Saturday, January 26, 2013

IFTTT...WTF???


The internet is full of strange and wonderful things. When you think about it, the possibilities are really overwhelming. Here, at your very fingertips, is the sum of all world knowledge; the Library of Alexandria pales in comparison. All you have to do is FIND whatever it is you want.

On occasion, the internet delivers something you didn't know you wanted, but is quite helpful to have.  Case in point:  I was looking through the Pebble Watch website, describing the Kickstarter-funded smartwatch:




And yes, I ordered one, but when it will be delivered I haven't a clue. Some early adopters/Kickstarter supporters are selling theirs on eBay for double or triple the cost. Patience is a virtue, friends.

Without going into detail on the watch function itself, suffice it to say that it is a Bluetooth appendage to a smart phone, either iOS or Android, and it can display various messages from the phone, incoming calls, email, and the like. There are ways for us users to add alerts. For those who can program (which I can't much anymore) there is a developer SDK. But for the rest of us who have a slight knowledge of programming and logic, it seems that Pebble can receive simple alerts and notifications from if this then that (ifttt.com) or from their web-facing RESTful endpoint. The latter seems a little beyond me at the moment, but I'm looking into it. But IFTTT is so easy someone from IT could use it.

Go sign up on ifttt.com and you'll see how it works. Basically, you pick a trigger (the IF This) and a target action (THEN That). For example:


This "recipe" as IFTTT calls it will sniff for the "trigger" of a new Instagram photo uploaded by the certain user and than dumps in in the user's Dropbox. There are 50 some-odd channels of triggers and actions, and a particular channel might include both. For example, (from IFTTT.com):



The SMS Channel is a native IFTTT channel that provides a set of Triggers and Actions built around sending and receiving Short Message Service (SMS) messages with your SMS enabled cellphone.


The SMS trigger, "Send IFTTT any SMS", fires every time you send any SMS to your IFTTT phone number, and the event "Send me an SMS" will send an SMS to your mobile phone, once it's properly registered.






The Phone Call Channel is a native IFTTT Channel that provides a set of Triggers and Actions built around calls placed to and from your phone.

The action "Call my phone" will call your phone number and say a message. One could, for example, use a calendar trigger to set up an automatic call on a certain date, like a birthday.





This is a very powerful scripting service, and fairly easy to use. I've already set up a recipe to forward blog posts here on Blogspot over to my Doctor Dalai Facebook page. We'll see if it actually works shortly.

The only thing IFTTT lacks is voice command. Perhaps they'll figure out a way to integrate Siri in the next iteration.

3 comments:

Martin P said...

A similar service to the long-running (and functionally deeper) Yahoo Pipes.

Sardonicus said...

Very cool. I'm in line. Only question was - How Many?
Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

Now if you could only run the Agfa web tools and read chest films on one of those!