Android, Tasker, and Blogging

One of my new year’s resolutions is to write a blog every weekday. Not tremendously ambitious, I know. So, how do I go about making sure I don’t fall behind?

I looked into a bunch of different solutions: a cron job that check to see if I’ve blogged that day and pesters me if I haven’t. I thought though, wouldn’t it be nice if my phone would notify me if I hadn’t written a blog, and then, if I persist in not blogging that day, my phone would send me an email?

Setting this up was fairly straightforward. I use a program on my phone called Tasker. It gives you the ability to perform actions given some state of affairs. For example, I use tasker to pay attention to what cell phone towers I am near. If I’m close to either my home, work or my girlfriend’s place, Tasker can automatically turn on my wifi and attempt to connect to the appropriate wifi network for my location. Or, If I plug in my phone, Tasker changes the volume of the alarms, sets the brightness of the screen, and a whole host of other options as well.

In order to check to make sure I’ve written a blog, every weekday, after 4pm Tasker connects to the internet and downloads my blog. It checks the contents of the blog to see if the current date is in the contents. If Tasker doesn’t find the date, it creates a notification on my phone reminding me to write a blog post. If it’s notified me three times, meaning it’s 7pm, and I still haven’t written my daily post, Tasker sends an email to my address, reminding me yet again.

I could have written all of this up in a little ruby script, and used notif.io or the Android Push Notification service, but there is something kinda neat about having my phone check up on me. I always joke that cell phones are personal pocket robots, but it’s increasingly true. My Nexus One is several times over more powerful than my first computer.

Update: Tasker can’t actually send emails, yet. So, I’ve followed these instructions on setting up the android scripting environment to send emails.

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