30 Jan

Hooked on CronniX

I turned to cron/crontab in order to run an Automator application and Transmit to (sometimes) smoothly synchronise the daily movies on my iMac with those on the remote server.  Then I learned much of the hard work I was scripting could be done from within my beloved EvoCam. However, EvoCam does not appear to be able to handle the archiving part of the operation. At least not to my specifications.

So I returned to Automator and created a three-step workflow to take the two movies created daily, rename them with their creation date as part of the file name, and then move those to another local directory.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am not a *nix guru.  Not even close.  But I can search, read, and follow directions. Plus, I am not trying to schedule something challenging. In this case, all I need to do is run my Automator application each day at five minutes after midnight. With a few keystrokes I was in Terminal.app and had my schedule:

5 0 * * * /Applications/FarmCamArchive.app

That translates to running my three-step Automator application every day at 12:05am (crontab.guru is a great cron deciphering tool). Plug in your own variables and it will instantly translate it to English.

All was well until I reformatted the iMac’s drive and did a fresh install of macOS. Suddenly my cron wasn’t working. I could run the Automator application, but it wasn’t running on its own anymore. I ran a few tests on the iMac with little success, and then decided to try a free graphical app I had called CronniX. This is a great app if you are a n00b to all this, and just need to automate a few things. I found my solution through a checkbox in the CronniX settings to “prepend /usr/bin/open”. YMMV.

Now I am inspired to try a few other scheduled tasks. The next one is a monthly archiving of the daily movies that are on my local drive. So I wrote an Automator workflow to take a month’s worth of timelapses (x2!), compress them to a ZIP, rename them with their creation date, and move the originals to the system trash.  The schedule for that job is:

10 0 1 * * /Applications/MonthlyArchive.app

The Automator was a little more confusing to get right, but that’s another story.

Anyway, it was great fun learning a new thing, and finding a free tool to make things a little bit easier for novice like me.

What to CronniX next?

* sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the title. I was going for the straight-up weed references, but this is kinda a twofer.

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