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Links News Newsletter Offsite Siri Shortcuts

Announcing my new “What’s New in Shortcuts” newsletter

shortcuts-pulse

As part of my new Shortcuts Catalog1, I’ve created a brand-new newsletter called What’s New in Shortcuts?.

This free newsletter is designed for anyone interested in learning more about Siri Shortcuts, covering:
* feature updates as they’re discovered,
* interesting ways to use Shortcuts related to topical stories, and
* creative new shortcuts or apps with Shortcuts actions.

In addition, What’s New in Shortcuts acts as a way to subscribe to learn about future updates to my Shortcuts Library, Action Directory, and upcoming additions to the Shortcuts Catalog.

What’s in the newsletter?

Your email each week will consist of a short-and-sweet series of bulleted lists explaining ways you can use Siri, the Shortcuts app, and related technology, all written out as trigger phrases like “Hey Siri, remind me to vote early.”

Each line will link out to a page in the Catalog, directly to an iCloud URL for a shortcut, or to an article on my site or someone else’s2.

At the bottom, you’ll also find member updates around any new pre-release shortcuts or bonus content available for the Shortcuts Catalog – check out my membership page to learn more3.

Plus, if you aren’t a member, there will still be free shortcuts every week.

And that’s it!

How do I get the emails?

Subscribe now and you can easily stay up-to-date with all the best ways to use Apple’s new automation tools in your daily life – from myself and the growing Shortcuts community4.

New emails go out weekly on Fridays — just after the “What’s New in Alexa” emails 😈 — so there’s time to read up and experiment with things over the weekend.

Sign up today and look the next issue soon – I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all!


  1. Official announcement post coming once iOS 14 releases! 
  2. Fire up your blogs and get to sharing your shortcuts! For real, I want to link to everyone’s websites in this newsletter.

    Then, make sure post them as a good shareable tweet so I can retweet as well and DM it to me

  3. Members are automatically added to “What’s New in Shortcuts”, so no need to subscribe here if you’ve signed up – any duplicates will be accounted for as well. 
  4. Make sure to check out Club MacStories from Federico Viticci & friends, sign up for the new Tablet Habit newsletter from Jeff Perry, and get the email digest for the Automators forums as well! 
Categories
Offsite Siri Shortcuts

iOS 14 Siri Shortcuts: My Feature on Rene Ritchie’s channel

The venerable Rene Ritchie was kind enough to invite me back onto his YouTube channel to talk Siri Shortcuts in iOS 14 and everything that’s new:

Play

I always appreciate the opportunity to share about Shortcuts on other people’s channels, and Rene always manages to make me look good.

As I said in the video, make sure to stay tuned for some fun new updates here on my website, as well as for my own upcoming iOS 14 video.

Watch my video with Rene on YouTube.

Categories
Offsite Podcasts Siri Shortcuts

Appearance – Clockwise #353: “Shortcuts Concierge”

I had the pleasure of being a guest on episode 353 of the Clockwise podcast from Relay FM, joining Brianna Wu, Jason Snell, and Dan Moren for a 30-minute round table discussion of the week’s news.

We talked about Apple silicon and what it means for gaming as well as whether we’ll be buying the first round of Macs, our beta-installation strategies, and how to use Shortcuts for public good.

Categories
Links Siri Shortcuts

New Shortcuts Directory curates links for getting started with Siri Shortcuts

Shortcuts creator and designer Brad Siefert has created a dedicated website for people looking to discover various links and creators related to Siri Shortcuts – check out the new Shortcuts Directory.

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

Six livestreams around Siri Shortcuts to watch

For the month of May, my main public focus was publishing livestreams related to Shortcuts and my interests as a content creator.

I’ve long had a streaming setup and even covered most of iOS 13’s updates for Shortcuts in an hour-long stream last fall, but I’ve always wanted to stream more and never really did.

Six livestreams around Siri Shortcuts to watch

In these last 9 months since that stream, I’ve also seen a ton of new Shortcuts-related apps drop and for some reason I didn’t fully adopt them – I thought every one my shortcuts needed to be easily shareable, plus I was worried about depending on paid third-party apps that people would have to buy just to use my shortcuts.

But eventually, I realized I’d shot myself in the foot – these apps were necessary because of some shortcoming of Shortcuts in its current state, and by missing out on those apps I was handicapping myself in the process.

Once I started adopting the Shortcuts-related apps, my productivity skyrocketed and I realized I needed to learn these even more – enter livestreams with the developers themselves. Plus, I took the opportunity to stream with one novice user and another expert, both of which were great experiences.

Here’s the full list of videos:

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

14 Accessibility shortcuts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

14 Accessibility shortcuts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

On episode 30 of Smart Tech Today, I spent about 10 minutes describing a series of shortcuts I put together that take advantage of the accessibility actions found in the Shortcuts app ahead of today, May 21, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

Accessibility features are incredibly important for modern technology to provide, making it possible for everyone to utilize their hardware & software regardless of their personal situation – you either have direct accessibility needs that require specific use of your technology, you’ll one day need them yourself, or you benefit from those features anyway (think Dark mode).

The Shortcuts app has always been an Accessibility priority for Apple, with them declaring as much in their confirmation story when they acquisition of the Workflow app before it became Shortcuts1:

“The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision.”

In iOS 13, Apple went further and added a set of actions to Shortcuts for controlling Accessibility features, available to use inside the shortcut editor in Apps > Settings.

Categories
Links Siri 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 Siri 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 Siri 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

Categories
Links Siri 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.

How far did I walk today?