You might have noticed over the past two weeks that we’re really into the Android automation app Tasker. We walked you through setup, then pushed it further. In the meantime, our readers have submitted their own great use cases for Tasker.
Marvin wrote in with a simple fix, but it’s for a very annoying problem. He’s got a car dock for his Android phone, and he parks his car close enough to his home that the two devices will stay connected if he (or Tasker) doesn’t act:
I use Tasker to turn bluetooth on when I dock my phone and off when I undock. Sometimes I used to go in my house and my phone would still be docked to my hands-free device in my car (which automatically turns off if I remember to un-pair). (Additionally) I turn up the volume and change screen brightness (after un-docking). I’d still like to figure out how to make Tasker switch from Swype to default input method (since Swype doesn’t have voice input).
Rajarshi emailed from the other end of my city to offer up a more nuanced automation for his own driving situation:
I like to listen to Shoutcast radio while driving, and I drive for very short distances within the city (Buffalo!). This requires me to quickly put my Moto Droid in and out of the Car Docking system. Also I have a 1999 car, so I have to always plug in the the 3.5mm jack from the cassette to route audio to the car stereo system. It can get annoying and I want to save time in getting my Shoutcast app started, which I don’t normally use when at home (I got my MacBook for that anyway) or anywhere else. Also I don’t really need my GPS and Navigation when at home. So keeping all these in mind I created a profile called “Driving-Music”:
a) Car Docked
b) Headset Plugged
a) App – Kill App – Car Home (since I never really use it)
b) Misc – GPS – On
c) Net – Wifi – Off
d) Audio – In-Call Volume – Level 6 (since I like to talk on the phone without
holding it to my ear while driving)
e) App – Load App – Navigation
f) Audio – Media Volume – Level 10 (I need to crank it up)
g) App – Load App – XiiaLive Lite (Ad-supported official Shoutcast app for Android)
h) Audio – Speakerphone – On
a) App – Kill App – XiiaLive Lite (this app can suck some memory, so better
to kill it when not in use)
Also I didn’t put any other Exit Action, because I thought of long drive scenarios where my girlfriend on the passenger seat might take the phone out of the docking system, as well as unplug the stereo jack to check something on the phone. So it would be violating the contexts but that doesn’t mean the scenario overall has changed. Might add variables to look for time gaps between a context exit and a context re-entry, if you know what I mean.
And finally, Chris tips us to the fact that Tasker can use many of the plug-ins written for that other, also very awesome settings manager, Locale, and that he’s used one of them to improve on our profile for reading SMS while in the car.
Tasker can use some (or maybe all) Locale plug-ins to allow it to do even more stuff.
One of the plug-ins, SayMyName Dessert, can actually read the name of a caller, instead of just saying the phone number. Its a free download from the App Marketplace, and it even reads the message, or the subject of emails. I made a widget for the task:
I also set a variable to help control the SMS reading: %SMS. If it equals 0, it turns on the plug-in and changes the name of the widget. I also have it turn off the keyguard to easily respond. If %SMS equals 1, it turns off the plug-in, changes the name of the widget, and turns the keyguard on.
I just wanted to let you, and others, know this because I don’t know the majority of my contact’s phone numbers, and this makes reading texts much more useful in the car.
Thanks for writing in, folks! If you yourself have a very handy Tasker profile you’d like to share, you can leave it in the comments.