Grandmother Communicator Part 2

More fun stuff for Gran..

In the previous post in this series, I performed the initial setup of a communication device for my Grandmother. Now I’ll be adding some fun features to enhance her experience.

Easy Update Photo Frame

It’d be cool for her to see photos of children and grandchildren but I also want it to work in a way that’s easy to update. To do this, I’ll be using WhatsApp and Android’s Screensaver functionality.

First, I enabled the screensaver with the “Photo frame” option:

Then I pointed it to the WhatsApp Images folder:

And then set WhatsApp to automatically download photos:

Now any photo sent to her via Whatsapp will be automatically shown when the tablet is asleep and charging:

It’s super easy for us to share photos with her now, and it turns her tablet into an easily updated photo frame.

Uh, but won’t the screen always be on because the tablet is always charging?

Smart Switch Charging

That’s where smart switch charging comes in. Right now, the tablet is continuously charged (but with a setting limiting charge to 85%). Using one of Sonoff’s Micro smart switches, I can create a schedule to turn off and on charging when needed.

Here’s an intro to the Micro:

Since I was already accustomed to setting up Sonoff switches (link to previous post), it was easy to set this one up.

First I added it to the Ewelink app:

Then I added scheduled on and off times that turns on charging (and the screensaver) at 10:00 and turns it off at 20:00:

To make sure load shedding (or any power interruptions) won’t mess with the schedule, I set the Power-on state to “ON” to make sure it turned on when power was cycled. Better to have more charging rather than a dead tablet!

So that’s the charging management sorted.

Blocking Phone calls w/Tasker

Thanks to the recycling of numbers, the SIM in her tablet can sometimes receive calls and SMS meant for the previous user or spam/marketing. Read MyBroadband’s take on this here. Do not disturb blocks the SMS notifications but I’ll have to rely on Tasker to block the calls:

Using Tasker, it automatically and silently disallows all normal phone calls coming in:

Works perfectly, no more spam calls.


Seeing always-updated photos of family has added a new level of “connection” to the functionality of the tablet. It’s extremely cool to see how this can be unlocked with just a few steps of setup.

The Future

Her tablet needs (at least) one more feature and I still need to sort out her radio..

If you have any questions/would like to share your experience customizing Android or using Tasker, leave a reply below. To receive an email when I publish a post, subscribe here.

(Featured image remixed from this photo)

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