A long while ago, I started using IFTTT. It stands for IF This Then That. It is a technology recipe platform that allows one to connect different apps and devices, creating a workflow of some sort, in order to automate that workflow. For example, maybe you want to automatically turn off or on Philips Hue smart bulbs. Just create a recipe that links your phone location to the smart bulbs. When you leave or enter the location, it will trigger the workflow which will turn your lights off or on. You can also trigger smart plugs that might have things like coffee makers or whatever plugged into them. You can also daisy chain devices… Like triggering a workflow when you leave work that instructs Amazon’s Alexa to turn up or down your Nest thermostat. The possibilities are almost endless. Here are the recipes I’m using with the main IF app…

  • Receive an email diagnosis from Automatic if car’s engine experiences issues
  • Add iOS reminder if check engine light comes on
  • Get an email when a new Craigslist post matches query
  • Any IOS photo, save to Google Drive
  • Exited Work, Text (via email) Amy
  • Exited Ridley Creek State Park, Text (via email) Amy
  • Entered Ridley Creek State Park, Text (via email) Amy
  • MLB St. Louis Cardinals Final Scores Alert
  • Instagram video to Twitter
  • Instagram pics to Twitter as a picture (not a link)
  • Snow tomorrow? Notification
  • Rain tomorrow? Notification
  • Fitbit Aria scale weight log to Misfit
  • Automatically “save” newly Shazam-ed songs to Spotify Playlist

As you can see I have a lot of stuff happening with various notifications about my car, social networking linking, communication with Amy, and moving songs onto a Spotify playlist. This is really just the tip of the iceberg though. There is so much more that a person can do; it’s almost staggering.

IFTTT also has three other apps: DO Button and DO Camera and DO Note. The DO Button is kind of like a manual trigger that can be set to run a workflow. All of these are manual triggers that execute the programmed workflows on demand. Here are a few DO Buttons that I have set up…

  • Thinking of Cole Button that texts (via email) my son that I’m thinking of him.
  • Thinking of Amy Button that texts (via email) her that I’m thinking of her.
  • On My Way Home Button that texts (via email) Amy that I’m on my way home and asks if she needs anything.

I don’t really use DO Camera, but I probably should start using it. You can set up  useful workflows using your phone’s camera that does something. For example, one workflow can be every time you take a picture, it will upload the picture to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. It would be great for taking pics of receipts and then automatically uploading them to a shared cloud folder where you and a significant other keep receipts until they’re reconciled. That is just one of almost an endless list of possibilities one can use these apps for.

That’s all I’m going to write about this topic for now.  IFTTT can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s super cool and useful once you get the hang of how it does things.