MacStories releases MusicBot, putting most of Apple Music in one Siri Shortcut

Federico Viticci, doing his usual excellent work on MacStories:

For the past several months, I’ve been working on a shortcut designed to be the ultimate assistant for Apple Music.

Called MusicBot, the shortcut encompasses dozens of different features and aims to be an all-in-one assistant that helps you listen to music more quickly, generate intelligent mixes based on your tastes, rediscover music from your library, control playback on AirPlay 2 speakers, and much more.

I poured hundreds of hours of work into MusicBot, which has gained a permanent spot on my Home screen. Best of all, MusicBot is available to everyone for free.

MusicBot is yet another one of Federico’s shortcuts that turns a vast number of functions into a single Siri Shortcut for you to use. Plus, look at that custom icon!

I quite literally have over 50 music-based shortcuts that this will be replacing.

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, or if you’re interested in the Shortcuts app, you should head to MacStories and read “Introducing MusicBot: The All-in-One Apple Music Assistant, Powered by Shortcuts”, then add the shortcut from the page.

Plus, Federico is releasing a “Pro” version for Club MacStories subscribers that takes advantage of Toolbox Pro integrations, and comes with more custom icons! An annual subscription to Club MacStories is $50 – anyone who reads my site should probably be a subscriber.

Smart Tech Today 11: Samuel L. Jackson on Your Amazon Echo 🎙

On episode 11 of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I cover these stories:

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:

Smart Tech Today 9: Decorate Your Smart Home for the Holidays 🎙

On episode 9 of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about:

Smart Tech Today 8: Goodnight, Sonos: Voice-Controlled Computing 🎙

On episode 8 of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about:

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 YouTube.com 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: http://bit.ly/2NBk5wH

  • Roku’s new free app lets you control your viewing with your Apple Watch: http://bit.ly/2Q72sGz

  • Google Assistant can now support bathtubs and faucets: http://bit.ly/2O0mbVT

  • How Industrial Giant Honeywell Is Taking Over Your Building’s Brain: http://bit.ly/2O5wLe2

  • Extending Apple’s HomeKit through the open-source Homebridge: http://bit.ly/2qH07HO

  • How to connect incompatible accessories to HomeKit using Homebridge: http://bit.ly/2NEdrpj

  • Homebridge Out of the Box: http://bit.ly/33CHTpn

  • Google’s Nest Hubs can now sense when you’re standing nearby and show you the weather: http://bit.ly/2KbBXfu

  • Apple’s Revised Privacy Page Provides More Per-App Detail: http://bit.ly/33DxQ3F

  • 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: https://amzn.to/2Q8sqJV

  • Honeywell humidifier: https://amzn.to/32DXljG

  • Matthew’s pick of the week: SwitchBot Smart Switch Button Pusher: https://amzn.to/2NCDwVI

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: