42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

42 Astounding Scripts is live!

Ready to get your retro on? Type in programs for your Macintosh and make it play music, roll dice, and talk to you? Customize your services menu? 42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh is the book for you!

Jerry Stratton, August 2, 2019

Astounding Scripts book cover

This is the ebook cover from Apple Books. It’s also available in print on Amazon and as an ebook on Smashwords.

Do you want to play music on your computer? Do you want to create ASCII art from your photographs? Play podcasts back faster, snapshot web pages, display upcoming birthdays on your Desktop? Do horribly ancient filenames drive you crazy? Would you like to replace their underscores with spaces and separate their mashed-together words to readable ones? Would you like to organize your favorite recipes?

There’s a script for all of that in 42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh.

42 Astounding Scripts shows you how to take control of your Macintosh.

I’ve been reading a lot of books about computers from the late seventies and early eighties. I cut my programming teeth on books like Ken Tracton’s 57 Practical Programs & Games in BASIC and the various forms of 101 BASIC Computer Games*. Reading these books again, I began to feel, not nostalgic, but jealous. Jealous of the younger me who had these books to read. As far as I can tell they don’t exist now. I wanted to read a book that didn’t exist.

Sometimes if there’s a book you really want to read, you have to write it yourself. — Ann Patchett (New York Times, Writers On Writing, August 26, 2002)

So I went through the scripts I use on a weekly and even daily basis, as well as a few scripts I hadn’t written yet but wanted to, and put together the book I really wanted to read. This is a book I would want to buy if I hadn’t written it.

Some of the scripts are a few lines long; others are a few pages long. Every one of them is something I’ve found useful and fun.

There are scripts written in Perl, AppleScript, Python, Swift, Automator, and even JavaScript. You can use type them onto your own computer from the book, or copy and paste them a page or so at a time from the ebook.1

Grab your Macintosh by the Terminal! Get 42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh!

It is our intention that this book provide the reader with more than a listing of program lines. We hope that it will be a teaching aid that will enable you to write better programs of your own. A wide range of programming styles and techniques are present, and some are better than others—try and find out as much as possible about program structure from these examples. We have loaded and run every program but have made no attempt to alter style—we leave that to you. Change lines, clean up subroutines, reduce lengths where possible, get rid of GOTO statements if you can—experiment! — Jim Perry and Chris Brown (80 Programs for the TRS-80)

  1. If your ebook reader supports it, you can copy each script out all at once—there is no DRM forbidding it. Most ereaders won’t do this, unfortunately; they’ll require copying a page or so at a time. Fortunately, most of the scripts are a page or less long.