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
Gear Links Offsite Podcasts

STT 14: Loads of Smart Tech at CES 2020 🎙

On episode 14 of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about what I saw at CES 2020.

But before I get to what we covered in the show, I have exciting news – Smart Tech Today is now available as a video show in addition to our regular podcast feed!

We’ve always had the cameras on for our livestream, but the show’s been doing well enough to add in video production as well.

So, make sure to subscribe on YouTube if you want to watch along afterwards, or add the video podcast feed to get them delivered directly in Apple Podcasts.

The show will still be a podcast first, and we’ll be making sure you’re not missing out on anything if you’re a listener. But if you want to see us talk through the topics and see occasional on-screen views of the stories/websites we’re referencing, there’s bonus material in the video feed!

Plus, I’ll be posting each YouTube video inside these blog posts, here’s the latest:

Here’s what we talked about in the episode:

We are off for Monday, January 20 for Martin Luther King Jr Day, but we’ll be live next Monday at our usual 4pm PST – thanks for listening!

Links for the show:

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
Links Offsite Shortcuts Video

Shortcuts in 3 minutes: How to make GIFs 🎥

Last fall, I made a simple video for YouTube but never posted it here on my website – it’s a quick tutorial on making GIFs using Shortcuts, where I start from scratch and finish with a usable shortcut:

I’d make some improvements to the shortcut now like adding a Quick Look at the end so users can view it when running from the My Shortcuts view and maybe adjusting the speed slightly.

Plus since then I’ve moved my desk, improved my audio editing skills, and don’t feel nearly as awkward.

Question for any readers: do you like this style of video? I haven’t done other top-down shots like this and want to know what people think – tweet me or send me an email with your thoughts and any other helpful feedback.

Watch the full video on YouTube or in the embed above.

Categories
Podcasts Shortcuts Video

How to jump between the audio and video of Supercomputer

For episode 19 of Supercomputer, instead of hitting the “call” button to record, we pressed “video chat” and proceed to produce our podcast. I edited out some moments, added chapter markers for the audio file, and uploaded the video to YouTube.

This last week, for episode 20, I also added visual chapters, actually used Alex’s correct audio file, and shared our second video recording to YouTube.

But podcasts are for audio, right?

Categories
Shortcuts Video

Look ahead at your day with “Agenda” 📹

Today I released my fifth YouTube video, focusing on building an agenda for the day and walking people through the process of building it.

This is a full-Siri shortcut, meaning it’ll work on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, and CarPlay, with Siri speaking out the results to you:

It includes overdue and upcoming reminders, today’s calendar events, and contacts who have a birthday today – so many people say they only use Facebook for birthdays, so this could help you break that habit too.

In the video I demonstrate the use of Repeat With Each, Magic Variables, and Count/If actions to do some logic where I didn’t get quite the results I wanted.

As usual I’d love any feedback on the video – it’s slightly long, but there’s lots of good material to absorb. There was some fuzziness with my audio too, but I managed to get it listenable enough.

On to the next video – seems like Shortcuts 2.1 will be dropping alongside iOS 12.1 tomorrow!

Categories
Shortcuts Video

How to make a GIF on iOS: Shortcuts in under 3 minutes [Video]

On Friday, I published a shorter video demonstrating how to build a custom shortcut in the Shortcuts app in just under 3 minutes:

For the topic, I picked “how to make a GIF” because it’s not that easy on iOS, and everyone has a library full of bursts and Live Photos that are stuck in the camera roll.

With just a few actions, you can put together an animated loop of your bursts, Live Photos, or sets of photos, and easily share it with people.

Get the shortcut here if you want to make your own.

I could have made some improvements to the shortcut. Since I filmed this without a script, I didn’t add in Save to Photo Album at the end so that every GIF you made would be saved automatically – this is important because most people run shortcuts from the main library view, but you can only see the GIF in my version if you open the shortcut editor.1

I’m working on some new shorter videos, along with a longer main video each week – working out the process now, but I should be able to ramp up to get more videos out for all of you.

In the meantime, let me know if there’s anything particular you’d like to see from my channel2.

And, as always, linking to the video or retweeting it goes a long way – thank you to everyone who’s been supporting me so far.


  1. It also could have all been built using Find Photos to give you more control; getting into that level of detail, however, definitely takes more than 3 minutes, so I’ll have to work sharing the best examples with the least compromises. 
  2. People left more comments that I’m still a robot who doesn’t blink – even though I totally did once! It’s apparently difficult for me to blink naturally with a bright light in my face while trying to communicate the intricacies of this app on the fly. 
Categories
Shortcuts

My Top 10 Shortcuts, plus My First Guest Video

Last week, I published my third YouTube video. This one covered 10 great shortcuts that I’ve built over the years, with quick descriptions and demonstrations for each:1

Here they are in order:
1. $0.99 Rental of the Week
2. Flip Photo to IG
3. Log Water
4. Make Wifi QR Code
5. Copy Free Time or Copy Today’s Free Time
6. Search for Link
7. Spongebob
8. Set Bedtime From Sunrise2
9. BART Departures (or, just Ashby)
10. Now or Later Network (and modified Download File)

After I published, Rene Ritchie from iMore also reached out to me and asked for a short video clip with one of my tips on getting started with Shortcuts. Here’s what the full video turned out like:

I shot and put my part together for his video in just a few hours, which encouraged me to make shorter videos myself and demonstrated how tackling a specific single topic is much easier to produce.

For my own work, I’m still working through some process details – my own video was pretty long and difficult to make with so many parts, and an early version of it also just ended up not being very interesting to me. I also need to level my audio better still, plus nail down some of exactly how I am and should be using my cameras too.

I’ve also been developing criteria for which shortcuts I want to share, because, despite people wanting to see all 900 of mine, throwing them all online isn’t my goal – I want to teach people how to build their own, not just use my pre-built shortcuts.

Plus, I’ve completely shifted my schedule to allow for both video production AND writing – I fell off the map a bit getting my thoughts out here and on iMore/The Sweet Setup since starting to make videos.

So enjoy the shortcuts from the video, subscribe to my channel if you haven’t yet, and subscribe to my RSS feed to have these blog posts come directly to you too.


  1. Well, as quick as possible – it’s 17 minutes :) 
  2. Note: requires Shortcuts 2.1 beta – use Set Bedtime From Sunrise (Dark Sky) if you’re on Shortcuts 2.0. 
Categories
Shortcuts

Everything Went Better Than Expected

I am incredibly amazed right now, because I launched my YouTube channel on Monday and my first video has gotten 20,000 views along with 2,304 subscribers as of publishing – last week I had 2.

Thank you so, so much if you shared my video over the past few days. I asked and you delivered, which really was heartwarming to see and it made a huge difference. Special thanks to Myke Hurley and Jason Snell for mentioning it on Upgrade, as well as Lory Gil for inviting me to link at the bottom of my iMore articles (which we’ve been updating with new information) – both helped a ton.

I’m still trying to get it linked elsewhere because I really do want as many people to learn as possible and help them avoid confusion, so I’m excited to see how it keeps growing over time.1

If you haven’t watched the video yet, here it is – don’t forget to subscribe 😇:

Now I’m hard at work on a second one – the Shortcuts app is out alongside iOS 12, and there’s lots of confusion on how the app works, what works in Siri and what doesn’t, and once you get past that, what to even build with it.

I’ve got a ton to cover and unfortunately I can’t cram it all into one video, so I’m going to work my way through it and give as many quick asides with those details as I can.

I’m also still writing articles and making a podcast, so if anybody with good video experience wants to help me skip over beginner’s mistakes2 or link to good resources, that would be amazing.

In the meantime, I’m answering as many comments on the video and DMs as I can while still getting shit done, but there’s lots of places elsewhere to look, starting first with Apple’s new Shortcuts User Guide.

But you should also buy David Spark’s Shortcuts Field Guide video series if you want to skip ahead to everything right away, read Federico’s review for a deep dive along with what’s new in iOS 12, and join some of the other healthy communities sprouting up. The subreddit seems to be growing nicely and searching on Twitter for icloud.com/shortcuts will show you a ton of examples, which is fantastic – keep up the good work everyone.

I can’t wait to see what you do with it.3


  1. The YouTube analytics are fun to explore too – people who came from external links stayed the longest on average, which I credit to all of you! 
  2. Mistakes like leaving autofocus continuous on, and having too loud of music with vocalization, and not leveling any of the audio properly, for example… 
  3. 😏 
Categories
Shortcuts

Sharing about Shortcuts: in audio and video form

With the imminent release of the Shortcuts app for iOS, I’ve been hard at work creating new ways to share with everyone.

After Workflow was acquired by Apple, I took a contract position covering support while the process transitioned to Apple Support. I didn’t want to leave the Workflow community hanging without someone to help with problems, and in my time there helped thousands of people with their workflows – and read every tweet about us.

I had joined the small team to help people learn how to use this thing, and once I saw them continue to update it I took a leap of faith and left early before I learned too much about the plans.

Seeing Shortcuts at WWDC was awesome and a wonderful confirmation that this app is the future of automation on iOS.

Plus, while I was there, I met Alex Cox and she kept telling me to make a podcast about it all. When she said she’d host it with me, I immediately said yes, and Supercomputer was born.

Since then we’ve recorded 5 episodes, introducing ourselves, talking about assistants, covering morning routines, prepping for travel, and now detailing Apple’s September 12 iPhone and Apple Watch event.

Next week we are covering Shortcuts as it’s available for everyone to use, and there will certainly be more intertwined in many episodes to come as it’s intertwined into how iOS works from here on out.

I’d love it if you would subscribe to the show and share it with others if you think if might be useful to them. Even if you use Overcast and Recommend it there (which id be extremely thankful for), Podcasts subscriptions drive the iTunes charts which ultimately get us more users through Apple’s recommendations – subscribing there helps us the most!

I am also open to any constructive criticism or feedback – help me make the show better! I am relatively new to podcasting and feel like I’m improving quickly, but any help speeding that up is welcome.

But wait, there’s more!

Shortcuts is a highly visual tool, and while I love writing and now producing podcasts, sometimes a little video goes a long way in helping you understand how this darn thing works.

So I’m producing YouTube videos to help you learn how to use Shortcuts! My channel will be me explaining what shortcuts are (and what they aren’t), giving examples of shortcuts you can use and how to use them, and I’ll teach you how to build your own shortcuts and think about the process.

In the same spirit above, I am new to video and hopefully I can get through the inevitable awkward bits sooner rather than later, but I have the content down – I worked at the app, I wrote the documentation, I’ve built thousands of workflows/shortcuts, and I am making the time to show you how to use it.

So subscribe to my channel, listen to my podcast, and ask me any questions on Twitter.

I’ll help as best as I can, and I hope you jump in the deep end with me to take advantage of all that Shortcuts has to offer – this is going to be fun.