Free automation tools for PC video’s

 I initially was going to do a step by step process with screenshots of processes, then I decided I’d do a video of:

  1. The process I was using as an overview of the pdf data to excel macro, and challenges I had with the process.

I then decided I’d do an overview of some of the free tools I found useful and did a video on those items too, they basically follow the successful tools from the productivity posts I’ve been doing for the last 3 weeks.

2. Free Voice Macro test and how I’m currently using it:

3. Then one on Free Automation Workshop

4. Then one on free Windows 10 productivity tools within windows

5. Following on from that free Firefox productivity tools

6. Then some free  launching, navigation and text expander tools for windows

So my initial post on testing tools and discussing practical automation processes was sidestepped a bit.

Below is the first use of Actiona, it is still a work in progress, but it works to a point.

Test 1. Actiona. Web scrape, save to file/variable & email

The script I am developing is one for weather and tides in Wellington NZ. The tides are a bit odd as the coastline is long and is between the Tasman Sea & Pacific Ocean and the Cook Straights wrap around the bottom of the North Island of NZ the Low tides can vary by an hour at different points along the coast. Now the Niwa Tides tables are generated by scripts and I’d tried to scrape these another time with no success. This time it captured the data nicely.

I got Actiona to open the site, wait until window is active then click one corner, pull mouse across and click another corner, to highlight part of the tide table, then used Ctrl + C key to copy the information to Clipboard. I made the data a variable. I then wrote to a text file (condition overwrite previous data) and then closed that tab. I then did this for 3 locations around Wellington. Then I emailed myself the data. Its not well formatted, but the process worked fine.

I’m writing a similar script for the local weather. I may combine the 2 in an email.

The email function went well, the only issue is you have to fill out the task every time you want to use it (not sure if you can copy/paste between scripts, you’d need 2 instances of the programme opened (Shift+ Click on the icon in taskbar))

This is a preliminary test on my PC. I could compile this to an executable and then run Automation Workshop on my server and have it run this programme in the middle of the night. I suppose I could get Automation Workshop to open Actiona on the server and run the script there, so if I needed to adjust it with longer pauses that could be done more easily, also a smaller file to activate.

End comment

This post took some time as I got interested in doing videos of the processes and programmes. I had a good workflow going to begin with then CamStudio started to play up and split the .avi and wav files so I had to pay that a bit of attention.

It was useful to do all those videos whilst they are all reasonably fresh in my mind.

One thing I was not aware of was the editing feature now in YouTube (YT). I had a bit of a hunt around trying to stop one video and ended up with nothing happening at the end of the video, so I wanted to trim it down. I found the YT editor that does some simple things like trimming and adding an ending link for the videos. So another bit of learning.

I may go back to doing some more videos as they can be a bit faster than posts sometimes, or to support some of the posts. I think I need a bit of practice on doing them too.

I notice on the newer YouTube videos there are a few green screen effects with a ‘Talking Head” with the PC background. I may do a bit of investigation on the new videoing programmes.


Add a Comment