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[UPDATE: THIS DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE. However, Hans, one of the commenters below, has found a workaround:

Ok, there is a workaround for the issue I have described above.

You have to follow the relevant steps on the hard road here:


1. creat a standard Workflow *not* an iCal event
2. save it as app and remember it’s location
3. crate a new event in iCal and select as notification the app you have just created via automator

So you have all the time you need.

Hope this helps! And if you have other ways to make things easier, please feel free to leave a comment below.]


As OS X updates over time, some functions don’t work the same anymore. Some commenters have provided solutions in the comment section. Make sure you check them out if things don’t happen the way as described in the post.
Found an easier way to schedule mail on Mac to send it later at a specific time I want by using Automator iCal Alarm.

When you open Automator, it immediately asks you to choose what you’re trying to build:

Building an iCal Alarm will automatically set a new event in iCal with the alarm action set to be whatever you design in the Automator.

So I want to send an email at maybe 9am tomorrow morning, I can open Automator and build an iCal Alarm like this:

  1. Get Specified Finder Items
  2. New Mail Message (type your mail here – leave recipient blank if you’re sending group mail and add the two extra steps below)
  3. Send Outgoing Messages
  4. Save

You may skip step 1 if there’s NO attachment. You can also send group mail (with/without individual salutation) at a later time by adding these steps between steps 2 & 3 above:

  1. Find Address Book Items (find Groups)
  2. Group Mailer (check “add greetings" for individual salutation)

Then in iCal, you’ll see a new event set at the time you hit “save":

Then edit the date and time of the event and the alarm time to whenever you need it.


However, from experience, attachment doesn’t work for Group Mailer. So, if you wish to send a mail with attachment to a big bunch of people, stick to the 4-step solution. The only drawback is it can’t take group name as recipient, i.e., all email addresses are disclosed. If you wish to keep mailing list confidential, you’ll need to add your group to Bcc list.

You may also set the alarm to be repeated periodically and have the same mail sent to the same recipient(s), say, every month. This would be really handy to someone who needs to send out reminders periodically.

I’m still working on getting Apple Mail to send all drafts at once so that I can incorporate Serial Mail and Apple Mail and Automator. The problem is Apple Mail seems to be incapable of sending more than one mail at the same time. It can send 100+ emails consecutively very quickly (like really immediately one after an other) but just not when you “select all" in drafts box then hit “send" in file menu (or shift+command+D).

(I found an easier way… see this post)

I wanted to send groups mails with individual salutation at a scheduled date and time. There’re several free scripts / apps out there to do this. I’ve tried probably all of them but none really worked (I’m running on Snow Leopard).

There’re paid apps to do this but then I don’t wanna pay. (Yes, I proudly admit I’m cheap in this sense.)

Ok, if I only wanted the individual salutation part, Serial Mail is a good one and it’s free. It doesn’t only support names as placeholders but also other fields in the Address Book. It’s also got an iPhone app! One very good news for iPhone user as the built in mail app in iPhone doesn’t support group mail.

So… what to do?

After many trials and errors, my final solution is “Automator + iCal".

There’s this built-in app in Mac called “Automator". Honestly, I didn’t have a clue what it is for the first two or three years I switched to Mac. I don’t use it that frequently until very recently. Anyway, to the steps:

To send GROUP EMAILS WITH INDIVIDUAL SALUTATION with Automator immediately:

  1. Launch Automator: New workflow
  2. Mail: New Mail Message (add by drag and drop) – For group mail, leave “To:", “Cc:" and “Bcc:" blank. Do fill in the Subject line, write your mail in “Message", choose account if you have multiple accounts set up. NO ATTACHMENT. If you want individual salutation, don’t write “Dear xxx" at the beginning of your mail.)
  3. Contacts: Find Address Book Groups – Find people / groups and define it
  4. Mail: Group Mailer – check “Add Greeting" if you want to have individual salutation. Otherwise, uncheck it.)
  5. Mail: Send Outgoing Messages

If you want to send your mails immediately, click “Run" on the top right corner. But if you want to send your group mail later at a specific date and time… go on with the following steps:

  1. Save as application (remember where you’ve saved it. You’ll need its path soon.)
  2. Open iCal and set up a new event at the time you want you mail to be sent
  3. Set alarm -> open file -> choose the application you’ve just saved two steps ago
  4. Done

If you don’t want the new event to stick in your calendar, add the following steps after step 5:

  1. Find iCal Events (Find events, All of the following are true, Title is “title of your new event"…)
  2. Delete iCal Events

But it’s probably easier to just delete it from calendar afterwards 😛

What about if you just want to SCHEDULE ONE SINGLE EMAIL?

  1. Launch Automator: New workflow
  2. Mail: New Mail Message (add by drag and drop) – Type your recipients’ email address in “To:", “Cc:" and “Bcc:" as needed. No auto-fill here. You may click the vCard icon on the right to choose recipients from Address Book. Before hitting “Done", remember to hit “To" after choosing. Do fill in the Subject line or it’ll ., Write your mail in “Message", choose account if you have multiple accounts set up. NO ATTACHMENT.)
  3. Send Outgoing Messages
  4. Save as application (remember where you’ve saved it. You’ll need its path soon.)
  5. Open iCal and set up a new event at the time you want you mail to be sent
  6. Set alarm -> open file -> choose the application you’ve just saved two steps ago
  7. Done

Important notes:

* It’s VERY IMPORTANT to save your workflow as APPLICATION in scheduled email. If you save it as workflow, it’ll only call out the workflow without running it, which means… it won’t do anything.

* NO ATTACHMENT: Someone said here that we may add attachment to group mailer in Automator but it never worked for me. And even if it works, it won’t work with scheduled mail anyways – it requires manual input when mails are being generated. My workaround is to upload the file to a server / website, then paste the link in the mail body. The “New Mail Message" in Automator does recognize URL so if your recipients can see HTML mail, they should be able to just click and see your file.

Snow Leopard runs fast and seems too fast for some others to catch up, like HP.

I upgraded my iMac (bought in late 2006) to Snow Leopard. At first, I experienced some problems but everything has been going well after I clean installed it again.

I upgrade my mom’s Macbook to Snow Leopard as well. She first complained about Chinese input. Both of us used to use Open Vanilla for Chinese input. It worked really fine before upgrade but somehow, the “delete" became “(" after upgrade. I searched through the preference and system and such but couldn’t find a solution. Went to forums and found we’re certainly not the only two on the planet and no one has a solution for it. Then I installed Yahoo! Keykey for my iMac and tested it, proved it to be good and installed it on my mom’s Macbook.

So, one problem down. But she also experienced the beach ball problem like I did, so I also clean installed Snow Leopard on her Macbook again.

Problem #2 down. Then she brought the Macbook back to work.

Then came problem #3: where’s the network printer? The first day there’s simply no printer show up in network. Took the IT guy in office a lot of time to make it show up on list. But after it shows up, the Macbook still couldn’t make it print. It’s always busy, somehow, even though no one in the network is printing anything with it.

So mom took it back and asked me to fix it. (No, I’m not employed by Apple but I’m now very often the Mac help desk person among my friends.) It turned out HP hasn’t got all drivers ready for Snow Leopard yet. And even with drivers available now, the network printing problem is not solved yet. Snow Leopard was released on Aug 26. A claimed to be HP person (wisely) started a FAQ thread in Apple forum on Aug 28. Since then, it has now got over 570 replies (40 pages) all of which are complains of not being able to make their HP printer work.

Honestly, I did successfully manage to make my own HP printer at home to work properly. It can print, scan and copy – no problem at all! But it’s connected directly to my iMac through USB.  Since the HP printer at home is not a wireless one, my mom can only print wirelessly at home through my iMac, not sending instructions directly to the printer. This works like a charm at home. Took me like only a second or two to set it up.

But at mom’s office, things are just totally different. Sigh… What to do then?

So, mom asked me to downgrade her Macbook and let it fall back to Leopard. So I backed up with Time Machine, zeroed out the disk, popped in the Leopard install disk… “cannot install OS X on this computer" WHAT?

Then I remember this Macbook came in Leopard, not Tiger. It didn’t require an install disk but it has its own recovery disk (or something like that). But with the hard disk being zeroed out, I couldn’t just press “eject" and eject the Leopard disk already inside the Cd slot. I had to hook it up to my iMac with a Firewire cable and boot it up as target disk, then eject the disk and switch it off … then on again.

Popped in the recovery disk… “cannot install OS X on this computer" WHAT DA …?!

In the end… I told my mom, “Mom, you needa print things? There are two solutions: 1)There’s a spare HP Inkjet in your room. Bring it back to office and connect it to your Macbook via USB; 2)Print your stuffs at home."

I got her Macbook back on Snow Leopard at last… not without some scary moments, like… settings were not migrated after using Migration Assistant; the Macbook turned black when I was looking into Time Machine, even the white light in the front was gone (nearly had a heart attack…again).

But still… I don’t see myself going back to the Windows world. I’ve just seen the Windows 7 in church got BSOD yesterday during service. Yes, DURING SERVICE when it was playing sermon PPT slides, it just went dead and self-reboot AND got BSOD AGAIN during  reboot.  So, no. I’m not going back… especially when I have the iPhone now.

So I’ve bought Snow Leopard. It took dayssss to arrive at my door but that’s fine.

I was lazy and so I just popped in that DVD and installed right on top of Leopard in my iMac. The installation completed successfully – so it seemed. Everything was in its own place and nothing’s lost. But then… as I began to use the new OS, things turned bad. The beach ball appeared VERY frequently. When I say VERY  frequently, it means it appeared almost right after any two clicks on whatever buttons on the screen. It appeared whenever I opened an app. It just appeared ALL THE TIME!

And then I did time machine backup right after upgrading to Snow Leopard. As time machine was working, I went take a shower. When I came back, the screen was asleep (which is normal). The abnormal was … when I moved the mouse, then punched the keys, then moved the mouse again… the screen just wouldn’t wake up! It took at least 3 minutes to wake up at last.

Then I was sure something’s really wrong. The Snow Leopard is supposed to be running faster!

So… I backup again just to find out that my external hard disk dropped dead for no reason (ok, it’s been giving some weird noise but I  ignored it. It finally gave up at the moment I needed it most >_<!). I had to get another HD (luckily there’s another one at home) and did a live partitioning and used the new part as my time machine.

After backup, I zeroed out my own iMac before making a clean install of Snow Leopard. Backup + zero out + install + migrate took me a total of 3.5 hours. (But with the initial installation plus backup plus partitioning… that costed me an extra 2 hours or so…)

Then last night came iTunes 9. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about the upgrade. I remember the upgrade last time to iTunes 8 did give me some trouble. But anyway, I upgraded to 9 because the new features are too attractive. With iTunes 9 came also the new iphone firmware 3.1. I  was also a bit skeptical about this. To be frank, there are always risks in doing upgrades. But I did it as well… it’s needed for the new features in iTunes 9. The upgrade went pretty smoothly… at first. Then when I synced my iphone, everything went through but it gave me an error message at the end of sync saying:

“the iphone… cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (13019)"

What the heck is that? I googled it and turned out to be a common error. It’s easy to fix: just uncheck the “sync music" box and sync to remove all the songs in iphone. Then sync one more time to put all the music back in iphone. Then it’s fixed.

So I did three upgrades during the past week. Nothing went too wrong. Everything’s running fine now!

My PC is dying. After having used PC for 16 long years, I’m giving up on PC and give my first try on Mac. My first computer was a pre 286 machine, I don’t even remember what model it was, only remember it took two 5″ disk for boot up. I learned how to type “cang jie" 16 years ago and back then there wasn’t such thing like Word, I used something called “guo qiao" (well, I think there’s another one called Comet 1) and I used Lotus before Excel came out. I used pre-windows system. Now I hardly remember how I used them but well, they were there. Anyways, I’ve had enough with M$ and finally Mac price is going down so I can afford to give it a try. Well, it’s still more expensive than PC but the difference is narrowing down. And by the way, using PC means I need to buy M$ stuffs which are really really really expensive. I know, some of you may say that “hey, so many ‘lo fan'(pirates) out there! Cheap or no cost at all!" Well, I get tired of failing on this little part and ignoring my identity as a Christian on this ‘tiny’ matter. I can actually afford to buy it but I don’t want to buy it. (Tell me, who wants to spend thousands of dollars for a MS Office?) So, let me switch to Mac. Using Mac, even if I buy authentic softwares, they’re not as costly as MS ones. 

But well, hold the discussion…wait till I really get my new toy and actually work on it, then I’ll let you guys know what it’s like to switch from PC to Mac. 

Two of my friends have already asked if they can come over to my place after my new toy’s arrived. They’ve both been using Mac for some time so I can rest assured that when I get into trouble with my new iMac, there’s someone I can turn to. 

So looking forward to having it actually on my desk! Oh! get excited just thinking of there will not be a case anymore, just one monitor and everything’s in it! so much more space!

一月 2021