Is there an app for that?
February 9, 2014 11:12 PM   Subscribe

I’m interested in the DURR, a simple display-less “watch” that vibrates every 5 minutes to influence your perception of the passing of time. Since DURR is not currently shipping and I already own an iPhone with a clock and a vibrating buzzer, I feel like this should be doable with an app. There’s already a Pebble app so I’m sure it’s not crazy. If this doesn’t currently exist, how hard might it be to write one myself? I’ve compiled things in XCode before but not written my own from-scratch Objective-C, so I’d be approaching this as a newcomer.
posted by migurski to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: BTW, these are some of the perceptual changes I’m interested in, from an article on carrying firearms:
Living in Condition Yellow can have beneficial side effects. A woman I met in Phoenix told me carrying a gun had made her more organized. “I used to lose my stuff all the time,” she said. “I was always leaving my purse in restaurants, my wallet in the car, my sunglasses at friends’ houses. Once I started carrying a gun—accepted that grave responsibility—that all stopped. I’m on it now.”
posted by migurski at 11:15 PM on February 9, 2014

Best answer: Search on sample projects that use NSTimer and then take a look at this tutorial. Basically, that vibrate code? You set up an NSTimer instance to run that vibrate function every five minutes or whatever interval. With a bit of ground work figuring out how to compile a sample project and how to get it onto your phone, you could write this buzzer app in, well, five minutes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 PM on February 9, 2014

An NSTimer can only fire indefinitely if the app is in the foreground. If it's backgrounded it will stop firing after ten minutes. You would probably have to use a UILocalNotification if you want the alert to fire when the app is in the background.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 11:43 PM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Or use a background fetch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:28 AM on February 10, 2014

You'll need to have a developer account to use anything you write in Xcode on a device.
posted by nevan at 3:58 AM on February 10, 2014

Is there anything like Tasker for iPhone? Because I could do that in literally a minute on my Nexus 4 using Tasker.
posted by kindall at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2014

kindall's comment made me wonder if the IFTTT iPhone app can do this, but searching turned up Triggers instead. It looks like it can definitely vibrate the phone but only given a clock time, so you'd have to set up 24*12 events manually, which is a bit too much effort.

It also looks like IFTTT recipes only use iPhone stuff as a source, not a destination. Shame.
posted by blech at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2014

Best answer: Since the Triggers app is just a normal app, it also has the foreground/background problem: "By far the biggest problem with Triggers, though, is that it can't run programs in the background or when the device is locked. That means any trigger we could imagine using (like a script I created to notify me when my phone was picked up) basically only works if you're willing to leave the app running and the phone unlocked."

If you're willing to jailbreak your iPhone, you could write a little program that calls the vibrate function, and then set up a cron job to call it every five minutes. (No $99 developer account required.)
posted by dreamyshade at 1:36 PM on February 10, 2014

Best answer: Would an interval timer app work? For instance, there's a free one that's just called IntervalTimer. The UI is kind of terrible but I think it has the features you need. You can have it vibrate, turn off the sounds and set up intervals that are on the same length and repeat them. I believe it keeps running in the background if you do other things. It will eat up your battery life though.
posted by purple_bird at 3:28 PM on February 10, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you everyone!

I let my developer account lapse past year, and the background task stuff sounds difficult. Between the $99 and the background complexity, it’s likely I will skip trying to develop my own.

A friend suggested the Gym Boss, which seems to be configurable to do the same stuff.
posted by migurski at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2014

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