26 votes

Tech people of Tildes, what have you automated in your life?

Talk about anything you have "automated" in your life. No restrictions on the tools or things to automate. You have a simple "silence your phone at work" thing? Great job! Do you have a complex thing with hundreds of lines of custom code? Wonderful! All are welcome!


I myself have automated a bit of stuff, and am constantly looking for more (that's why this thread exists):

Home:

  • My room will turn on the lights when it detects the brightness inside is going down, but will slowly do it relative to the current brightness so it doesn't suddenly turn on at once. (Tries to keep a certain brightness at certain times)
  • I can send "loff", "lon" or, "lauto" through XMPP to turn my lights off, on, or toggle the automatic mode mentioned above from anywhere. I am blocking internet connections from my smart light hub so I had to re-implement that manually

Computer:

  • Copying any YouTube links (or Invidious links, which get translated into YouTube) will automatically prompt me about opening them under MPV

Phone:

This is where I do the bulk of my automation, as Tasker is a very convenient way to automate stuff.

  • Toggle full brightness and/or auto rotation on specific apps (Gallery, NewPipe, etc.)
  • A couple of Android "Share" targets for
    • Uploading dumb images to https://ebc.li/dump/
    • Adding links to Miniflux (abusing it's bookmarklet functionality)
    • youtube-dl through Termux
  • And some (mostly gimmicky) text-to-speech notifications for calls and XMPP messages

Planned:

  • Miniflux notifier over XMPP. My last attempt failed because Node-RED apparently doesn't reconnect over to XMPP when its connection drops :(

26 comments

  1. [4]
    Pistos
    Link
    I often missed Zoom meetings, even though I am literally available, typing away at my computer. So, I made myself a "meeting auto joiner". It interfaces with my Google Calendar (via API), and for...

    I often missed Zoom meetings, even though I am literally available, typing away at my computer. So, I made myself a "meeting auto joiner". It interfaces with my Google Calendar (via API), and for every calendar event that has a Zoom meeting link in it, it will announce the meeting (with OSX's text-to-speech), and then automatically join the Zoom meeting 1 minute before the meeting time. My Zoom settings are set up to have both audio and video off when joining, to prevent embarassing situations. I've never missed a meeting since I started using this, as long as I've been actually physically present at my computer.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      That's pretty great actually, especially with the default disabled A/V. What did you use to do this?

      That's pretty great actually, especially with the default disabled A/V.

      What did you use to do this?

      4 votes
      1. Pistos
        Link Parent
        Just Ruby with some rando Google API Ruby gem (library). Generate a Google API token in the right place, set up the gem to use it, and the rest is mostly straightforward, as far as implementation...

        Just Ruby with some rando Google API Ruby gem (library). Generate a Google API token in the right place, set up the gem to use it, and the rest is mostly straightforward, as far as implementation goes. I have it as a run-forever daemon which loops and checks the calendar every minute. This could easily be architected as a cronjob instead, though. OSX has a built in say command which reads text out loud. This is good for knowing exactly what meeting you're about to be plopped into, so you can gather your thoughts, prepare any documents, etc.

        5 votes
    2. HotPants
      Link Parent
      It boggles my mind that Apple didn't already orchestrate this.

      It boggles my mind that Apple didn't already orchestrate this.

  2. [6]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Several years ago, I finally established a good (for me) daily and hourly automatic data backup routine, and learned how to use rsync and crontab (2 Linux tools) in the process. Similarly, I've...

    Several years ago, I finally established a good (for me) daily and hourly automatic data backup routine, and learned how to use rsync and crontab (2 Linux tools) in the process.

    Similarly, I've got my own NextCloud site, thru which I automatically sync and back up several shared folders of commonly-used files, phone pics, calendar and contacts and etc. I understand that many people who use Apple/Google phones get comparable sync/backup service at the click of a button, but I'm quite proud of having set up my own private services, w/o having to share my data with the FAANG Corps.

    9 votes
    1. [5]
      helloworld
      Link Parent
      I always keep pushing setting up backups into future. I have a rudimentary setup with Syncthing and multiple nodes, but I desperately need off-site backups in case my apartment burns down or...

      I always keep pushing setting up backups into future. I have a rudimentary setup with Syncthing and multiple nodes, but I desperately need off-site backups in case my apartment burns down or something.

      I should look into setting up restic or Borg to backup to Gdrive or Dropbox. The really important stuff is my org-mode docs, keepass db and other documents.

      I would like to backup my photos and music collection too, but grand total they sit at more than 50GB and could be costly endeavour

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        entangledamplitude
        Link Parent
        Very much in the same boat, but it’s easy to keep putting it off :-/ FYI, rsync.net has a decent offer for Borg users, which you might find useful: https://www.rsync.net/products/borg.html

        Very much in the same boat, but it’s easy to keep putting it off :-/

        FYI, rsync.net has a decent offer for Borg users, which you might find useful: https://www.rsync.net/products/borg.html

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          helloworld
          Link Parent
          I see the page but don't really get it. 0-9999 GB would be fine for me, but its 1.5c/GB/mo = 15$/1TB or 18$/y for 100GB? Am I reading this wrong, or do the numbers not match? Edit: Aaaand I have...

          I see the page but don't really get it.

          0-9999 GB would be fine for me, but its 1.5c/GB/mo = 15$/1TB or 18$/y for 100GB?

          Am I reading this wrong, or do the numbers not match?

          Edit: Aaaand I have neither CC nor Paypal. I don't want either, so rsymc is out of the question for me. Perhaps someday.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            entangledamplitude
            Link Parent
            Nit: That would be $150/TB. Starts at minimum $18/yr and then the per-unit pricing is set to keep lowering the higher the total quantity. Btw, FYI, “credit card” is a generic placeholder in...

            Nit: That would be $150/TB.

            Starts at minimum $18/yr and then the per-unit pricing is set to keep lowering the higher the total quantity.

            Btw, FYI, “credit card” is a generic placeholder in payments that typically also includes/accepts debit cards.

            3 votes
            1. helloworld
              Link Parent
              Ah, I think I can afford 20 USD per year for mental comfort of offsite backups. Thanks, I'll hopefully be able to set it up.

              Ah, I think I can afford 20 USD per year for mental comfort of offsite backups. Thanks, I'll hopefully be able to set it up.

              2 votes
  3. autumn
    Link
    Our Neato vacuum runs once a day on weekdays at 1:30pm. Sometimes it even makes it back to the base, haha. We have three dogs, so it keeps the hair tumbleweeds under control. I have my phone show...
    • Our Neato vacuum runs once a day on weekdays at 1:30pm. Sometimes it even makes it back to the base, haha. We have three dogs, so it keeps the hair tumbleweeds under control.
    • I have my phone show a notification via Shortcuts when it reaches 100% battery. Useful because it also shows up on my watch.
    • The light in the bedroom is on some circadian rhythm, so it's dimmer during dark hours and brighter during light hours. I turn it off by a switch when I go to sleep and back on when I wake up because I couldn't figure that bit out (and it's not too much of a hassle).
    8 votes
  4. userexec
    Link
    I got tired of setting the remote for my gas fireplace on the couch and then sitting in the recliner, or vice versa, so I chopped up a few TP-Link Kasa plugs and modded those into the fan and...

    I got tired of setting the remote for my gas fireplace on the couch and then sitting in the recliner, or vice versa, so I chopped up a few TP-Link Kasa plugs and modded those into the fan and ignition control on it. Kasa plugs are super easy to turn into voice- or app-controlled relays that you can pop into just about any circuit. I really need to write up a tutorial for it.

    Either way, now I just say "Alexa, turn on the fireplace," and like magic, fire heeds my call.

    And don't worry, there's still a physical cutoff switch. I'm sure that won't stop many of you from recoiling at the idea of 1) having Alexa in the first place and 2) handing it control of a gas line, but hey, it's something!

    7 votes
  5. ali
    Link
    Last year I wrote a script to scrape a government website to alert me when there's a free appointment to register my car. I literally couldn't register my car because every appointment was booked...

    Last year I wrote a script to scrape a government website to alert me when there's a free appointment to register my car. I literally couldn't register my car because every appointment was booked (They only allow booking 2 weeks in advance and everything was booked). So I checked regularly whether people would cancel. I got an appointment for a day or 2 later.

    6 votes
  6. MimicSquid
    Link
    I've automated bill payment (through a combination of vendor's websites and my bank's online bill pay) so I never have to deal with paying a bill. I've automated the recordkeeping of my expenses...

    I've automated bill payment (through a combination of vendor's websites and my bank's online bill pay) so I never have to deal with paying a bill. I've automated the recordkeeping of my expenses through QuickBooks Online, bank and credit card data integration with QBO, and extensive expense categorization rules, so I can see exactly and in general what my wife and I have spent money on with minimal effort. At this point, as long as enough money is coming in, I don't have to put more than a few minutes a month into thinking about my finances.

    I've automated checking up on the comics and web novels I read by having Feedly watch the RSS feeds. This way it doesn't matter if the comic only updates once a month or the story drops seven chapters once every three months, I see it without having to remember to check them individually.

    5 votes
  7. Grendel
    Link
    I have a twilio account and a few lines of code I put at the end of long running scripts to text me whenever the script completes.

    I have a twilio account and a few lines of code I put at the end of long running scripts to text me whenever the script completes.

    4 votes
  8. omicron-b
    Link
    Great topic! There is a webcam somewhere in the city that tracks something I'm interested in, so I automated taking a shot every 5 mins and save it to my server, to make a video later. It's been a...

    Great topic!

    • There is a webcam somewhere in the city that tracks something I'm interested in, so I automated taking a shot every 5 mins and save it to my server, to make a video later. It's been a year and a half, so I have quite some photos already.
    • I don't like having separate apps for RSS and calendar, also I don't need much from a calendar app, so I automated both with emails. I get an email every morning with my tasks for the day (if any), it supports weekly, monthly and yearly events too. I also get an email every 40 minutes if a certain website or forum I'm interested in has a new article or post.
    4 votes
  9. balooga
    Link
    I automated a digital version of the envelope budgeting system. My credit union offers unlimited no-fee savings accounts so I set up one for each recurring expense I have, and one for each...

    I automated a digital version of the envelope budgeting system. My credit union offers unlimited no-fee savings accounts so I set up one for each recurring expense I have, and one for each category of my general budget (like "vacation fund", "clothing," "date night," "long-term savings," etc). I'm salaried with direct deposit, so after every pay period a swarm of scheduled transfers distributes my paycheck to those dozens of accounts. Whatever's left in the main general account afterward is my pocket money until the cycle repeats. When bills are due, each has its own transfer for the correct amount back into checking so auto-pay can deal with it. It was a pain to set up initially, but it's served me well for almost a decade at this point. It's liberating to never worry about insufficient funds; all the earmarked money is safely set aside until it's needed.

    I set up a "goodnight" iOS shortcut that runs when I put my phone on the charger before bed. It checks a list of bedtime chores to see if they need to be done, and speaks the results. Right now those chores are centered around low overnight temperatures; it compares overnight dew point to the relative humidity in the room and lets me know if I need to run a dehumidifier to prevent window condensation. It also notifies me if the temp will drop below freezing so I can drip my sinks and avoid pipes bursting. And it tells me if it'll snow in the next 24 hours. I wrote these over the winter if you can't tell, but now that it's warming up I may expand it to do summerier things.

    I have an electric kettle that I can start with a delay, but you have to specify the duration instead of the time you want it to go off. I like to have boiling water ready for my french press when I wake up, and it annoyed me to calculate the length of time every night. So I made another iOS shortcut to figure that out for me.

    Those are probably my biggest three automations. As much as I like the idea of some smart home / IoT / Alexa-like things, I'm actively avoiding those because of the privacy and infosec implications. I've been watching the Mycroft project and if Mark II ever ships I'd like to pick up one.

    4 votes
  10. [2]
    wycy
    Link
    What's your setup for this? How do you track brightness? I mostly don't have much of a smart home at the moment. I do have a Yale/August smart lock that automatically unlocks when I get home,...

    My room will turn on the lights when it detects the brightness inside is going down, but will slowly do it relative to the current brightness so it doesn't suddenly turn on at once. (Tries to keep a certain brightness at certain times)

    What's your setup for this? How do you track brightness?

    I mostly don't have much of a smart home at the moment. I do have a Yale/August smart lock that automatically unlocks when I get home, which is more convenient than might at first be apparent, but that's about it (and it's not my own engineered automation).

    3 votes
    1. admicos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      A spare Android phone also running Tasker. It's always plugged in, running a Magisk module to control the charging so the battery doesn't become sad. Tasker checks the light sensor of the phone a...

      What's your setup for this? How do you track brightness?

      A spare Android phone also running Tasker.

      It's always plugged in, running a Magisk module to control the charging so the battery doesn't become sad.

      Tasker checks the light sensor of the phone a couple times every minute, and brightens or darkens the light automatically until it reaches a threshold, or if the room reaches a certain brightness it turns the light off completely.

      5 votes
  11. [3]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    f.lux on my phone and laptop to reduce blue light after sunset My bedroom lights automatically turn on at around 10% brightness in the morning and ramp up before my morning alarm (usually the...

    f.lux on my phone and laptop to reduce blue light after sunset

    My bedroom lights automatically turn on at around 10% brightness in the morning and ramp up before my morning alarm (usually the lights wake me up before the alarm)

    I have a smart lock on my door which automatically locks after 3 minutes of being unlocked and the door closed (cannot be unlocked except by the pad or a physical key in case anyone was wondering or was going to speak up about security).

    Not exactly automation but I have some smart lights and LED strips which have a variety of predefined settings for stuff like watching movies, mood lighting, trip lighting, etc.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      FrankGrimes
      Link Parent
      I'm curious what smart lock you use, and how you like it. I've been looking at them on and off for a couple years, but it always seems like they still have issues with connectivity and buggy phone...

      I'm curious what smart lock you use, and how you like it. I've been looking at them on and off for a couple years, but it always seems like they still have issues with connectivity and buggy phone applications. I'd like to install one, but only if it would actually make things easier - I definitely don't want to have to come home and troubleshoot my door lock.

      2 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        This one. You will need a home hub (I use one of Samsung's) because it uses z-wave. It has internal memory so connectivity doesn't really matter, it'll always function as a padlock with or without...

        This one. You will need a home hub (I use one of Samsung's) because it uses z-wave. It has internal memory so connectivity doesn't really matter, it'll always function as a padlock with or without connection. You can add and remove codes and do extra stuff when it's online, but it can be a 'dumb' lock too.

        1 vote
  12. HotPants
    Link
    I've automated security. I have an automatic light that stays on during night. I have a motion sensor camera that uploads photos to my hosted web server which purges photos after a few weeks.

    I've automated security. I have an automatic light that stays on during night. I have a motion sensor camera that uploads photos to my hosted web server which purges photos after a few weeks.

    2 votes
  13. NoApollonia
    Link
    Honestly not a lot....I tend to lean more towards Luddite, but mostly as I don't get a lot of technology. Automated bill payments and having an Echo Dot to remind me of things is pretty much as...

    Honestly not a lot....I tend to lean more towards Luddite, but mostly as I don't get a lot of technology. Automated bill payments and having an Echo Dot to remind me of things is pretty much as far as I've gotten. I keep getting tempted to buy one of those smart plugs so I can be like "Alexa, turn on the light" as I can be far too lazy.

    2 votes
  14. Weldawadyathink
    Link
    I have a decent Siri Shortcuts script that I use every night. I like to listen to a book or podcast before bed. The script connects to my bedroom HomePod, starts my audiobook (in overcast), and...

    I have a decent Siri Shortcuts script that I use every night. I like to listen to a book or podcast before bed. The script connects to my bedroom HomePod, starts my audiobook (in overcast), and sets a 30 minute timer. I have played around with many other shortcuts, but that is the only one I use regularly.

    2 votes
  15. Akir
    Link
    Absolutely nothing. The only exception is a monthly recurring transfer from my checking account into my savings account. Heck, before last month I was paying my electric bill through the mail. I’m...

    Absolutely nothing. The only exception is a monthly recurring transfer from my checking account into my savings account. Heck, before last month I was paying my electric bill through the mail.

    I’m very anal about most of the things I do. So I would rather do it myself to make sure it’s done right. Beyond that, there is precious little that I find myself doing regularly enough to warrant the effort of automating it.

    13 votes