Tag Archives: IFTTT

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Two ways to get more out of your Sonos One

  1. How to control Sonos with Google Assistant – good if you like / use Google assistant
  2. Sonos speakers now work with IFTTT so you can automate your music – good if you are a fan of IFTTT, like I am

The Sonos One is a smart little speaker. Using Google Assistant and IFTTT.com make it even smarter.

ifttt 101. Yes, you need to take this course. It will change your life.


Of all the things on the Internet, ifttt is one of my favorites. It could be yours too. Simply, it is a way to take two of your favorite things on the Internet and combine them into something even better.

First, to learn more about it, go here: How to Supercharge All Your Favorite Webapps with ifttt.

Second, once you read that, go to the site and browse the recipes. Or try and create your own: it isn’t hard.

I especially encourage it for anyone trying to update several forms of social media at the same time. You can link Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, Tumblr, Google, Blogger…you name it. With some practice, you will find recipes that help you keep all your social media in sync and working automatically.

I also encourage people who are interested in the Internet of Things. Or people who want to supercharge their phone. Or…well, just browse the recipes and you’ll likely see one that makes things easier for you.

Looking for a new job? You need to tell a good story

Or, more likely, fifteen good stories, according to Lifehacker.

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I’d recommend anyone looking for a new job should consider having these stories and rehearsing them so that when asked you have good answers and don’t fumble as you tell them. Plus it always looks good to be prepared.

If you are looking for a new job, go to Lifehacker/LinkedIn for more guidance.

Everyone should have a good minestrone soup recipe

And this one from Food52 could be yours. Once you get in the habit of making minestrone, you can really adopt any set of vegetables and beans you have to make the soup you want. Don’t like cabbage? Don’t use it. Out of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)? Use something else. It may not strickly be minestrone if you do, but who cares: it will still be delicious. Needless to say, this is a great way to use up bits and pieces of vegetables in your crisper.

 

Why Read the Classics? Italo Calvino has the reasons

It’s the weekend. You could use something to read. Instead of going to the latest books — which are no doubt very good — why not consider picking up a classic and reading it. If you are furrowing your brow at the thought, please take a moment and read Calvino’s argument for why you should in this NY Review of Books piece.

One thing that Calvino doesn’t mention is that the classics can be fun. Not all of them, of course, but many of them can be as delightful and engrossing as any book you might find.

Whatever your reasoning to select one, here’s hoping you start reading one this weekend. Enjoy!

(The image contains text from Calvino’s book, “If on a winter’s night a traveler” and it contains the best description of the process of reading. I don’t know if it’s a classic yet, but it will be and is also a great read.)

Your Life

If not, this weekend is a good time to turn that around.

(From the great blog swiss-miss.com. See her blog for much more inspiration.

Weekend Project: punch up your place with a small can of paint

As this article shows, you can make a big change in your place with a small amount of paint. Minimally Designed Apartment With Punches of Color (Design Milk).

Case in point, this door and the fixture above it:

Depending on the object you paint, you could get a big change with a small can of paint. Low cost, low effort, big difference. Well worth it.

See the link to Design Milk (above) for more great examples.

Giant Stickers Appear to Erase the Streets of London with Photoshop

It says something about the pervasiveness of image producing software like Photoshop in that most people looking at this…

…would clue into what is happening to the face in this image. More and more of us use software like Photoshop, Paint and other tools to create and manipulate images. Seeing it used in this way makes us aware of just how much imagery surrounds us and bombards us, as well as how much computer imagery we deal with every day.

For more on this story, head over to Collossal and see more examples and background on this.

(Street Eraser: Giant Stickers Appear to Erase the Streets of London with Photoshop)

Do you want to play Play Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Frogger & Other classic video games in your browser? Of course you do.

So head on over to this link at the Open Culture site: Free Fun: Play Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Frogger & Other Golden Age Video Games In Your Web Browser and soon you’ll be playing video games like it is the 1980s. Make sure you explain to the younger ones that you needed to pay a quarter for every game.

How I blog now (for people interested in comparing notes on blogging)

Blogging is dead (so it is said). But I am still blogging, and happily so. Here’s why, here’s what I think has changed, and here’s what I do now.

I have been blogging a long time (since 2005). Over that time I have had blogs on Blogger, WordPress, Posterous, Tumblr, and on IBM’s hosted sites. I still blog on WordPress and IBM. (Posterous is gone, Tumblr feels less like blogging and more like social media sharing (great stuff, but not for me), and Blogger never could top WordPress for me.)

Blogging had it’s big moment in the early Web 2.0 days, and a number of bloggers went on to great success. Then more and different types of social media appeared, making blogging seemed dated and bloated. Even I dropped off blogging and started doing more with Twitter, Instagram, and more.

I have returned to blogging because it still has something that other social media lacks. It allows me to capture longer ideas, unlike other social media. It lets me go back and see what I was thinking about and doing years ago. Most social media is about the Now and about the Group, but blogging is more than that. Blogging extends in time, and starts (but doesn’t end) with me.

I was also incented by a number of small things. One, my blog traffic was declining, and I thought I would like to see if I could reverse it. I like the idea of people reading my blog, and I thought blogging again could improve the decline. Two, WordPress started paying me monthly for my blog traffic. It is a pittance: less than $6 a month. I have a goal to get it up higher than that. Three, I’d like to reach the goal of having a million views of my blog. I started the blog modestly, and I have been happy to see how it has grown. I’d like to hit that number.

Those are small incentives, though. A bigger incentive/goal is that writing my blog is Writing. Blogging is a good word, but what I really want to do is write and write better and eventually write well. Maintaining the blog helps with that goal.

(If your blog is mainly writing, consider saying you are Writing (not Blogging) when you are adding to your blog. A blog is a web log, but if you are trying to do something more than just log things — and you likely are — why not elevate what you are doing by labelling it with a better label?)

How I blog now:

  1. I use a WordPress plugin with my Chrome browser. That allows me to quickly blog about an interesting web page I come across.
  2. If I don’t want to blog about it now, I use instapaper to save interesting pages for later. Then I will take time and go though the saved pages and either blog about them or save them in delicious (or just get rid of them).
  3. To promote my blog posts, I connect twitter to my WordPress blog: whenever I update my blog, I have a link to it posted on twitter.(After all, I want people to read them, and flagging them on twitter is one way to do that).
  4. If I post a number of posts at the same time, I schedule when they are posted. Otherwise, people on twitter will get flooded with them, and I think that doesn’t help get people to read them (and it is likely annoying).
  5. Besides my web browser, I use Feedly to read other blogs. I have integrated Feedly with my WordPress blog using IFTTT. I have an IFTTT recipe that fires off whenever I save a document in Feedly. The recipe will create a new draft in WordPress for me to work on later.
  6. I process the drafts in WordPress using Firefox and a plugin called ScribeFire. ScribeFire used to work with WordPress, but it doesn’t work for mine now. But I still use it to create more complex blog posts (like this one). Then I go to the admin panel of WordPress and update my blog using copy and paste. (I know, this isn’t exactly *easy*, but I had gotten used to ScribeFire and I haven’t found a tool that I like as much as that.)

Unlike many smart bloggers I follow, I tend not to write long form posts. When I do, I write them in Microsoft Word, mainly because if my machine hangs up or reboots or does any number of stupid things, I will not lose what I have written thanks to Word’s superb autosave feature. Once it is good enough (by my meagre standards), I will copy and paste it into WordPress.

For Everyone in Doubt: Ira Grass redux

If you’ve heard Ira Glass’s talk about the creative process , then you will want to see this video (here, at swissmiss). If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to see it.  Especially if you are struggling to create something that matters. Highly recommended.

 

The invisible samurai sword of confidence and other ways to be awesome

It’s Monday: you need some help with feeling awesome. I recommend this not too hard to handle on a Monday post at Pick the Brain. Like all tips, some will help you more than others. I especially like the samurai sword of confidence (feel free to replace a sword with something less violent if that helps you).

Another alternative to the sofabed: the Workbed

is another variation of a storable bed. Unlike my previous post, this bed doesn’t go into the ceiling, but flips around to become a desk Here’s the before:

The workbed before

and here is the after:
The workbed after

For someone with a small space, it’s a cool alternative to the sofabed.

For more on this, go here.