Month: April 2013

Android: Tasker and NFC

It wasn’t until this past October when I finally got a smartphone. I chose the Samsung Galaxy S3.  Since that purchase I’ve barely spent any money on actual apps. In fact, I’ve only bought two. The first was Swiftkey ($3.99 Play Store), the awesome keyboard app that knows how I speak better than I do, and the second was Tasker ($2.99 Play Store). I immediately started using Swiftkey but Tasker sat in the background for a while, until I had time to really work with it.

This weekend I had the time. And I have to say, this app is amazing. There are so many possibilities with this app. When I show off my phone and all of its features, this is my go-to app. I’m amazed by it every time I discover something new. I think to myself “this is the future”.


I found Tasker after explaining Near Field Communication (NFC) to one of my friends thinking of purchasing the new Galaxy S4. I was doing some research and came across the app in a few articles. It peaked my interest and I looked into it a bit more. I found a ton of stuff about it on reddit. People were doing awesome things with it.

One post really interested me. This guy had automated his phone to levels I had never known possible. He’s a motorcyclist that doesn’t like to be bothered on his rides, so he created a series of tasks to help him out. First, he used an NFC tag on his bike as a switch to enable and disable these functions.

NFC tags are essentially tiny chips that can store little bits of data that trigger certain functions on your phone. 

The tags can be used in a variety of ways, including sharing apps between phones and purchasing products in stores. It’s much like RFID, only it has a shorter range of 4 inches, so it’s more difficult to eavesdrop on.

After he scans his NFC tag his phone goes silent so he is not bothered on rides. It then prompts him to choose whether he wants to listen to music or an audiobook during the ride, via customized on-screen menu. If a person from his “Favorites” contacts him, they receive an automatic SMS informing them he’s on his motorcycle. If they send him 911, his phone will literally speak to him, notifying him there is an emergency. If one of these favorites texts him “Where are you?” his phone will use GPS to locate him, determine his speed, and relay that information to them. When his ride ends, he simply scans the NFC tag again and all his settings return to their defaults.

This reddit user was kind enough to share how he did all this so I tried it myself and got it working. I’m loving it and it barely even touches on all the functions this app can do.

I found some other functions of this app and NFC on reddit:

  • EvoBrah explains how to use NFC to force yourself out of the bed in the morning with alarms that require an NFC tag to deactivate.
  • Samsung used it in a marketing campaign to promote the S3. They gave away a free song every week!
  • User Bodieh wants to keep an NFC tag in his wallet that will trigger a fake phone call, so that he can escape conversations (this is very easy to do).
  • Reddit user Terswin would place multiple tags around the house with each set to play a different playlist on the phone (also very easy!).
  • TheRealBigLou has an amazing home theater setup that is completely automated by NFC. This is just mind-boggling.
  • It can also be used to notify you of your bank account balance.
  • GmoneyKricket is using Tasker to accomplish a variety of different things.
This post is beginning to look like one big ad for Android and Tasker. But I really just wanted to share the capabilities of these systems. I get excited about this kind of stuff and I hope it interests you as well. If it does and you’d like to know more about how to get NFC tags, how to use them, or what else I’m using them for post a comment and let me know!
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Absurd News | Secret agent dolphins, chicken wing threats, Mars phallic symbols and more!

Every week I share my favorite absurd news articles with friends on Facebook. They highlight the absurd, hilarious, and just plain weird people and situations from around the world. I typically try to stick to American news, but I usually end up posting a few articles from other countries too. I also try to stay away from celebrity news and only post articles that have happened in the past week.

Now I’ve decided to share them with the rest of the world. I’ll also be posting all past and future articles here. Expect them to come out on Friday afternoons.


This past week:

Killer secret agent dolphins go AWOL in Ukraine
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/killer-secret-agent-dolphins-awol-article-1.1286753

NASA “accidentally” draws phallic symbol on Mars with Curiosity rover
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/mars-rover-penis-nasa_n_3144656.html?1366792449

President of Macedonia visits Canada, no one notices
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/24/local-post-president-of-macedonia-comes-to-canada-nobody-notices/

Columbian man tries convincing authorities he’s not dead
http://colombiareports.com/colombian-man-tries-convincing-authorities-hes-not-dead/

Father and son don’t get their chicken wings, return to restaurant with AK-47
http://www.inquisitr.com/625329/father-and-son-dont-get-their-chicken-wings-return-to-restaurant-with-ak-47/#9coDVUjpFhBKJTHG.16

Ricin-laced letters suspect released, claims he “thought they said rice”
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/ricin-laced-letter-suspect-speaks-out-after-charges-against-him-are-dropped-i-thought-they-said-rice/

Killer escapes prison after being given standard-issue booklet that features the designs of the master key
http://www.news.com.au/national-news/killer-escaped-prison-after-being-issued-picture-of-master-key-to-all-locks/story-fncynjr2-1226629878591

Macy’s had a sale on pressure cookers all last week
http://observer.com/2013/04/boston-bombing-macys-pressure-cookers-daily-news-star-tribune-cape-cod-times/

Absurd News | Pigeon Spies!

Every Friday I share my favorite absurd news articles of the past week. They highlight the absurd, hilarious, and just plain weird people and situations from around the world. I typically try to stick to American news, but I usually end up posting a few articles from other countries too. I also try to stay away from celebrity news and politically-driven stories.

Please Don’t Try This:
Latest YouTube trend/challenge is “condom snorting”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/condom-challenge-snorting-condoms-videos_n_3085258.html

Or This:
Man drinks himself blind with vodka, regains sight with whiskey
http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000072169&story_title=Kenya-Man-drinks-himself-blind-with-vodka%2C-regains-sight-with-whiskey

App lets Icelanders bump phones before sex to make sure they’re not cousins
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/04/17/islendingaapp_icelanders_bump_phones_before_sex_to_check_anti_incest_app.html

Women to blame for earthquakes, says senior Iranian cleric
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/19/women-blame-earthquakes-iran-cleric

Man ejected from Saudi festival, deported for “being too handsome”
http://now.msn.com/united-arab-emirates-men-ejected-from-saudi-arabian-festival-for-being-too-handsome

Judge holds self in contempt as his smartphone disrupts courtroom hearing
http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/top-news/judge-holds-self-in-contempt-for-his-smartphone/nXMMY/

Pigeon held in India on suspicion of spying for Pakistan
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7778734/Pigeon-held-in-India-on-suspicion-of-spying-for-Pakistan.html

Dennis Rodman returning to North Korea “to just hang and have some fun”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/dennis-rodman-returning-to-north-korea-to-just-hang-and-have-some-fun/article11211495/

Absurd News | Beaver attacks, undead hamsters, bears getting high, and more!

Every Friday I share my favorite absurd news articles of the past week. They highlight the absurd, hilarious, and just plain weird people and situations from around the world. I typically try to stick to American news, but I usually end up posting a few articles from other countries too. I also try to stay away from celebrity news and politically-driven stories.

Judy Garland’s “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” races up charts after Margaret Thatcher’s death
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/judy-garlands-ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead-races-up-charts-after-margaret-thatchers-death/story-e6frfn09-1226615599379

Woman feels sexier growing out her beard, now looking for love
http://now.msn.com/mariam-feels-sexier-since-letting-her-beard-grow

Camel gifted to French president mistaken for food, made into tagine and eaten for dinner
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/10/camel-gifted-to-french-president-is-mistaken-for-food-made-into-tagine-and-eaten-for-dinner/

Bears in Russia addicted to jet fuel, sniff it to get high & pass out
http://elitedaily.com/elite/2013/bears-russia-addicted-jet-fuel-sniff-high-pass/

Woman chokes boyfriend for singing Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” repeatedly
http://observer.com/2013/04/you-would-have-done-the-same-woman-chokes-out-boyfriend-for-singing-macklemores-thrift-store-repeatedly/

Man tries to take picture of beaver, it kills him
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/04/11/newser-beaver-kills-man/2074145/

Hamster rises from the dead on Easter after being buried in backyard
http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/10/hamster-resurrection-pet-rises-from-the-grave-at-easter-after-being-buried-in-garden-3591242/

Absurd News | First world problems on the cruise ship

Every Friday I share my favorite absurd news articles of the past week. They highlight the absurd, hilarious, and just plain weird people and situations from around the world. I typically try to stick to American news, but I usually end up posting a few articles from other countries too. I also try to stay away from celebrity news and politically-driven stories.

This week was a good one, with news from the UK, Pakistan, Africa, and right here in NJ! Special thanks to Ray Engleking for submitting a couple.

UK: Policewoman sues man who dialed 999
http://news.sky.com/story/1072059/policewoman-sues-man-who-called-999

Cruise ship passengers complain sea is “too loud”, ask for refunds
http://www.couriermail.com.au/travel/news/sea-too-loud-for-cruise-passenger/story-e6freqwo-1226610020136

Arkansas has inadvertently legalized teacher-student intercourse
http://rt.com/usa/arkansas-legalized-teachers-sexual-898/

Bin Laden hideout in Pakistan to become theme park
http://www.news24.com/Travel/International/Bin-Laden-hideout-to-become-theme-park-20130206

City of Nelson, Georgia makes it illegal to NOT own a gun
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/04/02/us_city_makes_it_illegal_not_to_own_a_gun.html

Seattle police give marijuana back to suspected dealers, thanks to new law
http://blog.seattlepi.com/marijuana/2013/04/04/‘first-time-ever’-seattle-police-give-marijuana-back-to-suspected-dealers/

Man seeks divorce from wife for refusing to make love to a snake
http://www.africanseer.com/latest-additions/265119-man-seeks-to-divorce-wife-for-refusing-to-make-love-to-a-snake.html

Zimbabwe: Prostitute who “dies” on the job climbs out from coffin screaming at police
http://www.news.com.au/world-news/prostitute-who-died-having-sex-in-hotel-climbs-from-coffin-screaming-at-police/story-fndir2ev-1226606686819

Marlboro, NJ: Vegans who bring their own pasta to restaurants flip out; police called
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/vegan-brings-own-pasta-restaurants-213854709.html
Full story:

http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2013/04/bamboozled_special_order_leads.html