My wife just got a new job which has an irregular schedule and long hours. Unfortunately, I’d gotten accustomed to the fact that she always took care of feeding the cat and scooping her litter before I ever even thought about it. Now, a few weeks into this new job, I’m getting myself in trouble when I forget to feed the cat or scoop the litter. I imagine I’ll eventually get used to it, but until I do, I devised a clever way to get automatic reminders without me having to ask my wife her schedule every week and manually create the reminders, which means I’ll be less likely to forget. Hopefully, I’ll start to get used to the routine and I’ll be able to delete this reminder scheme, but until then, here’s how I managed to do it.
As you may know if you’ve read through this blog, I use a Mac Mini as a part of my entertainment system. I mostly control it using a Logitech MX Air mouse (think Wii remote for your mac). Even though I have both a wired and wireless keyboard close by, most times, I’m content to just start up the virtual keyboard to enter short searches into Netflix or Amazon Prime. Lazy? Perhaps. But they didn’t make couches for pro-active & efficient go-getters.
I’d seen those commercials for things like Apple TV and other such devices where you can just speak into your remote and ask to search for specific movies & TV shows. I’ve also played around with dictation on my laptop, but to my dismay, I discovered that my Mac Mini doesn’t have a built-in microphone. So I started looking online for either a wireless microphone or an app that would allow me to dictate through my iPhone. I ended up discovering that wireless mics are bulky & expensive, and the one iPhone app that did what I wanted (Air Dictate) was no longer available on the App Store, so I set out to create a cheap hacky alternative.
I realized that I already had the tools at my disposal to make this happen, and it consists of these components:
- IFTTT‘s SMS & Dropbox channels
- A Dropbox folder
- An iPhone/iPad with Siri (or the Messages iPhone app)
- A Folder Action
- A Contact named something like “Mac Mini” with IFTTT’s SMS number
I will describe what I did here so you can do this too. The end result will allow you to activate Siri on your phone and say something like:
Tell my Mac Mini Breaking Bad hashtag paste
and “Breaking Bad” will be pasted wherever the cursor currently is on your screen.