Trigger actions on OS X using NFC on Android

Having recently started using a treadmill desk, I wanted to automate actions on OS X as I switched from the regular desk to the treadmill. For example, turn on Bluetooth, switch the audio output device, etc. Sure, I can do that by creating an Automator script I’d run somehow, but I was curious to see if I could make it happen just by placing my phone on the treadmill desk.

Here’s how I do that using a few apps and utilities.

Requirements:

Setup

IFTTT

  1. Connect to the Maker and Dropbox channels.
  2. Note your Maker channel secret key
  3. Create a recipe with Maker’s receive a web request trigger and Dropbox’s create a text file action. You can use this recipe as a template. The file name’s and contents don’t matter. Choose a meaningful event name.
  4. Test your maker trigger url in the terminal with
    curl -X POST https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/{event}/with/key/{key}
    

Android

  1. Launch Trigger and add a new task.
  2. Add an NFC trigger and (in the following screen) any applicable restrictions.
  3. Add an action, and select “Open a URL/URI” under Applications & Shortcuts.
  4. Enter your trigger url, and mark “Open in background”.
  5. When prompted, program your sticker.
    Note: I’ve tried placing the sticker on the mac itself, but that didn’t work. I’m guessing there’s too much RF interference.

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OSX

Setup Hazel as follows:

  1. Add your new dropbox sub folder (in ifttt/maker/event_name, by default) to the Hazel folder list
  2. Add a folder rule for new files (see screenshot below). Add any actions you’d like to run: I move the file to the trash, and run an embedded shell script to launch some apps and command line utilities.
    SyF1T9pgqu-3000x3000

That’s it! Every time you’ll place your phone on the NFC sticker, it’ll make an HTTP request, which will cause a file to be created in a dropbox folder. After the brief sync delay, Hazel will recognize the file and launch any actions you’ve told it too.

 

From Runkeeper to Runtastic

I started running a few months ago, with Runkeeper as my running app. The UI made sense, the audio cues were useful, and I liked the fact that friends were using it too and sharing their efforts.

Yet, too often my runs appeared like this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 12.24.13.png
I can run on water

I’m inclined to blame the phone’s GPS, but I expect the app to be smart and average my position to figure out I didn’t make impossible jumps across the lake. This was especially confusing during runs when I was doing intervals.

After I’ve tested a bunch of the other available apps (Map My Run, Endomondo, Nike+ Running, Strava, and more), I’ve chosen Runtastic Pro, and I’m really happy with it. Not only has the GPS data been flawless, it also supports HR zones alerts which Runkeeper lacks.

While slightly more complex, Runtastic feels much more powerful too – it’s super configurable, and has a bunch of fun and interesting features.

The only downside for me is the lack of community, since all my friends are on Runkeeper. Luckily, there’s SyncMyTracks (and a limited free version) which can automatically sync activities between the different platforms.

 

 

Localization: beyond translation, WC Europe 2015

WordCamp Europe 2015 was a superb event, and I’m happy I was able to present. In this talk, I’ve tried to focus on things that are sometimes overlooked when dealing with localization and internationalization.

Video

Slides

Our Open Source Unicorn

What Ryan said.

Ryan Boren

I must invoke the ultimate verb followed by yeah, because fuck yeah sounds about right when you get valued at a billion dollars for giving away most of your intellectual property and doing something that you’d do anyway because it is a part of your soul and your identity, because it was born of your nobler ambitions and you were lucky enough to be allowed to pursue them.

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First harvest

 

We’ve been eating from the lettuces and arugula for some time now, but getting the first carrots out of the ground was something quite special. Jonathan and I couldn’t resist taking a few bites before I got my camera. The peas were brilliant too, unlike everything I’ve ever tasted. And I think the zucchini is probably going to be next – the plants have started flowering this week.

 

Spring time in the vegetable garden

A few months ago I started a vegetable garden in our back yard. It took quite a bit of work, but it was a lot of fun and it’s incredibly satisfying to see the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor grow.

I originally planted some lettuces, broccoli, cress, carrots, rocket, and parsley, and later added some zucchini and green peas. Most of these have grown pretty nicely:

I’ve now started working on some new garden beds, where I’ll plant summer veggies like tomatoes and peppers.

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