Android Tasker, a helpful companion | Janne Honkonen - Janne Honkonen - Official pages of the Janne Honkonen, visual artist

Android Tasker, a helpful companion

I always try to automate as much as possible things in my life- not because I would be extremely lazy but because I love automation and what it can do you for. For automation, I use several different kind of solutions but one of my favorites is a small, yet, extremely good app called Tasker which is available for Android mobile phone.

What is Tasker

Tasker, first and foremost, is an app for your smart phone, which enables you to automate several different kind of tasks with smallest effort as possible. This handled, it basically can do anything with everything, what ever you could even want or imagine. You can create several different kind of automation profiles and tasks which will activate on the defined situation, was it a certain location, certain time of day, certain NFC tag or certain situation — or even a mixed set of some or all of these.

Tasker is a, well, simply to but it, the best app I have ever used. In this article, I will describe few funny automation things Tasker has made possible for me. AKA.

Janne’s daily automated life (also with Tasker)

Morning. I wake up. I take my phone from wireless charger after the night, in which point Tasker notices it, compares it to rule of most likely waking up profile based on time and disconnected charging and makes a random Twitter “waking up” tweet which is based on my personal PHP script on my server.

I sit down on my desktop and start my computer, putting down my phone on my NFC sticker on my table. Tasker recognized the NFC sticker and tweets automatically a random twitter feed that I’m on my computer doing my work.

If it’s a weekend, or early monday morning and my wife’s home, I stretch my hands, click certain icon on my phone’s home screen and Tasker does several things: First, it starts playing “Proper cup of Coffee” song which has been a cute-ish coffee-request song in our family for years used both me and my wife, then sends SMS to my wife (just in case she’s in another room) about asking romantically her to make coffee, and after that, makes even a random twitter @ tweet to my wife about me wanting her to make me a coffee. Social AND wife automation.

I then start Spotify to listen to music from my comp, and as I listen, Spotify notifies the world (last.fm) of what music I am listening using Scrobbler account. Same time, my personal code in my server checks every minute and so Last.fm RSS feed what I am currently listening, reads it, creates a random tweet based on the music, and tweets it. Again. This actually has nothing to do with Tasker, but needed to be mentioned.

If it’s summer, I’ll go to do outwork (chop woods, carry woods, clear woods, woods, woods, woods) or winter, I’ll go to do outwork (plow snow, clear snow, carry snow, snow, snow, snow) and I put my Bluetooth headphones on. Tasker recognizes this Bluetooth devices and tweets random text of me using headphones or hands free. Same time, I play Spotify from my phone and as same as with computer, it scrobbles it, and then the music is tweeted later on.

After yard work, I take a stroll on nearby bridge. Tasker recognizes my location from the GPS and tweets, that I’m enjoying the scenery, with random messages of the subject. Now, being so highly active doing yard work and even jogging, I’ll return inside, again sitting on my computer (auto-tweeted with NFC), which at noon, Tasker-recognized by time, sends using my own PHP script details about the day (daily quotes, etc.)

If I’m not near my phone, for example, I have forgotten to take it with me to the toilet, and it rings, Tasker recognizes the missing call and tweets to me about it as well as sends E-mail in case I was on my computer instead and did not notice. Reminder AND social media. Also, if I receive text message it sends it to my server’s database as a backup message storage using partly my own code.

Now, while my dear wife’s away, I have fallen asleep on the sofa. As I earlier have forgotten my phone in another room, my wife cannot in get contact to me, and as being lovely and worrying type as she is, she starts to concern because she has not got in contact for a longer time (I take long naps) so she sends a certain specific text message defined in Tasker, which of course, Tasker recognizes and replies automatically with text-message containing my GPS, Network (wi-fi) based and Cellular ID location with automated Google Maps– link to my wife so she can stop worrying knowing I have not got lost and am in home, most likely sleeping in sofa.

Afternoon starts to come, and as my wife starts to go home from the city towards our countryside home, she sends me a Glympse. Great location app, yet annoying, when you try to observe someone but your screen timeouts. Well, not on my phone. My Tasker recognizes that Glympse app is on, and keeps my screen on as long as app is running and after app has been closed, it resets screen timeout to normal.

Towards evening, my phone needs to be restarted because of firmware update or something, so I restart it. Before phone restarts, Tasker recognizes rebooting and tweets to the world that I’m offline for a moment because my phone is restarting.

At night-time, I go to sleep and put my phone on the wireless charger again next to my bed. Tasker recognizes that it is most likely time I go to sleep and as phone is being charged, it means I have gone most likely to sleep. So it, again, makes a random tweet about it. Damn. I am a really automated tweeter, aren’t I.

Also, it makes another nice thing. As I tweet (obviously) a lot, I also get a lot of retweets and likes, so my phone keeps beeping about them, even in night times. I am a heavy sleeper so I do not wake up for them but my wife has a wolf’s ears so she wakes up from every small sound. For this, Tasker recently came to help. Tasker automatically changes the volume of my phone’s notifications so they are to be heard only by daytimes so my dear wife can sleep better.

Sometimes my wife has to leave to work quite early while my notification volume is automatically low (off), so if she needs something and texts me, Tasker recognizes the text message and the sender, pop-ups the notification volume and even makes custom notification tone about it so I never miss any important info from my wife.

Conclusions

Tasker is fun. And sometimes annoying. About year ago I did a test with Tasker, and tried how it would take a photo with the phone’s back camera (face-facing camera) every 15 minutes and so. And then, I forgot the task was running. End results: I had a LOT of dark (phone cover closed) photos or stupid photos of me using my phone. Luckily my phone has 128GB of memory. Yet it was not funny when Google synced all of them into my drive and they still are there.

In other uses, I have also used Tasker’s location recognition to remind me of taking stuff to certain places and shopping lists based on location, as well as sending automated text messages to people. Also, one time, Tasker tweeted of me being in the city and I gave that up because I did not want to people to know when I’m off home or in city. Using Tasker I could make it to log FourSquare’s locations (swarm) and such but I’m not (that) much of sharing my goings.

I have used Tasker a lot to automate my life because it was easy and it was fun. You can use Tasker basically to anything so this is one of the very good reasons to get this app and start using it. With few plugins (free and commercial), you can even extend the usage of your Tasker and make it go for an extra mile.

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