Controlling OS X volume through Cron

One of the biggest annoyances of working from home is that with the computers in the room next door, the volume of your computers can cause a problem if someone suddenly calls you on Skype, or your backup software suddenly kicks in and starts beeping. I never remember to mute the volume, so I started looking for a way to this automatically through cron at specific times. I also wanted to be sure that rather than setting a specific volume (and having to remember it), that I could just use the OS X mute function. The solution is to combine Applescript, which you can run from the command line using the osascript command, with the command line limitations of cron. There are three components, the two Applescripts that mute and unmute the volume, and the lines in a crontab to run the scripts. To mute the volume with Applescript:

set volume with output muted

To unmute:

set volume without output muted

Save both these into Applescripts (use the Applescript editor so they are compiled). Then we can just set the scripts to execute when required:

0 9 * * * osascript /usr/local/mcslp/volume-unmute.scpt0 19 * * * osascript /usr/local/mcslp/volume-mute.scpt

I’ve set this on the three machines and now we get a silent night!