Categories
Links Shortcuts

Move from Ulysses to iA Writer 📲

Just created this new shortcut Move from Ulysses to iA Writer:

Gets sheets from a group in Ulysses, asks which one to use, then adds it into iA Writer via their URL scheme. Only accepts text, so you’ll have to move over any images.

I’ll be using this to move my iMore articles out of Ulysses and into iA Writer when I want to edit them, add images according to iMore’s file naming system, and prepare them for uploading to the web.

Ulysses doesn’t allow the actual filenames of images to be renamed, so I have to use iA Writer near the end. Ulysses does allow for adding titles to images, but I want the actual file itself renamed for SEO purposes – so I built this shortcut to move my pieces over.

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

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.

Categories
Tips & Tricks

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

Categories
Shortcuts

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.

Categories
Offsite Podcasts

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 stt@twit.tv!
  • 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:

Categories
Links Offsite Podcasts

Announcing Smart Tech Today, my new podcast

Today, I’m happy to announce a new podcast I’m hosting with Mikah Sargent on the TWiT network – it’s called Smart Tech Today and you should subscribe to episode 0 now!

A couple of weeks ago, Mikah reached out to me and asked if I’d like to host a podcast with him about smart technology on the “This Week in Tech” podcast network, commonly known as TWiT.

We’d be covering all aspects of the “Internet of Things”, automation as it stands in 2019 and beyond, and how to think about using & integrating smart tech into your daily life – naturally, I said yes.

Airing each Monday evening (with a livestream at 4pm if you want to tune in), we want the show to be informative, practical, and fun.

Mikah does incredible work, previously for iMore where I met him through my freelance work, but also for the Clockwise podcast on Relay FM and now also full-time for TWiT.

I am super glad to be cohosting with Mikah, because I think:

  • We’re both well-suited to finding the right news for you
  • We can contextualize it all in a way that’s practical but still critical, and skeptical but not cynical
  • We’ll provide a considered look at what it really means to integrate these products into modern life

I’m also looking forward to staying on top of smart tech outside the Apple ecosystem, because we’ll be talking about all types of brands and products on Smart Tech Today.

There will surely be plenty of Siri Shortcuts talk, but I’ll be experimenting and learning about all of it, and intend to cover everything with the same intentionality I do in all my work.

We’re airing our first episode next Monday, October 7th, but please subscribe to the trailer episode now.

Any new listeners and episode ratings are weighted heavily by Apple Podcasts, so a great launch helps propel the show forward – we appreciate the support!

Here are the links for the podcast:

Looking forward to next Monday! Hope you’ll be listening too 🙂

Categories
Shortcuts

Announcing my Shortcuts Library, featuring 150 Siri Shortcuts to use with iOS 13

Photograph of Matthew Cassinelli's Shortcuts Library open on his iPad on his desk.
My Siri Shortcuts library

Now that Apple has officially released iOS 13 to the public, I am excited to share my personal library of 150+ custom Siri Shortcuts for everyone to add and use.

I’ve worked countless hours this summer building up a database of my shortcuts, giving each shortcut a description and explanation of how I use it. These are saved inside each shortcut in Comment actions as well, so you can still reference the intended use after adding it to your Shortcuts app.

You can find my Shortcuts Library at the bottom of this post and here on my website at matthewcassinelli.com/siri-shortcuts. But first, I wanted to contextualize my collection.

Why I am sharing

Since my time working at Workflow, I’ve lamented losing the ability to curate the in-app Gallery. My last collection was added in March of 2017 before we were acquired by Apple, and since then I’ve wanted to build, curate, and collect as many shortcuts as possible.

Photo I took of the original Workflow team on the way back from coffee.

My original goal in joining Workflow was to help everyday users take advantage of the power of scripting on mobile devices. I could tell it was very cool, but also very complicated – the learning curve was high, but passable. After I left Apple as the acquisition completed in full, and then the next summer saw it turn into Shortcuts, I restarted my mission to fulfill the same goal.

My mission as an independent creator is to share my personal experiences of using Shortcuts in my daily life and to get my work done, explained in such a way that anyone can follow along and apply it to their life too.

While Apple and the team that I worked with have been and will continue to take Shortcuts to new heights, I want to be there along the way showing you how a “normal person” can use this tool too.

Before this app, I never had engineering training and I didn’t know how to code – I am just a guy who likes taking advantage of the technology available to him.

For me, what was Workflow—and is now much-improved as Shortcuts—stuck out as a unique experience. The blend of drag-and-drop building blocks along with deep scripting capabilities and the access to the world of iOS apps on hardware like the iPhone and iPad was so unique – clearly Apple noticed this too – but it made me feel like I could truly take advantage of these mobile computers as real pieces of useful technology and not just the latest gadget.

Instead of relying on someone else to build me apps, or my smart assistant to “learn” my specific needs, I could use my favorite devices to put together my own little programs.

Why use Siri Shortcuts now?

This update for Siri Shortcuts feels like the moment that the rocket ship is truly taking off.

Every shortcut you can run on your phone can soon be run from HomePod

With iOS 13, Shortcuts is installed by default on every device – hundreds of millions of people will inevitably use this app now. The actions in Shortcuts have also been redesigned to read in plain language, clarifying the connections between actions and showing how they work together as each one is added – what was previously somewhat obtuse is now very clear.

When iOS 13.1 drops, Siri Shortcuts work on iPhone, iPad, AirPods, Apple Watch, HomePod, and CarPlay. That release also adds support for Automations, triggering notifications for your shortcuts from a variety of contexts. Now almost everything you do with your phone can be run on a schedule, in reaction to changes from your device, and even respond the real world – NFC tags can be used to fire off Siri Shortcuts automatically.

And as developers adopt the new Siri Shortcuts APIs, any functionality that can be built into an app can be extended out via Shortcuts as an action. All of these app shortcuts will work entirely from Siri, they can accept and receive batches of information at once, and they can all hook into each other to created a chained workflow of operations for every need you can think of.

I firmly believe this is the most ambitious update to iOS since perhaps the redesign of iOS 7. However, while that was an overhaul of how iPhone and iPad worked visually, iOS 13 overhauls the entire way users can interact with their devices. Just a few years ago, apps were operating in silos and couldn’t talk to each other; now, every function of every app can be abstracted out from the interface, brought it all into a brand-new programming language that involves absolutely zero actual coding, and—oh yeah—it works across almost every Apple device using only your voice.

Plus, Siri Shortcuts gives you the ability to make your technology even more valuable. If you’ve ever felt concerned about making real use of your smartphone or felt unsettled when paying $1000+ for something that’s largely for socializing, you can intentionally put existing devices to better use, or generate enough utility from integrating your device as a core part of getting things done in daily life that it might be worth the upgrade.

Siri Shortcuts pushes iPad forward as the next generation of computers, transfers that same power to your iPhone that you can carry with you anywhere, makes Siri actually useful on devices like AirPods, Apple Watch, CarPlay, and HomePod, and taps into the capabilities of the App Store ecosystem that has been growing for over 10 years.

Let’s learn together

I have no idea why Apple hasn’t talked about Siri Shortcuts on stage more, but this is supremely cool stuff and will rethink how you use all of your technology.

I look forward to sharing what I know about Shortcuts and discovering more with everyone along the way, because there’s an endless amount of material to cover.

My Shortcuts Library below is just a start. Please browse through it and come back later as needed, but I will be covering all this material and much, much more. These are the first batch of Siri Shortcuts I’m sharing, and this collection will receive regular updates.

If you want to take advantage Siri Shortcuts, follow me on all these channels and we’ll have fun learning it together:

  • YouTube: Subscribe to my channel, where I am producing videos on Siri Shortcuts as well as other technology topics. This is where I’ll be putting my primary focus this next year.
  • Email: Subscribe to my newsletter Type, which is relaunching this Sunday with a weekly curation from my Shortcuts Library and related links from the web.
  • Blog: Add my blog to your feed reader to get each post as it comes out. I have a series of “Offsite” posts that I write for all of my videos and iMore articles, so subscribing from a service like Feedly will let you keep up with all my work.
  • Streaming: Follow me on Twitch, where I’ll be doing long-form sessions where I build Siri Shortcuts live alongside streams for topics like product unboxings or Apple Arcade games. I’ll be streaming on YouTube too.
  • Twitter: Follow me at @mattcassinelli, where I post daily about Shortcuts and Apple topics, along with my weird sense of humor.

My Siri Shortcuts Library

Now that this 1200-word introduction is done, please enjoy over one hundred Siri Shortcuts:

Full table:

Gallery view:

I also did a livestream covering the Siri Shortcuts update for iOS 13 on YouTube and gave a few examples from my Shortcuts Library, so tune in and learn how to use Shortcuts too:

Please send any questions, comments, or feedback about the database to matthew.cassinelli@gmail.com.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

13 Features of iOS 13: Shortcuts | Six Colors 🔗

Jason Snell, giving an overview of Shortcuts in iOS 13 for Six Colors:

Shortcuts just got a lot more useful if you use Siri, too. You can now create interactive Shortcuts that can ask questions and accept text input, especially useful if you’re not able to look at a screen because you’re using AirPods or CarPlay. And the redesigned Share Sheet in iOS 13 means that you can prominently place specific individual Shortcuts in the Share sheet, making it easy to access them with a single tap.

Jason and Dan are covering iOS 13 feature-by-feature – this piece is a nice summary of what you can expect from Siri Shortcuts in iOS 13.

Check out the full article on Six Colors (they’re celebrating their 5-year anniversary today!).

Categories
Links Offsite Shortcuts Tips & Tricks

iPad keyboard shortcuts for the Shortcuts app 🔗

From my piece iPad keyboard shortcuts for the Shortcuts app on iMore:

While the Shortcuts app is primarily a touch-based system—where are you drag and drop actions around to create your scripts—there are a few keyboard shortcuts for iPad users that can speed up the experience of creating and managing their Siri Shortcuts.

Whether you’re opening the Gallery to view suggested shortcuts, searching for a shortcut in your list, or quickly controlling parts of the shortcuts editor, these simple keyboard shortcuts are worth learning.

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the two keyboard shortcuts from the My Shortcuts view – Command F for Find and Command N for new.

Hopefully anyone building shortcuts checks out this piece for iMore and sees what’s possible in Shortcuts via the keyboard now. I try to use them as much as possible to help with ergonomics, plus it does speed tings up a bit.

Near the end, I also listed some keyboard shortcuts I’d like Shortcuts to adopt in the future. Full keyboard control of the app would be a massive boon to productivity, especially when these iPad screens sit propped up at such steep angles.

(Note: some of these are only for iOS 13).

Read the full article on iMore.

Categories
Links Shortcuts

File a radar 📲

New shortcut File a radar for iOS 13 beta users:

Guides you through the process of filing Feedback to Apple (previously called Radar).

This explains the process in a pop-up, has you type up the problem through a series of prompts before even starting a new ticket, then guides you again on how to easily fill out the form, before finally opening into Feedback.