Changes in v2.6
- New security feature: the ability to use PostWatch’s screen saver as a lock screen. You can launch it from the menu and the Mac will be locked. (yet still get alerts) PostWatch also honors the “Require password after the screen saver begins” in System Preferences/Settings.
- Fixed update check from hanging at launch.
- Removed the Notifications workaround for HandBrake that kept it in focus during encodes. Handbrake v1.6.1 removed the need for it.
- Fixed issue with Optimizer hanging when modifying Notifications.The macOS 13.2.1 update broke it.
To install PostWatch, all you need to do is download the zip file, open the dmg and drag the app to the Applications folder. Then you can drag the PostWatch app to your Login Items so that PostWatch launches when the Mac does.
First, Setup Pushover Service
0PostWatch sends alerts to the free push service called Pushover. Available for iOS and Android. (Note that there is a one time $4.99 fee to purchase the app) To work with PostWatch we need a User Key and a unique App Token for each app we use. (FCP, Compressor, After Effects, etc.) This gives us the ability to view and sort each app with its icon in Pushover.
Setup is fairly easy. Go to Pushover to signup for a new account…
After signing up you will be assigned a unique User Key.
Copy/Paste the User Key to the PostWatch preferences.
Go to Create an Application/API Token. Fill in Name and upload (supplied) icon. Click Create Application. Copy/Paste the App Token to the preferences for the corresponding App.
Repeat for all apps you want to use. Leave the rest blank.
Note: if this seems like a lot of work to create a Token for each app, don’t worry it’s easier than it looks. However if you just want to get to testing faster, just check the User Finder Token For All.
Download Smart Phone App
Download Pushover to your smartphone. Login with your email. (the account created in previous step) Set the preferences how you like, but its helpful to set the sounds so you can hear success or failure of events.
Go to settings. Set default sound for successful events – I like “Incoming”. Set default high-priority sound to something for failed events – I like “Siren” or “Tug Boat.” Optionally I have included PostWatch’s internal sounds with the install files to upload to the Pushover website. Then you will be able to select those sounds on the phone app instead or Pushover’s.
Please add PostWatch and PostWatch Watcher to the macOS security panel. Go to System Preferences then Security & Privacy Settings:
Notification Center Settings
One of the most important steps to get PostWatch to work is to setup macOS Notification center correctly. PostWatch uses GUI scripting to visually read the Notification Center alerts from apps.
The apps that PostWatch reads Notifications for are: FCP, Motion, Frame.io, EditReady, ff·Works, Handbrake and a few system alerts. For the rest of the apps PostWatch uses other methods to sniff out render/encode status.
Use the System Optimization tool to complete all the following tasks. Look in the top bar app for the menu item to start the process.
The System Optimization script will change the following in Notification Center:
- Disable Do Not Disturb
- Change all apps to Banner Style
For FCP, Motion, Frame.io, EditReady, ff·Works, Handbrake and Problem Reporter the script will change:
- Enable: Show notifications on lock screen
- Enable: Show in notification center
- Enable: Badge app icon
- Disable: Play sound for notifications (PostWatch has sounds)
The script will then tell you to change your Energy Saver settings so that that the computer never sleeps. This will keep your Mac running for long renders/encodes and also keep PostWatch running.
Ready to Launch PostWatch!
If have have completed the above steps then you are now ready to Launch PostWatch and get back to your post-life. After launching, PostWatch will test preferences, test Pushover keys / tokens and find the apps installed for watching. When ready You will see alerts in Notification Center.
Note: It’s always best to launch PostWatch before any other software so that it is ready to start watching the apps before they start doing their tasks.
To test PostWatch, I have included a test script that will trigger an alert in Notifications and if everything is working you will get an alert on the Pushover app. If you let the test app run it will send a test every hour so you will know if your sleep settings are stopping PostWatch from seeing Notifications. (Look in PostWatch Preferences for Test Notifications)
After Effects Mode:
Change when PostWatch sends alerts. Can send when an individual composition completes or the whole batch completes.
Custom Notification Watcher:
Watch for Desktop Notifications from any application that generates them. Simply provide the name of the application that displays on the Notification and optionally provide success/failure keywords.
Useful if you are starting PostWatch with the computer and need other processes to run first.
Play Local Success/Failure Sounds:
Turning off will disable all PostWatch sounds on the Mac.
Enable Desktop Notifications:
There are several apps that do not natively use macOS desktop notifications. PostWatch can replace those with it’s own helpers that send alerts to Notification Center – and it looks like the native apps did it themselves.
Send Pushover Message:
Turning this off will disable sending messages to your smartphone. Useful if you just want the sounds.
First line of Message is User Login Name:
Useful when you have several Macs and want to know which one sent the alert. Turning off will just show the sending applications name instead.
Notify for… App Crashes or Freezes:
Requires “Force Quit Applications” window to be open (see section below)
Notify for… Disk ejected improperly, Out of disk space:
UPS powering the Mac and connected via USB cable required to receive power alerts. (see below for disk space settings)
Notify for… Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse Batteries low, Loss of AC power and running on UPS battery:
Notifies when any of your Bluetooth devices have low batteries. Triggers when the battery is lower than 15 percent.
Check Specific Disk for Connection to Mac:
With this you can give the name of a specific network share or disk that you want watched. If it is removed or ejected you will get an alert. If it comes back online you will also get an alert. Great for keeping an eye on network shares, shared storage or local backup drives.
Send Startup / Shutdown Notice:
Lets you know when the Mac is booted or shutdown. Requires that PostWatch is added to the User Login Items in System Preferences. Great for monitoring servers or remote Mac reboots.
App Specific Notes
For Adobe After Effects and Media Encoder PostWatch keeps an eye on their respective logs for information about render status and any info about errors.
Note: After Effects 2021 changed the default render log setting to “Errors Only” which does not create a log for PostWatch to watch. So when creating a Render Job please change the log setting to “Plus Settings” or “Plus Per Frame Info” so you will receive PostWatch alerts. A pop-up from PostWatch will remind you when starting After Effects 2021 or higher.
For After Effects I could not decide whether to send an alert based on the completion of the batch or for each individual composition… so I gave you a choice. Look for the After Effects mode setting in preferences.
ff·Works and Handbrake both need Notifications enabled in apps preferences. In Handbrake set the When Done to Notification. In ff·Works set Show Notification to When Finished, Cancelled and Errors.
Hedge uses a different method for communicating with PostWatch by linking to separate scripts in Hedge preferences. File Copy Completed and Checkpoint Issue both have a corresponding script. PostWatch automatically inserts these for you so nothing for you to do here but enjoy.
App Crashes and Freezes
OK, so this was the more difficult feature to implement and something I don’t think any else has tried interact with for an app.
(Mojave and up) No setup needed, but let me tell you how this works. Normally when an app crashes the Problem Reporter will pop up with information about what happened. For most of us this is just a bunch of gobbledygook tech speak and not very useful. For PostWatch to get information about a crash and send an alert required a rather simple solution; Starting in macOS Mojave, Apple made a hidden feature for developers which switches Problem Reporter to a standard Notification instead.
Perfect for the PostWatch way of working with Notifications. PostWatch itself enables this feature so you don’t need to do anything. Note: when there is a crash and you do want more information, just find the crash in Notification Center and click it. This will bring up the classic Problem Reporter.
This one was really tricky and does require one bit for the user to do. The only process on macOS that tracks when apps don’t respond is the Force Quit Applications window. Luckily PostWatch can read the list for possible freezes. However it needs to be open and the screensaver cannot come on nor can the display sleep. (because the window will not refresh) So I have created an alternate screensaver with Preview and an image that forces the screen to stay awake. So all you have to do is open the Force Quit Applications window (opt+cmd+esc) and step away. After 1 minute the PostWatch screensaver comes on and then it continues to monitor for application freezes.
You can replace my default screensaver image with your own. Just name any .jpg image as Screensaver.jpg and place it in the PostWatch folder located in your Application Support folder. In preferences you will find the Support Files button to open the folder for you.
Custom Mac Sounds:
You can change the sounds for PostWatch by swapping out the existing files in Application Support. In preferences you will find the Support Files button to open the folder for you. There you will find all the sounds used for the application. Create your own and rename them exactly the same and replace the existing file. Success, Failure and Alarm are the main sounds.