I don’t have any experience with Shortcuts, so this may not be the right path. My ultimate goal is to have a link to a timestamp for a podcast added to a Drafts or Obsidian (or any text app really) document that I can trigger quickly, perhaps by a double or triple tap on the back of my phone. I have lots of podcasts stacking up in Overcast because there’s something in the podcast that I wanted to make note of. I leave the podcast in my playlist, but by the time I get back to it, I sometimes don’t remember what it was I wanted to save from the podcast. Ideally, it would capture the Podcast name, episode name/number, and timestamp. Maybe the chapter, if it’s readily available. Is this something that can be done with Shortcuts?
Isn’t that what all shortcuts do?
Seriously though, tapping on my phone isn’t the same as:
Picking it up/pulling it from my pocket
Swiping up to unlock
Entering PIN or waiting for face unlock
Opening Overcast app
Tapping the podcast at the bottom of the screen to make it full screen
Tapping the share sheet icon
Selecting Share link at current time
Scroll over a couple of times to get to Notes
Tell Notes to save as new note or tap a few more times to specify a note
I think that this Shortcut does what you are after.
It writes the log out to a Draft. Before running the Shortcut for the first time, create a Draft with the following first line:
# Overcast Timestamp Log
You can set up the back tap (triple tap in this case) in Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap ->Triple Tap
and then select the Shortcut from the list.
The resultant log entry will be of the form:
# Overcast Timestamp Log ## 27 Feb 2022 at 18:25 Podcast: The Talk Show With John Gruber Episode: 338: ‘That’ll Pivot His Tables’, With Rene Ritchie Chapter: Possible March 8 event Timestamp: 01:52:09 URL to timestamp: https://overcast.fm/+B7NDJ0hMk/1:52:09
Hope this helps.
I’ve built a few different shortcuts to try to enable timestamped note-taking in Drafts from a podcast, but they were all convoluted and fussy. This works smoothly and seems really uncomplicated. Nice job.
This is terrific! Thanks for sharing.
Couple of quick thoughts. For my own purposes, I’ve adapted this to create a new draft for each note. I’ve surrounded the episode title with double brackets so I can automatically connect all notes from the same episode, and I’ve surrounded the timestamped url with [[url:…]] to make the link clickable without having to switch modes. Fits beautifully into my workflow. Thanks again (and thanks to the OP for raising the question that evoked this response…)
This was just a quick answer to the OP’s apparent needs — something that could be activated in a pocket without necessarily even having to remove your phone.
If I was doing this for myself (which I am going to think about something similar) your workflow has some good additions as well; the other action that I would probably add for my workflow would be to ask for some input that can act as a “why do you want to keep this timestamp”? — perhaps a title for the log as to what is being talked about, some key words, or a bit deeper note if it brought an idea to mind. As I have currently written the Shortcut, the timestamp log has no details as to why the log was saved without going back and listeneing again.
Thanks for detailing your updates to the workings/workflow.
If you’re willing to consider moving away from Overcast, you could use the apps Snipd or Airr to create bookmarks on the fly (with AirPods or just by pressing “prev track” on a car or on the phone playing screen). These can be auto transcribed and saved in a variety of ways. Snipd even can export directly to Obsidian.
Thanks @Tony, I look forward to trying out your shortcut! I agree that having the ability to input some text explaining why you’re saving that bookmark would be very helpful, but I would also want to be able to skip that if necessary (for example if I’m in the middle of something and can’t stop to add a comment).
@derekvan, I really like the features in Overcast, but I’m not opposed to checking out other apps. When you say ‘auto transcribed’, are you saying that the clip is transcribed? I’ve also considered looking for an app that could transcribe certain podcasts to make it easier to search for text. That would possibly eliminate or greatly reduce the need to save as many ‘bookmarks’.
Mmm. I’m running this in a way that immediately opens the newly created draft. I add a bit of context to the “current date” title, then a quick note of my thoughts in response to what I just heard. The draft itself serves as the input/prompt…
I’ve tried Snipd, Airr and Momento (which also syncs to Notion). Personally, I’m split. I haven’t yet got into a flow with any of them— listen in the moment, hear something you want to capture, hit some buttons and fiddle with bracketing the precise clip you want to focus on. That’s why I really appreciate the solution that @Tony has put forward— it’s clean, simple, encourages active thinking about whatever’s sparked enough for you to want to capture, and just happens to be based on the podcast app we seem to have in common here. That said, automatic transcription of the selected audio clip is also really useful in some/many instances. @derekvan: of the apps you’ve recommended, which do you feel has the easiest workflow?
The clips are transcribed and saved as text. With Snipd at least the entire episode is transcribed but I don’t think it’s possible to search “your episodes”, so you’d still have to “snip” clips to make them available later. However, one cool feature of Snipd is that it creates “chapters” with the transcript so it’s easy to find a section you’re wanting to return to.
Snipd feels really promising. Still light on useful podcast listening features (like a queue of episodes that play one after another) but the transcript features feel good.
For example, you can choose to fiddle with the start/stop time of the clip but you don’t do it by editing the waveform, you can just select with the transcript. And, I find it’s not necessary to do this at all anyway because I can edit the text block later in Obsidian as I process my notes. Because the default process is for the app to capture audio backwards (that is, when you invoke the snip, it goes back 90 sec or so to grab what you just heard. You don’t have to navigate back and snip from the beginning. This to me is much easier than bookmarks). But when I want a much longer clip, easy to then monkey with the start/stop time by editing the transcript.
I will say: don’t expect perfection from the transcript. It’s still pretty rough. But good enough for my purposes.
The shortcut works great! The only tweaks I have made so far is the double brackets around the URL, as suggested by @jsamlarose to make the URL clickable and I added an action at the beginning of the process to rewind 30 seconds before grabbing the timestamp. It takes me a few seconds to realize that I want to save the clip, so by the time I get my hand on my phone to trigger, the moment may have passed. Initially, I used the default 15 seconds, but I don’t think that’s long enough. I haven’t used it since extending the rewind, but I can always tweak it as needed. Thanks again @Tony!
Eyyy— that 30 second rewind is a solid idea…
Ok, now that I’m getting the hang of this, is it possible to make the Drafts name dynamic? IE, can I use the podcast name as the name of the Drafts document to keep notes separate based on the Podcast? Or even the Episode? I don’t know that I would need them separated by episode, but having them sorted by Podcast might be useful. Has anyone tried that? I know @jsamlarose mentioned creating a new draft for each note, but I wasn’t sure what he meant by ‘connecting all notes from the same episode’. Are you creating a note based on the episode name or is each note its own draft and you somehow link them together by episode name?
Quick answer: yes.
The way I’ve adopted the original shortcut, each of these drafts gets a timestamp for a title. I misspoke in my original description of what I do with the episode title; I’m currently surrounding it with “[[q: … ]]”— this is some custom syntax that invokes a block level filter action I made, but in this context I’m just using it as a way to filter all drafts that have the same episode title in them. You could achieve a similar effect by using the [[s: … ]] syntax, which opens the quick search bar and filters all drafts for whatever text is contained between the brackets. For me, the shortcut finishes up by opening the draft that’s been captured, and I’ll typically a) add some text to the title, as in what was this clip about? b) add some quoted text and/or whatever thoughts occur.
Doing this allows me to focus on a specific idea, but also allows me to easily call up a list of all ideas drawn from the same episode basis.
Back to your query. You can absolutely create a draft per timestamped note with the episode name as a title. Just bear in mind that, in order to get most value out of doing that, you might want to add a little logic to the shortcut that checks whether a draft for that episode already exists and append the new timestamp if it does, or create a new draft for that episode if it doesn’t. Same consideration if you wanted to create a single draft per podcast. Completely depends on what your intended outcome is, and what might be most useful for you.
Thanks for the clarification. Most of the podcasts I listen to are 1-2 hours long and if I’m being honest, I am not likely to grab more than notes per podcast in general. If I’m grabbing 5-6 notes from a podcast, I’m probably going to just save the entire podcast.
At the moment, I think having a note that collects all the timestamps for a specific podcast would be good enough for me. I’ll see what I can figure out and let you know.