I’ve been trolling the interwebs for some time now looking for different tools that might allow me to change and improve how I use the web. My latest excursus brought me across a web-based “cloud” tool - Jolicloud.
The need for a centralised data store has been looming over my head for a while now. My current contract with work is soon to run out, and with it, my 1 TB hard disk would cease to be accessible to me. Where before I was permitted to use it as a centralised repository of everything I might need, with constant access allowed through VPN, now I’d have to carry everything on a thumb drive (Which means investing in a thumb drive with a better capacity).
But perhaps not. Equipped with Google, and a yearning hunger to enter the cloud, I set about to find what freebies I could capitalize on:
It was inevitable.
Google needed something to keep people logged in to Google+, something that would get them hooked in all day. It needed to promote activity, and thereby encourage others to join in. In its initial form, there was little momentum… What would give it momentum? Games, of course. Angry Birds, for sure.
But that isn’t the topic for this blog.
Instead I’d like to focus in on another new feature which I think is brimming with more potential. Partially, because it doesn’t involve me spending all day firing birds at towers (and achieving absolutely nothing), but also because I can see it (as I said - potentially) being very useful : Google Sparks
In a similar vein to my previous blog article, another tool that I’ve stumbled across in my search for web-integration is Crossrider.
Sick of having to have all those different pages open for your various social media feeds? They may very well have an answer.
Before I delve into the meat of this blog post, let me start by christening this blog!
With that out of the way, expect to see the format on this blog change as I iron out the bugs in my themes and page layouts. This has only had a few moments of initial thought put into it - and it shows! But that’s okay, I expect it to slowly metamorphosis over the coming months (and years - hopefully!).
Also, background reading for this blog is: www.xkcd.com and www.cad-comic.com. For those uninitiated in nerdy web comics - you may see terms like “blag” and “interwebs” (to name some of the less technical jargon) bandied around - you have been forewarned!
With those initial tidbits out of the way, let me introduce the real hero of this first blag post - ifttt (http://ifttt.com/)
For some time now, I’ve lamented the copious quantity of social media/news sources/blogs/mail accounts I use. To be quite honest, I really do not like mess. I like to have everything organised, in its own place, accessible according to its use, and just generally neat. So to me, my browsing experience is annoying. Tabs did much to improve it… but still - annoying.
What’s more is that there’s a certain level of input needed for each site in order to maintain it at a useful level of activity. The larger the quantity of social media etc. the higher the level of data redundancy, of time required to maintain the content that I post, of patience needed to sift through everything. This has led to some sites just not really being used. Twitter, for example. I never was able to fit Twitter into a routine. I could post updates, but the feed would just come through too fast - the information that I wanted was too easily buried… most of the content was irrelevant to what i wanted… so it has been collecting cobwebs in the corner…
Ifttt is a tool that allow users to link different platforms together. You set up rules. Ifttt then waits for the triggers that you define (eg. a new blag post like this one) and then does something with it (like post it to my facebook page).
What this means for me is that I can keep content fresh and active, without having to come up with a new set of content, or manually reenter content, for each page that I maintain. That, my friends, is elegance.
Now, rather than having to update 3-4 statii manually, I can let my collective of networks know what’s going on with but one update. It takes the pain out of maintaining varying social networks.
What’s more, you can customize how the data is transmitted, append links, add hashtags… etc.
That said, ifttt is still in beta. It is still expanding and growing. I’m hoping to be able, in the future, to use it to create a dashboard (/aggregation) of all the various tools that I use. That means neatness! YAY! No more tab-flicking, update missing, information losing… For the neat-freak such as myself, to be able to set up a page and customize the feeds that I need to see on the day, whilst simplifying how I keep others up to date on all things… Wow!
Well, that’s enough for this kick-off post.
I hope you are all now keen with a insatiable hunger for this tool brimming with potential. If you’d like an add to the beta for the site, let me know. I have some invites left.
Until next time,