Introduction to Alfred App

Alfred lets you automate anything on your computer. Chris Messina shows us how to create desktop workflows with Alfred.




Aron: [00:00:00] all right. Welcome folks. I have the wrong thing up here. There we go. So stop sharing my screen. There we go.   see you now. How are you, Chris? 

Chris: [00:00:32] I'm doing well doing well, but looking forward to this for awhile. 

Aron: [00:00:36] Yeah, same. We already made a mistake. So everything from here can just get better. So I'm going to say welcome to automate all the things Chris, I'm excited, uh, to welcome you officially.

Uh, so we've got Colleen in the chat, say hi in the chat. Uh, um, I'm like particularly excited about this because two things, one you're going to be doing, you're going to be teaching us and I'm excited about that. And Alfred something I've, I'm always, I've always wanted to like, do more in, it feels like you've mastered it.

So I'm really excited about today. 

Chris: [00:01:10] Hmm, great. Yeah, I, I wouldn't say, uh, I'm a master, I'm sort of like one of those, like, you know, T-shaped or I think, uh, Jared spool calls it a comb shaped person, uh, where I have a bunch of different sort of like blocky skills and different things. And all, it was only last year that I really kind of really got into the weeds with Alfred, um, as a long time launcher user, um, you know, going back to like Quicksilver and like that whole era.

And so, um, I just, I dunno, it's I realize that there's so much more that I was missing out on and I started doing repetitive tasks last year and it was just like, okay, like let's, let's, let's go, let's get into this. 

Aron: [00:01:47] Awesome. So maybe, maybe take a step back before. Uh, let's talk, tell me a little bit about yourself.

Like, we'll start off and then we'll talk about how Fred and then like we both, we got too excited there, so 

Chris: [00:01:59] right away, uh, 

Aron: [00:02:00] give folks a little introduction into yourself. 

Chris: [00:02:03] Okay. Um, so, uh, so my name is Chris Messina. Um, I am a long time citizen of the internet. Uh, I have served in roles as a product designer as a technologist.

Um, I've worked at big tech companies like Google and Uber. I've also worked at small startups. I had a startup that was a conversational AI company that I took through Y Combinator. And, um, I've also just spent a lot of time working with different folks in the trenches, um, launching their own products last year in particular, I became, um, really, uh, I don't want to say obsessed, but very involved with the product hunt ecosystem and community.

And, um, yeah. You know, I, I kind of, I still don't know exactly what I want to be when I grow up, but, um, You know, I'm a big lover of technology, but also the way in which people work with their technology and if not bend it to their will kind of collaborate with it, um, to, to get more done. So, um, I am coming from you from Oakland, California.

Um, I left San Francisco. Um, I went across the bay and, um, yeah, I mean, I suppose that's a, that's a good place to 

Aron: [00:03:08] start. So I feel like we have kind of two audiences here, one folks who are like super familiar with all Fred and who want us to like start automating and I'm gonna, I'm gonna have to hold back on the reins on that first, because I think a lot of people aren't, uh, you know, as on Twitter and maybe don't know you as well.

So I really appreciate that introduction. And second would love to kind of like talk to, like, it seems like you, you, you said like you were, you were doing manual tasks last year and then that got you to Alfred. So, you know, what is all Fred for folks? Uh, you know, a aren't on Twitter or B aren't already experts, which again, it seems like in the chat, we have a bunch of them, but curious to know what is Alfred for you?

Like I've dabbled with it and forget it. I still can't really explain what it does. 

Chris: [00:03:55] Yeah. So I think the thing that makes it a little hard to understand Alfred, um, is that Alfred and Quicksilver and launch bar, and there are a bunch of these particularly Mac apps, but they do exist on, uh, on the PC as well, you know, have been around for quite a while and they preceded spotlight.

So one of the things that, uh, spotlight on the Mac has done is it's kind of stolen the thunder of these more complex launchers. Right. And essentially, like the idea is that you activate, uh, essentially, uh, a temporary command. Uh, sort of, I mean, it's not a command line, but it's sort of like a command line style interface and you type some words into it and the software should have a sense for what is it you're trying to do.

And then it kind of quickly allows you to execute that command as opposed to, and in contrast to, let's say, going into your applications folder, finding the application, double-clicking it. Um, and it also allows you to connect to APIs or to other workflows. So that you're just, again, you're sort of keeping your fingers on the, on the keyboard and making fast work out of things that otherwise would take you dozens of clicks, um, and just, you know, would be really inefficient.

So it really is about productivity. It's about staying in focus and flow. It's about the ability to kind of capture the things that you might be doing throughout the day. Um, sending it and piping it into Alfred and then sending it off to the appropriate, um, either web app, web service applications. You know, like I use things to manage my tasks and there's, um, there are what are called workflows that are essentially kind of installable plugins for Alfred that would allow you to set up a keyword and then, uh, create a new task on the fly without ever, ever having to launch the things app itself.

Right. So just things like that are all about kind of finding ways of doing productivity. One of the things, by the way that someone in the chat mentioned, I forgot to point this out, but, um, what am I, my sort of like claims to fame is having invented the hashtag. And one of the things that is useful about the lesson from that experience that I applied to my use of Alfred is that you start to become aware of your own patterns and what you do on your computer.

You start to see things that are repetitive and you're doing over and over again. That's the perfect case. I mean, as, as you know, with, uh, all the work that you do with automation, um, in a similar way, if you pick out those patterns, you're like, okay, I keep doing this over and over again. It's really slow.

It's really inefficient. Is there a better way to do this? Sort of put this into my, my launcher into Alfred. Um, and then can I do it very quickly and a brute force kind of way. And then if you need to embellish that, um, can you go deeper with building your own workflow? And so, uh, that's, that's kind of, um, I guess philosophically the way that I approach it.

No, I think that makes 

Aron: [00:06:34] a lot of sense. And I think what's interesting. And we were talking about this before, like. You know, my automation tools are air table and Zapier and parabola. And my usage of, of, of Alfred is purely like, you know, I find things on my computer with it, or I do have one workflow where I add tasks to air table.

Um, but for you, this is like your tool that lives on top of everything else. Like that is your kind of entry into your stack of everything. Like you, you, you always think of Alfred as the first, so I'm really keen to kind of learn and like how you use it. And I'd love to know, like in the chat, like, what are you like?

It seems like we have some experts here, so let us know what you use Alfred for, uh, w w or what you'd like to use it for. Uh, um, and we'll try to kind of incorporate that. We've kind of have a little bit of a skeleton of what we'd like to show, but you know, you folks are on the chat, so we'd love to know what, what do you want to automate, uh, um, and.

Yeah, I'm really excited to jump in here. So I about you, are you ready to go? Let's let's jump in. 

Chris: [00:07:44] Um, I'm ready. I'm ready. Okay. Yeah. I mean, for anybody in the chat, um, and it would love your, your questions would love your suggestions. Um, I am, I am, of course, like I said, like not an expert in the sense that I can write a lot of code, but I can put a bunch of things together.

And one of the great things, and I want to be clear, Alfred, um, does require you to buy what's called the power pack. And essentially that's kind of like their in-app upgrade, um, experience that unlocks workflows, that Luxe, customization and themes, and a bunch of great features. So you can use Alfred as a basic launcher without buying that it's free to download.

Um, and I'll put in the link in the chat here. Um, but without that power pack, you're not going to get a lot of the value out of that. 

Aron: [00:08:27] So today we're going to assume everyone has the power pack. I have it. And if you don't have it just go out and get it. I think it's like 50 bucks. It's it's well worth it.

And then second, you know, not knowing how to write code and patching things together is the tagline of automate all the things that is what people come here to do. So know that you're very much in the right place of like no writing code and patching things, uh, together. So, uh, cool. You have some examples in the chat I'm going to be, if you can give that a look, I'm going to start setting up the start sharing my screen here.

Chris: [00:08:58] Yep. Yeah. Uh, one of the ones, um, Altran mentioned, uh, the, the kill workflow being the best, um, uh, you know, like that's a really good example of the deep integration that you can do with Alfred and you're operating. So. I think the only operating system works on his Mac and force, but in terms of, uh, having to let's say, otherwise, go to your activity, monitor, you know, where, you know, there, you see the apps that are running and when that might be like locked or something, you just install the kill workflow and then you type kill, and then it'll actually go and pull your system to find the running apps that are available.

And then you can kill them right from there. So if you have like an unruly, I don't know, video app or something, um, that's like a much faster way to do. And so that's a really good, 

Aron: [00:09:37] interesting, so you can actually kind of like right kill and then the application and it'll just close it for you. 

Chris: [00:09:43] Yes. Yes.

And in fact, actually one of my other favorite workflows is another, um, uh, operating system level integration, which is called, uh, it's just called output or something. Anyways. Uh, what it allows you to do from the command line is to list your, um, audio output and input, uh, devices. And so I'm constantly going back and forth between headphones, my, you know, Mac system, Speakers and my AirPods.

And so I can just type output, and then it allows me to choose from that list. And so I never have to go up to like the stupid menu and like futz around with that. 

Aron: [00:10:17] Cool. So let's add those to the, like, I don't have it set up. I don't have kill or outputs set up and as someone, you know, uses audio, so let's add those to the list today.

So, you know, um, how, how about, okay, so we've got a mix of people we're going to start really, really simple. I've got my Alfred app set up here. 

Chris: [00:10:36] So sorry, my little joke at first, right? Yeah. So this is, so you've done something that's a little bit. Okay. Tweaky. So let's start here. So this is the Alfred, um, kind of nervous system, if you will.

The very first and most important thing is to set your shortcut key. Um, and I think, you know, the, the, the Mac might have taken over, you know, with spotlight, like command space. And so sometimes you have to unset that keyboard shortcut, depending on what you want to use. Um, one of the things that, uh, I'm not going to get too advanced into this, but I found this great tool that allows me to reuse my caps, lock key as my Alfred activator.

We're not going to do that today. Care carabiner. Yeah, exactly. Right. So you can overload your, like, whatever your, your keyboard short or, well, your keys are to trigger different keys anyways. Probably gonna do that today. Today for you, it looks like you're gonna use option space as your yeah. 

Aron: [00:11:31] Right. I like it.

Cause it's right close. It's close to, to spotlight, but it's just, it's it wasn't like I didn't have to relearn. And so this was actually good. So that's one of the 

Chris: [00:11:41] funny things, right. I continue to use spotlight then having options space, you know, works great. If you want to replace your use of right. Like I don't use spotlight at all anymore.

Then what I would recommend is to go into your actually we can show people how to, so lunch Alfred with option space right now. Yeah. And then type B. 

Aron: [00:12:03] K a 

Chris: [00:12:04] Y oh no, no, no, no. K was fine. Just start with K okay. Keyboard key. Right? Boom. So this is an example. So what we're trying to do is quickly get into your keyboard shortcuts.

So now you would go to the, the shortcuts thing there, right? On the left-hand side, go down to spotlight. 

Aron: [00:12:22] I feel like you're gonna, you're gonna, this is what you're gonna make me click on things and then I'll lose control of my computer. You're like trolling me on my, on my screen here. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Chris: [00:12:33] Right. There's an example. So for the purposes of this, uh, session, exactly. Turn that off now, go back to Alfred and now, uh, tap into that. Yep. And then let's reset that to command space. Great. Perfect. 

Aron: [00:12:49] Yep. Okay. I've remapped it. I'm not, um, you guys have to trust. That this works. I'm not going to show my, but it's.

So I see the goal here is for you to get me to stop using spotlight. Uh, so clearly you want me to be a purist I'm okay with that for the next hour, but I know promise for the next hour, I'm a purist. Okay. 

Chris: [00:13:10] So we've remastered. I want you to get the, get the feel for it, right? So that muscle memory that you have right now for spotlight now is going to be taken over with Alfred and I, and pretty soon you'll you'll understand that.

Why? Um, okay. So the next thing that I thought we'd we'd go to is, you know, let's, let's, let's be Frank you're you're um, Alfred UI. The, the little pop-up thing is it's not very pretty right now. Let's put it that way. 

Aron: [00:13:34] So I agree. I agree with you, but I'm also feel very judged right now. So I'm excited to see what you're going to change.

Chris: [00:13:41] No, no. It's more about Alfred's defaults. I don't know why Alfred likes this sort of boxy obnoxious look, but, um, what we, what would I, what I would suggest is, um, I've got a couple of different themes and I will share them here. Um, they're over on my, actually I think if we do Q equals theme, um, this is my, my, my get hub.

And so if you pull it up, you 

Aron: [00:14:09] can't say you're not a D like a coder and then just drop your, get hub link in the chat. Like, oh no folks. I don't know how to write code, but here's my good have, you know, repository. 

Chris: [00:14:18] I know how to like, go look at code, I'm messing with it. Um, 

Aron: [00:14:24] so here are my themes. Okay. Which one would you recommend?

Chris: [00:14:30] Dropbox 

Aron: [00:14:30] paper. I'm a fan of Dropbox. 

Chris: [00:14:33] Okay. Yeah. Uh, the, the one thing that's a little bit tweaky about that, actually. Uh, so actually let's do the theme craft, um, because that one, I think doesn't use any special fonts. So if you use or have the San Francisco fonts, then that should be good. Actually scroll down.

Oh, so on the right there where it says releases. Yup. Okay. Yep. Here. So click, click on that and then you'll see where it says craft 

Aron: [00:15:00] Good themes. That sip. There we go right in front of me. 

Chris: [00:15:05] Yep. Open that up now you'll there are two files in there. One, and actually this will be maybe that like the first little pro tip.

Um, this is kind of interesting. Oh, I know we have to do, um, 

Aron: [00:15:16] where this is where we're, where we're improvising here. Let's do it. Where are we going? So I got it. Dark or light. 

Chris: [00:15:22] Okay. So go ahead and double click on both of those. And this will allow you to install these tools. I like it. Okay. So this is the dark ones.

Now I'll go back to finder and install the light. I know you're not like dark. Okay. I like to target. Okay. Okay. So the, the thing that I was going to share with you, um, let me see if I can find this. And this is, this is like the most interesting, uh, interesting as that group is. I didn't know. 

Aron: [00:15:52] I could just edit this so I can 

Chris: [00:15:55] just kind of, are you editing the theme?

Are you, are you messing, messing with my theme right now? 

Aron: [00:15:59] I hope I'm only messing it for myself. I don't want to, no one, if it's folks who are coming, who have come to my stream regularly know that you don't trust me with any design decisions ever. So as long as I am the only person who lives with the consequences of my design decisions, uh, that that's good, but this looks good 

Chris: [00:16:17] affecting you.

So if you want to screw things up, uh, one of the things that I do like to do, uh, if you go, um, and look in that column there where it lists the themes, there's an options button. It's a little bit hidden, right? Click on that. Yup. Okay. Now I hide the hat. That's one thing that I do. Oh, damn. Yup. And then, uh, under show results, subtext.

Yup. I changed that to, um, only for alternative actions. These are just like minor tweaks, not a big deal, but 

Aron: [00:16:49] um, no, I already feel like I've leveled up because I do, I did kind of feel janky in my old like little box, but yeah, like, okay. So for folks who aren't familiar with offer app, all of everything we're doing right now is like optional, right?

We're not going to configure all Fred, but it's just, it's just making it look nice. So let's see what this looks like 

now. Yeah. Ooh. That does look that Liz looks much better. 

Chris: [00:17:13] Yeah, right. So it's like, and so this, this design, this theme was inspired by craft, which is a Mac app. Uh, that is great for just taking notes and stuff like that.

I did send you there's one more link, um, that I thought would be another good example of, uh, using Alfred and also one that will show you a really interesting trick about Alfred, that it should be a long time to learn. So I sent you. Yep, exactly. So what you'll find is there's just a bunch of workflows all over the place.

Um, so I actually contributed to this one, this one toggles, a lot of them are on your, your, uh, appearance, your system appearance. Interesting. Right. So go ahead and download that workflow and you're going to install that, right. So it's as simple as just downloading a dot Alfred file and then from your browser.

Okay, cool. Yep. You can just import that. So now we've imported our first workflows. That's how fast and easy it is, right. You basically just installed kind of like a Chrome extension. Yeah. Now this 

Aron: [00:18:11] is actually a really good intro into like all Fred itself. So this is what the interface of the, like what the, the workflow.

So maybe before we install this, like talk, talk to folks what our workflow is considered for all Fred, like we just installed one. And just like you said, a Chrome extension, but like, what am I looking 

Chris: [00:18:28] at here? Yep. So this is the workflow editor and w uh, Alfred provides this visual tool for essentially connecting, you know, if you've used, well, I mean, Zapier, I don't think has a, as a visual editor like this, but there are other automation tools that allow you to create sequences that go from like one kind of activation into some of the process and then something else.

And so that's what, what you're looking at right here. 

Aron: [00:18:54] So this actually does feel like if folks are familiar with integrity, Or maybe even like parabola who like are actually newer tools from Zapier, but give you that canvas type interface where like, you know, when this happens or, or do these things more, uh, yeah.

So Coleen totally agree with you. Like this does feel like a integral mat type or parabola. So does this feel familiar, but I guess the difference is that it all starts here, right? So it takes its input from exactly. This 

Chris: [00:19:24] is, this is really great. Yeah. That's right. So what we did was we just installed the workflow, right?

Uh, alternate is rate. Um, yeah, you can, you can do lots of things. You can start just visually. And so what we did is we installed someone else's workflow, right? So one of the other beautiful things is that it's, once you've made a workflow, you can then share it out on the internet as I do through get hub or there's, um, essentially another resource you can use it.

I'm not going to get into now, but what I want to show is that prior, well, so after we've installed this, now there are set up. Keywords they'll notice on the far left there there's theme toggle, dark enlighten. So at the very top of those nodes, um, that basically are the keywords that you would type to activate this workflow.

So go ahead and type, uh, activate Alfred and then type toggle. Oh, cool. Okay. Now see, so what's happened here is that this is using, what's called a list filter now again, like I'll probably be using some of this language here and there, but so right. Those are basically synonyms theme and toggle are more or less like they do the same thing.

So if you take reign, go ahead and type theme instead. Oh, interesting. Got it. Okay. Okay. Cause like, I sometimes forget like what the keyword is and so I'm like, well, I want to, you know, be able to type either toggle or theme. Cause that makes the most sense. So what I want to show right now is, um, go, okay, forget it.

We're going to sequence this correctly. Go back to appearance in Alfred. This is, this is the hidden feature now, right? Click on craft light. Yeah. Okay. Now type or now activate Alfred and type toggle and then choose dark. Okay. Oh, by the way, you can, you can do that. Oh, right. You'll need to do that. 

Aron: [00:21:13] You say, okay.

Give it to them. There we go. Okay. 

Chris: [00:21:17] So now it's right. And now, now we're basically using the Alfred dark theme because it's, it knows Alfred knows that there are two different themes, one for the light and one for the dark. So now you're going to go in and click craft, dark craft, dark. Okay. And now when your system appearance is dark, it'll use this dark theme.

Does that make sense? 

Aron: [00:21:40] Yeah, totally. So it, it, it, it, it mapped. So the workflow matches though. So the, 

Chris: [00:21:46] so these are separate things, and I know that I'm like showing you a bunch of stuff. . 

Aron: [00:21:51] I love it. I also, you're kind of messing with my computer cause I'm a computer in dark mode, but I love the fact that like you're remotely messing up my whole system, which I will for the next hour.

Totally allow you to do so. So that's really cool 

Chris: [00:22:03] type. Uh, just like G a G E. Oh, there it is. General. Okay, great. Now hit enter on your keyboard. I'm worried here. 

Aron: [00:22:13] What is this going to do? 

Chris: [00:22:15] This is your general system 

Aron: [00:22:16] preferences. Okay. No problem. Just messing. Okay, here 

Chris: [00:22:19] we go. Okay. All right. Now, now you can switch yourself back to light.

Got it. And what I'm trying to show you and now activate Alfred again. It's light, I guess. Okay. So what I just showed you was a couple of things. One is that you can obviously change your system appearance by doing a series of clicks and taps and going to system preferences and choosing general and choosing, you know, lighter, dark.

But this workflow does it. Right. Using these two keywords and we also installed to appearance or to a custom themes for Alfred that now will change based on your system appearance. So it took me forever to figure out that Alfred F actually did 

Aron: [00:23:02] that. So just create you, you, you have found the place where that type of niche automation is exactly what people come here for, like know that you are in the right place.

The fact that there was no code involved, we took someone else's code. And we probably did an automation that probably speaks to like max 0.1 or 0.2% of users. But for those people, those people are on the stream. These are great. So this is, this is exactly the type of stuff I expect from Alside. And I'm like, there's got to be really excited into like, okay.

So it's really cool that we can, we can do something like this. So. I teach, I guess this is, that is the end goal, right? So we want to maybe get to a point where we can look at something like this and understand it, but, and also just, 

Chris: [00:23:47] you know, from a mental model perspective, right? This, this whole toggling thing became something that was important to me to be able to do.

And I found myself, you know, doing exactly the flow. I mentioned before opening system preferences, going to general finding the appearance and then having to like flip it. Right. And so I wanted to be able to do that more easily, faster, quicker. And I was like, you know, someone must've built a workflow for this.

It turns out they did. And so it's one of those example, like great examples where once you notice yourself doing something over and over again, like trying to futz around through your system, there's probably a workflow way that you can do this. Um, and so in a similar way, you know, if, if, um, let's see, we can either go and dive directly into.

Like the Twitter workflow and kind of like show how that meant that mental model applies there. Or I can show you how to make use of the web search feature, which then kind of opens into the Twitter workflow. I 

Aron: [00:24:45] think what do folks? So I I'm, I'm personally curious about the Twitter workflow because it does, uh, um, you know, it does something that's important to me, which is deep linking or allowing to provide parameters into a URL.

Uh, so there's some asks, uh, so Edmund talking about Twitter. So let's do, let's do Twitter, we'll start with Twitter. How about that? And then folks are asking about clipboard history, which frankly I'm also really interested in. So if you're comfortable, I'd love to do clipboard history. And then third, maybe we end with, uh, uh, the air table connection at the end.

Chris: [00:25:21] Oh, there's so much, there's so much that we could like, you know, dig into here, 

Aron: [00:25:24] just a regular Streep. We'll just make, we'll just come back regularly. Let's try to get as much done. Uh, cool. W how do, where do we start with the Twitter? What is the Twitter toolkit. Okay. 

Chris: [00:25:36] Um, what's a don't we actually let's start with, um, let's start with search because the search will provide us with a, kind of an idea for how Alfred can work with links.

And that, that is actually essential to the Twitter thing. So go, go back over to features 

Aron: [00:25:52] features. 

Chris: [00:25:55] Okay. So here's where a bunch of the built-in magic stuff happens in Alfred. Got it. All right. All that stuff. They are our, you might think of them as kind of like built in workflows that Alfred or the team at Alfred have built and are including in Alfred.

Um, and you can change the default results. You can change file search. So basically the scope of what Alfred is aware of on your system can be tweaked within this panel. Got it. Okay. So for example, like here in the search scope, you may want to leave out, you know, certain, uh, I dunno, yeah. Directories or maybe you want to add.

Right. You know, in addition, you can see up above there where it says the essentials, what do you want include, you want to include folders, images, documents. Now that means that the search can be, get really messy. And, uh, I find that that can be like kind of a, not so great. Um, but there are some cases where you want to be able to pull up.

Let's say, you know, in this case you do have your context enabled, so you can quickly get to a person, get their address, information, their contact information, super useful. Um, but one of the questions was about the clipboard history. So you'll notice they're like fifth or sixth down that list. There's clipboard history here.

So you can decide how long your, oh, let me, let me, let me pause for a second. I don't understand how people use computer without some clipboard history manager. I personally use paste app, which is why I didn't think directly to go to Alfred's, um, clipboard history. But essentially what it allows you to do is have what's called a buffet.

For the number of things that you might copy and paste over time. Does that make sense? 

Aron: [00:27:34] Yeah, I copy paste a lot of things, so exactly. You know, I'll, I'll tell you how I solve this today. I actually have like a shortcut, so I have API and then I have all of my API keys. Oh, wow. So anything I copy paste regularly.

I go, I create that workflow, but I didn't know that you could have a history of your copy paste. 

Chris: [00:27:56] So as you can see here, and hopefully you've not copied things that are too, um, sensitive right now, but if you do a bunch of like random piece of text or whatever, um, uh, we'll just, we'll just show like the high level of this.

If you now do option command C 

Aron: [00:28:17] oops. Option command. See which one is, 

Chris: [00:28:20] which one is option on? The Mac option is the one to the left of the command. 

Aron: [00:28:27] So. I'm on a custom keyboard. Can 

Chris: [00:28:30] I do that? Oh, well, I mean, so you can change your hot key. I can 

Aron: [00:28:33] change it. 

Chris: [00:28:34] There we go. Okay. Yep. Cool. Perfect. Great. Okay, so these are your snippets.

Okay. So you must have overrode the snippets. So how do I undo that? Uh, okay, well, so below clipboard history or snippets on, on the left. Sorry. No, keep going left. 

Aron: [00:28:53] Is it? Cause I don't have a history. Uh, I don't have any keep plain text. 

Chris: [00:28:59] Great. Go ahead. Yeah. Turn those on. Oh, you can also activate Alfred and just type clipboard.

Aron: [00:29:07] There we go. Now it 

Chris: [00:29:08] works. There we go. Alright, perfect. Oh, cool. Yeah, this is huge. So what it'll do on the right-hand side there actually go back and turn on. Keep images, 

Aron: [00:29:18] keep 

Chris: [00:29:19] images. Yeah. Now you've got some images on your desktop there. Go ahead and like right. Click on one of those issues.

Aron: [00:29:27] Kind of just copy 

Chris: [00:29:28] each other. Oh, you can just do command C of course. Yeah. Yeah. Let's do 

Aron: [00:29:32] that seriously. Okay. So then if I go to, oh, where are my images happened? 

Chris: [00:29:39] Yeah, that's a great question. I don't know what happened. All 

Aron: [00:29:42] snippets. Hmm. Hmm. Let me actually, let me do a proper copy. Okay. Copy. 

Chris: [00:29:48] It should work, but, uh, yeah, it should work.

Yeah. You can do like a screenshot maybe. 

Aron: [00:29:57] Oh, there we go. There they are. 

Chris: [00:29:59] Yep. Cool. Ooh, that's 

Aron: [00:30:01] interesting. No, audio is the name of the, is the name of the 

Chris: [00:30:05] image. If you use your keyboard here and you hit the space bar, it'll actually show you a preview. Like, so if you hover over yep. Uh, does it work or not?

That was not working out. It did. Okay. Well, you know what? It's fine. I'm not in the clipboard manager. Cause I use pay staff. 

Aron: [00:30:24] See, we're not going to go into paste that, but okay. I am curious how does this help us understand workflows? 

Chris: [00:30:33] Yeah. Well, so let's go back to web search, cause this is, this is like what I really wanted to get into too.

Um, okay. So these are all the default built-in web searches that alpha provides. And, um, let's see. So what happens here is if, uh, let's, let's do a search on Wikipedia. So if you activate Alfred and you type Wiki, you can see that in this list, Wiki is associated with Wikipedia. And so now if you, you know, type hashtags,

so what you're now doing, basically, I look there, I am a horrible photo, but anyways, that's a little bit back in the makeup. That's right. 

Aron: [00:31:19] There you go. It's forever in my, in my clipboard history now, or for the next 24 

Chris: [00:31:23] hours anyway. Yeah. For 24 hours. So what this is showing you is how you can use Alfred to quickly get to destinations where you might otherwise perform this search.


Aron: [00:31:34] So how does, how does Alfred go from like, I'm I want to go to Wiki. I put the word hashtag how does it end up at that URL? 

Chris: [00:31:43] Great question. Okay, so let's, um, let's see. What's a good one to add. Um, uh, well I have a bunch of them. Okay. So anyways, go back to the Alfred interface. Yep. Double click on one of these.

I think you can open it. 

Aron: [00:32:00] Uh, let's say let's go 

Chris: [00:32:01] to the Wiki, if can, they might not allow you to okay. That's only allows you to change that. Okay. So what we're going to do instead, um, is let's do a search on. Yeah, Spotify is already in there. What's a, what's a, what's a site that has, oh, Etsy. Etsy is a good one.

I think. Cause that C is not in there. Yeah. eBay is okay. Go to and I'll show you how this kind of works. Sure. Okay. Great. So, uh, where it says search for anything up at the top there. Yep. Uh, type now. No, this is another trick that I use type query space is I IZEA query is okay. Great. Now hit enter.

Okay. Now what you have is you have a URL up at the top there. Okay. So grab that. Copy that. Now go back to, yeah. Great. Go back to Alfred and now hit on the bottom right corner. Say add custom search. Now this is, this is where you're going to start to learn how this all comes together. Right. Paste that in here.

Okay. Now one of things you'll notice is that, uh, what Etsy did, was it rewrote your space? The acquiree space is to present 20, which you can see right below that line there, where Alfred says in code spaces as sometimes they use pluses. So that's just one thing to keep in mind. Now, in order for this to work, you need to replace the word query and just put a curly brackets around it and then get rid of the percent 20 is you don't need that.

Great. Yep. Now go, go down to title and just, let's just call it search at C for now. We're going to show you how variables work. Right. Use that text, the curly braces and query.

There we go. Perfect. And for the keyword, let's just use Etsy. Okay. So now you've done without any programming is you are about to add a custom search. 

Aron: [00:34:06] Okay. So let me, let me try to foreshadow where we're going and you'll tell me if I'm right. Yup. So. In, in all Fred, I'm going to write the word Etsy. That's going to know that I'm I want it to search for Etsy, everything I write after Etsy, it's going to put into query, and then that's going to turn into this URL, which will then search.

Is that, is that like pro? Is that what the flow is? Yes. 

Chris: [00:34:33] Okay. So you'll also, again, it's using the, the word keyword here and keyword is just like anything in that workflow editor. That is a key word. And we'll show you how that works. Right. Okay. So, so just so let's know that we're using the same terminology in these different places.

So we're saying Etsy. Yep. Space. 

Aron: [00:34:55] Got it. And then let's say I'm really into, I mean, this is perfect. 

Chris: [00:35:01] So you can see what Alfred's doing there. Right. Was it actually was using your text as you were typing to fill it in. And now it's actually added that text into the URL and it's executed, right. 

Aron: [00:35:11] Okay. Okay. So, you know, for folks who aren't Alfred users, uh, and can think about more like we're, we're very familiar with air table on this stream.

Uh, and so this is kind of like the button field almost, right? So the button field allows you to take values from another field and turn it into a URL that you can click on. And folks who have been coming to the stream quite often could remember when we did this with, uh, um, we did this with, uh, uh, searching for inventors.

So you can actually use maybe something like Airbnb, you have your dates, you click on the button. This is another way of doing that, but I think is a little more high level and is more applicable broadly because it's directly. Your computer. So I'm excited to see where this goes. And now I really want one of these Bernie Sanders.

Uh, I can knit one. I could probably net one, you know? Okay. Uh, knitting is, is a for a future stream. All 

Chris: [00:36:08] right. I think they have a virus that's they have the coronavirus it's 

Aron: [00:36:12] yeah, that's not cool. Um, so for folks, let us know in the chat. So for folks, uh, does that make sense? Like, I want to make sure that one, that building block makes sense before we're kind of leveling up here.

Uh, um, and yes, it's called Emmy grew me. I also learned about that recently, uh, and, uh, great gifts. Great way to spend time during a stay at home. So highly recommend and people love receiving them. So if we'll do a separate stream on knitting for sure one day where folks can just come in and watching it.

So, okay. I, I think I understand this. How do we. How do we build on where do we go from here? 

Chris: [00:36:56] Got it. Yeah. So as I mentioned, one of the things that I'd been noticing about myself was I am an avid Twitter. I've I've been on the site. I was the, yeah, I know. Imagine that. Right. Um, I was, uh, I was in the first 2000 users of Twitter.

So I've been around for a long time and I gotta say like, Twitter search has become so good. Uh, in recent years when it used to be really, really bad. And what I find myself doing personally, and again, this may not apply if you are not an active Twitter, but the point is to demonstrate how I was observing my own behavior and saying, I keep going back to my browser.

I keep typing in I then go to the search box and I have to go to advanced search. And it's just like so inefficient, but I want to be able to do is have a thought, oh, I tweeted about this the other day and I want to add to my thread, how do I quickly get to it? And so, yeah, I started, uh, essentially map out my own behavior and then I built a workflow around it.

So what I think we could do. So, so go, go back to workflows and why don't you, we're going to we're to recreate some, some things here. So yeah, go ahead and, um, right. Click on the Twitter tool kit, and we're going to disable it. So there is a, there is a right click option here. So rather than nivo, 

Aron: [00:38:15] it's no longer disabled.

Chris: [00:38:17] Yeah. The reason why we're going to do that is because we're going to recreate some of these features very quickly. Cool. Right. So go ahead and create a new workflow. Yep. And so just call it blank. Perfect. We'll call this. You can call it my Twitter toolkit or whatever you want to call. It doesn't really matter.


Aron: [00:38:34] going to call it sewer, but light. 

Chris: [00:38:37] There we go. Perfect. Great. It's the 

Aron: [00:38:40] same, but just we're doing it live so people need to be less, less, less demanding of us and more understanding. Okay. Definitely productivity. This is 100%. Twitter is productivity. Obviously. Do I need to input anything else? 

Chris: [00:38:54] Uh, Nope.

It's all optional though. Some of those things in there are for, if you go deeper and you want to start, uh, let's say you create one workflow and you wanted to call another one, you know, that can sort of allow these things to talk to each other, but we're not going to deal with that right now. Cool. Um, I'll show you one more quick trick since you did download the Twitter app.

Is that right? Yep. I got the 

Aron: [00:39:14] Twitter app right here. 

Chris: [00:39:16] Okay. So double click on your, we don't need that just yet. Double click on the, uh, bring up that panel that you just had, uh, for the, the workflow and it details DoubleClick should both do it. Great. Now, activate Alfred and type TW. And what we're going to, what we're trying to do is we're going to get the icon.

So drag that. Item there into the well yep. Yep. Drop it there. Boom. Now you start to look professional right now. I'd say 

Aron: [00:39:46] this is, this is what makes me look professional, not the stream or the setup or the, this the, if you're, this is how Chris, you differentiate your people. Do they have the right? Okay. Um, okay, cool.

So, so how do we, where do we, how do we build this thing? 

Chris: [00:40:04] Okay. So we're going to do a couple things. Um, one of the things that I want to be able to do is be able to go to anybody's Twitter profile based on their username. I also ultimately will want to do searches. Um, and let's see what else. Um, oh, maybe I want to go to my notification.

Right. So I want to be able to do this all from Alfred. So what we're gonna do first is, um, right click. And this allows us to add in an object. And so there are a bunch of different choices here, and this is, you know, this gets a little bit confusing, but there is documentation on the off-road site. What we're going to start with is we're going to start with an input, which is a keyword, right?

So just like in that custom web search, right? This is where you create the keyword that you type in order to have the thing happen. Right? So this is just activating Alfred. And then what do you want to type to make something happen? So what we're going to do is we're going to use at the, at symbol, all right?

And now we know that usernames don't have a space, so remove space, and we're going to keep the argument required. This means that you have to type something after the keyword. 

Aron: [00:41:08] So the trigger, the trigger that's, it's not just the app. You have to actually type something after the app, which I imagine is going to 

Chris: [00:41:15] be the username.

Correct. And now for the title, this is where you're going to say, go to. We'll just use that text for now. Right. Uh, and then at, and then query. So query is whatever's being typed in the Alfred and now you can just hit save. Okay. So now activate Alfred and hit, uh, hit, uh yup. And now type exactly right, right now, because we haven't hooked that up to anything.

It doesn't do anything. Right. But that shows you kind of what we have is the basic building block here on how to activate it. So what we want to do is we want to open up a URL that will essentially load then the username. Right. 

Aron: [00:42:01] And the reason is, let me just kind of go to Twitter here.

If I go to use, that's what brings me to the username. 

Chris: [00:42:13] Exactly. Right. Right. Okay. 

Aron: [00:42:15] And so, 

Chris: [00:42:16] okay. So that makes sense. Pretty straightforward. So now, right. Yeah, so right. Click in the open space here and you're going to choose, I believe it's outputs maybe. Or is it I always, I always get lost.

Maybe it's actions, actions, open URL open. 

Aron: [00:42:33] There we go. 

Chris: [00:42:35] Yep. Perfect. Okay. So now this is a little bit different than, I mean, it's sort of like they took apart that custom web search UI. And so what you're going to do is just, you're going to type in and you need a HTTPS also. So a fully valid URL, uh, just get rid of the dub dub.

Aron: [00:42:56] Oh, right, right, right. 

Chris: [00:42:59] There we go. Okay. Okay. And now just, um, because you can go to Twitter usernames, I think, well, it's just at the root, so you're just going to type query at the end there. And so that'll take whatever text you typed into Alfred and put it into the URL, just like we did with that C. Got it.

So now go ahead and hit save. So now you have an app. And now you just got to link them together. Right. So that spot. Yep. Boom, boom. Easy. So now try that thing that you did again, where you launch Alfred type ads and then it username, this is yours, right? Yup. Boom. There we 

Aron: [00:43:35] go. Boom. Okay. So we can do anyone.

Chris: [00:43:40] Yeah, totally. Yeah. Who's who's yeah, there you go. Drop your, 

Aron: [00:43:44] drop, your drop, your handle of the chat. Drop your handle. You're going to get some, get some cred. That's awesome. That was actually very simple. So let me just walk it back to my understanding. So you're essentially saying, this is what triggers weary is everything that comes after.

Yep. Right? Yup. And so then you could then use that query that variable in other places throughout to say, okay. Like go to, uh, So folks want us to do there. 

Chris: [00:44:19] Yeah. We got some examples. Go ahead and pull them up. 

Aron: [00:44:25] Boom, 

Chris: [00:44:26] easy, fast and curious. I like it. There we go. 

Aron: [00:44:29] So easy. Okay. So I like that. I think that's simple.

How do we, okay, so let's do the first one. Username searches feels a little, probably harder. I feel maybe, maybe I'm 

Chris: [00:44:40] wrong. Uh, well, let's try it. So one of the things, um, okay, this, this one's great. I know, I know that you tweet a bit, right. So I tried to, um, okay. Go to, go to Twitter. Yeah. We're going to, we're going to sort of reverse engineer this one because I don't exactly know how this works.

So do a search. Uh, let's say for air table without the app.

Okay. Go ahead and hit enter. Okay. Now instantly you'll notice a few things. Um, about this first you have a URL, right. And you've got the query that's in there. Right. So we're going to use that. That's right. If you want to, um, let's see. So on the, on the very far, right, you see search filters. Yeah. Right. So why don't you choose people you follow now this adds something to the query string right here, which is the PF, which basically stands for personalization filter.

Got it. So if that's turned on, that will change all the search results to be personalized to you. Now, this is basically providing you, what's called the top search results. Whereas what you want to find, let's say might be the latest and most current tweets. Right? Right. So right here. Cool. Exactly. So now F equals live is the piece that changes the search to be the most recent tweets.

So now what we're gonna do is copy that entire URL. I can do that. And now, um, let's, let's create, uh, open URL, uh, right. Click and choose, uh, actions, open URL. Okay. Paste. And now change that query where it says air table to query probably quotes. Perfect. It's save, leave all the rest of the stuff. Okay. Okay.

Yep. Move it over there. And then, uh, what what's actually here, here's a little trick, um, tap on the, at symbol up there. Yup. Uh, and hit command C so copy and paste. We're just, okay. Yeah. Right now we're, let's change that to now. What's called that tweets use the keyword tweets. And now in this case, you do want yep.

Exactly a space and we'll say argument required and now let's use it for the latest tweets about got it. Uh, and then w w everybody out symbol there got an add symbol in there. All right. Right. Yep. Perfect. Cool. So connect now, link those two together. 

Aron: [00:47:20] Okay. So if I go tweet 

Chris: [00:47:24] and then, oh, do, um, tweet a dollar sign GME.

Aron: [00:47:32] Sure, 

Chris: [00:47:33] sure, sure. 

Aron: [00:47:37] Got it. So it goes into latest and it only takes people I follow. Correct. Which luckily don't tweet that much about GME. So this is, you know, it speaks highly of my, of my Twitter, Twitter thread. Okay. All right. So, 

Chris: [00:47:51] so, so now we're in here. I want to show you one more thing. Um, click on the, the, the little dots next to the search box there for Twitter.

Yep. And now do advanced search. Okay. Now, this is where you've got a bunch of amazing tools to cut and slice and dice Twitter results. So specifically what I want for you is to go down and where it says from these accounts, right? I'm going yeah, right here. That's two, you went from, so the one above it. Oh, right here.

Yeah. Yep. Put your username in there. 

Aron: [00:48:25] Uh, do I, yeah, so, okay, cool. So I'm searching my own tweets. 

Chris: [00:48:30] Yes. And now it's search, 

Aron: [00:48:33] but I don't tweet about GME. So 

Chris: [00:48:35] that's what we're doing right now is we're getting the link. We're just getting the link. Okay, cool. Okay. Right here. So grab that. Yep. Grab that URL. And actually what you'll notice is that it didn't actually include GME.

All it is is it's showing tweets from you. That's all we've done. 

Aron: [00:48:52] Okay. So just, okay. It filtered out. It didn't actually go Jamie. Uh, so let's, let's grab this and then. This is what we're building. So 

Chris: [00:49:02] we're gonna, we're gonna do two, two personal. Yep. So this will be, this will be perfect. So cool. Um, output a new, uh, open URL.

So actions, I think. Oops, sorry. That's okay. 

Aron: [00:49:16] I'm Canadian. I say, sorry for everything. This is what we are. I bump into people, bump into me and I started 

Chris: [00:49:23] saying, sorry. Okay. So, uh, what we're missing? Uh, I believe. Okay. So you'll see that next to from present three urine, right? There's the cue, but what we're missing is the texts that you've typed.

So to the left of the PO the left Perrin, put your curly quote query in there, right. And then, and now. Uh, Nope, because actually it's part of the query itself. So now just do a percent 20, so it's actually 

Aron: [00:49:57] a space. Okay. Got it. Uh, percent 

Chris: [00:50:00] percent percent sorry. Yep. There we go. Okay. And that had save good, 

Aron: [00:50:06] bold for life thing.

You're doing this on the fly. I'm very impressed, Chris. I feel like next week, you're going to be hosting this thing. Very impressed. Let's see if this works. I don't know how confident you are confident 

Chris: [00:50:17] you didn't hook anything up to it yet. So you got it. I know. I know. I know. I know. Copy paste. Copy paste.

Copy paste. Yep. Now, now let's perfect. Let's rename that to my, and then let's change the title to search my latest tweets for actually it should say four for search in my latest tweets for query. Perfect. I'd save now. Try it. Okay. 

Aron: [00:50:45] My 

Chris: [00:50:46] space, maybe air table. 

Aron: [00:50:48] Yeah.

Chris: [00:50:54] Nice. Boom, boom. I'm impressed. Right? Okay. We're going to do one thing here. One more thing. Okay. Uh, click on top. Cause we have this a request from government, right? So what changed in the URL here? Um, I guess we, it looks like maybe it removed something from 

Aron: [00:51:12] the ferry street there's like will 

Chris: [00:51:15] live cool. So we just need to remove that and those will be your top tweets.

So copy that whole thing. Exactly. Copy paste and yep. Go in there. Remove the ethicals live, get rid of that extra. Yep. Hit save. And now you're going to want to change the title. You can, you can keep it actually keep it as Mike. Keep it as my right. All right. Now go down into where it says search by latest.

Now change that to top search my top 


Aron: [00:51:46] All right. Cause yeah. Yeah. You're right. Well, how would I differentiate between these two? Oh, I just select the right one. Uh huh. Huh? Let's let's try it. Let's try it. Moments. Aha. Moments on the street. This is what we're here for. Okay. So my, my top air table tweets, talk to me more.


Chris: [00:52:07] I like it. Yep.

Aron: [00:52:12] Top. So Betsy, is this my top tweets? 

Chris: [00:52:17] It is based on, uh, either what? I dunno what the algorithm is. Um, but that's what, what, what Twitter thinks. 

Aron: [00:52:26] Got it. Okay. So this is what air tour things I have most like my top tweets about air table. Got it. Yeah. Got it. Oh, so it's like top in the sense of like the top 

Chris: [00:52:37] sort of like in the same way, like Twitter has the algorithmic feed and it also has like the reverse chronological feed, like latest is reverse chronological.

It's just whatever happened the most recently. Got it. Got it. 

Aron: [00:52:48] Right. Um, cool. So where do we, so I kind of, I, I understand this model now where we're saying take, you know, something that I read in, put it into a URL, but I feel like your toolkits go beyond this. So what are, are there some like routing rules?

What, where can we up-level this from? 

Chris: [00:53:11] Okay. So let me, let me show you one more, one more thing. Um, go back to Twitter. One of the things that I do pretty obsessively is I use a lot of the features, so I will oftentimes be checking my notifications. Right. So go ahead and click on notifications and let's grab that URL.

Aron: [00:53:29] Yeah. Okay. Slash notifications. Got it. 

Chris: [00:53:32] Yep. Now let's go back to here. Yep. And if you want, you could actually just copy and paste that very, you have the top one, right?

Aron: [00:53:42] So note if notifications, 

Chris: [00:53:45] so what I do is I actually use, uh, excellent exclamation point. So just bang. Yep, exactly. Um, so with space and then, okay, so go to notifications. Great. That change where it says to the right of what space you don't need an argument, right? No. Okay. 

Aron: [00:54:01] So you're just saying whenever a rate exclamation, but just go, like you don't need to, there's a query essentially.

There's no variable. That's right. Got it. That's right. Good. Cool. 

Chris: [00:54:10] Then we just go to this. It'll just be notifications 

Aron: [00:54:13] slash for gifts, for the reason why. There we go. Cool. Save 

Chris: [00:54:19] that.

I liked her and boom. Right? So the whole idea here is to sometimes you need a query. Sometimes you don't, sometimes you just want a fast way of opening up, you know, and getting to like the stuff, uh, that, that you access on a regular. Now, why did I do it this way? Well, uh, because lots of different platforms have notifications.

And so what I wanted to do was to train myself, to be able to use the exclamation point, to be able to see all of my different, uh, service notifications, or I use the interesting like symbol to be able to look across all of the different platforms to be able to, uh, open up those, those profiles. Right. So, so does, does the table forum, you guys have you, do you guys have usernames or no?

Aron: [00:55:10] I think so. And I think like, I don't think the air table forums that popular that I would build like shortcuts, I will say. And this is an aside and maybe we'll have a separate conversation about this. So I actually built like a mini custom key. 

Chris: [00:55:24] Oh, wait, if you can see it. Oh, that's amazing. And where you can do with this 

Aron: [00:55:29] actually Alfred.

So D aside, and I'm sorry about this, but I have to show you 

Chris: [00:55:35] this in the sense of like, see it by the way that you just demonstrated using Alfred to launch this. So 

Aron: [00:55:39] yes, yes. So this has a tie in, but, uh, so essentially what I do with this one, uh, this is not the right. So I have, um, uh, for a webinar giving air table, I have to open seven tabs at once.

And so I coded one of these bonds to open all of those tabs. So what it does is like it goes to a URL, opens a new tab, goes to that, URL opens a new tab and it does that. And honestly, it's, it, it justifies everything. I invested to learn this little thing. Uh, I also use it as a stream deck for the stream, but I'm wondering just we don't have to do it on the stream.

Is that something I could do on offer it of like open these sessions? 

Chris: [00:56:20] Let's see how fast we can do it. Do you have the tab URL? 

Aron: [00:56:23] I, I know what they are. I'll just, let's say I'll just open center 

Chris: [00:56:26] based. So there'll be the same. Let's create a new workflow. Okay. And 

Aron: [00:56:31] we will w will I lose? I spent a lot of time building those things.

Chris: [00:56:36] Well, I lose going to be better. 

Aron: [00:56:40] I mean, it's got little dials on it, like, so that's good. 

Chris: [00:56:43] Nope. I mean, it's super dope. Yeah. Well, you don't take back that key and instead, you know, use it for something 

Aron: [00:56:50] different, but I welded this thing. This is like soldier 

Chris: [00:56:54] on, I call it soldiered or soldered. Cause, um, 

Aron: [00:56:59] yeah, I guess it's soldered.

I like soldered, but uh, does anyone want this? I'll just, I'll descend it, whatever. Don't be like a gift actually have 10 of these that like, wow. Cause I bought a 10 because it was like cheaper to buy it. 

Chris: [00:57:15] So, 

Aron: [00:57:17] yeah, I can, I can say 

Chris: [00:57:18] that too. Totally. I would like totally. I would like wire that up to my, my, uh, my Twitter toolkit.

So I can just like, press buttons and like, you know, magically, I mean, with carabiner, you probably could do that for sure. No. So this 

Aron: [00:57:30] actually, you, you don't need carabiner cause like, so sorry, we're going on a tangent here and I'm sorry about it, but, um, I'm keen because, so this actually maps to, like, you can say, when I press this button, do you like press this button in?

Cause it is a keyboard. It has that functionality. Cause there's a library. So you could use this 

Chris: [00:57:51] directly. So basically it would be like, yeah. And activate something and then right. But look how 

Aron: [00:57:56] cute it is. I can't, I can't not do it. Um, okay. So I'm sorry. I'm sorry. That was an aside. Uh, um, if anyone wants one DME on Twitter, so this is, uh, so it's an Arduino chip on top of a thing called the retro game.

Uh, which, and they call it a macro keyboard. Cause you can trigger macros from, of course are, do we know? And uh, so the last thing on this is that the other thing I'm building is like a little light that could turn on from the stream chat and I got it to work. Uh, but I just need to like build a bigger light behind me that folks can control.

Uh, and uh, so everything under here under the stream that folks can't see is just like, are, do we know shit that I need to like build, so, 

Chris: [00:58:47] okay. You gotta like pull together your, your knitting, uh, habit with your Arduino. And then that would be 

Aron: [00:58:52] it, dude, if I wouldn't work, when would I work? I need to, I would just, you know, I would.

Okay. Okay. But I'm curious. Okay. So how would I open multiple? Uh, so 

Chris: [00:59:04] like again, like such a good example where, uh, we're just going to hack our way through. And that's like getting to that point with Alfred, I think is so useful. So because, you know, we want to create this almost like a workspace for your Twitter stuff.

Like maybe there's other Twitter features that you want to add. Later, later, we're going to create a new workflow rather than putting it into here. Go ahead and create a new one. Maybe, you know, if you want to call it, um, macro, that might help you help you remember it. Cool. 

Aron: [00:59:32] Got it done. So whatever opens a bunch of tabs.


Chris: [00:59:37] It is these, by the way, these descriptions and stuff like those are primarily for if you're publishing or sharing your workflow. Um, what are the things that also might be, oh yeah, you got to double it. Oh, you got it yet. Open the panel. I 

Aron: [00:59:51] got to, I'm going to put the Arduino because that's what you're replacing.

That feels sad. 

Chris: [00:59:56] No, it's, you know, this is the perfect 

Aron: [00:59:58] feel. A little sad about that. There we go. It's a sad, or do we know it's not a happier, do we know 

Chris: [01:00:01] it's a burden? Yeah, it's kinda, it's kinda like I got punched in the eye. 

Aron: [01:00:06] Yeah. A little bit. Okay. 

Chris: [01:00:08] So you've, you've got, we've got a couple options here. Why don't we create a keyword trigger?

Let's call it macro. Sure. 

Aron: [01:00:16] A hot 

Chris: [01:00:17] key input. 

Aron: [01:00:18] Oh, key. 

Chris: [01:00:21] Well, we'll get there. Uh, so 

Aron: [01:00:24] inputs, inputs, inputs. It's keyword. Okay. That, that is confusing to me, but, uh, so we're saying macro 

Chris: [01:00:32] macro? Yep. No, no space, no argument. Okay, cool. Exactly. And then title should be once my tabs or something. Okay. Got it. Safe. Great.

Okay. Okay. Now again, just like we did before, right. Click and then open URL, right? Action. Open URL.

Aron: [01:00:55] Okay. So let's say my first one is Eric. Um, let me open up some bases here. Let's say, let me go to my Google Chrome. Let's go to irritate me.

In a shadow to air If you ever want to catch that webinar, I am the host of, uh, two of them. I co-host, the power up one is the one where I open a bunch of tabs. So, uh, you know, let's open, let's open a few of these, like let's say this one. Okay. I want to open that save. 

Chris: [01:01:28] Okay. So you just copy and paste that, right?

Aron: [01:01:32] Yeah. Yeah. There's nothing else to do. Yeah. So just save that one. 

Chris: [01:01:35] Yep. So copy that object paste. So does 

Aron: [01:01:39] just this one. 

Chris: [01:01:40] Yep. Yep, exactly. 

Aron: [01:01:42] And scratches. Do this. 

Chris: [01:01:45] Imagine that  

Aron: [01:01:46] no, dude, you can't tell me. I spent hundreds of dollars trying to figure out how this works. And I had Alfred 

Chris: [01:01:52] and add a few more out, a few more, more links there.

Mean we got to make sure this is, this is sufficiently mine. Okay, thank you. Copy. Copy. Two of those objects, those URL objects over in the Alfred. Yep. Yeah. Great. You start to see, this gets a little exponential. 

Aron: [01:02:15] Okay. So let's say this one opens the same one, but with the block, let's say this one opens like that.

Yeah, because that's one of them as well. Then this one opens, like, I don't know. I usually have a script, so let's just go That'll be my script safe. Okay. So you're saying go for it. If I just, if I just, so let me do I know. Okay. Let's just so 

Chris: [01:02:41] clothes, clothes, maybe, maybe, uh, create a new, a new browser window, right?

So command N yup. That works. I feel like you're judging 

Aron: [01:02:51] me cause I didn't use it. You're like, oh, look at this noob and his mouse. I feel like I'm back in my like finance days where people are judging me from using my mouse. Okay. So you're saying, so you're saying just do macro. 

Chris: [01:03:05] Good. Let's see what happens.

Aron: [01:03:07] Damn. The worst part of this is they are. Okay. So we're going to do it. This is success. This is a success right here. So we're going to, I have a macro, when I write success in the chair that it makes confetti fall on that 

Chris: [01:03:22] stream. Nice. 

Aron: [01:03:23] So, uh, I'm really impressed 

Chris: [01:03:25] and let's, let's do one more. Let's do it.

Let's do it. One more quick thing here. So close, close this window, the, the Chrome window. So, so people will know we're not, we're not cheating. Yeah. Yeah. Go back to Alfred. Rick announced to the hockey. Okay. And then Nope. Nope, Nope. Nope. So you have a new, a new object Newt and the trigger is a hockey. All right.

Let's let's use. I mean, I would use typically all three control option command. And then for you, you maybe w or I'm sorry, M for macro. Yeah, that was in there or that yep. That works. It's saved. Okay. And now you can actually take that hot key. No, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope. The other way, go to macro the keyword.

You're going to 

Aron: [01:04:13] macro the keyword. 

Chris: [01:04:15] No, no, no. Nope. So go to your hot key. Yup. Yup. Grab that little thing that comes out and then plug that into the macro keyword. Got it. There you go. 

Aron: [01:04:24] Great. This isn't I know this is insulting your sensibilities here, so it feels bad. 

Chris: [01:04:31] It feels go. Now, now, now try to see if it works, command shift, M O but then I still have to write so here's here's so, so this is where I did it wrong.

What we did was we basically passed in. Let me see, go, um, double click on that.

And then action. No. Okay. I got it. So we're, I'm doing the trunk, so cancel this. Okay. I got it. Uh, like I said, we're hacking this, so yeah. Uh, so drag your hot key above the macro key above your Mac pro. Yep. Now click on the link between the hot key and the keyword and then hit, delete. Okay. Okay. Now, right click.

I know out in the blank blank space and then choose utilities, I think. Yeah. And use junction. I think it's 

Aron: [01:05:25] junction. Yeah. Oh, got it. Okay, cool. So then I'm moving. 

Chris: [01:05:31] So you're gonna need to delete all those previous connections to all those URLs and then plug them into the junction. 

Aron: [01:05:38] So for folks who are regulars on the stream, we're not going to talk about junction tables.

I know people get very excited on the stream, where we talked about the junction and they get it. That, uh, uh, uh, uh, that they were going to do, uh, Jackson tables. This is not it's as a junction. Whoa. 

Chris: [01:05:54] Wrong side. Get wrong side. 

Aron: [01:05:58] That was weird. It's like not letting me, oh. Oh, I can just go the other way. Just go the other way.

Chris: [01:06:04] That's fine. Okay. There we go. That's weird. Okay. 

Aron: [01:06:07] So there's the saying, no matter where you start, whether you start with the hockey or the macro go with, to this 

Chris: [01:06:13] that's right. That's right. So now, now I'll see if that works. 

Aron: [01:06:16] Hopefully this will control shift. M 

Chris: [01:06:20] dude, there is huge. There it is. 

Aron: [01:06:24] So just new window control shift, and this is like, I don't even need to oh man.

Hmm. Okay. But, so I'll treat in the chat is letting me know that I can actually connect my macro Mike or do we know keyboard. Yeah. Uh, so I'm happy to know that I'm not going to have to throw this 

Chris: [01:06:43] out. You can still use it, right. But you could actually like hook your Arduino thing up to Alfred, and now you have so much more control and visibility without even writing code.

Aron: [01:06:52] I think that's true. But I had so much like props and I felt I had chops of like, oh, I wrote this in like super 

Chris: [01:06:57] niche. I'm not going to take it away from you. I'm not going to take it away from you. I am very proud of you. I would not have been able to do that. So this is, this is my brute force way of doing things.

Aron: [01:07:06] I actually think it's much more elegant and much more in line with my beliefs and kind of like what I usually build this was, this is like the odd thing out. Uh, but I will find a good use case for it. And, and, uh, cool. So, uh, this is dope. So I guess I do want to, like, we've been kind of hacking around for an hour and I hope that folks kind of get an understanding of all of the possibilities here.

Um, I do want to kind of do so here, I'll ask you, Chris, do you, do you want to do. Twitter toolkit. And talk a little bit about how to mete this. Do you want to do the create task in air table from, uh, um, cause I know you're an irritable user, so, or in the chat, but what do folks do you prefer seeing learning a little bit more about this or do folks want to do, uh, um, uh, air table?

What do you prefer, Chris? 

Chris: [01:08:07] Sorry. Uh, zoom cross for me. Um, no, you're good. 

Aron: [01:08:10] You're good. On the screen. I've got a direct feed into your camera, so you're good. That's 

Chris: [01:08:13] right. Okay. But so what I missed what you said though. 

Aron: [01:08:16] Oh, okay. Sworn part. Um, do you want to do, uh, um, the Twitter toolkit or do you want to do well?

Chris: [01:08:27] Let's do your thing. Yeah. As I said, the Zapier. 

Aron: [01:08:31] I I, this was, I did so. Okay. So for folks who maybe are new to the stream, I manage my life and in my work all in air table, and actually zoom was a big challenge because in zoom before today, actually like you couldn't go out of the interface. If like someone was talking, it would take up your whole screen and something I had to do, like people would be like, oh, we need to do this.

And I, I wanted to like create a task or create an action item. And in the base I work out of, uh, without like clicking out of the interface and not having eye contact with them. And, uh, um, so folks, uh, um, I kind of hacked together this thing, right? Which uses actually some of my favorite stuff, which is a web hook.

Uh, so for folks want notion in the chat, I would be happy to do notion, but they don't have an API. So this doesn't work, unfortunately as much as it breaks. We're going to have to do air table. Um, so let's kind of imagine this is a work around my understand. Have you seen this before, Chris? Have you seen this workflow before?

Or have you 

Chris: [01:09:40] let's let's say I have it. Let's see. I've forgotten everything about this workflow. 

Aron: [01:09:44] So what this does is it uses that the zap key word. So it says zap, which could be like task. It could be whatever. And then it's, then it sends as a query, whatever is after that space. Right. Um, and so from there, and, and frankly, you know, this, this will work with whatever tool you're using.

So this is not an air table specific, any tool that integrates with a Zapier this will work with, so I use it for air table, but really I want everyone to generalize to whatever tool they use. Um, we'll send that query. Everything after to, uh, zap here and how it does that is it runs a curl command. So it goes to the zap URL, web hook URL, and then adds a variable called name and then the query, which is what you inputted.

And so folks were, you know, often come to the stream are familiar with web hooks. If, if you haven't come before that web hook just is a URL that Zapier can just take everything that's after the kind of a question mark, um, let's do that. And then that zap URL is in these options. I didn't really talk about workflow level variables.

I'm not that familiar. Are you familiar with these kinds of Lev web hosts? Okay. Talk to you a little bit about what this like environment variables are. 

Chris: [01:11:15] Let me, uh, let's, let's do a real example. So cancel out of this and go back to your, your Twitter toolkit, but live, 

Aron: [01:11:22] I love the name. 

Chris: [01:11:25] Okay. So, uh, click on the X, uh, that's up there.

This is your workflow environment variables and about the workflow. So was a little bit confusing cause you have like, kind of like the settings for the workflow and then you have the about and workflow, uh, variables. Um, one of the things that we did here or for you was of course we're searching on your tweets, right?

So when you search for my that'll only be relative to you and it uses your, your, your, your username right here, uh, in the query, right? Yeah. Uh, yes. Where it says from exactly. Okay. So cancel out of this and go back to the X there, and now we're going to create a new environment, variable, so hit plus, and then the name will be username.

Yup. And then the value will be your username. So fill in the value there. Okay. Now just quickly before you close this, where it says don't export, what that means is like, for example, if you have an API key, then if you share this workflow, you don't want it to be the value of that API key to be included.

Right. And so you click on don't export. So go ahead and turn that on because you don't want to export your username right now. I would say it's private information. Yep. Basically, or just information that's personal and go back to your URL there on my yup. Uh, double click that. And now where it had your username, now you're going to type in, uh, curly brackets, VAR colon, and then username.

What is this? The colon? Yep. That is a colon. Does the semicolon has a comma in it? English is my 

Aron: [01:13:02] third language just saying, so, you know, I got excuses, uh, 

Chris: [01:13:08] and then user and user name. Yep. And then it's the same thing. Close the query. Yep, exactly. So that's pulling the environment variable and the value and it's plugging it into the URL.

Got it. And you're gonna want to do that for the other one to the other, um, my right here. Yeah. Yep. Yup. 

Aron: [01:13:29] That's good. 

Chris: [01:13:29] VAR. The reason why this is valuable, useful and important is because you can set a lot of different variables and then pull them into your workflow. Got it. 

Aron: [01:13:39] Got it. Okay, cool. So, right. That makes sense.

Chris: [01:13:41] For example, just to give you, uh, hold on, just like I need an example of where this would be useful is that you actually have multiple air table basis. And what you could do is you could actually create multiple workflows for each base and all you would do is you would go into those variables and you would change, let's say the, uh, the table ID or the air table.

Um, yeah, they're all identified by like some crazy, yeah. They 

Aron: [01:14:05] have like a table, they have a unique identifier. Exactly. Uh, 

Chris: [01:14:08] so that way you could actually. Um, create a workflow per each base that you're working on. 

Aron: [01:14:14] Yeah. So penny, this is this three. This is, uh, a way to say two dots in a URL. So that AI is actually important.

Chris: [01:14:23] is the URL and coding for a correct colon? 

Aron: [01:14:27] Exactly. So this is good. This should be there. Okay, cool. Um, okay. So coming back here, coming here. So this is, if I ever export this, this is saying I should actually not export this if I ever share it. Right. Which is the URL of Zapier. So let's actually build one from scratch.

Uh, and I'll kind of, uh, maybe not from scratch, but maybe I'll adapt it to a new, we work with last one. Right? So let's go ahead. 

Chris: [01:14:54] Well, maybe one more thing that we want to clarify, uh, go back to Alfred and then under the, where it says. Yeah on the right open that up. So what's important here is, you know, the, the language is in the top left there.

So reference supports multiple languages. Uh, OAS script S is apple script. So if you know how to write apple scripts, then you can write apple script in here, if you want to write PHP or Ruby. So this is where Albert gets incredibly powerful and goes into way above my pay grade, but you can either use bash or Z shell, uh, to execute these scripts.

And essentially if you use bash, then whatever you type into this box is more or less the same thing as though you opened up a terminal and typed in this case curl and then the web hook URL. So that's, that's just what we're looking at here. 

Aron: [01:15:36] Interesting. So we, yeah, so, uh, yeah, this is kind of, I mean, I'm not, I, I can write like some, some simple code, but I can imagine that there's a lot of, like, if I ever want to do anything, I could kind of find code.

The Alfred website and things like that in pop, keep copy 

Chris: [01:15:53] basically. Yeah. Or, you know, I find a bunch, um, you know, on stack overflow or like places like that, one of the things. So while we're here, why don't I show you one more quick thing? Sure. Down next to open that back up. Nope. Get ahead of me. Uh, one of the things that sometimes you need to do is actually edit or see the internal workings of a workflow.

And the way to do that is down next to the cancel button to the left of the cancel button is a very, uh, like strange looking icon, click that, and that will actually open the workflow fi in, in finder. Oh, switch to the list view. Yes, sir. All right. So here here's basically, these are, this is what makes up this workflow.

These are the guts, this workflow. Got 

Aron: [01:16:36] it. So it's actually like to, yeah, like do, I don't want to open that up, but 

Chris: [01:16:43] I am open as you open it up, but so that's just a text file. Right? It's got a bunch of like the settings. Uh, but you can see 

Aron: [01:16:51] great 

Chris: [01:16:52] somewhere in there. Right? So there's a couple of things. One there's the read me.

Right? So that's all the texts that we saw in the, about this workflow thing. And then if you scroll down, you'll eventually see that curl command in here. It keeps scrolling down somewhere. But anyways, it's just a, yeah, there we go. 

Aron: [01:17:09] Yup. Interesting. Okay. Okay. So that's, that's like advanced, that's like, that's like folks who really want to go into the 

Chris: [01:17:18] guts.

You might want to know that is because that is something that you'll, you'll probably notice and see in other workflows. And so if you want to do, that's what they share. For example, there's a bunch of workflows out there that are designed for Alfred three. And of course now we're in Alfred four. And what happens is somebody scripts will test to see what version of it Alfred is.

And sometimes like, they'll still work. They'll still be functional, but it's like, oh, this is Alfred. Above alpha three, then don't work and you have to go in and tweak it. So got it. What's nice about that. Is that, that means that all workflows are basically open source. Got it. 

Aron: [01:17:50] That's really cool. Okay. Yeah.

Um, okay. Let's try it. I actually have to jump my brain of how I created this. So let's go into Zapier in, I don't know how many folks are familiar with Zapier, let me know in the chat, but we're going to make a new zap. Oh, I don't want to insulting us on the stream. Okay. So we we're going to catch a hook.

So catching a hook. So we're gonna catch hook. And that's just saying, you know, that curl is, uh, a post to a specific URL. It's actually probably a get a post that goes to the URL and anything that's after the URL, that's provided becomes a variable that you can then use in a Zapier. So let me, let me kind of explain here what this means.

So I'm catching a hook. It gives me a URL. So let's just go to that URL. And when you open a new URL, so I'm just doing test 1, 2, 3, putting this is saying, go to the URL and the variable we're inputting his name. And that value is test 1, 2, 3. It says, oh, it worked. And now if I say, continue and test the trigger, I have test 1, 2, 3.

So that connection, we're going to write some texts in Alfred that is like zap. Some text is going to go to that URL. And then Zachary is going to be like, oh, you inputted some texts. I have that as a variable, what do you want me to do with it? Right. And so from there really, like, I hate this. I just gonna say like, the world is your oyster, right?

So like you can use any of 2000 plus. Zaps or so I use air table, but like, if you're a fan of Trello or a hook, whatever you, whatever cloud software slack, I think 

Chris: [01:19:44] like what's important to understand about this is we're starting to show how you make this desktop software and start to actually manipulate web services through the simple command interface.

And so you can go as complex or as simple as you want to do, you know, based on what you're, you're trying to accomplish. 

Aron: [01:20:06] So in this case, we're going to go to air table. You're totally right. Like, and zap your, once you start zap use APS, I yeah, whatever. Uh, once you start playing around with it, you kind of under like I write code in Zapier and do a bunch of stuff.

Uh, so this is for folks who are familiar with the stream. This is something we do quite regularly. So we're going to create a new record, right? So let's go into my air table.

And let's go into my live stream. I think this is 33. Yep. Alfred app. Yep. We're going to go into my task table. So, and here, we're going to go and get that what we had from step one. So query string, we're saying test 1, 2, 3. So how I used it was like, I just want a task. I want to reminder that I need to do something and then I don't remember what statuses were possible here.

So let's go back here. I think I had like the default ones, so let's default it to, to do about that. That feels right. So we're going to enter to do, there we go. That's just inputting the value. Continuous. Test that out test and review

it worked. If we go here, we have test 1, 2, 3. Right. Sorry for like the simplicity of this base, but I kind of hacked it together before. So, and then what I used to actually do is send myself a slack message to say like, Hey, uh, um, you know, uh, um, like input it. Uh, um, so, so yeah, folks, like I personally pay for Zapier, like in my life.

So I highly recommend that everybody else does it. If it's worth it, like you start using it and then upgrade. Uh, so I don't know if you can use Webhooks in Zapier without paying. I don't think so. So you know, something to think about maybe, 

Chris: [01:22:07] um, maybe IFT I'd be another 

Aron: [01:22:09] option. Maybe I never used it. If I've been a Zapier con I've been converted to Zapier so long ago that like, uh, yeah, integrity might, might be a good option as well, but whatever, there's a bunch of tools, anything works that the framework that we're building is actually the same that you'll use.

Uh, so I usually, I usually, uh, send myself woo. Cyber has gotten pretty aggressive on turning on the zap. Cause I think a lot of people missed. So 

Chris: [01:22:39] why isn't I was one of them, like they probably like, you know, reduce their support queries by like 50%, 100%. 

Aron: [01:22:47] Yeah, exactly. So catch hook, create record in air table.

So what this, so right now it's not gonna work because we haven't set up the variable with the right URL. Right. So we haven't, so we need this to be that workflow level. Um, Nope, not a remote page. Yeah. So let me change this to the one we just created. Let's save that. Okay. This theoretically works. Uh, huh.

Okay. So 

Chris: [01:23:23] said, show, show, air, table, show your table, and then show that, that base. Cause you can show the live updating. Right, 

Aron: [01:23:29] right. You're right. You're totally right. Um, I, you are so confident in my ability to do this. I usually hide. And that way I can like, you know, but you're right. I believe zap. Uh, so usually what I would do this as like okay.

You know, talk to Jeff later today about XYZ.

Chris: [01:23:50] Boom, boom, boom. That's pretty cool. Magic of the interwebs. Yeah, 

Aron: [01:23:55] totally. This is another success we can do another success there. Uh, so, so yeah, no, I think, and I hope what I hope people kind of take away from this is not like opening URLs or, you know, integrating with zap here. What I hope kind of people take away is this like having a layer of automation on top of whatever else you use.

And I think. The way you framed it as like, see what you're doing over and over again, and then see Alfred as a way to, to, to automate that. 

Chris: [01:24:32] Yeah. I mean, we barely scratched the surface. Like literally, like what you have just done was Zapier could be done entirely within Alfred. You might have to like write a little code or, you know, go a little deeper, but, um, just in the same way.

So Zapier sort of is this like, you know, massive piece of code that connects to all these inputs and outputs and all these different web services and handles authentication and authorization and all that. But if you're able or willing to do some of those things, um, on, or within Alfred, like it's super fast, very performative.

Um, you can also hook up notifications. Um, so w you know, like in this case you could have another web hook that actually pings back to, right. I don't know either Alfred or someplace else. It's the basis that yes, this, this worked and here's a notification that says that. 

Aron: [01:25:19] Amazing. Okay. So I think what we'll end it here, but what I'll say is like, Chris, we need to have you come back and we'll, we'll 

Chris: [01:25:27] start from here.

Barely scratch the surface here. 

Aron: [01:25:30] And we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll go and we'll build from here. So I'm sure a lot of folks are really keen on learning more about, uh, all Fred. So I know you have a sub stack where you exclusively talk about offer it. So drop that in the chat, uh, and let us know, give everyone in the chat, give Chris some love.

Uh, we're going to be heading out here. I really appreciate all of you joining, uh, always fun to kind of bring on a new tool, bring on a new face on the stream, Chris, uh, you know, huge, thanks to you for joining. I hope you'll come back and, uh, you know, we'll, we'll start from here and we'll level up. So huge.

Thanks to you for joining. 

Chris: [01:26:06] Totally. Now this, this is super fun. This is great to just get like a baseline and now I need to like, you know, watch all your back issues so I can like learn all the great, like. 

Aron: [01:26:16] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, no. So next week we've got, we're doing, I actually, this might be interesting. We're doing iOS shortcuts with Matthew  

Chris: [01:26:23] next week.

Oh, oh, perfect. Did I put you in touch with him? 

Aron: [01:26:27] Uh, I don't know. I don't think so. I think he just, he just we're we're all net. We're all, you know, some niche automators  

Chris: [01:26:35] whole automation vibe. Exactly. Yeah. 

Aron: [01:26:37] And so they all come to the stream. So with that, a huge thanks to you, Chris, again means the world to me that you join and a huge thanks to all of you for coming.

I'll see you back next week. Uh, so, you know, whatever follow subscribe, do whatever you need to do, uh, that we'll bring you back next week. Uh, but true pleasure hosting these and uh, I'll let you go for today. Bye everyone. 

Chris: [01:26:58] Awesome. Thank you. All right. Thanks penny. 

Aron: [01:27:00] Thanks Callie. And have a go ahead.

Key takeaways

Similar streams

Oh no! No videos within this category were found.