One of our readers, Christopher, emailed me a couple of days ago about a brilliant idea he had for Tasker. He has modified a case for his phone with a piece of metal, and mounted magnets on the dash of his car, allowing him to mount the phone to the dash magnetically. He then came up with the idea of using Tasker’s Magnetic Field context, which acts on the magnetic field the phone is exposed to, to create a makeshift NFC replacement that lets him activate a profile automatically when the phone is attached to the magnetic holder.
While this is obviously more limited than NFC in that it doesn’t transfer any information in the process (and thus is less dynamic), it does give those of us with a NFC-less phone a way to create a physical trigger for a single use purpose. Car docking is a very common use for NFC, and so using this as a replacement allows you to do the same without NFC.
For those afraid of magnets and electronics, that’s a myth left over from the old days. There’s not really anything in today’s electronics that’s traditionally affected by magnets, with the exception of the compass, which won’t work correctly while in close proximity to a magnet. It is however advisable to do like Christopher and put the magnets on whatever you’re attaching the thing to, leaving the device with only some magnetic metal.
I think this is a great idea, and a brilliant use of a normally overlooked feature of Tasker. I’ve tried to find something to use that context for myself in the past, without succeeding, but I might have to take a second look at it now.