Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Running Late? Tasker To The Rescue

Yesterday I was running late. I mean literally running late. I had gone for a run in DC, and is my custom I got totally lost. By the time I was headed back in the right direction I was hopelessly late to meet Shira. At a stoplight I hammered out two sentence text: "running late." That's about all the energy I could muster for the task of warning her.

As I jogged toward our meeting point it occurred to me that I should be able to automate what I had just done. And by the time I had finished my run I had a new little tasker app designed in my head. I give you: Report Location.

First I created a trivial Task with the following actions:

1. Get Location
2. Variable SET: %loc_esc = %LOC
3. Variable Convert: URL Encode %loc_esc
4. Send SMS: Number = Shira's phone number,
   Body: "My location:

When I run this script Shira gets an SMS message with a URL that contains a link to my current location. Clicking on it gives her the open of opening up Google Maps.

So rather than reporting that I'm running late I can just show her where I'm at. But my little setup goes one step further.

I attached the above Task to a named profile ("Report Location Profile") which had the criteria set to:

 From: 00:01
 To: 23:59
 Repeat: 5 minutes

In other words I put this task in a profile that runs all day, every 5 minutes. That's a whole lot of SMSs.

To finish this guy off I created two new tasks: Start Report Location and Stop Report Location. They both have the same shape:

1. Notify: Title = "Report Location (On|Off)"
2. Vibrate: Time = 248
3. Profile Status: Name = Report Location Profile, Set: (On|Off)

In other words, when I run the on version of the task I trigger a notification message ("Location Report On"), vibrate the phone for 248 millis (so I get tactile feedback) and most importantly enable the named profile above. Running the off version of the task does exactly what you'd expect, giving a sane message and turning off the profile.

Finally, I added two short-cuts to my home screen: Start Report Location and Stop Report Location.

Next time I'm running late I need only hit one icon on my screen. Then, every 5 minutes or so Shira will get an update of my location.

Now, if only Tasker could get me to run faster...


  1. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I'm sure this was fun to build, but you could just use Glympse which is built precisely for this use case.

  2. Sweet - thanks for sharing!