Yes, I’m not that slim. Yet. OTACON is of course weightless, the smug git.

OTACON Update 1

A while ago I posted about a project I’m continually working on to emulate something not unlike JARVIS from the Iron Man Universe (don’t worry, I’ve put the weaponised gold-titanium alloy suit on the back-burner). Since then, I’ve made some great strides with it, tying in a few neat functions to help with my daily life.

Most of the automation runs on Tasker for Android, with a few plugins and apps supporting event triggers and actions. The eventual plan is to have a full home automation system running on a system a little bit more solid; my dabbling with Tasker is more of a learning tool for events and actions, and how piece all of these things together to run automatically.

Red is ominous, right?

At the moment my smartphone and tablet are running independent tasks necessary for their needs, outputting information to my watch if necessary. By way of example, if the phone’s battery is running low, I’ll be notified by my smartwatch with a neat little warning from OTACON; similarly once my phone is fully charged.

As far as the smartphone goes, I’m also abusing the voice function for standard notifications. For a select few of my more fond contacts, OTACON will verbally inform me that they “..require your attention, Sir.” It’s neat, and considerably geeky, no arguments there.

“Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”

The Tablet on the other hand, is dedicated more to information suited to me at home rather than on the move. I’ve played around with the tablet more than my phone at the moment, the more advanced profile/task combos at the moment being the following three:

1) Morning Alarm with custom time, weather, and information alerts
At a time of my choosing (currently 6.30am) my tablet alarm will chime with a random AC/DC track blaring out and infusing my morning with glorious guitar riffs. This of course, doesn’t require anything fancy. The fun stuff is what happens when I turn the alarm off. Inspired by [this scene] from the first of the trilogy, OTACON will inform me of the time I actually dismiss my alarm (which let’s face it, could be up to two hours later, knowing me), and inform me of the weather forecast for the day, the highest estimated temperature, and a cheeky suggestion for how to spend it..

“Sir, the weather today appears to be clear, with highs of 26° Celsius. Perfect opportunity for cocktails in the park.”

Under certain circumstances, it will also remind me to put on my watch, as I’ve had a recent tendency to forget.

2) Audible London news alerts on request
Let’s continue on the ‘morning’ theme that I’ve been running with thus far. There’s no reason not to multitask when we have the opportunity to do so. Using AutoVoice, a part of a suite of plugins for Tasker, I can give voice commands to the tablet whilst it listens for specific keywords to trigger related tasks. One of those is pulling the RSS feeds from BBC London News, and verbally reciting the top 5 detailed headlines for the day. All I need do is ask, and whilst I brush my teeth in the morning, OTACON will tell me what’s going on in my favourite city.

The only downside to this is that the news can be a little grim. Suffice to say, the mirror above my bedroom sink looked like a Jackson Pollock with the amount of toothpaste I spat out upon hearing of the untimely passing of Alan Rickman. ‘Expecto Colgateium’ indeed.

3) Automatic Newspaper Subscription downloads
This one is one of my more recent of my endeavours, and still needs some tweaking, but I’m liking the results thus far. Thanks to an Economist offer that was going on in New Street Square during my lunch break, I managed to nab a digital subscription with the first quarter going for £1 an issue. Whilst I do enjoy physical books and papers, I can’t deny the smirk I get from automating weekly downloads of the Economist, and those editions being pushed to my e-reader app of choice waiting to be perused (and of course, OTACON informing me in his delightfully dulcet English accent) at a more convenient time.

“OTACON, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” If you play nicely with Calibre, and keep my Subscriptions tidy.

I’m constantly on the lookout for ideas and will begin picking up a few hardware bits to dabble in (WiFi LED light bulbs, motorised blind equipment for the windows, probably Chromecast for remote Netflix and Spotify support) as my Tasker knowledge gets more advanced.

Until then, the learning continues, with a very early OTACON walking by my side.

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