Another thing I like about the Android platform, in addition to it being incredibly customizable, is that it supports some amazingly powerful applications. Tasker (website) is a very good example of an app so powerful you can do almost everything you can imagine with your phone. Yes, it’s not exactly intuitive and has a learning curve, but if you have a little programming experience or just some patience, you can set up some really useful tasks.

Here are a few of the profiles I’ve created so far:

  • If I’m at work (location based), turn on Wi-Fi, and set the phone to vibrate. When I leave work, the Wi-Fi turns off again.
  • If I’m at home (location based), also turn on Wi-Fi, but turn up the volume on the phone. If I leave the apartment, the Wi-Fi turns off again. Both of these profiles help me save a lot of battery.
  • If I send a text message with a code word, the phone will will get the current coordinates from GPS or the cellular network, depending on what’s currently turned on. It’s not possible to turn on the GPS without human confirmation, which is a bummer, but mobile data is turned on if it’s not already turned on. The coordinates, together with accuracy and information about the latest lock and the current phone time is sent back to the phone number that initially sent the text message with the code word. This profile comes in handy if I misplace my phone.
  • Flight mode is automatically turned on at night and turned off again in the morning. The actually time it’s turn on and off depends on if it’s a weekday or not. Saves a lot of battery.
  • If I plug in my headset, and I’m not at work (my work profile is active), I’m not about to answer an incoming call or I’m not already talking on the phone, Spotify is launched and the media volume is turn half-way up. Very, very convenient.
  • If Spotify is launched manually, the media volume is also turned half-way up. Just because I’m lazy.

The last thing I’ve added so far is a very nifty little thing: Every tenth minute, every hour, every day, my phone contacts a server and posts all kinds of information about itself: Current location, location accuracy, battery status, uptime, the ID of the cellular tower the phone is currently connected to, signal strength, roaming status, screen status, and so on and so forth. In addition to the information from the phone, the receiving server also adds a little bit of information, like the current weather in Oslo and the current weather wherever the phone is. This happens even if the phone is currently in flight mode; flight mode is simply turned off and turned back on again when the post has been sent to the server.

Why am I doing all this? It’s all about the data. At the end of the year I will have roughly 50,000 data points and this will hopefully enable me to extract some interesting statistics.

Other examples of things people are doing with Tasker includes:

  • Auto Respond to Received SMS while driving and at night.
  • Speak Weather in the Morning.
  • Battery Full Alert.
  • LocateMe Log, Track And Emergency Button.
  • Automatically Send an “I’ll be Home Soon” SMS.
  • Changing background image depending on current weather.
  • Automatically use the camera flash as a flash light if the phone is moved at night.

There’s a reason why Tasker is one of the highest rated applications in Android Market. It’s well worth the money.


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