Automate Moving Files to/from Windows Live SkyDrive

November 1st, 2008

A few months ago, I surveyed several online storage sites. Although I might not make the same decision today, I decided to use Windows Live SkyDrive.  SkyDrive provides 5GB of online storage that can be shared with friends or the world, or be maintained as private.

I use SkyDrive to move files over the Internet between multiple computers that are physically distributed.  SkyDrive uses an https interface and I encrypt the files that I move back and forth.

When I first investigated SkyDrive, I was surprised that it did not provide a programmatic interface.  In addition, the SkyDrive user interface is a little cumbersomb to use, so I wrote a couple of AutoIt scripts to automate writing and reading files.  AutoIt code is available below for PutFile and GetFile.

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November 1st, 2008

Another interesting scripting option is iMacros.  This plugin provides a number of scripting functions that can be used to fill in forms and automate manual tasks.  It is available for both Firefox and Internet Explorer, and comes in free and paid versions. A feature comparison of all the iMacro variants is availble here.  The “free” versions provide subsets of the functions available in the paid functions.


June 24th, 2008

AutoIt is a scripting language that runs on Windows.  It can be used to script a variety of actions.  It uses a BASIC-like syntax and provides a large library of windowing, string, browsing and math functions functions.  It provides the ability to insert/extract character strings and mouse motions/clicks in Windows applications. The documentation is somewhat lacking, but there is a relatively large following in the forums.

AutoIt can be used to automate just about any Windows task.  It is however limited to Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Chickenfoot Firefox Extension

June 22nd, 2008

I found an interesting tool recently – Chickenfoot.  Chickenfoot is a Firefox extension that provides a front-end that allows you to mashup web pages.  Chickenfoot can be used to automate web pages, fix annoying page implementations and to add new functionality.

Chickenfoot is being developed by folks at MIT.  Although I did not see a detailed development plan, they have some interesting ideas for the future of Chickenfoot and other related efforts.  An important aim of Chickenfoot is to empower the non-programmer to mashup the web.

Chickenfoot is “similar” to Greasemonkey.  It runs scripts using a Javascript syntax and it runs a lot of Greasemonkey scripts.

When you install Chickenfoot, the script editor sidebar becomes available in Firefox.  You use the sidebar  to enter your scripts.  The following script is a simple example of a Chickenfoot script.  It calls up the Google search page, enters the search key and runs the search.

click(“google search”)

Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of documentation for Chickenfoot, but here are some helpful web pages:
Video tutorial
Mailing list

Cellular Message-Based Browsing – Use Case

June 14th, 2008

The following is a first draft of Unified Modeling Language (UML) use cases for the cell phone textual browser.

SMS Internet Gateway Use Case

Basically, the concept is to substitute the cell phone keyboard and display for the PC keyboard, mouse and display. The command processor uses a cell phone command and response interface that is limited to characters. Character transport is via a messaging mechanism. Three basic messaging types are available via a cell phone handset – text messages, picture messages and instant messages (IM). On the other side of the command processor is the interface to the Internet. This interface is provided by a textual browser.

The portal system can handle text and picture messages via email and instant message applications. The command processor receives the commands and acts upon them. Commands may require a translation in order to support the differences between a PC and cell phone user interface.

The major limitation on text messaging is the number of characters in a given message. Typically about 140 characters are avaiable in a tet message. In addition to the image, picture messaging allows significantly more characters to be included in each message. Typically about 1400 characters are available in picture message. Both messages can be scrolled so that the entire message can be viewed, but not necessarily in a single view. Instant messages (IM) allow about the same number of characters as are allowed in a text message for each interaction. IM is more interactive than text and picture messages so that you can scroll up and down to see multiple messages. All three message types allow the cell phone user to enter a response to the original message content.