Archive for November, 2009

Birthday Reminder with the help of Automator, Growl and iCal on Mac OS X

November 24th, 2009 3 comments

If you are like me, you have all the gadgets in the World, yet you cannot be properly reminded of your friends’ and family members’ birthdays. I have the birthdays jotted down in Address Book. My iCal is configured to show the birthdays as an event, but how often do I look at my calendar? Not very often. Even if I look at it, I glance at the upcoming birthday then I promptly forget it, because my mind is preoccupied with other things. This has been a pet peeve of mine for ages, and finally I found a solution. It is not a unique solution, you might find it elsewhere on the web. It is, however a good working solution. What it does is basically setting a reminder (in my case for Monday morning) to let you know about upcoming birthdays for the week ahead of you. I’ll explain how this works below.

Here’s what you need to get going:

  1. A Mac OS X computer (preferably Leopard or Snow Leopard, not tested on earlier versions)
  2. A copy of Growl (1.2 or higher)
  3. This updated Growl Automator workflow
  4. iCal (built into OS X)
  5. Address Book (built into OS X)


1. Set up a Smart Folder in your Address Book. Mine is called “This Week” and it looks ahead 7 days.

2. Open Automator and install the downloaded and unzipped Growl Automator workflow. Then create a new workflow. Drag the following items in in the same order:

  1. Find Address Book People (set it to find people, where all of the following are true: Birthday is in the next 7 days)
  2. Get Contact Information (I have selected first and last name and email address)
  3. Show Growl Notification (the one you just installed from the downloaded zip file) (you should make this sticky, just in case you’re not in front of your computer when it shows)

3.Test your workflow and make sure it’s performing appropriately to your needs.

4. Save your workflow into a safe place. Then save it as an application to your Applications folder. It’s good to save the workflow first, in case you need to go back and make changes. Afterwards all you have to do is replace your previously saved app and you’re good to go.

5. Open iCal and make a new event for let’s say Monday morning at 10 AM. Set the alarm to open a file (point to your newly created automator application).

Then wait till Monday morning patiently… Or you can be like me and make another event in 5 minutes’ time to test things.

Special thanks to @binaryassist (Lee Hoong, FileMaker Developer): for providing his help with glitches.

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Importing RSS Feed Into FileMaker with XSLT – Take Two

November 19th, 2009 No comments

Per popular request I updated the article on Importing RSS Feed Into FileMaker with XSLT. I made some edits and also now you can download a demo file.

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