I remember when I first started using Android, there was all this talk of automating what you can do on your phone using an app called Tasker. I was new to all this so it really intrigued me as previously I’d used Symbian and had time contexts to establish a silent mode at work… But that was about it automation wise. So what else did Tasker offer? Well I read a few reviews and decided I’d give it a shot.
For those of you who are not familiar with the app, here’s the header description from the Play Store:
“Total Automation, from settings to SMS. ADC2 finalist!
* Triggers: App, Time, Day, Location, Hard/Soft State, Event, Shortcut, Widget, Timer, Plugins
* Actions: 200+ built-in, plugin support
* Tasks: loops, variables, conditions
* Scenes: design your own screen overlays
* App Creation: create your own standalone apps to share or sell! (Android 2.3+)”
Basically speaking, you can act on any type of single or multiple contexts (triggers) such as your location, connection to WiFi or Bluetooth device, opening an app, time/day, email or text received etc… There are too many to list. Based on these triggers you can then create a task list of what you want your phone to do when this profile becomes active. A simple and popular example would be something like when at work (triggered by connection to a particular WiFi AP or using Tasker’s own location map service) then turn silent mode on and Bluetooth off. When exiting the work location re-enable sounds and turn BT on for connection to a car handsfree.
You can organise your profiles into projects, so I keep my main Home, Work Car etc on the first tab and have split things like notifiers, Alarm creators, Home Automation etc into their own projects. Here you can see my main project page:
As you can see in green my ‘Work’ profile is enabled and I have expanded this view so you can see the contexts used (%Car is a user variable which will be covered in a later post, but is basically saying if I’m not in my car. The AutoLocation context is a plugin from the AutoApps range of plugins for Tasker from a developer called Joao. However Tasker has a built in function to create locations).
I then have enter tasks in a Task list titled “Work Mode” and exit tasks with the aptly named “Work Mode Off”. Here’s is my Work Mode task list:
In effect what I’m saying is when I’m not in the car and I’m in the region of my work I want Silent Mode to be enabled, a user variable of %Work to be set to 1 (I can then use this to ensure tasks or profiles do not get triggered whilst at work i.e. a time based profile which would override my work profile) and finally the screen to remain on when charging (I put my phone in a dock).
This is quite a basic setup, but one that is very useful to have.