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!

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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.

Google has been on fire with announcements! I’m Excited!

It seems like every couple of hours today one of the big tech blogs is reporting big news from the Google camp. If you’ve been following my tweets you can see my excitement!

Yesterday I mentioned that Google was going to allow their branded Google Apps accounts access to Google+. I like the move, but on it’s own it seems like no big deal.

But today I read far more around some of the big changes happening that make Google+ seem more attractive to me. Continue reading “Google has been on fire with announcements! I’m Excited!”

When getting organized makes you waste time fixing your screw-ups

28/365: A To Do List
Image by DanielJames via Flickr

I have a been working on a personal productivity project for a couple of years now. It started slowly, but I wanted to get a system of organization. Something that I could use consistently.It started with me focusing on electronic databases. Then, how to implement a good retrievable electronic document database, along with contacts, email retrieval, and all the while hoping to get at all the paper cluttering my life.

Life threw me a few curve balls though. A divorce, a new relationship, a new baby, a new career. Ouch. Did I ever need to get organized now! Continue reading “When getting organized makes you waste time fixing your screw-ups”

Getting Things Done(GTD) with Google Apps Labels and Filters

Image representing Google Apps as depicted in ...
Image via CrunchBase

**Update September 27,2010**

Please check out my newest posts about GTD solutions, what has worked and why I have moved over to Remember the Milk…Not to take away from Google Apps, as it may work well for you! The best part of choice, is to be able to make one…

Remember the Milk vs Nozbe vs Nirvana

Remember the Milk. The best mobile To-Do List Manager

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I have been using David Allen’s Getting Things Done(GTD) for a while now. I have finally finished the book which was ironically one of the things I had labeled to get done!

A few months ago I wrote a review on Nozbe, an online website and cloud service that implements the GTD theory. I really got excited once I installed the iPhone app for it.  Anytime I had an idea, reminder for myself, etc…I would just grab my iPhone and open up the Nozbe app. When I was on my computer, either at home or at work, I would just log into Nozbe’s website and off I would be running. It was working fine except for one thing… I really wanted an integrated system that used GTD for my physical reminders as well as all my emails.

I own my own domain(you’re at it, my friend…), and I use Gmail’s service Google Apps for my e-mail. The service is free for me(Standard Edition), but the features are outstanding. Over 7Gb of storage, integration of IMAP, and Gmail’s excellent implementation of labels and filters. On top of that, one little feature in Contacts that I will get to in a minute.

Image representing Nozbe as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

One thing Nozbe has been unable to do, is attach an e-mail to an individual action. You can attach them as a note to a project but not to the actions. This is key to integrating reminders about emails you receive. When I get e-mails, I decide what I want to do with them. Using GTD, if it is less than a 2 minute time frame, I just deal with it. Longer than that, or at sometime in the future, I need to get it out of my inbox, and someplace I can retrieve it later.

So, digging around, I found this great article about how to implement Gmail with GTD…The process is the same under Google Apps too! Wherever they mention using username+label@gmail.com just replace the gmail.com part with your domain name.

Here is my set up…First up, Setting up Labels

I have set up 13 “contexts” as seen in the image(not including the projects). I have 13 Contacts created that when I email them, the item goes directly into my context label and avoids my Inbox. In truth, I have only 12 contexts but have set up one as a Work_Inbox so I can send or forward myself a wide range of reminders to later sort out into actions. So .work_inbox isn’t a context, but an inbox labelled as a project. Any work emails that I want to deal with later but haven’t set up a new project for, or really don’t have time to think about go directly there. This keeps my personal Inbox separate from work and easier to sort out and allows me to stay on track at work and not spend my day reading personal e-mails! Fire things directly there to organize when I have a few minutes…

All the projects go directly to the top of my labels by adding the period to the start. Everytime I have a new project, I just create a new label starting with “/.project_name”. One thing that is great about Gmail is it’s ability to add(or remove) multiple labels to an item. So, if I am working on a project, I can add multiple actions to one project(like calling a client, e-mailing my boss, looking up a policy), and then Star my Next Action items. Once done, I remove the Star and context label, I can then go back to my project and label the next action item to progress through the project. It is so easy to either look at my projects view, or my contexts view.

Here is a Starred item showing one of my projects at work and the multiple contexts attached to it…

You can see that it is the Horton project, it has a context of @office, and I am Waiting for someone to get back to me. One of the great things that differs between Gmail and Nozbe, is that this item is a full e-mail containing all the details for this particular action. I don’t have to go searching for a note attached to the project(like Nozbe) to reference what I am waiting for…

The next big step to make reminding yourself easy is, Setting up Contacts.

Create a new contact and label it the context you wish your action item to go to. As an example, I have a contact labelled “Call” that routes all e-mails to it to my @call context and skips the Inbox. A pretty simple process really. One step that I did that went a bit further than the David Allen article is that I created a new group in my Contacts to keep track of all these Contacts. That way it is easier to find them in my hundreds of contacts I have in Google Contacts if I need to check out one of these “fake” contacts.

Lastly to tie the whole system together, Setting up Filters!

I set up my filters almost identically to the article except that I didn’t have anything in “From”. That way if I am sending reminders from any email account, whether from my personal email address, work email address, or from any future unknown email, I don’t need to amend my filters.

Once everything is set up, the system works great! It works for me at home, at the office, and on my iPhone(Gmail on the iPhone via Microsoft Exchange). With Gmail’s huge storage, permanently archiving all my messages and reminders, and it’s powerful filters, using Gmail as a GTD solution is a no brainer!

Don’t forget to leave comments about how you use GTD in your life! I’d love to hear about it…