I am no longer actively blogging on this website.
One of the best automation tools I have come across in recent times is IFTTT. IFTTT (aka “IF This Then That”) connects apps and software together, allowing you to create rules or ‘recipes’ to automate almost anything you can think of. In this post I am covering 12 of the most useful recipes I use. Remember, this is purely what I use IFTTT for, you may have completely different requirements. If you truly want to get the most out of IFTTT it’s worth spending time researching the most useful IFTTT recipes for you.
Instagram is a great automation tool within itself – you can share the photos you take on various platforms including Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter and Swarm – but there is a slight niggle when sharing to Twitter because it doesn’t actually post a photo but a link to Instagram. This recipe gets around that by uploading the actual photo to Twitter.
I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately which included tweaking my diet and increasing the amount of exercise I’ve been doing. To measure my progress I bought myself some Fitbit Aria Weighing Scales. Every day I weigh myself before I get in the shower. The scales have WiFi built into them which keeps a log of my weight, % body fat and BMI. I like the interface on the Fitbit app/website (below) but I thought it could be useful to have a spreadsheet of all the data.
Ever wanted to know how much time you spend in the office? Now you can by adding a recipe to log each time to enter and leave the office. I did this out of curiosity although I’m sure there would be practical applications for people who need to log their hours as part of their employment.
Again, I added this one out of curiosity. I already use Google’s Location Services (below). I find it interesting to see where I go on my travels. IFTTT allows you to log the amount of time you spend more or less anywhere, so you could add your partner’s house, your favourite pub, holiday destination – the options are endless.
I added this recipe so I could easily search my Tweets in the future. It will allow me to quickly see all the tweets exchanged between myself and another user.
Similar to the above, I am keeping a log of all the Tweets for my company’s Twitter account so I can easily search them, should the need arise.
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Easy retrieval if you ever need to go back through old messages between you and your friend/partner/ex/stalker/neighbourhood psychopath.
Again, self explanatory. I actually tried to tweak the IFTTT recipe to record both sent messages received messages on the same spreadsheet but it didn’t work – kept creating two different spreadsheets. If anyone reading this finds a recipe where both sent and received messages are on the same spreadsheet do let me know.
This records the time, number, contact name and length of every call I make.
This records the time, number, contact name and length of every call I receive.
This records the time, number and contact name of every call I miss.
Finally, I have set up a recipe to automatically tweet “Happy New Year” to everyone at the stroke of midnight. I am yet to see if this works.
On the whole, I think IFTTT is absolutely brilliant. It feels like the glue which will eventually hold the ‘internet of things‘ together. My plan next year is to move to a swanky bachelor pad in the middle of Manchester. When I do, I intend to kit it out with a load of IFTTT-compatible toys like a Nest Thermostat, Nest Smoke Alarm and some Nest Security Cameras. I also want to install Phillips Hue lighting and an IFTTT compatible music system. If I do this I will be able to take things to the next level; I will get back to my apartment and before I set foot in the door it will be at a comfortable temperature, with my favourite music playing and lights on.
IFTTT is not, however, without some drawbacks. There are a lot of services which still aren’t on IFTTT. Two notable examples are WhatsApp and Shazam, both of which I use constantly. And I don’t think we should go skipping blindly into the future; everything goes wrong from time to time and there are definitely some security considerations.
That being said, it is opening the door to all manner of possibilities and the thought of controlling your environment without actually doing anything is very, very exciting indeed.
Finally, I would add that all of the recipes I have highlighted above require absolutely no input on my part beyond things which I was doing anyway – making calls, texting people, sending tweets and weighing myself. Automation is a wonderful thing. Use it wisely.