My First Mac Archive

This article was first published on 2007-08-23. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.

Did you ever want a certain program to load up a few minutes before waking up? Maybe for fetching e-mails or RSS right before you wake up rather than leaving it open all night? Are you on a metered connection and want to schedule large downloads during specified un-metered times, or do you want to keep all the bandwidth for browsing and download at times when you are not in front of the computer?


Reasons for wanting to automatically start a program at a specified time may vary according to the user and situations can be different. Mine was simple. I changed my un-metered connection to a metered cable, and wanted all large downloads to start and finish in the confines of the time allocated for un-metered downloads by the service provider.


I searched all over for a simple programs which takes care of loading and quitting programs at certain times. A simple scheduler would have made it, but none were available (to my knowledge). My first stop was Google – no cigar. I tried several forums which although helpful, suggested other means which were too difficult to implement by this user who has not been using a Mac for long enough to learn all the nook and crannies (although I am getting there!)


I started thinking and I finally rested upon trying Automator – the biggest blessing on your system. Believe me if you have never delved into the wonderful options there, please do… you will be surprised.


I load all my links into a downloader ready for it to start the queue whenever it is loaded but the first hurdle was to load the program automatically. Well this proved to be the easy part. I loaded up Automator as you see below.



 Automator Set Up


 Automator Save Plug in as


I dragged the action to the right hand side and selected the application. Easy enough. What was left was to save the action as an iCal Alarm. When iCal is loaded, you can make this a recurrent event as well as set the time at which this is loaded.


Now you tell me… there doesn’t appear to be any "close program" action… well there is, but has to be downloaded from


After installing, it’s just a matter of repeating the steps above for the new action.


 Automator Added Action


Remember to set iCal preferences not to turn off alarms when iCal is not loaded (in the advanced section)


 iCal Advanced preferences


I hope this helps you solve that problem of yours. Enjoy!

Do you have any tips to share about doing a similar process? Let us know in the Comments section below!