Introducting Otto’s Remote

Update: Otto’s Remote and Otto’s Antenna are now available in the Apple App Stores! Click here for Otto’s Antenna and here for Otto’s Remote.

Recently I’ve hinted a few times that I am working on a new project. Now that I’m putting on the finishing touches, I’m ready to let the world know. So, without further ado I am pleased to introduce Otto’s Remote!

Otto’s Remote, along with its companion Mac app Otto’s Antenna, allows you to execute Automator actions, Applescripts, and even Unix shell scripts on your Mac at home from your iPhone, anywhere you go.

In addition, with Otto’s Remote you can set up Geo Triggers, which will set off an action on your Mac when you take your iPhone to or from specific locations.

How is this useful?

To help demonstrate how Otto’s Remote can be useful, here are a couple examples of how I have been using it in the past few months:

  • Fellow developers of iPhone and Mac apps are likely familiar with the Mac app Tokens. Tokens is a fantastic app for managing promotional codes for App Store apps. Unfortunately, being a Mac app, it is difficult or impossible to use when you are out and about. I wanted a way to use Tokens to generate a promo code for people I encounter, on the spot, without having to wait until I got home. So, I created an Automator action which launches Tokens1, tells it to generate a new promo code, then emails it to me. Now, if I’m out and I want to give someone a promo code, I can use Otto’s Remote to trigger that action and, moments later, have a Tokens link in my inbox which I can forward on to the intended recipient – almost instantly.
  • For my day job, I work from home on an iMac supplied by my employer. My work is kept on an encrypted DMG. While I have the iMac set up to require a password to exit the screen saver, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever have someone break into my house and try to access the machine, I prefer to dismount the encrypted DMG when I’m not home. However, I frequently forget to do so. So, I created an Applescript to attempt to dismount the DMG and set up Otto’s Remote to execute that script whenever I leave home.
  • I haven’t actually done this, but my wife just suggested it: You could create an Automator action to play your theme music, and set it up to trigger that action whenever you get home. I think I’ll set this up now, once I figure out what my theme music is!

I’m sure there are plenty of other potential uses for this that I haven’t even thought of. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear about them!


I’m looking for help testing Otto’s Remote. Also, while the app is clearly aimed at power users, I want the first run experience to be as smooth as possible. Even if you don’t want to do any full-on testing, I would appreciate having a few people try installing Otto’s Remote and Otto’s Antenna and give me feedback on how easy the first run experience was. You need to have an iPhone and a Mac that stays on all the time. If you’re interested, please let me know by emailing

Even if you’re not interested in testing Otto’s Remote, please sign up below to be notified when the app is released. The mailing list is managed by MailChimp, and I will only ever send you one or two emails. Otto’s Antenna and Otto’s Remote are now available, so the mailing list is now closed.

  1. Tokens is not actually Applescript-able, so the current Automator action is a bit more fragile than I would like – but it works!