Green Apple

Play Alexa Audio Routines on Sonos

Alexa now allows for routines that start audio playback. So for example you can say “Alexa, start the radio” and it’ll start playing your favorite radio station from TuneIn on your Alexa. (You can’t use play radio for some reason)

Sadly, by default, the interface doesn’t allow you to execute these commands on a Sonos One or redirect the audio to a Sonos speaker.

But there’s a workaround:

If you want to play a certain radio channel on the Sonos in the kitchen: start by creating a new routine in the Alexa app:

  1. Set an Alexa trigger, eg “start the radio”
  2. Add a Music action
  3. Type out the name of the channel or track you want to play and set the source. For radio, it’s TuneIn
  4. Append the sentence “in the kitchen”, to redirect the chosen music to the Sonos speaker in the kitchen.

The screenshots above will probably explain it better. 


This shows the main difference between Apple Siri/HomeKit and Alexa. Alexa allows for these kind of hacks. But it makes for a frustrating experience because the advanced features don’t always work as expected.

Siri is locked and doesn’t allow these kind of workarounds. But the basic audio features Apple promises do work right out of the box.

It’s iOS stable and closed vs Android tweakable but unstable all over again.

It’s an iPad

An iPad. With pencil support.

It’s an iPad.

Steve Jobs. 1992

Three takeaways:

  • His vision on education. Education is an important market because you train tomorrow’s engineers and they tell you what’s wrong with your product. I wonder how much of it will still resonate in Tuesday’s event. (48:23)
  • Why companies should invest in hardware and software. He argues if you want to sell great software you need the hardware to subsidize the development. I wonder if today’s Apple has made a 180 on that? You can argue they are now more about hardware than ever before. (18:03)
  • Train people when they make mistakes instead of fixing the mistake. Invest in people (51:20)

Also, if anyone can explain me what he means with Objects?  I get the gist but an example of companies that sell objects would be great Does he mean something similar to homebrew packages but commercially?

Bike Sharing

Nice addition to Apple Maps: search for bike sharing and the app will show you nearby bike sharing stations in supported cities, like my hometown, Antwerp.

Change the title of iCloud Photo Library Memories

Yesterday I got a notification for a memory from three years ago called Kris’s Birthday. iCloud Photos had somehow found out that it was Kris’s birthday yesterday, and that he and I were at the same event on his birthday a few years ago.

I really like these kind of memories and alerts. They’re timely, often bring back events I had forgotten about, and the photo selection is quite good.

Only, this time, the event itself had nothing to do with the fact that it was my friend’s birthday. And I couldn’t find a way to change the memory’s title within iOS Photos.

Thanks to @joshducharme, that’s now been solved:

How to change a Memory

On minimalism

We’re moving next week, so naturally we’ve started packing our stuff already.

Last night, my wife made the most thought provoking remark about our current stack of boxes that kept me thinking:

Basically, all those boxes we packed a week in advance is stuff we don’t need to live.

We pretend, or we like to believe, we’re both minimalists in our approach to live. We don’t have a lot of little stuff around, only have a dozen physical books, with all media being digital.

Even so, when packing boxes you discover that you still have too much stuff. Who needs 4 bottle openers. Do we even read those 12 books often enough to warrant shelve space? Why do we keep moving that set of dinner plates we never use?

We’re currently cooking and eating with a reduced set of items. A few glasses, cups and plates. And we manage.

Our living room is empty. All shelves have been packed and all framed items safely stored. Even so. We still relax in the sofas and enjoy our evenings.

It’s also telling what we didn’t pack yet. Sonos. WiFi. Coffee. Basically, what you pack last is what you really need to live. The rest? Joys of life, extra’s, just stuff.

Moving. It makes you think.


Next week we’re moving apartments. The new place is a bit smaller than our current one, but has an extra room for #thelittleone and this time: a working hot water installation.

To my surprise the new apartment (we’re renting) has CAT 6E Ethernet installed in the living room and both bedrooms. I know it’s 2018 and wireless is basically the default for any home installation these days, but some decent wired endpoints across the house make placing WiFi access points that cover every spot of the house a breeze.

One problem: even though cables were installed in the apartment and every room has some nice patch ports next to the power plugs, in the utility room all Ethernet cables were unfinished and just hanging there.  (the owner didn’t even know what they were)

So today I spent part of the morning terminating all cables, connecting them to a switch and checking cable stability afterwards.

I used to do this at the office on a regular basis but it’s been a while now since I touched a cable so —with a bit of shame— I had to resort to a schematic on Google to remember the color code. And.. have a 50% chance I choose the same schema as the electrician.

Luckily all went well and I terminated all cables without any issues.

Up next: installing WiFi, adding my home server and start rebuilding HomeKit. And move all our stuff..

Peaking into Instagram

I hope this post provides some useful insight into how I approach looking for unreleased features in iOS sofware, if you like what I do and would like to see more content like this, you can support me on Patreon. Make sure to follow my posts on 9to5mac as well. - Guilherme Rambo

Pretty insightful breakdown on how to disassemble and peak into an iOS app.

macOS 11 concept

Nice concept. I especially like the idea of collaborative iCloud folders. It’s the one thing missing from iCloud.

Device syncing is a weird one though. With iCloud, who needs iSync?

Update: The guy also has a nice iOS 12 concept