Tag Archives: ifttt

IFTTT to add a new channel for the Revolv smart home hub

Adding to it’s steadily-growing list of connected home devices, the popular web-based automation service If This Then That (IFTTT) is reportedly on the cusp of releasing a new channel for the Revolv smart home hub — a move that will greatly expand the possibilities of both Revolv and IFTTT.

For the uninitiated, IFTTT allows you to connect physical devices (things like lights, your phone, or even your car) to digital services like email, social media, and various other webapps. It also lets you connect physical devices to other physical devices via the Internet, so you can do nifty things like automatically turn on a lamp when your WeMo motion detector senses movement, or have your connected air conditioner flip on when you open a door.

Revolv performs a similar function. The hub boasts seven different radios under its hood and can therefore understand practically every major home automation protocol in the biz. This makes it possible for users to link otherwise incompatible smart devices together (a Z-Wave light bulb and a Bluetooth door lock, for example) and control them all from one centralized location.

Therefore, while IFTTT’s new Revolv channel is technically just for one device, it will presumably act as a gateway for hundreds of different gizmos that aren’t directly supported by IFTTT. In other words, although IFTTT doesn’t have a dedicated Sonos channel, you’ll be able to use the Revolv channel to link your Sonos speakers to, say, your Facebook account or favorite RSS feed. This new channel will essentially fling the doors of possibility wide open for both platforms.

Revolv tells us the IFTTT integration is set to go live before the end of the month.

Evernote Vs OneNote

Many years ago I discovered the world of note taking software and I’ve been addicted to them ever since. The good ones help me keep my thoughts organized and out of my head. When I try to hold them all in my head, they bounce around in there and make it hard to focus. When I try loose leaf paper, I often lose track of those random notes. Enter note taking software to the rescue.

After trying out dozens of different software programs, it has boiled down to two note taking programs — Evernote vs OneNote. And they are very different. It is actually quite surprising how different they are. Since they serve quite different functions, I still use both — one more than the other. How do they stack up?

Evernote Advantages:

  •    There is a free option that will be good enough for many people.
  •    Lightning fast search. Searches as you type, instead of having to press enter. This is highly preferable.
  •   Good for loose, relatively unconnected ideas that you want to be able to access easily in the future.
  •    Great for keeping a journal. It can never be lost, it automatically date and time stamps entries, and if this is all you want to use it for, it will be free.
  •    Great for web or email clippings. There’s a convenient hot key set (win-A) you can use to add highlighted text/pics/whatever to Evernote.
  •    Flawless syncing across multiple computers and/or mobile devices. They’ve been syncing for so long, that they have it down pat. I never have issues with this.

OneNote Advantages:

  •    More structure to notes. This is the main reason I use OneNote more than Evernote. I like a hierarchical structure to my notes. OneNote has up to 5 levels and Evernote has up to 3 levels. Each level is an order of magnitude higher in organizational structure.
  •    It synergizes with Microsoft Office Suite better. For example, if you have an email in Outlook and you want to send to OneNote, there is a convenient button that does it quickly and easily.
  •    More powerful desktop software than EverNote. It tends to do non-search things faster. It usually takes less time to load.
  •    Upfront one-time only cost. It is not cheap, but you only have to pay once.

Evernote Disadvantages:

  •    Not very structured, so it is sometimes difficult to find notes. Basically you’ve got just notebooks and tags as a way to organize.
  •    The premium version is a monthly or yearly subscription instead of an upfront cost. However, it is only $3.75/month if you pay for it yearly. This is a bargain for the time saving and convenience value they provide me.

OneNote Disadvantages:

  •     No free option. To use OneNote legally, you must buy it.
  •     Not as mobile as EverNote. It is not as good at syncing over multiple computers as Evernote. It takes a smidge of fidgeting to get it working. However, once you get it working, it should be fine.

Conclusion:

They both are good at different things. There is no reason you cannot use both. I use both.I use Evernote for web clippings and keeping a journal. It has a quick and convenient hot-key set for clipping. With journaling, it automatically keeps track of the date and time and is easy to find again.

I use OneNote to hold my “knowledge database.” Important things for work or home or whatever, I keep in different notebooks. It then syncs between my work computer and home computer.

I recommend paying for both. The price is small for the value you get. I’ve tried out the paid Evernote and I like it, but not everyone needs to get it if you’re going to use it sparingly or you are frugal.

There is another option to OneNote that is free, but not as powerful and doesn’t have syncing capabilities (which is huge for me). I would use it if I didn’t already have OneNote and couldn’t afford to buy it. It is called Keynote. You can get the original version (now unsupported) or the updated version by someone else. I would probably go with the 2nd one.

ifttt – Your Personal Assistant for Internet Tasks

At first glance, I was a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities of ifttt (short for If This Then That). After setting up just one task though, I was really impressed with how easy it was to get ifttt working for me. Not only does it take you step by step through the process in a clean format, but it only takes a a few minutes to complete. The concept is simple: you create tasks that follow the philosophy, “if this happens then do that.”

ifttt lets you create tasks (“triggers and actions”) by using different channels. “Channels are the unique services and devices you use everyday, activated specifically for you.” There are a number of channels already activated for you when you first sign up and you can activate even more from the channels list. Tasks can be turned on and off whenever you choose and you can have up to 20 active tasks at a time. So, I’ll take you through the process of creating a task.

ifttt allows you to create tasks using channels, triggers, and actions. The task itself is the who shabang. You getting a text message because the temperature dropped would be an example of the task. This is the entire, “if this then that” statement.

The trigger is the first part of our task — the “this” part. The trigger can be anything from posting a link on Facebook, to text messaging ifttt, to a time of the day, week, month, or year. This part of the task causes (or…triggers) the second part of the task- the action.

Our action (the “that” part of the task) is whatever you want to happen once the trigger is activated. Again, this can be anything from sending a tweet, or texting, IMing, or calling you. Both the triggers and actions are based on the channels that ifttt has to offer.

Channels are the services and devices that you can add to your ifttt account. ifttt has 23 channels for users to connect with. They include websites like Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Tumblr, and services like RSS, Phone Calls, SMS, Google Talk, and more (see the above screenshot). Each of these channels has a set of triggers and actions associated with them.

Even in its early stages, ifttt is a pretty powerful tool to help keep your online life in sync. I’m using it primarily for social networking, but between emails, calls, and SMS, I can use it to stay informed and on top of things like the news, weather, stocks, etc. Plus, the dead simple interface makes the user experience easy and enjoyable. If you can get your hands on an invite, I highly recommend checking it out!