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IFTTT Brings Recipes to the iPad

IFTTT Brings Recipes to the iPad

Have you ever sat for hours sifting through emails, Facebook messages or Tweets, looking for a specific piece of information, only to be disappointed? There are several ways to search for information like this, but one of the best ways is to assign tasks, so that they automatically appear in your email, Dropbox, or anywhere else you need the information to be stored.

If This, Then That

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is an incredibly easy-to-use website that allows you set up or copy recipes for automating just about anything. IFTTT creates a digital link between channels. In essence, it works with sixty nine different channels, including the major social media channels, and aids the process of filling out simple online forms, as well as, getting channels to “talk” to each other. It is not as complicated as it sounds.

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How It Works

Each recipe has three parts: the channel, the trigger, and the action.

  • Channels are the programs you use: Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Evernote, and any other program listed on IFTTT (currently there are 90 channels).
  • Triggers are the “this” part of a Recipe. Some example Triggers are “I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook” or “I check in on Foursquare.” Personal recipes are a combination of a Trigger and an Action from your active Channels.
  • Actions are the “that” part of a recipe. For example “send me a text message” or “create a status message on Facebook.”

So the recipe would read something like this: if any new photo is added to your Instagram account, then add the file URL to Dropbox. See the IFTTT part of the recipe? There are over 10,000 shared recipes on IFTTT, so you can imagine the possibilities are endless.

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    What an IFTTT recipe looks like

    Pre-Existing Automation Recipes

    There are a wide array of pre-existing recipes for you to use, which can automate a wide variety of tasks. One of my favorites allows you to add followers who have mentioned or retweeted you to a private list by collecting the tweeter’s data from your Gmail account. You no longer need to comb through your emails searching for followers’ usernames and then copy them over to your Twitter account manually. Just plugin the IFTTT recipe and it will do all the work for you.

    New IFTTT iPad App

    Now, you can automate a few things on the iPad with the newly launched IFTTT iPad app. The iPad version joins the already existing IFTTT iPhone app launched last year, and brings some new features: new recipe collections, location triggers for iOS photos, and support for push notifications. Push notifications mean you can leverage recipes to, say, alert you (via Notification Center) if there’s rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Or find out when a paid app goes free. There is even a recipe to automate “selfies.” Any time you take a picture with the forward-facing camera, you can automatically send the image to your best friend (or anyone else for that matter).

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    While recipe collections have been available on the Web for some time, bringing them to the iPad was just a small step in the right direction. It should immediately peak interest, as it helps the user see task-specific recipes curated all in one place, for example, recipes for travel, photos, emails, etc. The IFTTT team has also added location triggers to the iOS Photos channel, which lets you perform an action only when you shoot images in a proscribed area. This is good for creating location-aware albums, or only posting images when you’re on vacation.The curated collections of recipes will be rotated every week, so keep checking to see if your personal interests appear.

    Sidenote: there are plans for IFTTT to support Android users, according to the IFTTT blog, so keep an eye on the web site.

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    Featured photo credit: iPad/3rdworldman/Morguefile via mrg.bz

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    Last Updated on December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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