With enough money, a collection of Z-Wave devices, and a Vera smart home controller, it doesn't take much to turn your home into an intelligent fortress. There's even an Android app by Vera that puts control of everything into the palm of your hand. But if we've learned anything over the years, it's that you're not impressing anyone until there's a Tasker plugin that can automate everything for you. Now there is.
There's still no standard for connected devices around the home, but Belkin's WeMo home automation system is a pretty popular option. The Android app hasn't wowed users in the past, but it's getting an update today that might (I hope) address some of those issues.
IFTTT is the kind of black magic that web mages use to bend the Internet to their will. The best part is that the command that gets it to work is pretty simple. There's no abra cadabra or expelliarmus to memorize here. Just head to the website and fill in the blanks within the statement if ___ then ___ with triggers and actions (known as channels) of your choice. Now this special craft isn't just reserved for desktop use, as an official Android app is due out today that aspiring web wizards can carry around as their well-disguised wand.
Mirroring Android notifications to a desktop is far from a new feature for Pushbullet, but now the app displays the full images that go with each message. This makes glancing at a pop-up and deciding whether it needs immediate attention even easier.
The core functionality of IFTTT is simple but powerful – if this certain thing happens, then do this other thing. You can use RSS feed updates, Facebook events, weather, and more as the 'if' part. The response is where things get interesting. There are 72 channels in IFTTT like Evernote, Gmail, Twitter, and more. As of today, Pushbullet is among them.
As Google Glass continues toward an inevitable public release, users (and developers) are still trying to puzzle out exactly what the device is best suited for. There are games, cooking apps, news alert apps, and of course a tidy bundle of Google services in the slowly expanding list of official Glassware. Of course, there's more to Glass than official Glassware. Developers are making some fairly compelling tools for Google's eyeball computer, and Brivo Labs, in an effort to "explore the future of wearable technology," recently published a demonstration of one such tool.
Tasker is the current king of Android automation, but it's not exactly easy to use. Other apps have tried and failed to make it easier to understand the complex actions and various dependencies that arise when you automate Android. Dessin takes a completely visual approach to setting up actions – it's a little like an interactive flow chart. Is this the next big thing in Android automation?
Dessin is designed around a series of nodes, each one with specific actions like toggling WiFi or silencing the phone.
Some of you probably don't think of many things when you hear the acronym "NFC". Those letters might conjure up thoughts of making mobile payments, and there's that cool ring that can unlock your smartphone, but there's not much else going on, right? Wrong. With an app like NFC Task Launcher, you can program your phone to do whatever you wish once it's near a NFC tag (which you place wherever you want them - car, nightstand, living room sofa, what have you).
Let's be honest, most of us will never get to live in a crazy futuristic home like the Jetsons, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for a few of the simple luxuries. To that end, Doug Gregory is on track to make his living room smarter than the bridge of the USS Enterprise, all with a few electronic controllers and extensive use of Tasker. There's no way around it, you really need to see the video for this one.