Siri will read the Blue or Green for you May 26, 2019 8:32 PM   Subscribe

I made this Siri Shortcut that gets the last 15 posts on the Blue or Green and reads them out loud to you.

If your phone has the Siri Shortcuts app, you can use the link above to download this shortcut onto your phone. Once it's on your phone you can activate it by saying "Hey Siri, read metafilter" or adding it to your home screen or just by going into the Shortcuts app.

I designed it so that after you tell it which feed you want, it doesn't require any additional input and you don't have to touch your phone, so it's useful for doing boring stuff like folding laundry when it's not going to take as long as a podcast and fussing around to find the right podcast will take as long as the task will. The Siri reading voice is hard-coded by me as "Aaron" (although you can edit this on your phone, it won't be read by your regular Siri either way. I'm not sure how this works on phones from regions outside the US).

When you run the shortcut, first Siri will ask you if you want the Blue or the Green. Then it will go get the last 15 posts on the RSS feed. Then for each post, it tells you how many words are in it. if there are less than 100 words, it will read all of them. If more than 100 words, it will read you the first quarter of words then ask if you want to hear the rest and if so it will read the whole post. If you don't say anything, it will go to the next post. Before moving on to the next post it asks you if you want to stop, in case you're listening while driving.

Originally it had some more complicated features that weren't actually that reliable or that I didn't actually find useful so I took them out. For example I used to have it ask you if you wanted to save the post to a reminder before going on to the next post but I never used it. It also used to divide the post up by word count in a more complicated way that didn't work great but in theory you'd have more control over sitting through a very long post.
Other feature ideas:
Fine-tuning the way it chunks up long posts in a more reliable way
Adding a way to choose between the other feeds
Having it recognize trigger/content warnings and skip or warn about those posts
Having some way to ask it to read the comments for a post
(The Shortcuts interface, while not being difficult to use per se, gets really clunky and time-consuming the more commands you have, so these sound like a pain to get going. Also does anyone even read the comments down here?)

If you have any ideas feel free to add your riffs and share them with us. Or any other Metafilter-related Siri Shortcuts that are out there. To create the public share link above, you just go into the share menu and choose "Copy iCloud link".
posted by bleep to MetaFilter-Related at 8:32 PM (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Nice, thanks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:21 PM on May 26, 2019

Thanks for sharing this with us bleep :)
posted by some loser at 4:20 AM on May 27, 2019

posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:17 AM on May 27, 2019

This is super cool, thanks!
posted by curious nu at 6:59 AM on May 28, 2019

Of course it's been working perfectly for months but NOW it gave me a bug. If you get a bug try this one.
posted by bleep at 8:44 AM on May 28, 2019

posted by holborne at 12:20 PM on May 28, 2019

I don't have Siri anymore but this is nifty! Nice work!
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:35 PM on May 28, 2019

This is useful as I try to understand Siri Shortcuts. Up until now I have been trying to follow Matthew Cassinelli's videos, but have a hard time getting past his stare.
posted by terrapin at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2019

If you have any questions feel free to memail me!
posted by bleep at 2:26 PM on May 28, 2019

Up until now I have been trying to follow Matthew Cassinelli's videos

What happens when you play that with Siri querying.
posted by clavdivs at 4:36 PM on May 28, 2019

I have wanted this for so long! Thank you, bleep. I cannot thank you enough!
posted by Bella Donna at 12:19 PM on June 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wonder if a similar shortcut would work for reading all of the comments in a long thread, starting at a given comment link? I would use it for keeping up with the politics threads while doing other things..
posted by nat at 1:14 AM on June 3, 2019

In theory yes. My phone started to get confused if I threw more than 15 rss items at it, but maybe a bigger/more robust phone could handle it, or maybe that was a bug and they fixed it since I was putting this one together. You would just need to pass the url of the thread into the shortcut (maybe by storing the shortcut in the share menu). Then you could do "Find RSS feeds" to find the address of the RSS.
posted by bleep at 8:02 AM on June 3, 2019

Ok so I whipped this together quickly:

You run it by going to the share menu of the thread you want. You can tell it if you want to hear the post and the comments or just the comments. It will get 100 comments and read them. It could probably use some fine tuning. I dunno how to make it start at a comment link.
posted by bleep at 7:04 PM on June 3, 2019 [3 favorites]

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