For the past couple of days I’ve started using If This Then That (ifttt), a free service that lets you set up simple, yet potentially quite powerful, automated tasks using the online services you use every day. This is done by specifying a trigger (if this) such as ‘When I add a new photo to Flickr’ or ‘If it’s going to rain tomorrow’ and an action to be performed when it is triggered (then that) such as ‘Tweet the URL’ or ‘Text me’. Each trigger and action is fully configurable, so you can make sure they perform exactly how you want them to. I currently only have 13 of the possible 39 channels active (a channel becomes active when you allow ifttt permission to access the service) yet I have a not-to-be-sniffed-at 484 possible combinations of tasks available. I’d highly recommend the service and if you often find yourself going through several repetitive actions such as Upload photos to Flickr>Tweet about it>Add them to Facebook>Update Facebook status>Email the link to a friend etc, you will be able to save heaps of time by spending no more than 5 minutes setting a few simple tasks up. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below:
Download file to Dropbox from Gmail: If you’re on the move and you come across a file you’d like on your home machine, simply email the file’s URL to your Gmail account with the subject ‘downloadthis’ or something similar and ifttt will spot the email and download the file straight into your Dropbox. (This can also be configured to automatically begin downloading torrents by configuring your torrent client to watch your Dropbox folder, however this is only to be used in a fully legal scenario of course!).
When I star an item on Google Reader, Tweet it: Self explanatory, you can also configure the format of your tweet (i.e. “Check this out [Article Name] [URL]” etc).
Send New Years greeting at exactly midnight: You specify a message, and a time to tweet/email/update status/send a text and it will be done for you!
Add the weather to my Google Calendar: Again, self explanatory, but useful none the less!
When theres a new post on ‘Cosmic Background’, notify me: If you wanted to keep as up to date as possible with your favourite tech blog (oh please, you’re too kind) then notification service Boxcar will push notifications to RSS feeds, straight to Growl (if you’re a Mac user) and even (with the free app) to your iPhone and iPad!
Do yourself a favour and go check it out!