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Use Keyboard Maestro to get ready for podcast recording

When you##Q##re in the middle of recording a podcast, chances are you##Q##d like your Mac to be focused on that job — not other network-hungry activities like syncing Dropbox, or CPU and disk-intensive tasks like saving a Time Machine backup.

Gabe at Macdrifter wrote about his Pause TimeMachine Macro, which he uses when he starts using Skype. He adds that he knows there are other (potentially “better”) ways to do this, but that his was just a fast and dirty solution.

Seeing Gabe##Q##s macros reminded me that I wanted something like this for when I am recording the Impolite Company podcast. Gabe##Q##s macro enables and disables Time Machine, but I also want to enable and disable CrashPlan and Dropbox.

Like Gabe, I have a tendency to forget to turn things back on, so I wanted to automate this as much as possible. Since I tend to only run Skype when I am actively recording a podcast, I decided to trigger my macros around the either launching or quitting.

So I wrote two Keyboard Maestro macros: one for when Skype starts and one for when Skype quits.

Prepare For A Podcast

My first new Keyboard Maestro macro is called (wait for it) “Prepare For A Podcast”. This is what it looks like in Keyboard Maestro:

Translation: In Keyboard Maestro##Q##s language, this is what the above means:

Whenever Skype launches, Keyboard Maestro will automatically do the following:

1) If a file exists at /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist (which is where CrashPlan##Q##s launchd file is stored) unload that file (which will disable CrashPlan) via AppleScript:

do shell script "launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist" with administrator privileges

n.b. “with administrator privileges” will prompt the user for their password. Also note that I am using Growl notifications to tell the user what is happening, especially when a password is being requested.

2) Likewise, disable Time Machine with another bit of AppleScript:

do shell script "tmutil disable" with administrator privileges

3) If Dropbox is running, quit it.

4) Open the “Sound” preference pane (which I want so I can make sure that my USB mic is configured properly for Skype).

Resume After A Podcast

What happens after a podcast is pretty much exactly the opposite:

Translation: This macro will be triggered automatically whenever Skype quits, and this is what it will do:

1) If the plist is found, load it into launchd:

do shell script "launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.crashplan.engine.plist" with administrator privileges

2) Resume Time Machine:

do shell script "tmutil enable" with administrator privileges

3) If Dropbox is not running, launch it via shell script:

open -a Dropbox


As with Gabe##Q##s macros, I am sure that there are other (potentially better) ways to do this, but I hope that this might be useful to others. These macros assume that you don##Q##t generally leave Skype running for general use, but that you only launch it when it##Q##s podcast time.

To download my Keyboard Maestro macros, you can either check them out at Github or right (control) click on the links below: