Trigger actions on OS X using NFC on Android

Having recently started using a treadmill desk, I wanted to automate actions on OS X as I switched from the regular desk to the treadmill. For example, turn on Bluetooth, switch the audio output device, etc. Sure, I can do that by creating an Automator script I’d run somehow, but I was curious to see if I could make it happen just by placing my phone on the treadmill desk.

Here’s how I do that using a few apps and utilities.

Requirements:

Setup

IFTTT

  1. Connect to the Maker and Dropbox channels.
  2. Note your Maker channel secret key
  3. Create a recipe with Maker’s receive a web request trigger and Dropbox’s create a text file action. You can use this recipe as a template. The file name’s and contents don’t matter. Choose a meaningful event name.
  4. Test your maker trigger url in the terminal with
    curl -X POST https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/{event}/with/key/{key}
    

Android

  1. Launch Trigger and add a new task.
  2. Add an NFC trigger and (in the following screen) any applicable restrictions.
  3. Add an action, and select “Open a URL/URI” under Applications & Shortcuts.
  4. Enter your trigger url, and mark “Open in background”.
  5. When prompted, program your sticker.
    Note: I’ve tried placing the sticker on the mac itself, but that didn’t work. I’m guessing there’s too much RF interference.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OSX

Setup Hazel as follows:

  1. Add your new dropbox sub folder (in ifttt/maker/event_name, by default) to the Hazel folder list
  2. Add a folder rule for new files (see screenshot below). Add any actions you’d like to run: I move the file to the trash, and run an embedded shell script to launch some apps and command line utilities.
    SyF1T9pgqu-3000x3000

That’s it! Every time you’ll place your phone on the NFC sticker, it’ll make an HTTP request, which will cause a file to be created in a dropbox folder. After the brief sync delay, Hazel will recognize the file and launch any actions you’ve told it too.

 

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