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.
Tasker is the Swiss Army knife of Android power user apps. In fact, that comparison hardly does Tasker justice: it's like the software offspring of a Swiss Army knife and a Tricorder, with an optional Sonic Screwdriver attachment. The much-loved automation and scripting engine got a huge update today to version 4.3, with a list of new features, bugfixes, and small changes that's far too long for us to cover in total.
If there's a new product out there whose full potential has yet been realized, developer joaomgcd is ready to step in, showing how just about anything can be done with a Tasker plugin. AutoPebble turns the Pebble smartwatch into a wrist-bound remote control to just about anything you want (as long as it interacts with Android), and this video shows just what cool things AutoVoice and AutoRemote can do when working together.
DashClock's developer released Muzei earlier this month, an attractive live wallpaper app that takes pictures, blurs them, and puts them on your homescreen. By default, you can choose from your own images or opt to have a different work of art serve as your background each day, but shortly after release, a ton of extensions became available for Muzei that you can use to keep your background fresh in any number of ways.
Pushbullet makes it easy to send messages to all your devices, but now you can automate the process. The newest version of Pushbullet comes with support for Tasker, because manually pushing things between your internet-connected devices is for chumps.
The Pebble is a humble smartwatch, and this is one of its biggest strengths. It doesn't have a color screen, it can hardly do anything without being paired to a phone, and the functions it supports out of the box are very limited. But the device has the support of a large community, and this greatly expands its usefulness for people who want to do more with their $149 purchase. AutoPebble is one of the more complex apps to hit the platform, as it pretty much does for Pebble what Tasker does for Android.
Google's voice search function is undeniably cool, and it's only getting better since the company has expanded the capabilities of the Android Search/Google Now app. However, there's one tragic flaw in the execution of voice actions: they can't make popcorn. But if you add some of Android's most powerful root-enabled tools, namely Tasker, the Xposed Framework, and the previously-featured AutoVoice, the sky's the limit. With the right hardware and tinkering, you can start living your Starfleet dreams in jig time.
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.
You gotta love it when a community of developers congregates around some exciting hardware. That's certainly what's happened with the Pebble smartwatch: it's been getting steadily more capable ever since its release, thanks in no small part to Android and watch app developers. We've seen apps link the Pebble and the popular automaton engine Tasker before, but PebbleTasker (catchy!) does it better than anything else so far.
This go-between app will install a companion app on the Pebble and allow you to assign any three tasks you want to the top, select, and bottom buttons on the right edge of the watch.
The developer behind some of the best extensions to the popular Tasker automation app has released another plugin into the Play Store, one that expands on how users can launch and access apps. AutoLaunch offers two primary functions: the ability to dynamically launch apps and the option to pull up app queries. You can head over to the plugin's website for instructions on how to get set up, but first, see the new functionality in action in the video below.