ps2pdf droplet

The long running gag around here is I use old software that works with old hardware. Fun. Recently I was sent a PostScript file to output to film, but the version of Distiller I use choked on it. Illustrator CS2 could open it, but unbeknownst to me it only imports the first page. More fun.

Inkscape will import PostScript files and will ask you which page you’d like to open. Unfortunately Inkscape version 1.1 on macOS will not because… reasons?

Luckily the tool it uses to convert PS to PDF still works– ps2pdf. If you have Ghostscript installed you should have ps2pdf available as well.

This AppleScript is set to use ps2pdf installed via macports.

Of note is replacing the “.ps” extension using text item delimiters. Relevant lines being:

set my text item delimiters to {"."}
set target_path to (text items 1 thru -2 of source_path) & "pdf" as string

I’ve seen people write complete paragraph weight routines to do that, so tuck this away in your bag-of-tricks. 😉


-- Path to your ps2pdf script.
property path2ps2pdf : "/opt/local/bin/ps2pdf " -- Don't forget the trailing space!

on run
  tell application "Finder"
      set cwd to folder of window 1
    on error
      set cwd to home
    end try
  end tell
  open {choose file with prompt ¬
    "Choose PostScript files to convert:" default location cwd as alias with multiple selections allowed}
end run
on open the_files
  set my text item delimiters to {"."}
  repeat with _file in the_files
    if name extension of (info for _file) is "ps" then
        set source_path to POSIX path of (_file as alias)
        set target_path to (text items 1 thru -2 of source_path) & "pdf" as string
        do shell script path2ps2pdf & quoted form of source_path & " " & quoted form of target_path
      on error theErr
        if theErr is not "User canceled." then display dialog theErr
      end try
    end if
  end repeat
end open

Shell script to write today’s and next weekday’s date

As is this script has limited purpose, and includes RTF markup not useful to anyone else other than as example.

But, what is useful is the date function that increments to the next ‘weekday’ day of week. Be aware that this script formats into Americanized short date (e.g., 12-31-69). Which may seem odd since I just wrote (and re-wrote a couple dozen times) a script to obliterate that format in file names. Except that I’m using this script to fill out the dates on an order form where the dates are expected to be the familiar, informal conversational format used in the US. Whereas for a file name in a computer, YYYY-MM-DD is a useful sorting method.

A lot of ‘others’ don’t take the time to realize that. I’ve run into vandalized man pages for date that attempt to make admonitions against the US informal conversational date format into some moral indictment. That format appears from the way one would speak the date in the US: December thirty-first, nineteen sixty-nine. The same as one would use more words to say: The thirty-first of December, nineteen sixty-nine. It’s not hard, Europeans. 😀

Also posting the plist used with launchd to run this script every morning.

#! /bin/sh

# Used with launchd to run every morning user is logged in.
# Runs "at load" in case log in happens after the scheduled time (8:15).
# Purpose: $outfile is meant to be placed as a linked text object in InDesign document.
# But, InDesign (CS2) won't keep text style when updating the link
# unless you load it up with (double escaped) RTF markup. :|

# ProTip: Use '$todate' and '$nextdate' as placeholder text in your RTF file.
#         ie., format a sample RTF file then open, copy, & paste it as plain text here.


# Today's (formatted) date.
todate=$(date -j "+%m-%d-%y" | sed -E 's/0([0-9])/1/g')

# Next weekday:
# Use today's day-of-week to count days until Monday if day-of-week is greater than 4 (Thursday). 
dofw=$(date +%w)
nextdate=$(date -j -v+$(( ( $dofw>4 )?8-$dofw:1))d "+%m-%d-%y" | sed -E 's/0([0-9])/1/g')

{\fonttbl\f0\fswiss\fcharset0 Helvetica;}

\f0\fs32 \cf0 $todate\


printf "$rtf" > "$outfile"

Launchd properties file (reflects the above code being named “” and placed into the user’s ‘Documents’ folder) should be placed in the users Library folder, not the root Library (e.g., ~/Library/LaunchAgents/date-today.write-to-file.plist) and loaded with launchctl ~/Library/LaunchAgents/date-today.write-to-file.plist

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

AppleScript to write Finder tag from folder name

This is a weird one that came from a request on reddit.

Not really useful (to me) as intended, but I envision it could be re-worked to a FolderAction that would help tag photos. Especially if coupled with a file sorter. But incorporating the tag writing into the sorter would be much more sane.

The commented out do shell script lines were meant as a way to read existing tags and then add the folder name after them. That didn’t work out thanks to xattr -p spitting out hexadecimal instead of a plist array, which is the format used when writing the tags. WTF, Apple…

on run
    set _drop to {}
    set end of _drop to (choose folder)
    my do_it(_drop)
end run

on open _drop
    my do_it(_drop)
end open

on do_it(_drop)
    display dialog "WARNING: This script will overwrite ALL tags of files in or targeted from the opened folder with the name of the opened folder." with icon 0
    repeat with d in _drop
        if folder of (info for d) is true then
            set f to {}
                tell application "Finder"
                    set _tag to "<string>" & name of (info for d) & "</string>"
                    set _files to (every item in d)
                    repeat with f in _files
                        if alias of (info for f as alias) is true then
                            set f to original item of f as alias
                        end if
                        -- 'xattr -p' will print the value for a named metadata ID. Naturally that value is printed as hexadecimal. :|
                        --                      set f_plist to (do shell script "xattr -p " & quoted form of POSIX path of (f as alias))
                        --                      set _tag to (do shell script "echo "" & f_plist & "" | egrep -o "<string>*</string>"") & _tag
                        set tag_plist to "<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" ""><plist version="1.0"><array>" & _tag & "</array></plist>"
                        do shell script "xattr -w " & quoted form of tag_plist & " " & quoted form of (POSIX path of f)

                    end repeat
                end tell
            on error _err
                display dialog _err
            end try
        end if
    end repeat
end do_it

Script to re-write dates in file names

Annnnnd I’m done.

Did I say “done?” Now using a regex that will (should) only pick viable dates, although other strings can match. Notably a time string that meets the [01-12].[01-31].[00-99] format. Also added some error checking… or at least that’s the idea. Unsure if working at this time. I don’t believe it do. Only if `date` can’t reformat the string it’s fed will it be able to notice, but that is printed to stdout already. It’s the “Warning:” lines that are ambiguous.

Removed the “error checking” which didn’t work. I suggest making note of any errors reported to stdout while the script runs.

The main extended regex that matches the mm.dd.(yy)yy pattern is now a variable.


# The following `egrep` (or `grep -E`) should prove useful when checking the 
# storage file. If your text editor supports grep based 'find all' you 
# may be able to highlight the original text that is to be changed.
# egrep -nv '(1[0-2]|0?[1-9])[.-/,]([0-2]?[1-9]|[1-3][0-1])[.-/,](20)?[0-9]{2}(.[[:alnum:]]+)?[[:space:]]/'

# Name of file in which to store 'mv' statements.

# The number of parentheses here affects the `sed` for $e. Currently "4".

    This script looks recursively for the date pattern mm.dd.yy and similar
    in file and directory names beginning at 'pwd'. It then generates an 'mv'
    statement for each item with the pattern re-written by 'sed' & 'date'
    to yyyy-mm-dd.

    Running the '-e' option without first creating and checking the storage
    file is not recommended.

        -w    Write the 'mv' statements to the file '$mvstore'
                in the present working directory.
        -e    Evaluate the 'mv' statements as they are generated.
        -h    Displays this helpful text.

function mvdatef() {
    # Here, 'tail' reverses the order of 'find' after 'egrep' filters the result.
    # That way files in a directory are renamed before the directory is.
    # 'find' might be able to use the regex, but I couldn't work it out. YMMV.
    # This only looks for the pattern at the end of the line or just before an extension.
    # If something isn't working, the regex here is probably where it started.
    find "`pwd`" | egrep '[/[:space:]]'"$dateregex"'(.[[:alnum:]]+)?$' | tail -r | while read a

        # Escape certain characters so they don't wreck the 'mv' statement later.
        # double quote, single quote, parens, ampersand, dollar sign, and space.
        # Single quote, parens, and ampersand are escaped for the shell after breaking out of the 'sed' statement.
        b=$(echo "$a" | sed -E 's/(["''()&'[:space:]$])/\1/g')
        if [ "$b" == "" ]; then
            echo "Error: Could not escape $a" >> $mvstore
        # Suck out the last instance of our hated date pattern (00.00.00 or 00.00.0000).
        # Also replace dashes, slashes (not working :| ), and errant commas for dots
        # because we've come too far not to.
        c=$(echo "$a" | egrep -o "$dateregex" | tail -1 | sed -E 's/[-/,]/./g')
        if [ "$c" != "" ]; then
            # 'date' will not accept a 2 OR 4 digit year.
            if [ $(echo $c | egrep -o "[0-9]{4}$") ]; then
                dform="%m.%d.%Y"; else
            d="$(date -j -f "$dform" "$c" "+%Y-%m-%d")"
            if [ "$d" == "" ]; then
                echo "Error: Could not format date from $c" >> $mvstore
            # This is the 'sed' that finds the date and replaces it with what we made just above.
            # It looks for the pattern at the end of the line (path) but includes the extension if there.
            # It is possible that a version number of some sort will also match.
            # Also possible to do away with the EOL in the regex and just go for the pattern.
            e="$(echo "$b" | sed -E 's/'"$dateregex"'(.[[:alnum:]]+)?$/'$d'4/')"
            if [ "$e" == "" ]; then
                echo "Error: Could not replace $c in $a" >> $mvstore
            # After all that dicking around, this is the mv statement.
            f="mv -- $b $e"

            if [ $1 ]; then
                eval $f
                echo "$f" >> "$mvstore"
            echo "Error: $c - Could not pull viable date from $b" >> $mvstore

if [[ $1 = "-h" ]] ; then
    printf "$usage"
elif [[ $1 = "-e" ]]; then
    echo "Evaluating 'mv' statements as they are generated..."
    mvdatef -e
elif [[ $1 = "-w" ]]; then
    echo "Generating file `pwd`/$mvstore and writing 'mv' statements to it..."
    printf "#/bin/shn#  `date`n" > "$mvstore"
    printf "$usage"

Original, less-good version:

Shell script to re-format poor date format in filenames

New, more-good version here: New script to re-write dates in file names

After testing and some using, this is going to change to just write the mv statements to a file and to accept an argument to run them instead. No logging since that will serve the same purpose. This post does not contain the final version. It’s here for the sake of history.

And boom. Or so I hope. This *should* handle dates as “01.02.03” and the equivalent “01.02.2003”.
To-do: Check for administrator privileges or just write the log to ~/. MacOS (nee OS X (nee Mac OS)) has a default user log directory, but GNU does not. I suppose we could check for “~/.log/” and mkdir if false…

Title explains it pretty well. Uses egrep to find date, sed to edit it, mv to rename, and read for user confirmation prompt. Which, btw, can’t be done if you are already doing a read without feeding the new read from somewhere other than stdin. Hence the < /dev/tty at that point in the script. So many strangers to thank for sharing their knowledge online. Thanks, strangers! That should do it.

Why this exists is I had a co-worker who added dates to tons of files in the format “01.02.03”, which resulted in files named “Example filename 01.02.03.xmpl” Same for phone numbers. Clearly this is wrong and something must be done about it (now that new ones won’t be cropping up since You may be asking yourself how he got away with not getting an e-mailed file bounced back for multiple extensions? My educated guess is that he did and kept doing it the dumb way despite that.

Corrects the above format to “+%Y-%m-%d” (YYYY-MM-DD).

This could probably be done with fewer lines or overall be more betterer, but this is like my first whole shell script. Maybe my years of AppleScript are showing. *meh*
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Zip droplet

This has been some hot garbage since I posted it. This is now actually not bad, but I can’t help but feel it’s clumsier than it could be. *meh*

Quick and dirty AppleScript droplet to zip files in the Finder.


-- Default location to save the .zip file.
property def_loc : path to desktop

-- This script will not send files beginning with '.' (dot) to be zipped.
If you're going to be sending zip archives to a location other than
a file-system domain (directories which the system has a 'nickname' for)
 I believe the above syntax would be:
  path to file "My HD:My Folder Daryl:My Other Folder Daryl:"
Or using POSIX style path
  path to POSIX file "/My HD/My Folder Daryl/My Other Folder Daryl/"
Although I am not sure about that. Another alternative would be to add an
if clause in the zip_it function to check for the "same" setting and then
use the container of item 1 of the files list "_it" as the default location.

-- Not quite sure how to use this, in the AS routines or 'zip -x' or screw it and drop files beginning with a dot?
--property no_can_zip : {".DS_Store", ".fseventsd", ".Spotlight-V100"}

on run
  tell application "Finder"
    set _it to selection as list
  end tell
  my zip_it(_it)
end run

on open _it
end open

on zip_it(_it)
  set _f to ""
  tell application "Finder" to set _dir to container of ((item 1 of _it) as alias)
  set my text item delimiters to {POSIX path of (_dir as alias)}
  repeat with i in _it
    if first character of name of (info for (i as alias)) is not "." then
      set _f to _f & " " & quoted form of text item 2 of (POSIX path of (i as alias))
    end if
  end repeat
  set the_c to count of _it
  if the_c > 1 then
    set z_name to (displayed name of (info for (item 1 of _it as alias))) & " + " & (the_c - 1) & ""
    set z_name to (displayed name of (info for (item 1 of _it as alias))) & ".zip"
  end if
  set _z to (choose file name with prompt (the_c as string) & " file(s) to zip." default name z_name default location def_loc)
  do shell script "cd " & quoted form of POSIX path of (_dir as alias) & " && zip  -ry " & quoted form of POSIX path of _z & _f
end zip_it

Parsing e-mail for info

[UPDATE] Added a version that works on OS X 10.4 to the bottom of this post. Does some different logging and is tighter, so I’ll have to go back to the original and update again.

This was done earlier, but I have since had to change it to match changes in the incoming data. Some of which is a big mystery. In particular a new line character that is input as the “line separator” Unicode character. It would end up in the clipboard as line feed, so I just started plugging in white space character id’s until one hit the mark. Lucky me.
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Convert PDF to grayscale using GhostScript

[UPDATE] Huge caveat! While this is really meant to deal with RGB documents or objects, it does also convert CMYK and spot colors to grayscale. Unfortunately spot colors remain as separate plates that retain their name. This results in them being printed in color though on screen they appear gray. At least the colors (Pantone) and printer I tested on took spot channels and ripped them according to what they are named. If your printer does not have it’s own rendering library that matches your spot color names then I’m guessing they will print as grayscale.

It is possible to rasterize the art, which results in a pure grayscale, but you need such a high resolution even a simple business card with type and line art increases in size at least 30 times. I knew this was all too easy…

This script / app / droplet will convert a PDF or PostScript (.ps) document from whatever colorspace it lives in to grayscale. Has not been thoroughly tested. I mean, I ran it against a couple of files. One to work out the gs command, the other to test if it actually made a grayscale duplicate. That file was generated by MS Word so was of course RGB. The converted document was in fact true grayscale. I would say it converted to what you would get if you used a gray gamma 2.2 profile.
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AppleTalk in the current year

If you’re anything like me and you have to print to an old AppleTalk printer, server, or RIP, -my condolences- keeping up-to-date and bridging that old connection becomes more difficult every decade. You are left with two choices; Keep an oldish Mac on hand capable of running Mac OS X 10.5 or earlier (a Power PC (PPC) is best in order to run the only browser using a modern cipher suite, TenFourFox from the brilliant and beautiful people at or you can run an OS built on GNU+Linux, even as virtual machine, and have a fully modern desktop OS. Although in a VM a headless console will have a smaller footprint.
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