Thursday, December 5, 2013

Trying out Atooma on Android

Note: This blog entry is based on testing I did months ago, but am just now getting around to posting.

I saw a posting yesterday on Google+ about a new app for Android phones called Atooma.  The name seems to be constructed from pieces of the words, "A Touch of Magic".  The story can be found at this URL:

It is in Beta, but seems pretty stable so far.  I installed it last night, and have now had a little time to play with it.  It could be awesome, or it could be an annoyance that I'll remove as soon as it shows its true colors.  I'll let you know.

For now, this is what I've done with it.  I've created the following six "Atoomas" and activated them.

1. Turn on WiFi when I get to work
2. Turn off WiFi when I leave work
3. Turn on WiFi when I get home
4. Turn off WiFi when I leave home
5. Turn on WiFi when at a specific friend's house
6. Turn off WiFi when I leave that specific friend's house

I sat in my office all day thinking it was working great, as the WiFi was staying on.  So far so good. After leaving work, the WiFi turned off a few blocks from the office, so that made me happy.

When I got home, it did not turn on my WiFi, which saddened me a bit.  I used my finger to drag down from the top of the screen to see the running apps, and selected Atooma.  It had all my "Atoomas" showing on the screen.  When I clicked on the one for turning on WiFi at home, it had a different appearance than when I created it.  There was now a huge check mark at the bottom of the screen, and it looked like it wanted to be clicked.  So I did, and it turned green, and my WiFi at home turned on. Seems after you create the rules you have to leave the editing area, and bring it up by dragging down from the top of the screen like I did to get to the default view where it lets you activate each "Atooma". I had not actually activated any of them after creating them, so I did so with each.

That's when things went wonky.  Suddenly my WiFi turned off.  A few seconds later it turned on, connected, then disconnected and turned off.  A little experimentation showed me the problem from a logical point of view.  The problem is that when you are in the building where you want WiFi on, you no longer have a clear sky view for GPS, thereby making the device think you're not at that specific location any longer and making it turn WiFi off.  As soon as it gets enough GPS fixes that it realizes you are now at that location, it turns WiFi on, and eventually the cycle repeats itself, over and over.

I decided it was time to deactivate the "Atoomas" for turning off WiFi when leaving a location until I could figure a workaround for that.  That did not work out so well.  The WiFi continued it's up-down cycling, and was a little maddening.  So I once more dragged down from the top of the screen, clicked on the Atooma icon for the running application, and using the menu button, chose "Logout".  Ahhhh.   Peace at last!

Not!  The cycling continued, and I gave serious thought to uninstalling the application.  Instead, I used the Tasks tab of my trusty "Battery Dr Saver" app (an app I highly recommend; allows you to do full cycle charges or quick charges) to kill the Atooma task.  That did it.  I turned Atooma back on, and because all the "Turn off WiFi" tasks had been disabled, they no longer cycled my WiFi at the house.

I then downloaded somebody else's "Atooma" (users can give back to the community by uploading successful "Atoomas" they've put together so that others can benefit) that would theoretically read your SMS messages aloud if you were traveling at a speed greater than 25km/h.  That gave me to pause.  If I could specify a speed, that meant I could indicate that I was traveling.  If I added that to my "turn off WiFi" rules, it would add a requirement that would need to be satisfied in order to trigger the "turn off WiFi".  That sounded interesting, so I thought about it on the way to work, and when I got here this morning, I did some editing.

Now my "Turn off WiFi when I leave work" rule does not just say, "If I leave the area of <address of office> turn off WiFi", it now says, "If I leave the area of <address of work> AND I am traveling at a speed greater than 30km/h, THEN turn off WiFi".  So far I still have functioning WiFi here in the office, with the Turn off WiFi rules activated, so maybe this is a good solution.  On the other hand, I'm an American and I do not savvy km/h.  I savvy mph, and I wish the app would let you change the basic configuration based on what you use for measuring speed.  Then again, for all I know they *do* let you do that, and I've just not played with it enough to find all the settings and configuration.

I'll continue to explore this application, and will keep you posted as to my findings, my likes, my dislikes, etc.

Benny Helms Registered & Protected

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