Mac Mini Media Center: Hazel
Hazel is a preference pane that watches folders and carries out actions on files based on rules you set. It’s presumably stuff that you could do with folder actions and applescript, but for non-scripters, it’s handy as heck. It can take a while to get your head around, and figure out the right rules you want, but once you have it set up, you can automate a lot of the fiddly file management that comes with digital media. I have mine set up to watch my downloads folder and do the following:
- add any mp3s to the iTunes playlist I sync with my iPhone, and then move the files to the trash
- unpack any rars that might, say, have been spat out by Transmission
- shunt any movie files into the “Movies” folder, where they’ll show up in all their metadata-enriched glory within Plex (or Boxee, or any XBMC version)
It doesn’t work perfectly – Plex etc. can be fussy about filenames. However, it cuts down on the fiddling drastically. The auto-iPhone-updating alone is worth the $22.