Maak je leven slimmer met IFTTT

Met IFTTT (if this then that) kun je apparaten, apps en social tools net iets slimmer gebruiken door ze op een eenvoudige manier te combineren. Je kunt kiezen uit duizenden voorbeelden of zelf “recipes” aanmaken. Een paar voorbeelden geven (denk ik) het beste aan waar je het voor kunt gebruiken:

1. Stuur een tweet naar huis als je bijna thuis bent (of welke combinatie dan ook):

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2. Zet het licht aan zodra je wakker bent:

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3. Bewaar je gmail attachments in je Skydrive:

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4. Bel jezelf op een bepaalde tijd en datum:

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5. Stuur jezelf een e-mail als het morgen gaat regenen:

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6. Bookmark je YouTube favorites automatisch in Delicious

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Je kunt tussen HEEL VEEL kanalen simpele regels aanmaken:

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Zo kun je RSS feeds controleren op steekwoorden, foto’s automatisch overzetten, berichten crossposten en e.g. automatisch je twitter avatar aanpassen als je je Facebook avatar aanpast.

Browse eens door de Recipes lijst en je zult er vast wel een aantal handige tegenkomen.

IFTTT werd opgericht in 2010 en rond die tijd vond ik er nog niet heel veel zinnigs aan, maar ik kwam er weer terecht en vond nu veel meer handige dingetjes zoals de aansluiting bij “the internet of things”.

Gevanceerder

IFTT valt vooral op omdat het heel eenvoudig werkt: een paar klikken en je hebt de connectie opgezet.

Dit in tegenstelling tot e.g. Yahoo Pipes waar je toch iets meer in je mars moet hebben om daar pipes samen te stellen. Je kunt natuurlijk wel integreren met Yahoo Pipes om nog veel meer interessante dingen te maken.

Echte developers willen dit natuurlijk allemaal zelf programmeren via API’s tussen deze systemen maar voor eindgebruikers is dit een perfect online tool: geen moeilijke authenticatie mechanismen schrijven, geen caching regels, geen buffers en geen zorgen over uptime: een paar klikken en je integratie werkt.

Ik was zelf op zoek naar een tool dat

a) mijn delicious bookmarks van 1 dag combineert tot 1 WordPress posting in het post formaat “link post” maar ik heb nog niet ontdekt of dat ook met IFTT kan. (wellicht via bufferapp.com).

b) filmpjes die ik like op YouTube automatisch per dag combineert tot 1 WordPress posting maar ook daarvan heb ik nog niet ontdekt of dat met IFTT kan (de Trigger in IFTT kan wel detecteren wanneer je YouTube filmpjes toevoegt aan je favorieten maar ik vond geen trigger voor “likes”)

Desondanks vond ik tijdens het surfen door de recepten veel leuke en handige toevoegingen om uit te proberen en behoorlijk wat handigheden waarvan ik niet eens bedacht had dat ik dat zou kunnen doen. Het voordeel is natuurlijk dat deze integratie regels gehosted worden dus zelfs al is mijn omgeving “down” : dit blijft draaien.

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Use hundreds of apps without installation using SPOON

imageSPOON.NET lets you run most of your favorite applications straight from your browser. You no longer need to install application such as Irfanview, VLC, Open Office, Eclipse, Google Earth, Filezilla or Gimp: just click the icon and it runs in its own desktop straight from Spoon.

That in itself is MAJOR cool.

I’m used to desktop virtualization in larger companies: the desktop simply receives a lot of applications streamed to the user environment. It is pretty cool that this is available for regular end users.

(And while I am typing this I am listening to my music via Songbird started in Spoon and pasted the images here via Irfanview which I ran in Spoon).

It supports offline modus and works pretty well.

Example

First, go to the Irfanview page: http://spoon.net/IrfanView where there is a Launch button. Then press the launch button:

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and… about 10 seconds later Irfanview (version 4.25) is running (and I even used it to paste and crop the image above). (just press the button above to try it out, these buttons are handy to create your own start page). The cool thing is that my local copy is… version 4.23 GRIN. BIG BENEFIT of running things in the cloud.

What it means

It means you can now deinstall a LOT of programs from your hard drive and simply run them from spoon, including your messenger, your e-mail system, your office and so on.

Why I am in doubt.

Although this is potentially something that will spread over the planet as a new “needed” central thing… the company website confuses me… I realize it is ranked 27.000 in Alexa so immensely popular but…

The website is not “cool”. There are no example movies. There is no forum. There are no social thingies. It is not “viral”. It does not explain things in FAQ other than 3 basic lines. It just lacks about “everything” needed to make this thing a success. And that is strange… this could be a “big thing” everyone uses but the website seems “a business site” aimed at “business users” and “developers”.

This is probably why I am not going to use it. I have a lot of questions about it. E.g. when I run Songbird:

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What should I do now? When I download it does it get installed in the Sandbox or will I have another local install of Songbird? What about my privacy? (the privacy statement seems to be about the website itself). How can I make a shortcut to an app on my desktop? How can I associate it with file extensions? How can I start Skype when booting up? Etc… etc… I don’t want to ask these questions but just read them in a forum just to general feeling from regular other users and a feeling that there ARE a lot of people using it.

I’m sure there are hundreds of questions from end-users and a lot of need to have some kind of “next big thing” sharing experience.

I think they should take look at http://www.dropbox.com/ and make a clear split between the business site and an end-user community site.

It’s strange, this is something I want to use. I would even pay for it. But the “feeling” makes me not use it ???

So… Let’s revisit it again in some time when there is at least a forum.

Essential gmail add-on: Rapportive

imageAfter a one-click install Rapportive shows social information about your contacts in the gmail sidebar. Easy. Handy & Useful.

I think I like this add-on!

How do I know I like this one?

Because I recently lost all my extensions in Chrome* and rapportive was one of the first I re-installed. That is always a good sign: there are a lot of “cool” things people write about in their blogs (I’m absolutely one of them) “everyone look at this” but in practice…. the key trademark of something essential : you reinstall it after a format /q!

So… what does it do and why should you install it?

Simple:

imageRapportive shows you, instead of the ads, a little sidebar showing you just a little bit more information on the people that mail you and shows it in the sidebar. This includes:

– their avatar
– their latest tweets
– their linkedin profile
– their facebook account
– their flickr account
– their friendster account
– their youtube account
– their orkut account
– their delicious account
– their stumbleupon account
– their gravatar account
– their last.fm account
– ETC…

Simple. It does not do miracles. But what it does it does great. Why?

a) Because it is a simple one button installation
b) it does not require any activity or time from my side.
c) it save me time since I do not have to go to their profiles, twitters etc… (the more I mail with people the more times I will see their updated tweets etc…)
d) mail from people I don’t know is enriched by the sidebar so I can see their sites etc… really handy. It also works with companies e.g. webshops. It also acts as my “one click” subscribe to their twitter feed thing
e) it lets me adjust my profiles so I actually have some control over what other people see.
f) I can leave notes with people
g) something I have not blogged about but… mailchimp has recently added a social info tool to their portfolio, which means, if you have mailing lists, that you not only get those dull graphics on “how much did a person click on my link” but a whole wealth of social information on those persons. Rapportive somehow lets you see this activity in MailChimp (haven’t looked into this yet).

The one thing I don’t know is how Google likes it that their ads are uhm… “suppressed”.

When I read around the web this app is now booming, and by looking at the forum lots of people have lots of ideas how to enhance this thing, the top 10 things people want to have in it (and well… these requests look familiar) :

1) more control of your own profile and “claim” your other e-mail addresses
2) not only information shown from social networks but also from your own Google Contacts
3) “merge contacts” in Rapportive but also to Google Contacts
4) not only information shown from social network but also the ability to add your own info
5) more feeds than twitter: facebook, linkedin, etc… (popups requested…) / better facebook integration
6) also provide https for images from twitter and facebook…
7) see e-mail history also (I think they might need to add tabs in the sidebar…)
8) a button to report offenders / spammers
9) integrate with gmail tasks
10) technical improvements: use reply-to when sender fails

You get 10 votes which you can give to a suggestion (a maximum of 3 each) and I put my first 3 votes for point 9: it must be handy to leave todo’s with my contacts combined with an overview page of all the todo’s.