Learn Some Internet: If This Then That

"Put the Internet to work for you" is the motto of IFTTT.com, a site that lets you automate many processes from various other sites.  When you create a task that you want to automate, it is known as a "recipe" on the site.  Here's a handful of the many recipes you can create with IFTTT.com:

  • Download photos to Dropbox that you post to Instagram
  • When you update your Facebook profile picture, update your Twitter profile with the same picture
  • Email a weather update to yourself if it's expected to rain the next day
  • Archive your tweets to Google Calendar (or Evernote, Buffer, Tumblr, Posterous, etc)
  • Post your YouTube "favorites" to a social network
  • Text your phone when a Craigslist post matches your search criteria

Dozens of sites are compatible and the list has been growing steadily all year.  There is an incredible variety of triggers and outcomes that you can create.

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One of the ways that I utilize IFTTT.com is to streamline some social media activity.  If I have a picture that I want to post on all my networks, I have created a folder in Dropbox that I named "To Social Networks."  When I put a picture in this folder, I have triggers that are set up to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Tumblr.

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If you want a new blog post on Blogger or WordPress to be distributed across your networks, you can set up a similar trigger and avoid the tedium of notifying all the sites individually.

Other clever recipes:

Add new movie releases to Google Calendar

Record a voice memo and have the mp3 and transcription emailed to you

Get a text when there is an earthquake in Southern California

Learn Some Internet: Password Managers

From my experience so far, it seems like almost everyone reuses a few of the same passwords to log in to everything they use across the internet.  And that's a bad idea.  If any website you use is compromised, it is very likely that your login information will be tried again on another site.  Not to mention if LulzSec happens to find your password, they will likely publish it.The solution is to use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password.  They're both fantastic.  I use 1Password as it is optimized for the Mac experience (although now it is also available on Windows), but it sounds like LastPass has become just as polished (not to mention that it's free).

A password manager is a program that allow you to securely save all your passwords using one master password. While having a master password may seem like it defeats the purpose of having multiple passwords, think about the alternative.  If your Facebook account gets hacked and you have one password for all your logins, you will have to change your password for everything.  If you have a long password as your master password and hopefully change it occasionally, it is highly unlikely to be cracked with "brute force" where a computer randomly generates words and letters until it cracks the code.

Password managers can sync across browsers and computers so no matter where you're trying to log in to a site, your passwords will all be handy.  They also have extensions that make password managers really quick to access from your toolbar and autofill your login information.

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It's really worth the little bit of extra time it takes to set it up... rather than a full tutorial, just let me know if you want any help with this.

Learn Some Internet: MyPermissions.org

With all the social media emphasis that we've all been doing and will continue to do, I wanted to share a quick shortcut to make sure you've got your permissions and privacy under control.

Visit mypermissions.org.  You can click each of the icons to take you to the permission controls of that network.  

Basically if you've connected your Facebook account to a lot of services over the last few years and you don't necessarily still want to keep your account connected to those older sites any more, you can revoke access to that site.  The same goes for Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Instagram, Flickr, Foursquare, AOL, and Microsoft Live.

It's a good idea to check over your permissions every couple of months, especially if you're concerned about any sites that are accessing too much information or even sharing it.

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