How can I send an email or text message when a break is due or done?

I recently had an interesting customer request. They wanted to send an email or text message when a break was due, in case they were away from their Mac.

So I added a couple of new scripts to the Time Out Extras page.

The first one is called Send Email, which as you might imagine, sends an email message. Download it here.

Here’s the script; after downloading it, you’ll need to edit it to replace the two instances of with your email address; you can customize the subject and content of the message as desired:

tell application "Mail"
	set my_message to make new outgoing message
	set subject of my_message to "Time Out break"
	set content of my_message to "Time for a break...."
	set sender of my_message to ""
	tell my_message
		make new to recipient at end of to recipients with properties {name:""}
	end tell
	send my_message
end tell

The second script is called Send Message, which you may be amazed to learn sends a text message (via iMessage, Apple’s “blue bubble” messaging protocol). Download it here.

Here’s the script; after downloading it, you’ll need to edit it to replace the with your iCloud email address or phone number; you can customize the message as desired:

tell application "Messages"
	set targetBuddy to ""
	set targetService to id of 1st account whose service type = iMessage
	set textMessage to "Time for a break!"
	set theBuddy to participant targetBuddy of account id targetService
	send textMessage to theBuddy
end tell

To install the scripts, open the Time Out settings window, select a break, and go to the Break Actions page, then click the + button and choose the Reveal Scripts menu command:

Break Actions menu

Then drag the script files into that revealed folder. Then they will appear in that menu so you can choose one of them.

As always, you can choose to use these scripts before the break is due, when it starts, or when it is done, amongst other options. If you have a long break that you spend away from your Mac, a message when it is done could be very useful:

Send Email after done

If you want to send a message when a break is due, note that if you’re away from your Mac, by default the breaks are skipped, so it won’t send the messages. You can avoid that by choosing to Continue Countdown on the Break Schedule page:

Contine Countdown schedule option

As previously mentioned, I plan to write an iOS edition of Time Out, probably later this year. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to get notified of breaks on your iPhone, even when away from your Mac. But these scripts may be useful in the meantime. Enjoy!

Sinclair Trails 2023 theme for Time Out

I’ve just added a new Time Out theme for your enjoyment: a fast timelapse of driving our Tiffin Allegro Bus motorhome throughout 2023. This combines all of the motorhome travel timelapses for 2023 into one video, at 20x the speed of the original timelapse videos.

You can download this theme from the Time Out Extras page, and follow the instructions on that page to add it to Time Out.

As you may know, my wife and I travel the US in a 40-foot motorhome. We typically drive about two to six hours between campsites. I record each drive of the RV on a dash cam, and post a much shorter timelapse video of the journey. I’ve recently started adding a view from the truck being towed behind our coach, as a picture-in-picture, too.

This theme will start playing from a random point in the video each time it is used. A great way to have some ever-changing scenery during your breaks.

You can see the full 40-minute video on the Sinclair Trails YouTube channel — and I’d appreciate it if everyone reading this would subscribe to this channel, as it still has very few subscribers. It’s free!


New and updated Time Out themes: Sinclair Trails and Tropical Rain

As you know, Time Out dims the screen and by default shows its icon during a break, but has the ability to show other content via themes, as a reward for supporters of the app. Just dimming the screen is enough for a break, fine for people who want the basics, but avid users of the app can keep things interesting with other themes.

The theme can be changed on the Break Appearance settings page; click the blue Info button next to the pop-up menu to learn about the theme, and try it via the Preview button:

Appearance settings

One of the built-in themes is called Tropical Rain; it was kindly contributed by Time Out customer Nick Kaijaks. It play a HD YouTube video of a tropical rain forest, with the gentle sound of rainfall, starting from a random offset in the video, so it’s different for every break.

On macOS Ventura the theme stopped working, so it has been updated to fix that. I also increased the volume of the rainfall to 50%, since some people mentioned that they couldn’t hear it. You can adjust the volume by editing the index.html file within the theme; look for the follow line; the value can be anything from 0 to 100:

    var VOLUME = 50;

The corrected theme will be bundled in the next update of Time Out, but in the meantime you can download the update here. To install it, choose the Reveal Themes command from the end of the themes pop-up menu, and drag the uncompressed theme folder into the revealed Themes folder in the Finder, replacing the existing one.

Tropical rain theme

I have a YouTube channel called Sinclair Trails where I post timelapse videos of our motorhome travels around the US. I recently posted a video that combines the timelapse videos from 2022 into one faster video. So having just updated the Tropical Rain theme, it occurred to me that I could make a copy of that to play random parts of my timelapse video. And so the Sinclair Trails 2022 Timelapses theme was created; you can download it here.

Sinclair Trails 2022 timelapses theme

This theme plays the video without any sound. Again, you can adjust that by editing the theme source. Or use a Break Action to play your own music if you prefer.

I also have a similar timelapse video from 2021, which is available as the Sinclair Trails 2021 timelapses theme; you can download it here.

Sinclair Trails 2021 timelapses theme

Finally, I also added a theme that just shows the Sinclair Trails blog, which has new posts every day. You can follow along on my adventures exploring the country while you take your breaks. You can download this theme here.

Sinclair Trails blog theme