Minimalistic Text Android Widget

This is just a quick update on a widget I made for my own use using

Minimalistic Text


Google Maps Directions API

The time, day of week, and weather information are all built into the Minimialistic Text program. Transit information was a little bit more complex.

The Transit information circled is two API calls to the Google maps directions API through Tasker, one for my trip to from the train station to my work bus stop and one for my trip home. They run every 5 minutes and extract out variables including the bus number, the time of departure, the train name and it’s time of departure, the length of the trip and the time when I will arrive home from the XML response to the API call.

Tasker pulls the full result from train station to work bus stop, and caches it in a variable. I then use tasker to pull each variable out of the XML results cached in the full variable.

Then, using Tasker, I format the variables into a easy-to-read (for me) one glance information screen with emoji’s to indicate bus trips, train trips, total time and icons for home and work.

Some of the additional features I’ve built into this include

  1. A widget that speaks my commute when pressed.
  2. A popup that lists out departure times for my commute
  3. I added the api call and variable update feature for this widget into my 5 minute data widget  which turns my data plan on for 5 minutes.

What I end up with is a very simple, one-glance tool that gives me all the information I need to know for my commute.


Dashboards, API’s and YQL

I’ve been working on some ideas for dashboards using API’s and Yahoo Query Language and I have a proof of concept below of the kind of thing you can do with an API and a little ingenuity.



This is an example pulling from one YQL query for the first 3 headlines from Google News, and the API for the tool I use for monitoring my library websites.

The  app this is built on is Minimalistic Text,  one of my favorite apps for creating custom information displays on Android devices.

The app used to program and parse the YQL  and the API XML is Tasker

I am pulling the News content from YQL using this query

select title from rss where url=""

That gives me this XML response

I’m using UptimeRobot and it’s API for monitoring all my critical patron-facing systems

One Tasker profile checks the two XML files every 1/2 hour and splits the content into a set of variables. Those variables are passed on to Minimalistic Text and displayed in this widget on my Android homescreen.

When a connection failure is detected by UptimeRobot,  the ‘Catalog Up’ section highlights in red.

I’ll expand on how this is accomplished in Tasker later.



How to use Google Music with your external SD card

Here’s a quick tip I figured out for mounting your Google Music cache on your SD card on your Android phone.

I’m using a Samsung Galaxy SII I-9100 with ICS, rooted

This requires Tasker and a rooted phone

Find where your google music cache is located. On Samsung phones under ICS it’s located in


Create a folder in the root of your SD card to store the Google music cache. Mine ended up in


In Tasker, create a task – I called it ‘Mount Script

Add an action Script>Run Shell

Use the following command

mount -o bind [Location on External SD] [Location on Internal SD]

Mine looks like this

mount -o bind /mt/sdcard/external_sd/MusicCache /mt/sdcard/Android/data/

Check ‘Use Root’

Next, create two profiles

The first, i called ‘Google Music Mount’

Context >Event>Hardware>Card Mounted

Set tas>k Mount Script

This takes care of any time you unmount and remount the card

The second, I called ‘Boot Google Music Mount

Context>Event>System>Device Boot

Set task> Mount Script

I’ve been using this for the past week, and it’s behaved brilliantly. Let me know if you try it out on different hardware.