Made using MoDrum, bleep!BOX, and DXi FM Synth. Recorded into MultiTrack DAW via Audiobus and Vox 3000 clips AudioCopied in later.
Actions for iPad presents as another interesting possibility for automating things. This time automating the use of your Mac from your iPad. Here’s what the app store description says:
Control your computer applications in the best way, your way.
Advanced but incredibly simple to use, Actions is a revolutionary app that lets you interact more naturally with your computer, thanks to your beloved iPad.
You can send a wide variety of commands (see the list below) to any software with a tap and create your personal palette for each one. Your most used actions will be always lying directly at your side, handily and neatly organized in Sets and Subsets.
Each Set is completely customizable with different colors and many icons (+900!), and contextual aware: change app on your computer and your iPad will always show you the right set of actions, it’s automagic!
Actions covers universal digital needs: you can both improve and streamline you workflow with massive softwares as Adobe Suite’s and idly control your everyday apps with ease, or even iTunes remotely from the warm side of your sofa.
Direct manipulation and instant feedback lets you save time and frustrations, transforming your digital experience in something new, closer to the future of computer interaction.
Compose your palette choosing from a wide variety of actions:
- system commands
- media controls
- windows handling
- launch webpages
- create email templates
- text snippets
- Mac & Win compatibility
- Wi-fi syncing with auto-reconnection
- Works in landscape and portrait
- Organize your actions in Sets and Subsets
- Highly customizable (Sizes, Colors & Icons)
- 900 icons to choose from for your touchpads
- Multitouch gestures for most used actions
- Automatic set switching
- Target actions to a specific app
- Backup and exchange your sets with your friends
- Built in presets for the most popular applications, such as:
Ableton Live, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Aperture, Evernote, Excel, Internet Explorer, Final Cut, Finder, Firefox, Garageband, Chrome, iCal, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, Keynote, Logic Pro, Mail, Notes, Numbers, Outlook, Pages, Pixelmator, Powerpoint, Reeder, Reminders, Safari, TextEdit, Vlc, Word, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Media Player.
I’m going to see what it can do as it’s only £2.49, which isn’t much more than a coffee, so it’s not like it’s a big investment. Also, the developers have an interesting feature in the works involving macros which could be really useful.
I’ve been interested in the internet of things for a long time although to date I haven’t properly found a use for the technology for myself. However, hubcape, and the service it links to, now cosm, provide a great way to monitor stuff connected to the internet of things, and today Hubcape got an update after a very long time.
This is good for a couple of reasons, firstly it means that the developer is still interested in the app and is hopefully going to continue to support it, and secondly it means it’ll work better with cosm, which used to be called pachube, which is a service on the internet that lets you connect objects and then make use of the data that they send out.
So I’m glad to see a new version of hubcape and it’ll make me think about doing something with data again.
This is another automation app that I got that without really knowing what I was going to use it for. However, it’s been updated and added a load of new stuff. Here’s what they loaded it up with:
- In-app messaging actions — group messaging and preset text
- In-app email actions — attach last photo taken or attach photo from the clipboard
- Clipboard actions — place text on clipboard, place last photo on clipboard, convert text on clipboard, and x-callback-url support
- Expanded Text Expander support — snippets can now be expanded automatically while launching an action
- New Tweet action — tweet last photo taken
- Reorganized Action Composer
So that all looks really cool. However, having dug around in there for a bit longer I’m still none the wiser about how I can use this in a constructive way! I’d really like to find ways to make use of this automation, although there isn’t a huge amount of automation available. It is still at the periphery. Still, I want to give it a go and see if I can make any active use of it.
I’ve had this app for a week or so now and although it has some amazing functionality I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with it or how it’ll ever be useful. It’s sort of in the ‘solution in search of a problem’ camp.
The app itself has a huge amount of functionality to it. It’s able to share text and mark up to a very wide number of services and can be configured very easily to do this. So much so that I actually made a little search function for drafts that allows you to send a piece of text into Palm Sounds (blog) and search the entire site with that text. It’s pretty simple. The search URL is:
Yep, that’s all there is to it. You put that into drafts and you can send any text to search Palm Sounds.
So that’s all well and good, but, what’s it for? What can I use it for? The short answer is I haven’t really thought of a reason as yet. Which is a bit of a shame as I think this is a clever app.
When I think of one, I’ll let you know.
I wrote yesterday about an app called drafts. I was showing it to a friend today and it made me realise that actually, whilst I do look out for these kind of automation app they rarely, if ever, do what I need them to do or end up being part of any wider automation solution that I’m looking for. So, why bother? Well, that’s a good question, and one that I find myself asking quite a lot.
Another app that showed some promise was (is) Launch Center Pro. The idea of this app was to be able to launch apps with specific criteria. However, it suffers the from the same limitations as Drafts. What it is able to do is limited to simple app launches and actions like, ‘launch app X and search for Y criteria’.
The last one is called triggers. Triggers is a different beast altogether. It’s more about creating physical parameters and when those are met it triggers a response. Quite interesting really, but again limited. The app doesn’t work in the background, which means that it can’t track it’s physical activities when it isn’t on. So, not much use.
So iOS is in many ways a good deal behind the likes of Android when it comes to automation. Nothing like Tasker (Android app) exists for iOS. If it did, if Apple allowed it, that would be amazing.
Here’s a quick list of the apps I mentioned:
I found out about Belkin’s WeMo technology a few weeks ago. It’s a really accessible method of implementing home automation and control it via an iPhone app from Belkin. The hardware is sort of modular in that you can buy a single unit which is essentially just a switch which can be controlled via the web / app. There’s also a motion detection modular as well. Whilst on it’s own that’s pretty amazing on it’s own, it gets better. WeMo also integrates with IFTTT!
What’s IFTTT? It’s one of the best automation services ever. IFTTT (If This Then That) allows you to make decisions and trigger actions using social services like twitter and facebook and loads more besides. It’s amazing. Anyway, you can control the WeMo hardware using IFTTT. Now that’ll be amazing.
The only downside is that WeMo isn’t available in the UK as yet. Hopefully it’ll be available in October. I hope it isn’t much longer to wait than that.
I’ve been really liking the latest version of Figure from Propellerheads. It’s well worth a look at.
Getting Pd up and running on an Android device. Good to see it running, but I do wonder what I’ll do with it next.
A friend told me about SongKick the other day and I found that there was a Spotify app for it too. It’s a really useful for finding shows for people in your music library, and the fact that it works inside Spotify makes it much more useful. I’ve already found a bunch of shows that I might go to now.
I suppose from that point of view it isn’t so great as actually it’s ending up costing me!