What is IFTTT? For my friends that keep losing their photos…

I’m always surprised to hear from my friends (mostly on Facebook), that they lost all their photos, contacts, data on their phones when they dropped them in the tub, toilet, washing machine…

But then I am reminded that when I mention cloud computing and backups, a lot of them look at me with a blank deer in headlights look. I suppose I understand, as the saying, “store it up in the cloud”, can create some confusion! Recently a relative of mine asked where this cloud was located? In space? It does sound virtual, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your photo backups located out in space?? Yes. Yes it would…

Boring Building
Source – http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/google-councilbluffs-datace.jpg

Sadly, technology is not quite there, and cloud backups are located in large warehouses like this one. How it all works is much like magic (Sorry, no magic, but epic programmers that are as smart as magicians). Most consumers really don’t need to know too much about how our data gets backed up, as much as we need to trust that it has been!

For anyone that has a digital camera, backing up your photos & videos is an important part of protecting those precious moments with your kids, family, and friends. It only takes one slip up and your slippery iPhone is at the bottom of the lake, together with the now destroyed processor. Good luck retrieving the data on there!

If you have not heard of online storage, today is the day you should learn more about it! I could point you to multiple services, and go through the pros & cons of them all, but I’m just not going to do that…There are just too many! I’d recommend a service that will be big enough to be in business for years…If you spend some time setting up an automated backup (or even manually backing up your data), it is important that they stick around a while! A few that come to mind are Dropbox, Evernote, Box.net, and Google Drive.

How long is long enough? That is a good question! Many people feel that we are in a heap of trouble as time goes on, in that we are relying on online digital backup services to stay in business so we can retrieve our data 20 years from now. Seem like a long time in the future? Tell that to your kids or grandkids when they want to see into their past, and ALL your photos are digital, and you didn’t backup the 100+Gb of photos that accumulated in the various services you were using two decades earlier…A photo album seems a bit silly today, but I have pictures 50 years old still that will probably survive another 50 years for my kids. So the moral of the story is to choose your backup service wisely, and make it as mindless and automated as possible…

Now onto how to make your backups simple…ifttt

You need to set it up, and not have to think about it again!

That’s where ifttt.com comes in! It is a site to automate your digital life! It can do so many different things for you, I can’t even begin to describe how helpful it is.

For instance, I get a daily text message with the weather, as well as when it is scheduled to rain tomorrow so I can get kids’ rain gear ready. It backs up all my photos I take with my phone automatically to Dropbox, then in turn, that backup is backed-up to Box, and Evernote. I have it email Craigslist searches for items I’m looking for. I get up to date emails for Reddit posts, I have it forward any public posts I do on Google+ and push it to Twitter, then Facebook. Hell, if I lose my phone, I can email ifttt and it will make my phone ring! Helpful as well as crucial.

Instead of spending an entire post on how to set it up, just go to ifttt.com and set up an account. It is extremely easy to set up, and you won’t be one of those friends that posts on Facebook that they lost all their photos!

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IFTTT makes your Internet experience incredible! via #wp

 

IFTTT   My RecipesToday I came across the most exciting thing since the Internet came into my life! It is IFTTT! What is IFTTT?

It is a service that automates many of the tasks we are just too lazy to complete, or never thought we could even do! It stands for If This Then That.

Up until today I thought it was a fancy term for automator actions that many Mac users are familiar with, but was only available for computer driven tasks. Little did I know that I am late to the game, and IFTTT is now a website (ifttt.com).

This post is a perfect example of the power of IFTTT. I took this picture in Instagram. Because I added the hashtag #wp, IFTTT has recognized my automated task that I set up, and has posted a blog post to my WordPress.com blog! I’ll probably change the tag, but you get the idea!

Granted, I have come in after the fact and edited this blog post to add in my fleshed out content. But that is not the point here. If I want to take a picture in Instagram now, I have it automatically backup to Evernote and Dropbox too! And if I like it enough, I add a tag and wham, I’ve done a blog post!

The amount of ‘recipes’ available to use are mindblowing!  There are over 750 pages of actions to choose from that people have shared. You can set up your own customized IFTTT tasks, but more than likely one is already pre-saved for you to start using!

I’ve set up automated backups of all my incoming Gmail attachments(pictures, PDFs, Word Docs, etc…), to Dropbox. I’ve set up automated backups of all my blog posts from WordPress to Evernote. Well, actually I’ve played with IFTTT so much today that I think I am going to fall down on the ground laughing at how god damn cool it is!

Not only cool, but the big thing is that the site is extremely easy to use! Once you grant access to IFTTT with a couple of clicks on services like Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, you simply follow the prompts to tell the task what you want to achieve.

Ever kicked yourself for forgetting someone’s birthday? Set up a task to email them on their birthday automatically! You’ll look like a champion! You can even set up automated phone calls in those awkward moments when you wished you could get out of that conversation with your annoying neighbour! Text yourself a quick message with a tag, and IFTTT will phone you. Same goes for setting wake up calls. Set up a time for the call to happen and it does.

I could spend hours talking about all the cool stuff I found today, but do yourself a favour and go create an account at ifttt.com and start making the internet what it was meant to be used for. To make our life easy!

Boom! Did you hear that? That is my mind blowing up from the giddiness!

I’m so excited for Dropbox Automator!

Today I read about an exciting new on-line project that will automate so many of our files and photos with Dropbox called Dropbox Automator.

Dropbox AppFor those of you that have used the Mac and messed around with OSX Automator, it sounds very much like how Dropbox Automator will work.
I have quite a lot of storage capacity with Dropbox, and would just love the ability to take a picture with your smartphone, or save a file, and have it automate the backup to Dropbox.
I currently have an automated backup plan with Evernote for every email I get that has an attachment. So currently if I wish to have an online backup of something, I send it via email to my Gmail account and it stores a copy of the attachment to Gmail, and then forwards it to Evernote. It is really slick, but the issue is that Evernote has upload limits unless you upgrade to the Pro account.
I can’t imagine my document and smartphone image backup exceding my current capacity for quite some time. So once Dropbox Automator irons out the kinks, I’m going to start organizing my Dropbox again and use the service.
Here is a bit more about the service…

Thirty-six hours ago, the recently founded software development firm Wappwolf launched Dropbox Automator, which is sort of like an IFTTT for Dropbox. IFTTT, for those of you not up to speed on the latest Internet trends (where have you been?!), is a pretty amazing online tool that automates tasks to trigger when a particular action has occurred. For example: when my Facebook profile picture changes, update my Twitter profile pic too; email me when Amazon posts its free Android app of the day; text me when a get a new email; etc.

via Dropbox Automator Is Like IFTTT For Dropbox | TechCrunch.

My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship.

Source: http://bit.ly/bamnMI

Today I renewed my yearly license as a Remember the Milk Pro user. Over the years software has come and gone and I have shelled out my fair share to developers…Very few of them gave me the value that Remember the Milk does. I know loads of people check out my review of RTM vs Nozbe vs Nirvana, so I thought I would take a minute to write about my experience. Here are my thoughts on what Remember the Milk has done for me this last year, and where I want to see it go from here. Continue reading “My 1 year Anniversary with RTM! My thoughts on our relationship.”

How Evernote saved the day and The Bay needs an upgrade

The Bay
Image by geirarne via Flickr

This evening we went to the closest mall and tried to stay out of the heat. Normally, I understand the need to shop at malls for the family’s clothes etc…, but I would rather be doing something entirely different…Seeing that malls in our part of the world are air conditioned, I was happy to go there!

We were organized enough to remember the watch I bought my wife for Mother’s Day. The battery had died very quickly, and we figured The Bay may be able to do something about it, seeing that I bought it there.

My wife brought the watch up to the lady, and she was told that they couldn’t look at the battery issue without first showing them the receipt. She asked another staff member just to be sure, and my wife met up with me somewhere else in the store and told me the news.

I wasn’t very impressed…

So I went to the lady that I remember selling me the watch. She gave me the same story. She couldn’t look at the watch because I didn’t have the receipt.

I told her to look me up in the system. I had bought the watch 3 months ago on my Bay account. I had ID. What’s the problem? I even put in, “you sold me the watch”…That’s when she told me that she couldn’t look me up. That their system wasn’t able to find previous purchases by customers. WTF? What kind of computer system are they running?DOS?

I recall providing them ALL my personal details when I got suckered into signing up for the silly Bay Card in the first place. The approval was on the computer. I had to be in there somewhere? I wasn’t going to get into it with the jewelry clerk, so I tried to think my way out of this bind…

 

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Image via Wikipedia

That’s when I remembered that I probably scanned my Bay statement into Evernote! I asked her if I could show her my Bay statement of the purchase, would that do? She said yes…

 

She gave me a strange look when I pulled out my iPhone and started searching in the Evernote App. I think she was looking for me to pull paper from my pocket. Anyway, in under a minute I found it! She brought me over to the battery lady and they checked the watch.

It’s these little moments like tonight that I see such great possibilities for technology benefiting us. That is if companies as large as The Bay here in Canada upgrade their 25 year old systems so they can find their customers…

What do you use as your digital filing cabinet?

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I have been fascinated with databases for quite some time. I used Devonthink Pro Office for the longest time to store all my documents, but found that once I was out and about in the real world, I didn’t have access to it.And it didn’t help that it was Mac only…

I started using Evernote as a replacement once I needed cross-platform support, and access online. The added bonus of course is that now that I have a smart phone, I find I use Evernote all the time! When I go for a hike for instance, I have pictures of maps that I’ve taken with my phone, and have them stored inside Evernote.

I also use it as my photo backup. Anytime I take a picture with my phone, I send a copy over to Evernote so I have a permanent backup.

My issue right now though, is that Evernote has poor Linux support. Most of the benefits to using Evernote is that you have a backup of all your important things. The desktop applications under Windows and OSX allow for drag and drop backup, and access to an Export Notes to Archive feature. The web interface does not have this.

So I run Evernote in the web interface by itself. It makes me feel uneasy that I can’t have a backup of my backup on my computer. In other words, I like Evernote to plug along collecting all my snippets, photo backups, and PDFs, and once in a while I’d like an archive to store on DVD.

I’m not familiar with how well Nevernote works, but I think I will either have to see if it can do a good archive, or if running Evernote in Wine will work.

Does anyone have experience with other note taking apps on the Linux side that offer the same features as Evernote, but have an archive feature?

Nozbe web redesigned. Less green!

Today Michael Nozbe announced a bunch of new developments at Nozbe! The first thing that got my attention was the new web interface. They have removed the excessive green that I couldn’t get over in my reviews of Nozbe! Here is a look at the new interface… Continue reading “Nozbe web redesigned. Less green!”