Automate PC with free tools

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  • Actiona
  • Microsoft Flows- Tested but didn’t work
  • testing VoiceMacro and Automation Workshop

Actiona

Actionaย  (formerly known as Actionaz) is free, it is a task automation tool. It allows you to create and execute action lists. You don’t need to know any programming language to use it: its intuitive interface allows you to create action lists (scripts) using drag & drop. Advanced users can use JavaScript (EcmaScript) to extend its functionality. Actiona is free software and runs under Windows and Linux.

Actually you do need to have some understanding of coding to get it running. But it has some nice features.

Positives

  • You can compile your code to a .EXE file.
  • It lets you do Loops, GoTo and can call other procedures, so can jump out of one part of the programme and call a sub-routine from somewhere else.
  • A graphical interface with a debugger.
  • It has about 50 actions that you can tweak to your needs
  • You can select a part of the code and execute/test only the selected part.
  • It sends Emails
  • It dos web browsing and downloading

Negatives

  • The .EXE is a bitย  of a bloated file, for a simple message box compiled its 14.3 Mb, but I added a bit more code and its the same size, so I think it bundles the whole of the programme into the executable , makes it a heavy executable file, but it is still transportable and usable on other PC’s without the programme.
  • Help files and examples are a bit scarce.I’m having a bit of a time finding how to fill in some of the boxes. Once you have it sorted , its fine, but can take a while.

There is a forum here, both in French & English, I think the French is more active.

Also videos are a bit limited, you need to search for Actiona &/or Actionaz. A few are in French. I think it was developed by French programmers. A lot of the videos are on gamers using it to get loads of tokens in the games they are playing.

Since the executable file is so large it would good to have several procedures within the file so you can select the one you want, maybe with a hotkey as a trigger, so although it may take a while for the programme to load you can then do a lot of small procedures within it. I’ll think about that one and test out the compile with calling other procedures.

I like this tool, it does a variety of things such as mouse/keyboard events, web, sends emails, file procedures. It could work in very well with Voice Macro and Automation Workshop. I need to explore a couple of procedures with it.

Microsoft Flows

I’d mentioned the programme in an earlier post. Microsoft Flows Automate tasks by integrating your favorite apps with Microsoft Flow. Make repetitive tasks easy with workflow automation.
The free tier offers 750 runs per month, unlimited flow creation, 15-minute checks.

Its a bit like Zapier, there are lots out there , but a bit limited on the free version. In fact, the ones I’d be interested in, linking to DataBases are all premium connectors. You just get the simple ones for free.

I’ve played with the Free Zapier, but have not tried MS Flow, so I thought I should give it a try. I came across WordPress post to LinkedIn and thought I’d try it out, unfortunately I’ll be testing it out on this post, so I’ll have to delete the LinkedIn post after sending it, write whether it was successful or not and then use my normal process to post it again.

I tried it at first with my Hotmail account. It then said I couldn’t use that flow on that account so I used a different account and did the same process and it dropped 5 random posts into my account!!!.

Definitely not impressed by this at all. I thought the Zapier one was far more robust.

Voice Macro tool and Automation Workshop testing tasks

Last night I was adding other websites I have to the VoiceMacro tool. A bit of an issue with some of the words I chose as it was not quite recognising the words I was saying so I may have to do some more testing on the voice commands I use (maybe a little bit of research on which words are easier to recognise, I feel a bit daft repeating the same words over and over, its like talking to the dog, and he only laughs at me!).

I played around with Automation Workshop scheduling some tasks on my computer. A reminder event, to tell me to stop work at 5pm. This had triggers at 15 minute intervals from 4.30pm. I added a sound to the Task, but you have to do it first, otherwise the popup box opens (possibly in the background if you have an active window you are working in) and then the sound will not happen until you click on the message box “OK” button. The test button (Number 1) is also good for testing. The other thing I liked is that 1/ There are variables that can be put into the message, like time, task name etc, also it can pull up a text file and put that information in the Message box.

Yes, there are a lot of reminder apps, especially with Calendar apps,ย  but this one I’ve tailored myself.

I was also watching some videos on backups and organizing your PC and moving files around.

I thought I’d test that with my Screenshots. GreenShot is my go to App at the moment, and I’ve created a specific directory “Screenshots” where it will save the files to. I’ve also made a 2nd folder “Screenshots 1 day old”. At the start of the day, when I’m logging into my PC, its to take files from the first folder and put them in the 2nd. At the end of the day, on logoff, its to delete the files in the 2nd folder. I’m not sure if this is the perfect workflow, but its a start. Update 24th Jan- It works very well, at the moment I have emails advising me of the actions, I’ll turn the emails off now I know its working)

 

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