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Growling PhoneValet

In Smart Home Hacks, Greg Smith wrote about using LanOSD to display notifications of CallerID (and other events, such as someone ringing your doorbell) on all the (Macintosh) computers. (See Hack #31 "Broadcast Messages On Your Home Network" on page 130.)

Unfortunately, the developer of LanOSD has abandoned his application in, well, a hissy fit over Apple switching to Intel processors. Making matters worse, even if you manage to find a copy of the application elsewhere, the last beta version expired in December 2005 so it won't run at all.

Fortunately, the folks who create Growl have been quite busy and it has really come a long way in the last year. You can read what I've written about Growl in the past, but the current scoop is that the network notifications are easier to manage then they used to be. Which means, not only is Growl the only viable replacement for LanOSD, it's actually a big improvement in because of its features and support.

So I finally spent a few minutes and converted all of my LanOSD notifications over to Growl. It has been working wonderfully! The first thing I changed was the CallerID notification that PhoneValet uses, it was a simple change; here's how the new code looks:

	tell application "GrowlHelperApp"
		notify with name "Incoming Call" title "Incoming Call" application name "PhoneValet Growl" description callerName & return & callerNumber with sticky
	end tell
end try	

One conceptual hurdle that LanOSD users will have to adjust to is that Growl, for security reasons I suppose, requires an application to register itself before messages will be accepted. Here's the script I used to register my "PhoneValet Growl" script:

tell application "GrowlHelperApp"
	set the notifs to {"Incoming Call"}
	register as application "PhoneValet Growl" all notifications notifs default notifications notifs icon of application "PhoneValet"
end tell

Some of the sample code I looked at re-registers with every message sent, but so far that hasn't been necessary for me, so I just ran the script above once and everything has worked. I also set up notification forwarding, on the computer where PhoneValet is installed, so that everyone on the network (that has Growl installed, of course) can see who's calling. (Which I've greatly missed since LanOSD self-destructed.)

So, if you're working on Greg's hack, this should give you a bit of what you need to substitute Growl for LanOSD. Feel free to leave a comment if you need more help, and I'll be writing more as I explore what Growl has to offer for home automation users.


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