Friday, June 22, 2012

if this then that

so i found this site a few months ago:  it stands for "if this then that".  it's a web-based utility you can use, and it's pretty darn cool.  and really useful.  

it works for you like this.  think of your alarm clock as having a trigger and an action. when the clock reaches your wakeup time (trigger) it makes some kind of annoying noise (action).  i mean, the whole purpose of an alarm clock is that you're not paying attention to the time, so it will. 

now think of a web service that provides hundreds of triggers to choose from and hundreds more possible actions that can happen from it.  all you have to do is choose one trigger and attach to it one action.  IFTTT does the rest.

here's one i setup...

about three years ago i bought some stock in cisco systems at $19.72 and at the moment it's at $17.13.  if it ever gets up to about $20, i'll probably want to sell it.  so i made a recipe that's going to let me know.

here's what the trigger looks like:

and here's what the action looks like:

like a good alarm clock, i don't have to keep track of cisco's price myself.  when the trigger happens, it does the action.  (you might be thinking, just place a "limit" order.  the order won't sell until the price hits $20.  yeah... but i might not really want to sell.  i just want to know, then i can research what's going on, then decide.  just like, if i set my alarm clock for 6am, i can still snooze in til 9:30 if i want.)

here's another one:

dilbert's cool but i don't often think to go to the website and read it, or *gulp* buy a newspaper.  but, the dilbert site has an rss feed.  i tap into that.  when my recipe senses today's dilbert is ready (trigger), then grab it and send it to my gmail account (action).

or here's another one.  any picture i take and upload to my instagram account (trigger), the recipe senses and also then posts it (action) as a tweet using my twitter account:

of if anyone in the world posts to twitter with "#devmeetup" in the sentence (trigger), it grabs the tweet and adds it to a text file (action) i have in my dropbox folder:

i can go on and on but i won't.  but there are a few dozen channels (check em out), any of which you can use as a trigger or as an action.  there are also a thousand or so creative recipes that other users have created that you can borrow, use as-is, or modify then save and use as your own.

oh, right... last recipe i want to show you. check it out, it's an alarm clock. :-)

- jimbarry