Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Tasker: Saving Spouses one Profile at a Time.

(Chat GPT's rendering of Shira calling me on her way home from work, and me ignoring her. Nailed it.)

I've been happy keeping my phone on silent and getting notifications via my watch. This simplifies my life; I don't worry about my device's ringer going off at just the wrong moment, or having to overthink setting up ringtones and notification sounds.

Every once in a while, however, I'll miss an important call from Shira and she'll ask me: why don't you put my number on the DnD exception list? This list is the set of contacts who cause the phone to ring even though the device is in Do Not Disturb mode.

I then have to explain that I'm not using Samsung's built-in Do Not Disturb mode, instead, I'm using a custom Tasker Profile that doesn't know anything about this exception list. She then tells me that I should really fix this, and I promise her one day I will. I then forget about the problem until I miss another important call, and the discussion repeats.

But not anymore! Over this past weekend, I took a few minutes and looked into how I could implement an exception list for my always-on-silent Tasker profile. Turns out, it was easy to implement. The magic lies in Tasker's Call Screened Event. Creating a profile linked to this event allows you to run code as a phone call comes in, but before the phone has started ringing.

Using this event, I'm able to detect if the caller is in a special always-ring contact group. If they are, then I disable Force Silent Mode, crank up the volume, and accept the call. I then wait 1 minute and put the phone back into always-on-silent mode. Admittedly, this approach is clumsy: for 1 minute after Shira calls, anyone who calls will result in the ringer sounding. But for now, the simplicity of this approach outweighs its lack of finesse.

Here are the Tasker profiles, feel free to grab and use them: Force Silent Mode, Bypass Silent Mode.

I'm psyched to have learned about the Call Screened event. It seems like this capability could be put to use in all sorts of interesting ways.

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