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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How I used IFTTT to Create a Daily Journal in Google Drive!

I have been in one form or another keeping a journal/diary for years. I have tried using a Moleskine notebook, Evernote, Springpad, a saved draft in Gmail, a text file in Dropbox. The common thread is that I need my journal to be easily accessible for me to write, but private enough to feel confident it won’t be read by prying eyes. I trust Gmail with all my private emails, and Google Calendar with all the events in my life. So, why not use the password protected service that I know and love to keep a journal?

With a bit of monkeying around, I figured out a new way to simply set up a daily journal using some of Google’s services and the power of IFTTT! If you don’t have an IFTTT account, you need to get on board now! It is the bestest thing ever. No lie. I’ve written before about the power of IFTTT.

This is the idea behind my new journal experiment…

First off, I create an event within Google Calendar. To make the IFTTT trigger work, you need to put in a time for the event. Just select a time in the future (like 10 minutes from the time you will be writing the entry).

Calendar

Next, I create the trigger in my IFTTT account.

IFTTT   My Recipes

You will need to activate your Google Calendar and Google Drive channels. If you are familiar with IFTTT, it is REALLY easy to do…

I customized my recipe to look for a calendar entry with the keyword “Journal”. That way when IFTTT has the recipe look, I don’t get all my other Google Calendar entries inside my journal. Who wants a back up of ‘garbage day’ or ‘pay day’??

IFTTT   Recipe

What this recipe does is look for the keyword Journal, and it creates a new text document within my Google Drive account. I have the title of the entry be “Journal with Today’s Date and Time”. That way I can go back in time via a search to read my past journal entries.

Once the trigger is set up, and you have done a journal entry, here is what you will see within Google Drive.

Journal   Google Drive

If there is one thing I want in a journal, it is that I don’t have to think about it. With this new recipe, I have Google Calendar keep a record of my journal and now I have a text document backup within Google Drive thanks to IFTTT! Isn’t that what they call a win-win?

¬†Post on why I’m going to use Google+ as my primary blogging platform

Post on why I’m going to use Google+ as my primary blogging platform.

via larrinski’s Zipl.us Google+ Feed https://plus.google.com/106205155091670590176/posts/K7DmWs9ZrtT

Cleaver use of a Smart PhoneI know most of the people on here have thought of this before, but th…

Cleaver use of a Smart Phone

I know most of the people on here have thought of this before, but the other day I went out on a hike with my family to a local park. They have a great map posted at the start of the walk. I noticed a couple studying it intensely. I walked up and took this pic and left.

As I was walking away, the lady said to her husband, "That's a good idea!" Take a picture of it! He pulled out the newest iPhone! I don't think people understand the power of these little computers sitting in our pockets…

via larrinski’s Zipl.us Google+ Feed https://plus.google.com/106205155091670590176/posts/G9RAe29W797

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!