Converting to ePub & Other Lion Automator Scripts

Scrivener can compile documents directly to ePub. But if you have other documents that need converting, you might want to check out the new OS X Lion scripts at Mac OS X Automation:

There are also these new Lion Automation actions on the website.

Website Popup
More and more, services and functionality are moving to the Cloud. Accessing internet-hosted server-based content without the hassle and overhead of using a browser can prove to be invaluable in providing simple, quick, and elegant workflow soltuions. The Website Popup action displays specified HTML or web-based content in a floating HUD-like palette that can provide fast access to important content and then quicly get out of the way.

Create Banner Image from Text
Those familiar with the creation of web-content know that because of font availability and other issues, it may be necessary to display text on a webpage as an image instead of using CSS. The Create Banner Image from Text action is designed to simplify the process of creating an image from text. This action will render text passed to the action as an image, styled using either chosen type parameters or, in the case of passed RTF input text, use the existing formatting of the passed text.

Encode to MPEG Audio
An important aspect of creating audio content for distribution, is the encoding of source audio files to meet the hardware requirements of various computers and mobile devices. The Encode to MPEG Audio action makes the encoding of audio content an easy process, available on the desktop, and done without requiring the user to have technical knowledge of compression and audio settings.

Using the Encode to MPEG Audio action, MPEG audio files can be created from audio source files of types AIF, WAV, CAF, and SDII.

Web Content Data Type
Mac OS X Lion introduces a new input data type for Automator workflows: web content. Certain workflows and actions can now accept WebKit-based HTML web archive data, with an ID of, as their input. The new web content data type will now appear as an input option on the service workflow input menu (shown on left).

This web content data type is what applications like Safari, or other applications incorporating WebKit views, place on the pasteboard when elements are selected in these applications.

Lion is just out, so other Automator scripts will probably be posted there in the next few weeks.

–Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien, Seattle

Regarding ePubs, you can do the same with Calibre’s command line tools but the output is fairly rudimentary.

I’m still debating whether I should upgrade to Lion, and this is one of the features than might sway me.

After I fixed the stuff I didn’t like (i.e. reversed scrolling), I’m happy with Lion, particularly the different-from-Scrivener’s Full Screen mode and Mission Control. Launch Pad I don’t care for. It has the same problem an iPhone UI has. Screens of dozens of app icons make it hard to find anything unless you spend a lot of time dragging icons around to get some sort of order. On my iPhone I have to live with that. On my Macs, I have long established and far better ways of doing things.

You’ll probably find your 4-gig Mac works fine with it, but you might want to find out what short of experience others are having before you install it on your 2-gig MBA, especially if you like to keep multiple apps open at one time. Lion seems to require more memory.

The Many Pages of Icons problem on iOS is already such that many people just use the Search tool to launch applications, rather than wade through screens of icons. The analogous method there is Spotlight, or a more robust tool like QuickSilver or LaunchBar—but since a Mac’s Dock can hold considerably more than an iOS Dock, I bet most people still just use that in the long run, unless they really do like the Launch Pad method. I can’t imagine how it would be more useful than even a loaded up Dock, but I’ve already heard a few say they like it. Fortunately Apple did implement “folders” in the same way they have on iOS, but with the same highly annoying whack-the-mole problem where it can be maddening to drag icons onto a “folder” if you don’t pause just so. Worst case is when the “folder” is on the end of a row, and dragging the icon you want to move causes that row to wrap the folder up a line. Back and forth, and back and forth, until finally you hit it. All of this could have been avoided by just following the UI set forth for decades in standard file system management tools: don’t shift the list until you drop!

I must regretfully confirm the memory situation, at least for now. I’m running on 4GB, and even with only a few applications open, memory usage is at 75% where it would have been at around 30% on Snow Leopard—one disclaimer there is that I’ve been using Firefox again since 5.x came out. It has this great new tab organisation feature so you can sort tons of tabs into groups on a “desktop” within the application. Good feature, but it leads to leaving lots of stuff open. Why not, when you can just switch to a different tab group and all the clutter goes away. So I think Firefox is using way more RAM than it would have in the past just because I have 30 sites open instead of a dozen or less.

thanks for the heads up guys. I dont think i will bother with the upgrade until i eventually buy a more capable desktop; 10.6.8 does everything i need. i have to spend less time stuffing around with computers and more time writing on them :smiley:

And I thought it was just me… the main reason I got the 4Gb Air was because I was usually getting no more than about 100Mb free RAM with my previous 2Gb Air on SnoLe with my usual rig (Tinderbox, DevonThink, Scrivener, Spotify, iTunes, Safari, Mail, iCal, LaunchBar, Notational Velocity and Pages).

Now, with Lion and twice the RAM, I’m getting

checks surreptitiously

er, 140Mb free RAM.

All that eye candy comes at a cost.

I don’t have the memory problem. Using Lion on my late 2008 MBP, with 4Gb RAM, I’m now running Safari, Mail, iCal, Scrivener, DevonThink Pro Office, EndNote, Papers and Activity Monitor (plus background apps such as VirusBarrier, Clusters, Dropbox, CleanApp, etc). A shade over 1Gb memory free.

Keep in mind that OS X uses memory very intelligently. It’s actually good that almost all your RAM is in use. It shows that as many as possible of your active apps are sitting in RAM ready for almost instant use. Having 1 GB of free RAM would mean your OS was wasting RAM it could be using. Think of RAM as investment money. The more you have that’s active, the better your rate of return.

The real indicator of having sufficient memory is the quantity of page ins and page outs on the Activity Monitor’s System Memory window after you’ve been up an running for a day or more. That indicates how often OS X is having to trade storage between RAM and disk space. The more the swapping needed, the more strained your memory is. Think of swapping as having to borrow money to pay bills. It’s messy, costly and takes time.

I can tell that 3 Gig isn’t quite enough for my aging iMac. In three days, I’ve accumulated 1.46 GB of Page Ins. I can’t change that though. My generation of iMac can only make effective use of 3 GB.

–Mike Perry, Seattle

Yes, I posted an update in another thread; forgot about this one. It seems Lion is still using more RAM on average than any prior OS—however as Mike points out, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it seems to me at least thus far that even though Lion is using more base RAM than Snow Leopard, it is doing a better job with what it is using. Applications on the whole seem to be a lot snappier and multitask better together—I don’t run into cases where a program ends up in swap (meaning it takes quite a long time to switch to after having been neglected for a while) nearly so much. I have yet to really tax it with Photoshop and several other heavy hitters left open, but so far with “normal” desktop applications in use, it’s performing better than Snow Leopard.

The one caveat that several people are reporting, and I have experienced as well, is that you might actually end up with drastically less performance if you just upgrade Apple’s way. If you do a clean install, Lion seems to be much happier with life. With 4GB of wired RAM and 6 days of uptime, I have 700k Page Ins and 5gb of swap space allocated (4.4gb in use). This is a little surprising, given that I have not noticed any excessive speed drops. It could be Apple’s done some optimisation to swap code.