Categories
Links Shortcuts

I’m washing my hands 📲

New shortcut: I’m washing my hands:

Sets a timer for 20 seconds so that you can wash your hands thoroughly without thinking about how long it takes.

Use this to help internalize how long it takes to wash your hands, especially amongst the Coronavirus concerns.

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot of the shortcut.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

Entering your home with just a tap (using NFC & iOS) 🔗

Matt Haughey, writing for his site A Whole Lotta Nothing:

As you might have guessed from a previous post, I’m not a fan of carrying keys and or even having to use them. When I moved to a new place, I knew I’d use the front door as my main point of entry (instead of a garage attached to a house), so I wanted to get it as automated as possible, where the front door unlocks as I approach it, and locks when I leave. 

Matt started with an August Smart Lock and ended up getting NFC tags so that everyone in his family could tap in and out of the house. Be sure to check out the full article for all his photos of the setup too.

This bit is excellent – I’m definitely thinking about NFC “skins” instead of having white dots all over the place:

To make them blend in a bit more, I went to my local Lowe’s and bought a $5 roll of adhesive-backed shelf paper in a maple pattern that mostly matched my wood posts. I used a NFC tag as a template, traced it onto the paper, and cut out two holes, then pulled off the backing and stuck them over the tags. From a distance, you can barely tell they’re there since I put the NFC stickers over wood knots and they look like wood repair patches now.

I’ve joked before that Matt is my smart home spirit animal – he continues to fill that role well 🤓.

Read the full article on A Whole Lotta Nothing.

Categories
Podcasts Shortcuts Tips & Tricks Video

“Show me this clip” for video podcasts with this Overcast to YouTube shortcut

If you didn’t already know, my podcast Smart Tech Today comes with a video feed now – you can download a full video feed in Podcasts, or subscribe to the YouTube channel to get the episodes every week, or watch live on Twitch every Monday at 4pm PST.

While the show is designed as an audio podcast, our network This Week in Tech produces the video so anyone can watch too – I have lots of fun being on camera with Mikah.

Being a podcast that’s also “video capable,” I’ve always thought it’s a shame that it’s not easier to listen when you want to, or watch when you want to, with a way to switch between both on the fly.

If you’re on Overcast user, you’re in luck – I’ve solved the problem in one direction, taking Overcast’s “Share URL with timestamp” Siri Shortcut and combining it with YouTube’s timestamps feature to let you jump into the video feed at a moment’s notice.1

The result is my shortcut “Show me this clip” that works well on your Home screen, in the Shortcuts widget, or in Siri. When you run the shortcut, the link from the current podcast in Overcast is converted to a link to our latest YouTube video, with a special parameter to open to just the right time (in seconds).

Sometimes it may be a bit off, but it’s pretty cool to move from the podcast to the video quickly with a simple Siri command.

Other video podcasts that upload their files to YouTube should be able to recreate the same shortcut as well by adding in their own channel’s URL.

Unfortunately, for now, this is limited to people who use Overcast as their podcast player – it’s the only podcast app I’ve found that includes a literal timecode in the shared link. Plus, there’s no easy way to go from YouTube back into the podcast – YouTube also doesn’t support sharing links with timestamps at all, much less provide Siri Shortcuts for sharing the current video2.

But if you’re a smart home nerd who uses Overcast, I hope you’ll listen to our show and enjoy using this shortcut.

Get my shortcut “Show me this clip.”


  1. I originally built this for my old podcast, Supercomputer, when we ran an experiment with a video version of the show for a few weeks. 
  2. I wish they did – I would use the heck out of a set from YouTube. 
Categories
Links Shortcuts

How far did I walk today? 📲

Today’s new shortcut is How far did I walk today? is designed for CES attendees but is also good for anyone really:

Looks at the Health app for total steps and distance for today, then formats the information to display in an alert or be spoken back from Siri.

Uses only the Apple Watch as the main source of data so no information is duplicated from the phone.

Built after day 1 of my first CES when I took 26,264 steps for a total of 13.2 miles, almost entirely in/around the convention center areas.

This is also a good demo of how Siri Shortcuts can be very useful just with the Health app – there’s tons of health “samples” to dig through and examine different types to work with.

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot of the steps.

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Links Shortcuts

Which CES shuttle should I take? 📲

New shortcut “Which CES shuttle should I take?“ for CES attendees:

Pulls from a dictionary of CES hotel names and their associated shuttle #s, lets you choose from the names, then tells you which shuttle to take.

Also opens your final destination in Maps so you can follow along.

If you’re new to CES like I am, this is a helpful guide for getting on the right shuttle to head to the right destination.

The conference is so spread out and constantly checking to see which shuttle is a waste of energy – just ask Siri instead 🙂

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot of the shortcut.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

Playing a podcast by time of day using “If” conditionals 📲

This afternoon, @kcjokes asked for a shortcut that can play a podcast based on the time of day:

After thinking about it for a minute, I built this for him:

Takes the current time, converts it to 24-hour time, then grabs just the Number value and uses it in an “If” conditional – if before 8pm (or 20), play podcast “A”, otherwise if after 8pm play podcast “B.”

Includes Import Questions for pre-selecting the podcasts.

This is a helpful example of using the “If” action to create conditionals in your shortcuts, letting something different happen each time you run the shortcut depending on how the condition is met. In this, the shortcut uses the current Time values inside “If” conditionals so that something different happens depending whether the shortcut is run before or after a certain time of day.

To be more specific, formatting the Time into a single 24-hour value lets the “If” action’s conditions utilize “less than” or “equal to”-type math to check against the current hour – in iOS 13, the “If” action’s conditions change depending on the type of content used.

Feel free to give it a more creative name 🙂

Get the shortcut or view the full screenshot.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

Log your sun exposure with an Apple Watch automation 🌞⌚️📲

Here’s a Personal Automation for Apple Watch that I’m running automatically at the start of my Walking workouts – Log UV index:

Gets the current weather at the current location and logs the UV index for the hour into the Health app, then displays it or speaks it back when run via Siri.

Includes “Get Device Name” and an “If” action to account for being run on the iPad, which does not have the Health app and would otherwise fail.

Shows a screenshot from the Shortcuts app with “Get Current Weather,” “Get the Device name,” an “If” action set to “If Device Name contains iPad”, then “Show Result,” otherwise “Log Health Sample” and then “Show Alert.”

I built this because I wanted to track the UV levels I am being exposed to on a daily basis, whether it be too much during the summer or not enough during the winter.

I use this inside a Personal Automation for Apple Watch set to the “Walking” workout type – the Run Shortcut action runs the Log UV Index when the trigger is met as my workout begins. That way, any time I go on an outdoor walk and I begin a Workout, this will log the sun exposure I’m getting into the Health app.

Shows a Personal Automation in Shortcuts set to Apple Watch walking workouts and including one action step for Run Shortcut set to “Log UV Index.”

Since having an Apple Watch and seeing the UV index on my watch faces, I have realized just how strong the afternoon sun in California can be in and, conversely, how little I was actually getting outside during the winter. I also included the “X out of 14” bit to help with the context, since I doubt many people know the bounds of UV index scores 🤓

Since I already use the Outdoor Walk feature every day, it’s an easy and automatic way to trigger a shortcut reliably – why not log the UV index every time? Some day in the future I might be able to make an interesting insight from having the data saved.

Plus, I may stack on other shortcuts using the “Run Shortcut” action, treating my daily walks as a human-powered hamster wheel for all my Shortcuts Automation needs.

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot.

Then, to set up the trigger, do the following 10-step process:

  1. Open the Automations tab.
  2. Create a new automation by tapping the + in the top right.
  3. Select “Personal Automation.”
  4. Choose “Apple Watch Workout” under the Event label.
  5. Choose “Walking” from the Workout Type menu, then tap “Next.”
  6. Add “Run Shortcut” from the actions list.
  7. Tap in the empty “Shortcut” field and then choose Log UV Index.
  8. Tap “Done,” then toggle “Ask Before Running” off.
  9. Confirm the “Don’t Ask” option so it will run without asking each time the workout starts.
  10. Tap “Done” to finish the Automation.

Then, go for a walk, start a Workout, and look for the notification!

Categories
Links Shortcuts

Singalong 📲

New shortcut Singalong for Apple Music users:

Turns on the Apple TV, asks if you want to Hand Off music to the TV from the current device, then opens the Music app and shows the Remote on the current device.

I use this to play my music on the TV so I can take advantage of the Live Lyrics feature.

It asks if I want to hand off rather than doing it every time so I can run this again later to jump back into Music if I’ve walked away from the singing session 🙂

Get the shortcut or view the full screenshot.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

2020 Meme generator 📲

Sometimes you just have to make a meme into a shortcut:

Takes the “2020” meme with a line of text in the middle and uses a find & replace to swap out your own text, then copies it and opens Twitter. Your new input must be less than 30 characters to fit.

This is a silly meme generator and proof of concept for how Siri Shortcuts can be used.

Make your own meme generators using the Ask For Input, Text, and Replace Text actions in Shortcuts!

Note: these are not very friendly to users with screen readers, so deploy with care.

Get the shortcut or view the full screenshot.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

Twitter self-search 📲

Self-search is a handy shortcut I built for Twitter users:

Using a Twitter username inputted on import and a keyword entered when the shortcut is run, this shortcut takes the info, URL-encodes it into a Twitter link, and opens into the app to show the results.

Use this to search your own tweets for something you’ve said in the past instead of scrolling through all the way through your own tweets or entering the fiddly search operators yourself.

Get the shortcut or view the full screenshot of .