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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 February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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