Having your phone do stuff for you, in a non-poltergeist sort of way

When I get into the car in the morning and leave the house, I want my wifi to stop looking for networks and my bluetooth to start up. I don’t always remember this until the ongoing wifi search has sucked a great deal of batter on the freeway to work, or I need to make a call and I cannot connect the phone to my car or a headset so I can do so safely.

I want the wifi network to resume when I get to work–just on the work wifi. I want bluetooth to turn off when I’m in the office. All of these are sort of daily manual tasks that are kind of annoying or I can leave those items on all the time and drain the battery as well as possibly risk security on my device…a bluetooth passcode is relatively secure, but having no ability to even enter a password is even more secure when bluetooth is turned off.

There are, as you may have guessed based on my previous posts, apps for that. Tasker is by far the most popular application for helping to arrange tasks on your phone. It has lots of plugins for various other applications, making it widely useful in interacting with components other than those directly associated with your phone. for example, Drop Box Sync for Tasker lets you do automated operations on items in Drop Box through your phone.

Tasker operates like a macro–you can record what you want to do, you can create your own queries to generate the results you want, or you can download Tasker templates to take advantage of the creative queries other people have created (like the ones here, on Tasker for Android).

I have played a little with the templates, and then decided to see what else was available in terms of being able to create tasks for your phone. That is when I found, and fell in love with, Atooma. First, Atooma is not nearly as versatile as Tasker. Comparatively, its very limited in what it can do, though it is continuing to develop options regularly as its in beta. Second, its in beta–you’ll run into the odd bug. Third, there isn’t as much support around templates as there is for Tasker.

However…my first experience with Tasker was very intimidating. I did not find it very intuitive, unless you’re used to coding and the subsequent options you have available there: if/then statements, for example, or if/else. To get my bluetooth on and off in the morning, I had to hand my phone, Grace, to the husband, who eventually put something together for me, which could be duplicated for Wifi.

Thus, I do not love Tasker. But the reason I love Atooma is that I was able to figure it out. Your mileage, as always, may vary. Both products are improving over time. But I found the visual representation in Atooma on how to set up tasks to be WAY easier to understand and very intuitive. So today’s blogpost will start with Atooma and introduce one more somewhat cool app before we’re done. You can click any of the links above related to Tasker to learn more about it.

Step 1: What the heck do the circles mean?


From the Atooma website:

  1. Data (Yellow): It contains triggers/actions related to your local files and directories, such as saved images, documents, videos and so on.
  2. Mobile (Pink): It contains triggers/actions related to your smartphone’s functionalities, from wifi, Gps, sensors, call, Sms to Brightness, headphone, music, and so on.
  3. Apps (Violet): It contains triggers/actions related to external web applications, such as Facebook, Dropbox, Gmail, Twitter, Google Maps functionalities. To simplify theie usage, read how to enable the “APPS” circle.
  4. Actions (Green): disabled at the moment. Green icon means the “actions”: save, send, share and so on.
  5. Objects (Blue): disabled at the moment. Stay tuned!

To do things in Atooma, you pick a circle, then pick a function in that circle, then pick a circle that is affected by the first circle, and the action that you want to have happen. Or, as the diagram on the Atooma site makes perfectly clear:

Image                atooma - right_image

So, on Grace, I have it set that “If it is between 7:30 and 9 am, do turn on bluetooth.” If it is not between those two times, it doesn’t turn it on. Likewise, I have it set that way for my return trip. You can also set things based on the speed your vehicle is going. if you take a picture, or if some specific app is engaged.

I had been moving along with my Wifi setup the same way–only turn on at times and off at others when I expected to be home or at work. However, I discovered Smart Wifi Toggler. Using it, I can set very specific times to check for certain wifi connections, connect if they are there, and stop trying to connect if they are not. This shores up my security, and reduces the energy load that a constantly seeking wifi scan will put on your phone.

So there you have it. Some tools to automate what you do most often. Please feel free to try them all, and, if you find some you like better than these, feel free to comment…I’m always looking to try new stuff out.


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2 responses to “Having your phone do stuff for you, in a non-poltergeist sort of way

  1. Pingback: Having Your Phone Do Stuff For You, In A Non-Poltergeist Sort Of Way |

  2. Pingback: Having Your Phone Do Stuff For You, In A Non-Poltergeist Sort Of Way | Android Dissected

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