Mac Automation: create a Mail-triggered "spy cam"
Continue reading to learn how to create the Mac spy cam.
Creating the Automator workflow
Let's first create the Automator workflow; this will take the picture and e-mail it to you. To create this workflow, just place the following Automator actions together (in the same order):
- Take Video Snapshot
- New Mail Message
- Send Outgoing Messages
Let's save the Automator workflow somewhere where you can find it later (for instance, you may want to create an "Automator" directory in your Documents directory). In Automator, click File > Save, select "Application" from the "Format" drop down box; type a file name, then click save.
Creating the AppleScript
This is going to be an extremely simple AppleScript, since Mail.app will open via the Automator action and that's about all we need. Open the Script Editor.app (found in ~/Applications/AppleScript/ ). Paste the following script into the editor (if you saved your Automator workflow as a different name, replace the "Take Pictures and E-mail" to the name of your saved workflow).
tell application "Take Picture and E-mail" to launch
Creating the mail rules
To link all the parts together, let's create the Mail rules. Open Mail.app's preferences (command + , ) then click Rules. Click the "Add Rule" button. Type a description and select "All" for the "If ALL of the following conditions are met."
Now let's add the conditions (you will have to click the plus sign to add more conditions):
- From ... Contains ... email@example.com
- Subject ... Is Equal To ... System&*Pic
- Message Content ... Contains ... Picture
- Set Color ... of Background ... Blue
- Run AppleScript ...
Running the Script
To run the script, all you need to do is send an e-mail from the account specified with "System&*Pic" in the subject line, and "Picture" in the body of your message.
- Please note that scripts such as these may be used against you by: co-workers, roommates, friends, crazy monkeys, and people on Digg
- By changing the subject line condition to be a "password," you will decrease the likeliness that #1 will happen
- You can include unusual characters for message content conditions (i.e. #, @, or ^) in order to avoid accidentally running a script that you didn't want (for example use: #shutdown# instead of just shutdown)
- It is also a good idea to have Mail.app check for new messages often for this to work well
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