Transit’s Apple Watch app returns after two-year hiatus 🔗

Jon Fingas, writing for Endgaget about Transit for iOS releasing a new version of their Apple Watch app:

The popular public transportation tool is now a native app, of course, but it also gives you considerably more detail than just arrival times, including future arrivals and a map indicating where to go. 

I’m glad to see more apps slowly returning to the Apple Watch (or adopting it for the first time). Will be trying this out over the weekend 🤓.

Read the full article.

Smart Tech Today 10: We Want Smart Blinds 🎙

On our tenth episode of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talk about these stories:

We are live on Twitch every Monday at 4pm PST – tune in if you want to watch us record the show! And as always, you can listen along to the podcast at your leisure too.

Links for the show:

Automating how loud Siri replies on the HomePod

I’m a huge fan of the HomePod – after bearing the investment cost, it’s improved my daily interactions with music and opened access to controlling my smart home gear, plus provides a new medium for everything I’ve built in the Shortcuts app.

But one of the nagging problems with HomePod is the way Siri, regardless of the current time of day, will respond loudly at whatever volume you’ve previously set.

Whether it’s the middle of the night or super early in the morning, it’s all too common to ask Siri something and the answer shouted backed at you, only because you listened to music loudly sometime yesterday. Hopefully nobody wakes up, you curse at how dumb your supposedly “smart” speaker can be, and frantically try to turn it down.

Thankfully, iOS 13.2 provides a route to a solution by adding HomePods and AppleTV to scenes and automations – the HomePod didn’t fix this on its own, but, with a Home Automation, you can make it “smart” enough yourself.1 Continue reading “Automating how loud Siri replies on the HomePod”

Opening directly into Watch Later on YouTube with a Siri Shortcut

After adding a few videos from YouTube to my Watch Later playlist this afternoon, I looked in the Apps section of the Shortcuts app for some Siri Shortcuts from the YouTube app.

I’ve found actions that open the Search and Subscriptions section of the app before, but I wanted to quickly jump into the Watch Later bit which is buried in the Library tab – alas, there was no shortcut.

However, I then realized that links often redirect into the app, and I might be able to use that deep link instead.

I navigated to the Watch Later tab in Safari on my iPad, copied the URL, and created a new shortcut with only the Open URLs action, and pasted the link in. To my delight, running the shortcut opened right into Watch Later, and I literally said “Oh hell yes” out loud.

Now it’ll be much easier to jump into videos I’ve saved at any moment, especially once I add this shortcut to my Home Screen.

This is a simple shortcut, but a reply to my tweet about it encapsulated some of my feeling about quick shortcuts like these:

Of course I personally think there’s more to Siri Shortcuts than that, running shortcuts as “better than digging” is a great starting point for finding value with the Shortcuts app.

Sometimes a shortcut only solves one seemingly small problem, but solving that very well can be just the right change to your workflow and help you quickly reach a goal when you’d otherwise not bother.

I have over 300 videos in my Watch later playlist because it’s simply not easy to access on the devices I use most, so this shortcut alone could change my entire relationship with YouTube – I look forward to using it regularly.

Get the shortcut here.

STT 7: Make Your Smart Home Work for You 🎙

On episode 7 of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about the following:

We’ll be live each Monday at 4pm PST / 7PM EST – thanks for listening!

Links for the show:

Shortcuts for the show:

STT 6: Smart Tech: It’s for Everyone 🎙

On this episode of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talk about:

  • Disney reaches deal with Amazon to put Disney+ on Fire TV devices:

  • Roku’s new free app lets you control your viewing with your Apple Watch:

  • Google Assistant can now support bathtubs and faucets:

  • How Industrial Giant Honeywell Is Taking Over Your Building’s Brain:

  • Extending Apple’s HomeKit through the open-source Homebridge:

  • How to connect incompatible accessories to HomeKit using Homebridge:

  • Homebridge Out of the Box:

  • Google’s Nest Hubs can now sense when you’re standing nearby and show you the weather:

  • Apple’s Revised Privacy Page Provides More Per-App Detail:

  • Matthew Cassinelli discusses some of the automation, routines, and Shortcuts he’s working on in his smart home.

  • Feedback & Questions: A question about out-of-home alerts for a Hue sensor and a nomination for a name for “smart shoes.”

  • Mikah’s pick of the week: LEVOIT humidifier:

  • Honeywell humidifier:

  • Matthew’s pick of the week: SwitchBot Smart Switch Button Pusher:

Plus, here’s a set of Siri Shortcuts I created last week for subscribing and listening to the show:

We’ll be live next Monday at our usual 4pm PST – thanks for listening along so far!

Links for the show:

STT 5 – Hearables: AirPods Pro & Echo Buds 🎙

On this episode of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talk about:

  • Smart home news: the Ember Mug 2, LIFX’s new candelabra bulb, Cortana reads emails now, the Tile tracker works with the Google Assistant and Alexa, and Samsung’s SmartThing’s platform gets offline automation support and a new Rules API.
  • Google news: Google (Alphabet) has officially acquired FitBit, the Google Home app gets a visual overhaul, and the Google Assistant gets Sirius XM support.
  • Security & privacy: Researchers used lasers to “speak” to Amazon Echo and Google Home devices from a distance.
  • Hearables: Matthew and Mikah review Amazon’s new Echo Buds and Apple’s new AirPods Pro.
  • Multi-voice recognition: Developers can now leverage Alexa Voice Profiles when developing Skills for Alexa-enabled devices. Matthew troubleshoots and explains HomePod’s new Handoff, Ambient Noise, and automation features.
  • Projects: Matthew dives deep into Shortcuts on HomePod and AirPods 2; Mikah waxes ecstatic about using motion sensors as part of his smart home setup.
  • Matthew’s pick: Mr. Christmas 7′ Alexa Compatible RGB LED Christmas Tree
  • Mikah’s pick: Beddr SleepTuner Sleep Monitor

Plus, here’s a set of Siri Shortcuts I created last week for subscribing and listening to the show:

We’ll be live next Monday at our usual 4pm PST – thanks for listening along so far!

Links for the show:

Smart Tech Today #2: Mesh WiFi and Voice-First Computing 🎙

Mikah Sargent and I have recorded episode 2 of Smart Tech Today, this time over Skype and on the Twitch livestream. Here’s the description from the TWiT page:

  • Mikah reveals he’s now dual-wielding mobile operating systems. Along with his iPhone 11 Pro Max, he’s carrying a OnePlus 7 Pro to better understand and make use of the Google Assistant and Android in general.
  • The two discuss recent discounts on mesh WiFi systems and how mesh WiFi systems can lead to a better smart tech user experience.
  • Matthew explains how Siri and Spotify are working together to provide Spotify users with Siri voice control and the two hosts reveal why they subscribe to both Spotify and Apple Music.
  • Mikah waxes ecstatic over the ultra-wideband chip in the new iPhone 11 and the two dream up a future where UWB controls both the smart home and mobile connected tech.
  • Mikah details how he’s been using Alexa Routines to start his day and Matthew compares this functionality to Siri Shortcuts.
  • Matthew gives us a look at his Google Assistant- and Alexa-controlled Xbox.
    Mikah details how he’s trying to use the Google Assistant and Siri to be a little more voice-first with his devices.
  • Matthew complains about the lack of Google Assistant support for G Suite accounts and Mikah shares how much he enjoys the ETA feature in Apple Maps on iOS 13. The two hosts also try the same feature using Google Maps.

Plus, here’s a set of Siri Shortcuts I created last week for subscribing and listening to the show:

We’ll be live next Monday at our usual 4pm PST – thanks for listening along so far!

Links for the show:

Smart Tech Today #1: Voice Assistants in Your Ears 🎙

On Monday, Mikah Sargent and I recorded episode 1 of Smart Tech Today in person at the TWiT studio. In the show, we:

  • Attempt to create nicknames for the major voice assistants. Be sure to share your ideas for Siri, Alexa, and Google nicknames by emailing!
  • Discuss all the products Amazon announced at its recent press event. Matthew gets Mikah to change his mind about the smart oven Amazon launched.
  • Ponder the future of voice-based operating systems given the fact that every company seems to be announcing earbuds that work with smart assistants.
  • Give a brief rundown of their smart home setups.
  • Answer questions about automating alarms using Siri Shortcuts and NFC tags.
  • Give a shout-out to the one-and-only Gemmy the Twerking Bear.

Here’s Mikah and I after recording – had a blast! We’re off to a great start, but any help sharing the show to new people still goes a long way.

Once we hit 30,000 subscribers, we’ll have a full video feed of each episode too, available on our YouTube channel:

Plus, here’s a set of Siri Shortcuts for subscribing and listening to the show:

We’ll be live every Monday at 4pm PST, with the episode dropping later each evening. Thanks for listening!

Links for the show:

New DuetCam app shoots video with both cameras at once

Today, as first noticed by 9to5Mac, developer Marcel Schmitz launched a brand new app called DuetCam for $2.99 that takes advantage of iOS 13’s ability to record video with both the front-facing camera and one of the back cameras at the same time.

Schmitz’ app basically lets you film what’s in front of you while also recording yourself in a smaller picture-in-picture box, creating an immersive experience where you can talk to the camera while showing what you’re looking at. Continue reading “New DuetCam app shoots video with both cameras at once”