression of an otherwise

01:02:09   absolutely amazing application.

01:02:11   I had an issue, fortunately it's now resolved

01:02:14   in the latest beta, but in the last beta on iOS,

01:02:17   I would start searching for something

01:02:19   and the search wouldn't update.

01:02:22   But I would, something would appear,

01:02:24   So I'd start scrolling down the list and then I'd realize that these are not my search results.

01:02:29   And I'd have to scroll back up and tap into the search bar again, at which point it would then start doing the search.

01:02:35   Um, and it's, you know, this is a beta.

01:02:39   I should expect it in a beta and, you know, kudos to the Shortcuts team for killing that problem in, in the latest, in the latest edition.

01:02:45   But it does feel like we end up with issues that end up persisting for a long time.

01:02:50   the touch targets for dragging and dropping actions being off is something that I genuinely

01:02:56   really struggle with.

01:02:58   Like you have to like, when you're dragging something, your mouse or finger could be an

01:03:03   inch or two above or below the action you're actually trying to move.

01:03:07   It's like being in the London Underground, mind the gap, you gotta find the place where

01:03:10   the gap is, not where your finger is, and then let go.

01:03:14   And then the gap suddenly, sometimes doesn't appear, and then you have to try and like

01:03:17   scroll up or down as well and things like that. It just makes it very difficult for

01:03:24   anybody, power user or new user, and it doesn't give a great impression. Now you could argue

01:03:29   with the dragging and the dropping that most new users are just going to tap an action

01:03:33   to add it, but then you look at the suggested actions in a shortcut to add and it suggests

01:03:38   adding an if. Okay, cool. And then I try and add something below the if and it doesn't

01:03:44   go into the if, which I mean, fair enough, you know, does it go in the if or the otherwise,

01:03:49   you know, the computer can't tell. So then I try and pick it up to drag it and I pick

01:03:52   it up and oh, this time it's actually worked. But that's because it was the last action

01:03:56   in the shortcut. If I try and pick up an earlier action, then it just kind of, well, yep. Especially,

01:04:02   yeah, yeah. When you, when your shortcuts start scrolling off the bottom of the screen,

01:04:06   I think that's when it happens. I'm like, I try to like build replication steps to send

01:04:11   those in because I know that actually knowing how somebody has broken something is really

01:04:17   important when you're trying to solve the bug as a developer.

01:04:20   But I feel like the Shortcuts team needs a bit more support for things like this because

01:04:26   it is very difficult to do everything by yourself and nobody should be an island.

01:04:32   And if they got support from other teams for developing other great actions.

01:04:38   So Maps, for example, got multi-stop as a feature.

01:04:41   So I immediately look in shortcuts for add stop to root.

01:04:44   No, that's not something that's there.

01:04:46   And that's not the shortcuts team that has to add that.

01:04:49   That's the Maps team, but the Maps team haven't done that.

01:04:51   Is that because that's not been prioritized?

01:04:53   - That goes back to Federico's larger point,

01:04:55   which I think is a great overall point,

01:04:57   which is it doesn't yet seem as if there's a cultural buy-in,

01:05:02   if you wanna say it that way,

01:05:06   for at Apple for shortcuts actions.

01:05:09   That if you are making an app at Apple

01:05:12   and you're adding new features,

01:05:13   one of the items on the checklist

01:05:15   needs to be shortcuts support.

01:05:16   And I get why it might not be there

01:05:18   in a beta at the beginning,

01:05:20   but it does feel like you should never ship a new feature

01:05:24   without asking yourself the question,

01:05:26   what are the shortcut actions that go with this feature?

01:05:28   And some apps do a better job than others,

01:05:31   but like that should just be back in the day,

01:05:33   again, I'm sorry, in my day,

01:05:36   There was a time when there was scrutiny placed

01:05:38   to Apple script support in Apple apps,

01:05:40   and then it went away,

01:05:41   and then they lost all of that,

01:05:44   kind of the muscle memory of that.

01:05:46   But I think they need to build that back in culturally

01:05:48   because yeah, exactly.

01:05:49   If Maps is gonna add this feature,

01:05:50   one of the questions they need to ask themselves is,

01:05:52   how do you get to this feature in shortcuts?

01:05:54   And sometimes it feels like they just don't ask the question.

01:05:57   - Yeah, yeah.

01:05:58   And I feel like, you know,

01:05:59   it would just be great to have more support everywhere

01:06:01   because I'd love to see some shortcut support in CarPlay.

01:06:04   you know, give me a button that I can tap in CarPlay that, okay, I can only interact

01:06:10   with, with my voice.

01:06:10   Fine.

01:06:11   That's an entirely reasonable limitation.

01:06:13   I, it shouldn't be popping up, you know, too many things, um, or whatever, but.

01:06:17   Give me a button in CarPlay that I can press that starts my preferred

01:06:21   playlist and pre like, and sets maps to direct me to a specific location with

01:06:26   these three way points along the way that I've planned out at home.

01:06:30   And I've set this up and maybe it's a route that I do regularly.

01:06:32   Maybe it's not.

01:06:33   maybe I'm doing it as a one-time thing, it doesn't matter.

01:06:35   But it would be really cool to see things like that.

01:06:37   But I feel like the Shortcuts team is not small,

01:06:41   but I feel like they're being stretched,

01:06:42   especially now they're on multiple platforms.

01:06:44   And it would be really great if they got some more support

01:06:46   so that they could continue doing the great things

01:06:48   that they're doing and fix some of the problems

01:06:51   that they've got like paste.

01:06:52   - Get them some help.

01:06:53   Get them some help, Rosemary says, get them some help.

01:06:55   Matt, what do you think about,

01:06:56   what are the tops of your to-do list for Apple

01:07:00   with automation?

01:07:02   - Yes, I noticed the way you phrased that,

01:07:04   the top of the to-do list, not the entire thing.

01:07:06   - Well, I mean, we would be here for hours like this.

01:07:08   - Exactly.

01:07:09   - It's a podcast, we could theoretically go

01:07:10   in an infinite amount of time, but probably we shouldn't.

01:07:12   - I definitely think the new user thing is something that

01:07:16   I think they maybe still have room for

01:07:19   just in terms of they haven't,

01:07:21   I think it's clear that Shortcuts as a whole

01:07:23   hasn't like fully launched in some way

01:07:26   where they haven't mentioned it in the keynotes enough

01:07:29   to be the user feature.

01:07:31   And I think now we're kind of at the place where it's the like

01:07:35   integration from being workflow is settled.

01:07:39   And so just in case people don't know, like I literally worked at workflow.

01:07:42   So I've seen some of the inside, too, that I can't talk about.

01:07:46   But I do think the integration, even just like having these new app

01:07:50   shortcuts, capabilities and the APIs now Apple's own teams can use those, too.

01:07:56   So that's kind of been something that's always like,

01:07:58   How do Apple's teams build actions the same way that developers do in many ways?

01:08:03   And they have to have that functionality in the APIs to be able to go to that depth.

01:08:08   And I do think the integration with the other teams is the same thing.

01:08:14   Being able to build those actions does require the mail team to do it, not the shortcuts team.

01:08:17   Because otherwise the shortcuts team is building half of iOS at that point.

01:08:24   But I think the other side where shortcuts is part of the OS does mean that everybody

01:08:28   every part of the OS needs to have shortcut support also.

01:08:33   And that same needs to go back and forth.

01:08:37   And I see this all the time.

01:08:39   People are so confused.

01:08:42   They're like, "Why can't I just change this setting?

01:08:43   Why can't I change the accessibility settings still?"

01:08:45   That's the other thing.

01:08:48   People have wanted these things for the last three years.

01:08:50   Everyday users have been asking for it.

01:08:53   I think weirdly, I don't necessarily ask for it as much

01:08:53   because I assume that they're doing these things and then sometimes it doesn't happen.

01:08:58   And so I think there is this realm where the four of us or people who listen to Relay have this thing of,

01:09:02   this is where shortcuts could be or should be.

01:09:09   And I don't know if people inside of Apple have that same opinion or even know what we're thinking sometimes

01:09:12   because we are just the people who are using it to the full extent and they're the people working on it.

01:09:20   or even like I did workflow support for a while.

01:09:25   And so just knowing how many parts of the app this integrates or the OS this integrates with does make it extremely complicated.

01:09:29   And so I think that feedback process and the bugs and everything definitely needs to get resolved sometime soon because there is just that it's like if we don't report these issues, I don't think they're going to get fixed.

01:09:37   And that is something that has been true in my experience and I don't want to be true.

01:09:50   and I would love for Apple to proactively fix those things,

01:09:54   but it is sort of weirdly on like the power users right now

01:09:58   to report that those things are broken.

01:09:59   Otherwise, there is some part of like,

01:10:02   how would they ever know?

01:10:03   Because we're, I have 3000 shortcuts

01:10:06   and I'm running like 10, all this data through it

01:10:09   and they're never just in that situation.

01:10:11   - And I could see, so this is a little bit of a tangent,

01:10:14   but I think it's a good one, which is look,

01:10:16   all of us are in the top 1% of shortcuts users, right?

01:10:19   (laughing)

01:10:20   All of us.

01:10:21   And there is an argument to be made

01:10:25   that Apple shouldn't be catering

01:10:28   to the top 1% of shortcuts users, right?

01:10:31   It's like, but what about the regular users?

01:10:32   But I think the truth is, especially for something this new

01:10:35   with this much potential,

01:10:36   we are exploring what's possible with shortcuts.

01:10:40   And as a result, as Matt said,

01:10:43   we're also falling into the holes

01:10:45   that nobody else knows are there.

01:10:48   And so it's useful for us to be explorers

01:10:51   and to try this stuff out and to push things to the limit,

01:10:54   because in theory, I feel like regular users will benefit

01:10:58   from what we discover.

01:10:59   We're the ones that are out there on the frontier,

01:11:02   but when we come back and say,

01:11:04   "Oh, you know you ought to do this."

01:11:06   It's not, you ought to cater to me

01:11:07   and make this thing that nobody else is going to want.

01:11:10   It really is more like I found it first,

01:11:13   but in two years, some regular user is gonna find it.

01:11:17   and you need to fix it by then, right?

01:11:20   We may be a little ahead of the curve,

01:11:22   but they're coming, they're right behind us.

01:11:24   - The question is though, when they arrive,

01:11:26   are they still gonna run into this?

01:11:27   Like, that's what doesn't make sense to me, is--

01:11:30   - Will they arrive? - I know that they will

01:11:31   run into this, and this will stop them in their tracks.

01:11:34   - Right, so that's part of our role, I feel like,

01:11:37   as explorers, is not necessarily to advocate

01:11:40   for esoteric features that are only of interest to us,

01:11:42   but more like that we go down this path

01:11:45   and we discover things and say,

01:11:46   "Oh, I wonder if you could do this."

01:11:48   And then you discover there's a roadblock or there's a bug

01:11:51   and that we can raise the flag and say,

01:11:55   "This is actually important,"

01:11:56   and hope that it gets handled eventually.

01:11:59   Like folders is a great example, right?

01:12:00   Which is most people aren't gonna have a thousand shortcuts.

01:12:03   But folders is still important.

01:12:04   Like folders, organizational structures need to exist

01:12:08   and they finally did them in a way.

01:12:12   And I'm glad that they did,

01:12:14   But it wasn't just to solve the problem

01:12:16   of the person with a thousand shortcuts.

01:12:18   It was for anybody just to have,

01:12:20   I love, I have folders with four shortcuts in them,

01:12:23   but I love it because it narrows it down.

01:12:26   Like, let me look at those shortcuts

01:12:27   and I don't need to have a thousand to use that feature.

01:12:31   One other thing I wanted to mention about this stuff is,

01:12:35   we talked about editor bugs and minding the gap

01:12:39   and all of that.

01:12:40   And I don't know, 'cause I'm gonna ask next about the future

01:12:43   And I know that kind of is similar to where it's failing now,

01:12:46   but I just wanna throw in as an example

01:12:48   of us exploring the edges here,

01:12:51   that one of the weaknesses I see,

01:12:53   I mean, I think their Mac integration is inconsistent.

01:12:55   It really goes back to what Federico said,

01:12:57   which is consistency across platforms

01:12:59   and also consistency within platforms

01:13:01   where there are things you can do on the Mac with shortcuts

01:13:03   and things you can't,

01:13:04   and places you can run shortcuts and places you can't.

01:13:07   And the share menu is so key to shortcuts on iOS

01:13:11   and is kind of a fake thing

01:13:13   that doesn't really work on the Mac

01:13:15   that they made to look like iOS,

01:13:16   but it doesn't do the things iOS does.

01:13:18   And it's like, they've got to fix all that stuff.

01:13:21   But the other thing I wanted to mention is

01:13:23   in the editor itself, in the shortcuts app itself,

01:13:26   sorry to get programery on you, but like, okay,

01:13:29   I want subroutines.

01:13:31   I think it's terrible. - Yeah, run shortcut

01:13:34   doesn't cut it anymore.

01:13:35   - Well, this is the thing is I don't,

01:13:37   and a wise, like a wise figure inside Apple would say,

01:13:40   "But do you really want subroutines?"

01:13:42   And the answer is no, you're right, wise figure

01:13:45   I just made up, I don't want subroutines.

01:13:47   It's like, maybe you wanna run a shortcut.

01:13:49   It's like, yes, I know you can run a shortcut

01:13:53   from within a shortcut and that acts like a subroutine.

01:13:56   So if you don't give me subroutines,

01:13:59   you need to give me like a bundle.

01:14:01   You need to let me bundle up shortcuts.

01:14:03   So I can send to, I can build a shortcut

01:14:06   that does some amazing things, but requires,

01:14:08   Like I had a friend who just sent me

01:14:10   his little shortcut package that he worked on.

01:14:13   And it's brilliant, but he had to send me a read me file

01:14:18   that included five iCloud links

01:14:21   to download five separate shortcuts

01:14:23   to run in order for it to all work.

01:14:26   And it's like, that's the worst.

01:14:28   It's the worst.

01:14:28   So, you know, that's at the top of my list actually

01:14:32   is I just, I think that these things are so powerful

01:14:35   and yet you can build,

01:14:37   here's my problem is I can build something

01:14:39   really sophisticated, but I can't share it with anybody

01:14:42   because it's way too complicated to give it to anyone else.

01:14:44   And that's not, in the long run, that's not good enough.

01:14:47   I need to be able to share something complex

01:14:49   and have it work.

01:14:50   And that either means a subroutine has to be embedded

01:14:53   in a shortcut, or I need to be able to collect

01:14:55   multiple shortcuts together and package them in some way

01:14:59   so that I can share them with one link.

01:15:01   - I think that's like the same kind of thing

01:15:02   with the power user needs for that.

01:15:05   It's like, we're trying to do these things specifically

01:15:07   to help new users too.

01:15:08   And so there are like, who else is gonna do that if not us?

01:15:12   Because Apple doesn't have like a content marketing arm

01:15:16   or something to like share shortcuts ideas.

01:15:18   And I mean, maybe they should also,

01:15:21   that's another area of like,

01:15:22   it should be in the app store

01:15:23   and have stories about shortcuts.

01:15:25   - We should say they made some effort.

01:15:27   I know Federico had his profile there.

01:15:29   They were talking to me about it.

01:15:33   Although they said, we really want them all to be things

01:15:35   that use apps that are in the App Store.

01:15:37   And I was like, "Mm, well, I don't have as many of those."

01:15:42   - See, that's even like a weird limitation sometimes.

01:15:47   That's sort of one of the reasons

01:15:48   I didn't want to do this at Apple,

01:15:50   is I can tell people how to use shortcuts

01:15:53   the way that we use shortcuts

01:15:55   and not like the Siri-approved way or something like that.

01:15:58   - I mean, the question of why should Apple listen

01:16:02   to the top 1% of users or to power users,

01:16:05   I think is an interesting one,

01:16:07   because if you just look at the numbers,

01:16:09   it doesn't make sense, right?

01:16:09   It's not logical to listen to 1% of your user base.

01:16:12   It makes much more sense to listen to 99% of people

01:16:15   and do what they want.

01:16:16   And that logically makes sense,

01:16:17   but not to get political over here,

01:16:19   but it's kind of similar to the question of

01:16:21   why should the government fund NASA, if you think about it?

01:16:24   Like, why should they do it?

01:16:26   And that's because, and I mean, sure,

01:16:28   I'm here for the space analogy with Jason, obviously,

01:16:31   But the idea is you are investing in pushing the limits,

01:16:36   and in pushing the limits and in discovering new frontiers,

01:16:39   you are gonna, first of all,

01:16:41   you're gonna discover something,

01:16:43   but also you're gonna develop a system,

01:16:45   you're gonna develop a structure to make sure

01:16:47   that better tools are possible in the future.

01:16:50   And that's the idea.

01:16:52   Listening to power users, not just to make me and Rosemary

01:16:57   and Matthew and Jason all happy,

01:16:58   and we're gonna dance together and clap our hands.

01:17:00   Thank you, Apple.

01:17:01   It's not because of that.

01:17:03   It's to make sure that you can build the structure

01:17:07   to make sure that your app can scale in the future.

01:17:12   And in the process, you may also listen to power users

01:17:15   and discover, hey, power users are asking for this thing.

01:17:18   We're gonna do it in a slightly different way,

01:17:20   but we now understand the problem.

01:17:23   Yeah.

01:17:24   I think this is really the thing of,

01:17:26   they need to solve the problems

01:17:28   that people are actually having,

01:17:29   not give us the solutions that we're asking for.

01:17:34   Because that's the difference, isn't it?

01:17:36   I say, "Hey, I need you to give me Y, but actually my problem is X."

01:17:41   There's a whole phenomenon called the XY problem where actually you need people to explain

01:17:45   their real problem with you so that you can solve it with all of the data that you have,

01:17:49   which is obviously more than we have.

01:17:52   But I feel like they are definitely tripping up in certain places.

01:17:56   of the areas I really love them to listen to us and I'm sure many other people in is

01:18:01   they don't fail gracefully right now. If you've got a shortcut, if I share a shortcut with

01:18:07   any of you that contains an OmniFocus action and you do not have OmniFocus installed, you

01:18:11   will get an unknown shortcut action in your shortcut. You have no way of knowing what

01:18:16   that action is, what app that action is from, or what it's supposed to do. You're just missing

01:18:22   a whole chunk of data.

01:18:24   Okay, so I wanna share this with somebody

01:18:26   who's using things.

01:18:27   And they now have to either ask me for a screenshot

01:18:31   or download things to, download OmniFocus

01:18:35   to actually see what that action is and how it works.

01:18:39   - You'd think there'd be an App Store opportunity here

01:18:41   for cross-marketing.

01:18:42   - Well, I kind of feel like this is where app clips

01:18:45   could really actually integrate with shortcuts

01:18:48   where if every shortcut action could be kind of

01:18:52   not bundled as an app clip because obviously it's not actually going to do anything.

01:18:56   But the thing is, is they know what data it's taking and they know what data it's

01:18:59   returning and they know what the name of it is.

01:19:01   It feels like maybe they could extract that information, but right now there's

01:19:05   just no way for me to know what that action is supposed to be.

01:19:08   Um, and if it's an app that is offloaded itself from my iPhone or my iPad, I

01:19:14   kind of have the same problem.

01:19:16   I'm just lucky enough that the app icon is still there.

01:19:19   So I can then redownload the app

01:19:21   that's offloaded itself spontaneously from my phone,

01:19:23   despite the fact that the offload action

01:19:25   was definitely turned off,

01:19:26   but it's now disappeared in a recent beta,

01:19:27   which is really a bug that I need to file

01:19:29   because I was looking for that this morning

01:19:31   and I was like, I can't turn off offloading apps.

01:19:34   This is a problem.

01:19:35   - For the record, this problem, by the way,

01:19:38   was an AppleScript problem too.

01:19:39   If you had an AppleScript script

01:19:41   that didn't have one of the apps installed,

01:19:43   it would give you Apple event jargon instead of the logic,

01:19:46   and you're like, what?

01:19:47   - Yep, yep, yep.

01:19:49   - And so it's, I was gonna say that I think

01:19:51   a lot of shortcuts fail very gracefully

01:19:52   in the sense that they just are silent

01:19:54   and you don't know if they ran or not.

01:19:57   - Well, yeah, but I kind of feel like

01:19:58   that's part of the problem.

01:20:00   And like, I can't add a reveal file in Finder action

01:20:04   on my phone, even though I know that I'm gonna be using

01:20:07   this action on my Mac.

01:20:08   I know that this is not, that I don't have Finder

01:20:11   on my phone, but actually it'd be really cool

01:20:13   if the action worked in files, please.

01:20:15   But it would, you know, it would be smart for them

01:20:18   to not lock things out and to let me choose

01:20:22   to put a vibrate action in a shortcut

01:20:25   and write it on my Mac and just ignore it

01:20:27   if I'm on a Mac. - Yeah, that too.

01:20:28   - Because I don't, or on an iPad.

01:20:30   But let us fail gracefully more easily

01:20:34   because right now it is very frustrating

01:20:37   when you're looking at a shortcut and you go,

01:20:39   "I have no idea what actions this is using.

01:20:42   "I can see six actions and there's an if statement in here

01:20:45   "and that's the only one of them I can read."

01:20:46   - Well, especially new users assume they're the problem,

01:20:51   and that's what makes me genuinely sad a lot of times

01:20:54   when I see people learning about shortcuts,

01:20:56   because they're like, "Oh, I just can't figure this out."

01:20:59   And I'm like, "No, it's totally shortcuts."

01:21:01   It's not this, for coming from Apple,

01:21:04   people expect it to just work and be very obvious,

01:21:07   and shortcuts has some level of that,

01:21:10   but there is just basic hand-holding.

01:21:13   Like I wrote in my story that Federico mentioned,

01:21:15   like the action description for set playback destination is like it sets the

01:21:18   destination of the playback.

01:21:20   And I'm like, okay, like what?

01:21:22   Yeah.

01:21:23   Just getting a little bit further.

01:21:25   Yeah.

01:21:26   And like this is all stuff that I, I really cared about and wanted, would

01:21:31   probably have done if I was there at Apple being like, let's do this kind of thing.

01:21:34   So that's why it does like, I just want that.

01:21:38   And the new user who eventually becomes the power user, like kind of, I, I do

01:21:44   think of just my story. I didn't know any of this stuff, and I read Mac stories from

01:21:49   Federico. I did get to sit next to the team, which I think made a huge difference, but

01:21:55   nobody else has that experience. Going from zero to 100, and what does it look like for

01:22:01   someone who's at zero? Also, what does it look like for someone who's at 100? All of

01:22:06   those need to be accounted for, because otherwise, what are we going towards if you get to the

01:22:12   point where I am and it starts working worse because you are so into the app. That doesn't

01:22:18   make sense to me either.

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01:23:35   Let's move on and talk about for our last segment, the future.

01:23:40   Peering into the future, use your crystal ball.

01:23:42   I'm not actually asking for predictions, I'm asking for a wishlist more than anything else.

01:23:47   We know what's in the betas, so we basically know what we're gonna get this fall.

01:23:53   What then?

01:23:55   What's on your list for the places in automation that Apple needs to go next?

01:24:01   Federico?

01:24:02   Federico?

01:24:03   So if this is a wish list and not a set of predictions, I would say that the one thing

01:24:12   I want is more integration with iPadOS multitasking.

01:24:16   I think that's a big gap in the shortcuts functionality at the moment.

01:24:24   There's no integration with iPadOS.

01:24:26   Well there's extremely minimal integration with iPadOS multitasking at the moment, meaning

01:24:31   you can only split the screen between two apps.

01:24:34   There's no integration with Stage Manager whatsoever.

01:24:37   That's the new multitasking mode from this year,

01:24:40   and Shortcuts doesn't have any actions for Stage Manager.

01:24:43   But really, there's no integration with multi-window

01:24:47   on iPad at the moment.

01:24:49   One of the things that I've always wanted to do

01:24:53   for the past three years -- not always,

01:24:55   but for the past three years --

01:24:56   I've wanted to use Shortcuts

01:24:59   to put together these workspaces for me.

01:25:02   And by workspaces, I mean take a specific window

01:25:05   from a specific app and let me assemble a workspace for me

01:25:09   in an automatic way.

01:25:11   That's still not possible because Shortcuts

01:25:12   doesn't have any knowledge of multiple windows

01:25:15   from the same app on iPadOS.

01:25:18   Like, it just doesn't have that integration

01:25:20   hooked in at the moment.

01:25:22   So in the future, I would love to see better integration

01:25:25   with multitasking and multi-window on iPadOS.

01:25:27   And the same goes for keyboard shortcuts,

01:25:30   like to have a proper story when it comes to running

01:25:33   shortcuts from the keyboard on the iPad,

01:25:36   just like you can on the Mac.

01:25:38   And I guess bigger picture, what I would love to see is,

01:25:43   as I mentioned, the consistency, right,

01:25:45   and the modernization of some of the older integrations.

01:25:49   And I do think that for the next few years,

01:25:51   we're gonna get that, because if 16 is of any indication,

01:25:55   I think Apple is gonna continue down that path.

01:25:57   I think we're going to get, eventually, new Apple Music actions, multitasking actions,

01:26:03   new photos actions.

01:26:04   There's a ton of new functionality in Photos that is completely absent from the Find Photos

01:26:10   action in Shortcuts.

01:26:12   So I do think that kind of feature parity and that integration with the system-level

01:26:16   apps is going to continue.

01:26:18   And then, I would say longer term, maybe even next year, not necessarily many years from

01:26:26   I want to understand what the story will be regarding shortcuts and AR or VR,

01:26:34   whatever it is they're going to do in the future.

01:26:37   Because I do think there is incredible potential for running shortcuts via your voice,

01:26:44   and that we've been able to do forever, right, using Siri.

01:26:48   But in doing that in combination with seeing visual feedback from the shortcut

01:26:54   shortcut or choosing between options.

01:26:57   Like the combination of a voice first activation method,

01:27:02   but with the visual feedback provided by a headset or maybe

01:27:06   down the road glasses, that is really fascinating to me.

01:27:09   Because that type of device is exactly the type of device

01:27:12   where you don't want to click around a lot.

01:27:15   You don't want to interact with a classic interface

01:27:18   for several seconds or minutes.

01:27:22   having a pre-built shortcut to do something for you is ideal.

01:27:26   So, I mean, we have shortcuts on the Apple Watch.

01:27:30   Why not do it on a headset or glasses too?

01:27:33   So that is a prediction/wishlist,

01:27:38   but if Apple is going down this path,

01:27:40   and I mean, obviously it seems like they are,

01:27:43   I hope that shortcuts will play a role in that,

01:27:46   because having Siri and shortcuts and visual feedback

01:27:51   all in one device, that's really compelling to me.

01:27:54   - Rosemary, what do you think?

01:27:56   What's your wish list?

01:27:58   - All right, so everything Federico just said,

01:28:01   I'm just gonna steal all of that, just reinsert.

01:28:04   And then, I mean, I have a number,

01:28:07   it's kind of more of a odds and groups list.

01:28:10   I already mentioned earlier that I'd really love

01:28:12   for the Shortcuts team to have more support

01:28:13   and I'd really like there to be a person at Apple

01:28:17   whose job is automation in all the things.

01:28:20   so that they get somebody, you know, they get all of the different teams in there. So

01:28:25   whoever was implementing stage manager also had to have support from somebody and that

01:28:31   would have been put together so that then there would be the stage manager support for

01:28:35   shortcuts for Federico and everybody else who's loving it. I'm still, you know, kind

01:28:40   of on the fence about stage manager. I'm sure I'll get around to actually liking it in a

01:28:43   couple of months, but that would be the first one. But I think also a better way to showcase

01:28:49   shortcuts and everything it could, it can do and it does would be really good for everybody

01:28:55   everywhere, because it works for the shortcuts team because it will then promote their things

01:29:00   inside of Apple. It works for the new users because they get to download great shortcuts

01:29:04   from a shortcuts gallery and it works for its power users because it gives us somewhere

01:29:08   to share things and I kind of envision this as sort of an app store like process where,

01:29:14   you know, people can submit and it goes through a few process and then it would appear in

01:29:17   the Shortcuts Gallery because the Shortcuts Gallery is really a massively mixed bag quality

01:29:24   wise.

01:29:25   Some things are great and then I just looked at one of the examples they've got there earlier.

01:29:29   Email schedule to yourself.

01:29:31   This is using set variable and you know what it does is it gets your calendar events and

01:29:36   it repeats each one and it gets the title from the calendar event and it sets the variable

01:29:41   title to the title from the calendar event and so on and so forth with a whole bunch

01:29:47   of different information and then it says, "Hey, if the count of the locations is greater

01:29:52   than one, then add that information," and so on and so forth.

01:29:55   And there's just a nicer way to do that that is not so long-winded for a user so that they

01:30:04   actually can just sort of see it and quickly understand what it means instead of, "What

01:30:07   is set variable, get variable, and add to variable and all of these things?"

01:30:12   No, like that's complicated.

01:30:14   So I think that that would be really nice for them to do because it would showcase app

01:30:18   developers, it would showcase shortcuts and just all the right things.

01:30:22   And I think another way to help expand upon this for people would also be adding more

01:30:28   smart folders.

01:30:29   We already have folders for all of the shortcuts that are on your Apple Watch and there used

01:30:34   to be and there is no longer a folder for your sleep shortcuts where all of the shortcuts

01:30:39   that were enabled in your sleep focus would show up which if you don't have a schedule

01:30:44   set for sleep then you can't turn that toggle on it just doesn't appear at all inside of

01:30:51   your shortcut settings which can be a bit confusing but it would be really nice if I

01:30:55   could see all the shortcuts that have got that enabled and I've just gone looking again

01:30:59   I definitely can't see things like that and so you know I feel like improving smart folders

01:31:05   and the existence of them give me a smart folder for all of my shortcuts containing

01:31:10   actions from OmniFocus things, drafts, etc. so that then I can share them with that developer

01:31:17   and then they can showcase shortcuts more.

01:31:19   And also for us power users, give us some things that we want like collapsing and expanding

01:31:25   actions and action groups.

01:31:27   Allow me to add a comment to every single action just by sort of annotating it that

01:31:32   that can then appear above that action

01:31:36   so that when I move the action, it moves with it.

01:31:38   And allow me to fold an if action in words,

01:31:43   just like you can fold,

01:31:44   if you've got the file list view in Finder,

01:31:46   like you can fold a folder open and closed

01:31:49   and you can see the files in it or not in it.

01:31:50   Let me fold if and repeat actions and so on and so forth

01:31:53   and name my repeats and things like that.

01:31:56   I feel like that's the sort of thing

01:31:58   I would really love to focus on

01:32:00   because it feels like some of these would definitely serve power users more to start with.

01:32:05   But I think that that will then end up feeding all of the other users,

01:32:09   because my concern is they're focusing a lot on the new users,

01:32:15   and it's not that they're going to lose the power users,

01:32:18   but I feel like those new users are going to very quickly hit roadblocks,

01:32:23   and those are roadblocks that will not have been fixed.

01:32:26   And I know that it's really difficult to split your focus

01:32:29   and your attention and there are a limited number of people

01:32:32   with a limited number of hours in a day or a week

01:32:34   or a month or a year.

01:32:36   And so, you know, it would be good for them

01:32:39   to get more support for that.

01:32:40   But it is one of those things where folding actions

01:32:43   seems so silly, but then you look at a whole bunch

01:32:45   of shortcuts in the Shortcuts Gallery and think,

01:32:47   wow, these could really benefit from letting me just fold

01:32:50   this if action because I just wanna skip past it

01:32:53   and things like that.

01:32:54   So hopefully we'll get to see some of that.

01:32:57   - I hope so.

01:32:58   I love, let's make all these dreams come true.

01:32:59   Matt, what's on your wishlist?

01:33:02   - I think I have a very high level one

01:33:04   that I just wanna see is I want shortcuts

01:33:08   to have a segment in a keynote.

01:33:09   I want Apple to say, you should use shortcuts.

01:33:13   Like, I think they should tell,

01:33:15   like especially because of the whole

01:33:18   aesthetic home screen trend and people using shortcuts

01:33:21   to customize their phone to have the app icons that they want.

01:33:26   This is no longer an unknown entity, and I do suspect that they're waiting until it is better so that they don't

01:33:30   tell people and they all come in and then it doesn't work the way they expect it.

01:33:38   So I do think that's kind of that weird middle ground that we're in.

01:33:41   But I do think that that has to happen in order for a shortcut for it to just be like, "Okay, now it's time to use shortcuts

01:33:46   for just the average person." Because I think it'll be at the right place.

01:33:51   right time when it'll work for them but until then I don't think people are

01:33:56   gonna be like okay this is the future of programming or whatever like that

01:34:00   because there is that whole story that just isn't told yet and when it they put

01:34:07   their weight behind it that's gonna be a lot more powerful there's gonna be a lot

01:34:10   more adoption and users just won't be like I don't know it doesn't it's not

01:34:15   really clear what they're doing with this it'll be like okay they just told

01:34:18   us what they're doing at this sort of thing.

01:34:20   I feel like Steve Jobs had a better handle as a showman, you know, because he was a master

01:34:27   at it.

01:34:28   I think he had a better handle on the power of aspirational items in a keynote that maybe

01:34:35   modern Apple is so disciplined and on message that they've lost it a little bit.

01:34:40   And I'm reminded of a WWDC I went to a very long time ago now, and there was this dude

01:34:47   with a beard, who was doing a demo

01:34:50   using Apple's automation technology

01:34:52   about how he had gotten classified ads set up

01:34:57   for like a newspaper out of their database

01:35:00   into QuarkXPress by running an Apple script.

01:35:02   And it was the most amazing demo I had ever seen.

01:35:06   And I thought to myself, and I think probably

01:35:08   the dozens of people in the room with me also

01:35:09   were thinking this like, oh my God,

01:35:11   I didn't know you could do this with a computer.

01:35:13   I need to do this, I need to do this.

01:35:14   And it was like, was I gonna build an Apple script

01:35:16   that looks in a database and then builds a layout

01:35:19   in QuarkXPress.

01:35:20   No, but it started me down a path.

01:35:22   It was aspirational.

01:35:23   That was Salsigoyen by the way,

01:35:24   and then he got hired by Apple.

01:35:26   He got hired by Apple in part

01:35:29   because he gave these amazing demos.

01:35:30   And to this day,

01:35:31   Sal's best thing that he does is inspire you to try stuff

01:35:36   by saying, "Did you see this thing that I made?"

01:35:39   So when Matt said, "I wanna see shortcuts in a keynote."

01:35:45   I mean, we've seen it as like, here is shortcuts.

01:35:47   And then we saw, here is shortcuts on the Mac.

01:35:49   But like, I would love to see

01:35:50   that aesthetic home screen thing.

01:35:52   I would love to see a moment in a keynote

01:35:55   where somebody said, look what you can do.

01:35:58   We put together shortcuts and focus modes

01:36:01   and personalized lock screens and all those things.

01:36:04   And look, you tap this, what happened to your phone?

01:36:07   You tap this, oh my God,

01:36:08   this other amazing thing happened to your phone.

01:36:10   How does it work?

01:36:11   Well, we use the power of our technology back here

01:36:13   and you can learn more about it if you like,

01:36:15   but isn't it amazing, right?

01:36:16   It's just that aspirational aspect.

01:36:18   They don't need to explain every step,

01:36:20   but they can blow you away with something and make you go,

01:36:23   oh, I wanna learn how to do that too.

01:36:25   And that's what I would like to see.

01:36:27   I'm gonna ride on your coattails there, Matt, and say,

01:36:30   yes, wouldn't it be nice if there was an aspirational bit

01:36:33   of shortcuts in a keynote at some point?

01:36:35   - Because that's, I mean, can you imagine

01:36:37   just like Steve Jobs introducing something like shortcuts?

01:36:40   It's like, oh, now all of the power of technology

01:36:42   is just in these little buttons and you just have to drag.

01:36:45   It's like so cool.

01:36:47   - He would be like, am I out in the wilderness?

01:36:49   Boom.

01:36:50   And he would touch a thing and say, boom.

01:36:52   And it would, his phone would totally change.

01:36:54   And he'd be like, huh, right.

01:36:55   And then, right.

01:36:57   I can picture it, right.

01:36:58   And that's exactly it.

01:37:00   It's the, it doesn't have to explain it all.

01:37:02   It doesn't have to be like,

01:37:03   oh, well we've added this feature and it's very important.

01:37:05   It's sort of like, look what you can do

01:37:06   with the stuff we made.

01:37:07   And I, and Shortcuts has that power right in it.

01:37:12   And you're right, maybe not quite yet is the time,

01:37:15   but wouldn't it be nice if we got to the time

01:37:17   where they could say, "You use shortcuts to do this."

01:37:20   Not, "Let me explain shortcuts to you,"

01:37:22   but like, "Just look what you can do with our devices."

01:37:24   - Totally, because I want them to be excited

01:37:26   'cause they use it too, is another part of it.

01:37:28   'Cause I think that is something that,

01:37:30   I think people inside of Apple do seem excited about it.

01:37:34   And I think I just wanna see that expanded out

01:37:38   to the users too, because it seems like people

01:37:41   sort of don't believe in it for some reason and probably because they opened it and couldn't

01:37:46   figure it out. But once that is gone and other people are doing what we're all doing, I'm

01:37:52   so excited for that time because even just like I've done so much but there's no way

01:37:57   I can solve everybody else's problems and everybody has these unique situations and

01:38:02   they all have the capability to do it too. Like that's what gets me is just that it once

01:38:08   you get past that learning curve, if Apple can lower that huge jump that you have to

01:38:13   get into, then everybody can code. Like, this is learning to code, but you don't have to

01:38:18   learn how to code. And I think that's so cool.

01:38:23   Anything else on your list, Matthew? I cut you off there with my enthusiasm for your

01:38:27   keynote.

01:38:29   I think some of the galleries that, like, honestly, the one that Rosemary mentioned

01:38:33   and is probably was made before we added magic variables

01:38:37   to the app.

01:38:38   And then it like, that was my job at a certain time

01:38:41   was making the gallery and I can see stuff in there

01:38:44   that I made and I haven't worked there

01:38:45   in like four or five years.

01:38:47   So I am a little like, some of that I just don't,

01:38:51   I don't know, it is kind of just confusing

01:38:53   because it's one of those things that's sort of like,

01:38:56   if the person who would have done that

01:38:58   didn't work there anymore, they're just not doing that.

01:39:00   And I don't want that to be the case for shortcuts.

01:39:02   I think it deserves more.

01:39:05   - And I'm gonna throw in one last wishlist item.

01:39:09   And I know this is gonna be esoteric,

01:39:10   but Rose mentioned CarPlay.

01:39:13   I'm gonna mention the Apple Watch and say,

01:39:17   I use my Apple Watch, I have a cellular Apple Watch,

01:39:21   and I go without my phone a lot.

01:39:24   If I'm walking the dog or running or whatever,

01:39:27   I'm using my Apple Watch on cellular without a phone.

01:39:32   And I know it's a weird little thing,

01:39:34   but like I wish shortcuts was more capable

01:39:36   on the Apple Watch.

01:39:37   I'm not gonna write the shortcuts on the Apple Watch,

01:39:40   but there is an invisible gap between,

01:39:45   will this run if my phone's not around?

01:39:48   And some of them will, and some of them won't.

01:39:52   And I wish more of them would run,

01:39:54   and I wish it was also clearer,

01:39:57   especially when you say put this on my Apple Watch,

01:39:59   I wish it was much clearer about whether it can run

01:40:02   independently or whether it has to talk to your phone

01:40:06   in order to get what is done.

01:40:08   Because there is something, not just the UI,

01:40:10   but the Siri interface, being able to say

01:40:13   into your Apple Watch, do this thing.

01:40:16   I use it for like, what's the temperature now, right?

01:40:18   Like it's 'cause it's me, it's weather automation.

01:40:20   But I love it.

01:40:22   And yet there are other tasks that it just will spin

01:40:27   on forever or, and then finally come back and say,

01:40:30   "Essentially, I can't find your iPhone."

01:40:32   It's like, "Well, why do you need my iPhone?"

01:40:34   And the answer is, "Well, there's a trap somewhere

01:40:36   in that shortcut that requires an action

01:40:39   that must talk to my iPhone and I don't have my iPhone.

01:40:43   So I'd like it to be better."

01:40:44   And that goes back to the number one point,

01:40:46   which is consistency across platforms.

01:40:48   And like, when your platforms aren't consistent,

01:40:51   either try to make them more consistent

01:40:53   or communicate why they're not consistent.

01:40:56   I do wonder if that could be resolved with this sort of app clippy type idea that I mentioned,

01:41:01   you know, because if you've got the app for that action on your Apple Watch, if it can

01:41:08   have those shortcuts actions and support for that built in, now obviously, you know, your

01:41:12   Apple Watch is pretty slimmed down, but you know, it would be really cool if at the very

01:41:16   least you would get some kind of marking that would say, "Hey, this isn't going to work,"

01:41:20   you know, like when your HomePod's like, "I'm sorry, I can't do that."

01:41:24   And you don't know if it's that it can't do it because it didn't understand or if it ran

01:41:27   in some kind of limitation, you know, maybe just don't respond on the HomePod with this

01:41:32   action.

01:41:33   You already have that whole competition.

01:41:34   Exactly.

01:41:35   Of devices.

01:41:36   HomePod is a whole other story where I feel like that like ruins the potential for like

01:41:40   half my shortcuts because it'll just capture the Siri part and then say it can't do it.

01:41:45   And it's like, okay, tell the computer that can do it to run it, please.

01:41:48   Are there other devices in this house?

01:41:50   Well then perhaps.

01:41:51   Yeah.

01:41:52   Like, yeah.

01:41:53   them. Well, thank you so much for letting me geek out about automation on Apple's platforms.

01:42:02   I really appreciate it in this special Summer of Fun, Summer of Automation episode of Upgrade.

01:42:07   One last time, let me thank you all. Federico, people can listen to you on Connected and

01:42:12   App Stories and read you at Mac Stories. Anything else that you'd like to promote? Anything

01:42:17   Well, I'm hanging out on the Club Max stories Discord these days, and I'm posting pictures

01:42:24   of the new desk and the new office space that I'm building. So yeah, that's another place

01:42:29   where I'm hanging out.

01:42:30   Nice. Very nice. Rosemary Orchard, I've got you down. Automators here at Reel AFM, iOS

01:42:35   today on the Twit Network, rosemaryorchard.com. Anything else you'd like to promote? And thank

01:42:40   you for being here.

01:42:41   Oh, no problem. I mean, I also hang out in various Discords. I'm usually hanging out

01:42:46   in the Real AFM Discord, but I'm also in the Club Twit Discord, where there is a weekly

01:42:50   shortcuts corner where people can submit questions that I solve.

01:42:54   And every so often, Maika throws me a curveball and gives me one that I've never seen before

01:42:58   to solve live on air, which is always really good fun.

01:43:01   But yeah, other than that, Take Control of Shortcuts 2 has shipped, so anybody that's

01:43:07   got the first one gets a discount off of the new one, unless they bought it in the last

01:43:11   90 days, in which case it's free.

01:43:12   And other than that, you know, there's a whole host of shortcuts, shortcut apps, and so on

01:43:18   shared in the book that you can just download.

01:43:20   So certainly worth checking that out if you haven't already.

01:43:23   Nice.

01:43:24   And thank you, Matthew Casanelli.

01:43:27   Matthewcasanelli.com seems to be the one-stop shop for all the things you do, right?

01:43:32   Isn't that the point?

01:43:33   You got to funnel it all through the personal blog.

01:43:35   I mean, I've got my What's New in Shortcuts newsletter that I do on Sundays.

01:43:40   and just like I look at every tweet

01:43:42   that ever mentions shortcuts

01:43:44   and pretty much put all the best ones in there.

01:43:48   And then I've been doing YouTube streams

01:43:50   and I'm coming back with videos,

01:43:52   but it turns out translating learning to code into shortcuts

01:43:56   is very challenging on videos sometimes.

01:43:58   But yeah, you can check that out too.

01:44:00   - Nice.

01:44:01   Well, thank you all for being here.

01:44:03   - Thank you.

01:44:04   - Thank you.

01:44:05   - Thank you, Jason.

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01:46:17   show and Relay FM.

01:46:20   It is time for some #AskUpgradeQuestions.

01:46:27   First one comes from Zach.

01:46:29   Since the introduction of the M1 chip, every new Mac has been introduced as part of an

01:46:34   Apple event.

01:46:36   How long do you think it will be until a Mac update is small or boring enough for them

01:46:40   to simply announce it via press release?

01:46:44   Wow.

01:46:45   What a question.

01:46:48   I had some criteria on this, I want to see if you agree with me.

01:46:52   There's a couple of things I think are going on.

01:46:55   I think they're going to keep doing them as events if there's a new chip provision,

01:47:02   so whether it's M2, M2 Pro, every time they're going to have a new chip, they'll do it as

01:47:07   part of an event, I think, for the foreseeable future.

01:47:10   Because it's new, we can show you some graphs, Johnny Serugy can talk to you in the lab.

01:47:16   If there's a new design, definitely an event.

01:47:19   Of course, because that's like a once in a blue moon kind of thing.

01:47:22   Like here's a brand new computer.

01:47:23   We've had a lot of it the last couple of years.

01:47:26   Doesn't usually happen this way.

01:47:27   Right?

01:47:28   Here's a brand new industrial design for every single Mac.

01:47:30   For me, I would like think the first kind of like, no.

01:47:36   One of the things to remember is that they used to do this because they didn't really

01:47:40   have full control of everything, right?

01:47:42   like Intel set the roadmap and they would deliver the chips when they could or when

01:47:46   they would. So sometimes Apple would want to put a new chip in a Mac and there wouldn't

01:47:50   be an event to tie it up to so they just, here's a press release and out it goes. And

01:47:56   I would kind of assume now that they have control of the timing of everything, so why

01:48:01   not add it to when they release something else, right? Like maybe, like if they put

01:48:07   an M2 Pro chip in a Mac mini,

01:48:09   and it wasn't at the time that they introduced the M2 Pro

01:48:14   in another product for some reason,

01:48:16   maybe they would do that, but I don't know.

01:48:18   I imagine for the foreseeable future,

01:48:20   they'll just tie them to events, Apple controls everything.

01:48:23   - Right, 'cause they control everything,

01:48:24   so they might as well.

01:48:25   I think, yeah, I think my guess is that the first time

01:48:28   we get a boring press release update,

01:48:31   it will be for a product that is getting something boring

01:48:35   out of sync with something else for some reason,

01:48:37   but I agree it probably isn't gonna happen.

01:48:39   But like, let's say, you know, maybe next year

01:48:41   or the year after there is a M2 to M3, let's say, upgrade,

01:48:46   that is not interesting.

01:48:47   Like if they weren't updating the Mac mini

01:48:51   to support a pro chip, I could see them saying,

01:48:56   you know, oh, well, and the Mac mini gets the M2.

01:48:59   But even then, if it was presumably they would just do it

01:49:02   as part of an M2 product rollout and say so.

01:49:05   But since we have M2s now, I could see a scenario

01:49:08   where if there's no, yeah, if there's no Pro chip

01:49:11   in the cards for the Mac Mini,

01:49:13   they might do that by press release.

01:49:15   But I think it's gonna be that confluence of factors

01:49:17   that'll lead to something like that.

01:49:18   And it's a lot less likely now that they're staggering

01:49:21   their chip rollouts and their product rollouts

01:49:24   based on their own schedule.

01:49:26   So I think it's gonna be a while.

01:49:28   - Yeah, and as well, because there's just so much new

01:49:31   still going on, like they can still like,

01:49:34   is still exciting, right?

01:49:36   Like at a certain point,

01:49:38   like the M6 Pro chip is probably not going to be

01:49:40   that exciting, like we know what it means at that point.

01:49:43   Like if they're just going to put an M6 Mac Pro

01:49:47   in the current version of the MacBook Pro

01:49:49   and the iMac Pro, like that might not be worthy

01:49:53   of the time in an event to then,

01:49:57   like if it was ready in July,

01:50:00   would you hold it to October or would you just put it out?

01:50:04   like at that point we might be far enough down this road

01:50:07   that it's not so exciting anymore, right?

01:50:09   But for the next few, like if they have the M2 Pro chip

01:50:12   and it's going in the current MacBook Pro

01:50:14   and there's nothing new to announce,

01:50:15   I could imagine that being in an event

01:50:17   because M2 Pro is gonna be fun and interesting

01:50:19   in its own way, right?

01:50:20   It's new. - Right, yeah.

01:50:23   - Nick Lake asks, "You're handed the keys to Apple Park

01:50:26   "and told that you get to make changes to one Apple device

01:50:28   "so it's perfectly catered to your desires

01:50:31   "based on hardware specifications."

01:50:33   What device do you choose and what changes are you making?

01:50:37   - Oh, God.

01:50:39   - My answers are so simple for this

01:50:41   that I'm just gonna get them out there

01:50:42   'cause they're gonna surprise no one

01:50:44   'cause I speak about these things all the time.

01:50:46   I want an Apple Watch about a screen,

01:50:49   like just a fitness band, right?

01:50:51   Like a nice looking, basically just an all the way around

01:50:54   Apple Watch strap, right?

01:50:56   That can just track all my fitness

01:50:59   and I can put that on my right arm

01:51:00   and then I can wear whatever watch I want on my left arm

01:51:03   and be truly happy, you know?

01:51:04   That's all I need for true happiness.

01:51:07   Or an Apple TV HomePod combo.

01:51:11   Like either a soundbar or whatever,

01:51:14   just put those two things together and I'll be happy.

01:51:17   - So I'm not sure that's in the spirit of this question,

01:51:19   which is sort of like-

01:51:20   - Nope, I know.

01:51:21   - Chases one Apple device, yeah, but I see what you do.

01:51:25   I mean, arguably it's an Apple Watch without a screen.

01:51:27   - My first one is a little bit more.

01:51:29   The second one, I'm just throwing it in there,

01:51:31   But the first one, like the specification is,

01:51:34   remove the screen part,

01:51:38   put all the guts inside of the watch band.

01:51:40   - Yeah, I don't know.

01:51:45   - I mean, could it be like taking an iPhone 14

01:51:48   and making it mini?

01:51:50   - Yeah, well, that is exactly where I was gonna go.

01:51:52   (laughing)

01:51:53   Why don't we just do an iPhone 14 mini then?

01:51:56   iPhone 14 Pro mini, okay, how about that?

01:52:00   - About four hours of battery life.

01:52:02   - I mean, who needs battery life, really?

01:52:05   That's what external batteries are for anyway.

01:52:08   But yeah, something like that.

01:52:10   The other thing I was gonna say is

01:52:11   something that's the size of a Mini

01:52:13   but folds out into something larger or even better,

01:52:16   how about a, like an iPad, like a folding iPad

01:52:20   that goes from smaller to bigger,

01:52:22   'cause I do love the iPad.

01:52:24   - I have more, an iPad Mini with an OLED display.

01:52:29   - Oh, interesting.

01:52:32   - Or a micro mini LED or whatever it's called.

01:52:35   - Whatever it is, yeah. - The good one in the iPad.

01:52:37   Give me that because I mean, honestly,

01:52:40   you could just give me the iPad mini

01:52:42   with the same display that the iPad Air has in it

01:52:43   and I'd be happy because I don't care what anyone says.

01:52:46   Maybe it's technically the same display.

01:52:48   It's not as high quality.

01:52:49   Like the mini's display is a binned version

01:52:52   of the displays they use in the other iPads for sure

01:52:55   'cause it's just not as good.

01:52:56   - So the ship has sailed on this,

01:52:59   because of the purchases I've made,

01:53:01   but what I really want to say is,

01:53:04   M2 Pro iMac at 27 inches.

01:53:10   That's really the one that would be the one

01:53:15   that I would have bought,

01:53:16   but now that I've got the display,

01:53:17   it's not gonna happen.

01:53:18   - Or put an M2 Pro chip inside of the studio display.

01:53:22   - Shoo, just ready to go.

01:53:25   - Just ready to go.

01:53:26   - Or, while we're at it, we're on fire now.

01:53:29   Touch ID in a track pad.

01:53:31   - That's a great one.

01:53:32   Touch ID in the Magic Track Pad is a great one.

01:53:34   I'll also throw in-

01:53:36   - We're all over it now.

01:53:37   - We're all over it now.

01:53:38   The Magic Keyboard for iPad with a function row.

01:53:43   - Oh, that's good.

01:53:45   Yeah, okay.

01:53:45   I had to put that one together in my brain for a second.

01:53:48   But yeah, I like that.

01:53:48   - Mm-hmm.

01:53:49   With a function row so you can control media

01:53:52   and brightness and stuff

01:53:53   that you can't do on Apple's keyboard for the iPad,

01:53:56   which is frustrating.

01:53:57   And I had somebody, Jason Heiner,

01:53:59   who I have collaborated with a bunch who works at ZDNet.

01:54:03   He wants that, and he said also with touch ID on it.

01:54:06   And I was like, I don't think Apple's gonna do touch ID

01:54:08   on an iPad keyboard,

01:54:09   even though there are iPads that don't have face ID,

01:54:11   and it might work better than face ID

01:54:13   in certain circumstances and all that.

01:54:15   I get it, and yet I don't think they're gonna do that.

01:54:17   But a function row, that I can slide through.

01:54:19   - Actually, no, I don't think you need that.

01:54:21   'Cause the touch ID is so close, even if it's,

01:54:23   you know what I mean?

01:54:24   You don't need it.

01:54:25   - I agree.

01:54:26   Apple Pencil with a button on it instead of the tapping thing.

01:54:31   The tapping thing doesn't work reliably enough.

01:54:34   Just put a button on it and it will open it up

01:54:36   to a whole set of features.

01:54:38   - So Nick, who said one Apple device?

01:54:41   - What did you expect?

01:54:42   Yeah, you choose.

01:54:43   We've given you a bunch, now you can choose.

01:54:46   Dom wants to know,

01:54:48   how did you both choose your Twitter usernames?

01:54:51   - Okay, well, mine is my first, initial, and last name.

01:54:55   - Right, but the question- - And that's been my login.

01:54:57   - Why not JSON-SNL?

01:54:59   Why JSON-L?

01:55:00   - 'Cause it's been my login on everything forever

01:55:04   since I first got a custom user login in college

01:55:07   to a Unix system.

01:55:08   And so they're all just JSON-L if I can get them.

01:55:12   - But do you remember why,

01:55:13   like why did you initially choose JSON-L, you know?

01:55:16   - I didn't.

01:55:17   They was assigned, first initial last name

01:55:20   was assigned to everybody at UCSD in 1989.

01:55:24   - I don't understand how these universities work.

01:55:26   I didn't go to university, neither did I,

01:55:29   would I have ever when there was a Unix machine.

01:55:32   So I didn't know that it was first let up.

01:55:33   - I don't know about that.

01:55:35   - What are you talking about?

01:55:37   - Unix is eternal, it's still everywhere.

01:55:40   - I guarantee you. - It's on your Mac now.

01:55:41   It's on your Mac right now.

01:55:42   - Yeah, but no one's assigning me a username,

01:55:46   or anyone, right, in university.

01:55:49   - I don't know.

01:55:50   - You have two children in university,

01:55:52   Were either of them assigned a Unix username?

01:55:55   - No, but they were assigned a single sign-on username.

01:55:57   - Okay.

01:55:59   - So they're still assigned a username.

01:56:01   - I will tell you right now, I hate my total username.

01:56:04   I hate it.

01:56:05   - Oh, I also wanna mention my kids are also JSONL,

01:56:09   but they have to put numbers and stuff after their--

01:56:11   - Oh, you made that terrible for them.

01:56:12   - There's so many JSONLs at the university.

01:56:14   - You ruined the, well, also--

01:56:15   - Not me, not me.

01:56:16   - But there's multiple in the family, in the family.

01:56:19   - Well, that's true too.

01:56:20   You know, so you may, if you had to have family Unix

01:56:22   usernames, then you ruin that for them.

01:56:25   - So iMyke, would you prefer to be Apple Myke now?

01:56:28   - No, I would prefer @MykeHurley,

01:56:29   which is a Twitter username that I own.

01:56:31   But I feel like at this point,

01:56:32   I've gone too far down the rabbit hole.

01:56:34   You know, like I'm in it now.

01:56:37   I was, I don't know, it was 2015.

01:56:42   And no, was it?

01:56:45   - No. - No, 2005.

01:56:47   Oh my God, I just did that thing.

01:56:48   - Yeah, you just drop a decade.

01:56:49   It's what happens when you get old.

01:56:51   Oh, Jesus.

01:56:52   That feels so gross.

01:56:55   It's 2005, and I needed a username for Gmail.

01:57:01   And I was like, oh, which one came first?

01:57:08   Gmail or Twitter?

01:57:09   I think it might have been Twitter first.

01:57:11   And I was like, oh, I know what I'll do.

01:57:15   The iPod's cool.

01:57:17   And everything was I back then, right?

01:57:20   Everything was I back then, you know?

01:57:21   That was the cool thing to do.

01:57:24   And so I was like, I'll get iMac, it's like iMac.

01:57:27   That's fun, right?

01:57:29   And now here I am, all these years later.

01:57:32   And I would love to be at Myke Hurley.

01:57:34   I would love it.

01:57:35   I would love it.

01:57:36   But I feel like at this point, I can't do it.

01:57:38   I was gonna do it a while ago

01:57:40   and Steven recommended I don't do it.

01:57:41   He said, "It's too inbuilt now.

01:57:44   "It's part of the personal brand."

01:57:46   But when I set up new things now,

01:57:47   I tend to go with Myke Hurley more often than not,

01:57:50   to be honest.

01:57:51   But here I am, I'm at iMyke and I don't like it.

01:57:55   - I think you could change it.

01:57:57   I think you could move your user to Myke Hurley.

01:58:01   - But it's the inertia, you know?

01:58:02   - Steven's just saying that 'cause he did it too.

01:58:05   - Yeah.

01:58:06   - 'Cause he's ISMH and that's his initials

01:58:08   with an I before it.

01:58:09   - And he can't be Steven Hackett

01:58:11   because of the Genesis player.

01:58:13   The Genesis guitar player or whatever.

01:58:16   But I could be at Myke Hurley if I wanted to be.

01:58:19   But here I am.

01:58:20   And Simon wrote in, "Haptic keyboard feedback on iOS 16.

01:58:25   "Yes or no?"

01:58:27   - Yes.

01:58:28   - Oh yeah, I tried it and didn't like it.

01:58:30   I don't know why. - I like it.

01:58:31   - I've liked it on every other phone that I've used.

01:58:34   I cannot explain this.

01:58:37   This doesn't make any sense, all right?

01:58:38   But look, I'm just telling you how I feel.

01:58:40   It made me feel nauseous.

01:58:42   Do I know why?

01:58:43   No. - Weird.

01:58:44   But maybe the day I tried it, I wasn't feeling great.

01:58:47   Maybe I was, because I was going through my COVID, right?

01:58:50   So maybe I have linked those things together.

01:58:54   And so for me, if I use the haptic keyword on AIMS16,

01:58:58   it makes me remember what it was like to have COVID.

01:59:02   And now I can't get rid of it.

01:59:04   But if I turn it back on, I tried it.

01:59:05   Like I tried turning it back on a couple of weeks ago

01:59:08   and it made me feel nauseous again to use it.

01:59:11   Does that make any sense?

01:59:12   - You're suffering from long haptics.

01:59:13   - Along half-ticks, yeah.

01:59:15   - No, I like it.

01:59:17   I think it's pleasant and it's good to have

01:59:20   that extra feedback and typing on the iPhone mini,

01:59:25   it's a little cramped.

01:59:26   - I bet.

01:59:27   - And it's kind of good to have,

01:59:29   yeah, just imagine, right, Myke?

01:59:30   Imagine a little phone, weird.

01:59:33   And so having that feedback is a bonus.

01:59:35   I like it, I enjoy it.

01:59:36   - Yep, I'm sad I can't use it

01:59:38   'cause it's a feature I wanted and then they added it

01:59:40   and now I can't use it.

01:59:41   Here's what it is.

01:59:44   If you would like to send in a question of your own to be answered on the show, just

01:59:48   send out a tweet with the hashtag #askupgrade or use the question mark #askupgrade in the

01:59:52   Relay FM members Discord.

01:59:54   Thank you if you are a Relay FM member, especially if you support Upgrade.

01:59:58   And thanks to our sponsors, Doppler, DoorDash, Fitbot and Sourcegraph.

02:00:01   If you'd like to find Jason online, you can go to @jasonl, J-S-N-E-O-L-L, Unix, you know,

02:00:08   the often known Unix name.

02:00:09   - VACs and VMS generated name.

02:00:12   - Progragining, yeah, i-mic.

02:00:13   - That's San Diego Computer Computing Center.

02:00:14   - I am Mykey.

02:00:15   - i-mic, you say.

02:00:16   - Yep, it's funny, right?

02:00:18   - Like the iMac.

02:00:19   - Yeah, it's funny, right?

02:00:20   It's funny, uh-huh.

02:00:22   Jason is at, I already said that one, sixcolors.com.

02:00:25   Go to read some stuff that Jason writes.

02:00:27   - Sure.

02:00:28   - Thank you to our guests of this week's episode,

02:00:30   Matt Castanelli, Federico Vittucci, and Rosemary Orchard.

02:00:34   There'll be some links in the notes,

02:00:35   so you can go and find their projects.

02:00:37   go follow them and thank them for being on this week's episode like we have.

02:00:42   That's it! That's it. That's it. Say goodbye, Jason Stell. Goodbye, Myke Early.

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