Do you remember those Summer/Winter Vacations we used to get when we were kids? In my childhood, holidays (with an ‘s’ :D) were the only reason I loved my school. Homeworks(with an ‘s’ :() however, was certainly the ones I didn’t like. I would always, I mean ALWAYS, complete all my homework in the last 2-3 days of the vacations. And that “blossomed” a great quality in me. A quality, I never thought would ever be a part of me. The quality of being “Lazy”, and I love it. In fact, while writing this article I was so lazy, that I happened to think, what if a computer could do my work for me. And then it struck me, “What if YOU could automate everything!”(*Almost*).
And NO! This article is not written by a computer.
Just point your cam to your notebook n all the notes r in a word file!
Click to read about OCR….
What If You Could Automate EVERYTHING! – What do I mean?
I had a love for technological stuff(like news, articles, etc) since my schooling days. I remember, during my free time, I loved reading tweets from tech handles like @TechCrunch, @WIRED, @TheNextWeb, etc. Well, it was good overall, but my list of favourite tech handles was long. The process of going to each individual handles and then reading tweets there was a little hectic(or maybe I was lazy :D). Eventually, I had a thought if I could simplify this whole process. I wanted some way to automatically gather all the tweets in one place and read from there all at once.
And finally, I managed to find a solution using IFTTT.com. With IFTTT I automatically got a message in my LINE Messenger(it’s similar to WhatsApp), whenever there was a new tweet from any of my mentioned twitter handles. Though IFTTT solved my problem, there are a lot of websites now to help you to do similar stuff.
So, here is a list of best websites that can do most of your work for you and move you a step forward in funda of automating everything. And obviously, it’s FREE!
What If You Could Automate EVERYTHING! – IFTTT.com
IFTTT is an acronym for “if this then that”. The name itself says it all – If this happens, then do that. For example, as in my case – If there is a new tweet by @TechCruch, then send the tweet as a message in LINE Messenger. In IFTTT, a task is called as an Applet.
They have not mentioned the maximum number of applets we can create. But for the sake of this article, I created about 60+ applets(Yeah, really) to see if they give me a notification or something about it(but they did not). So, it should be safe to say that this number is more than required for a given user.
Let me guide you how to create an applet. Let’s assume that I want to create an applet – If there is a new tweet by @TechnikNow1, then send the tweet as an E-Mail:
PART-A: Get Set…
- Firstly, to start, you will need to have an account here. The signup process should be easy for anyone. Else, you can also directly login with your Facebook or Gmail ID.
- Once logged in, you should see a number of pre-created applets shared by other users to start with. If interested, you can click on an applet of your choice and change the Turn On toggle and the Applet should start working for you. If you could not find any applet for your job, you can create your own by clicking on “My Applets” on the top bar. There clicking on “New Applet” button.
- Now we will create a trigger. A trigger is what causes something to happen. Start by clicking on “[+]this”. Here you should see a page saying choose “Choose a service”. There are over 360 services including Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and even Uber. Choose a service you like. Since I need to see if there is a new “tweet” from a handle, hence I should choose Twitter.
- Sometimes, we need to authorise the service. This is a one time process and is generally easy. Just start by clicking “Connect” button and follow the steps further. After that, you should see various applet triggers from Twitter(Service of your choice). See if there is a trigger for your requirement. For me, I should choose “New tweet by a specific user”, provide necessary information(like handle address) and finally click “Create Trigger”.
- If the trigger is created successfully, you should be back on the Step-3 page. Now click on “[+]that” button, choose a service, authorise the service if needed, provide necessary requirements and click on “Create Action” button. For me, I can choose either E-Mail or Gmail, select the action(i.e. to send me an email), adjust the layout and finally click “Create Action” button.
- At last, click the “Finish” button. You should see that applet toggle is ON. This means that your applet is up and running.
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What If You Could Automate EVERYTHING! – Zapier.com
Zapier is yet another online automation service. If I was to compare it with IFTTT.com, I would say that both are equal in terms of quality of service. Zapier however, has a bit sweeter look overall. Here, the number of services are bit lesser compared to IFTTT but should do most of the general automation tasks.
Here, everything is very well organised. There are different categories for different Zaps(Just another name for Applets). On the other hand, IFTTT is a little complex to understand for first time users. I have been using it for a long time hence I have understood it very well. But that maybe not the case with everyone.
Let me show you the ropes for creating a Zap. Let’s create the same Zap again as created in IFTTT – Receive a mail for every new tweet from @TechnikNow1.
PART-A: Get Set…
- Start by creating an account, else log in if already registered. Unlike IFTTT, they DO NOT provide login through Google or Facebook. But the SignUp process is fairly simple and does not require many fields to fill.
- Once logged in, you could see a lot of fun zaps already created to start with. There are different categories for certain zaps for increased productivity. Choose a Zap if you liked one by clicking “Use this Zap” and follow the further steps. We would learn together to create a Zap manually for now. So start by clicking on “MAKE A ZAP” on the top of the web page.
- You should be on the Zap editor page. Here, start by choosing a trigger app. Just type the name in
the search field of the app that would trigger the action, and select the relevant app from the drop-down menu. For the Zap in the example, Twitter is the triggering app, and so should be selected.
- Now choose the trigger event from the app as per choice, to create a trigger. Upon selection, go ahead and click on “Save + Continue” button below. For my zap, I would select triggering event “User Tweet” to get the tweet of a specific user.
- Based on your Zap, you may be asked to authorize the app first. Just click on “Connect an Account” button and follow the upcoming steps. After that, just provide the necessary information and hit “Continue”. Everything is quite simple to work with.
- For the final step, test the trigger to see if it is working properly. Just click on “Fetch & Continue” to do the automated test. If successful, it should let you move on to the action part, if not, just tweak the information provided by a little until the test is successful.
- Now for the action part, it the same thing once again – You should choose an app, choose the action, edit the template if necessary, and finally test the action and click on finish. Give it a sweet little name and don’t forget to turn the Zap toggle ON. For my Zap – I would choose E-mail app, set the destination address of my own, and set the layout of email as I require. And Voila! I just did a little smart work ;).
Well, that seems it for now. I would really love to hear about your applets or zaps. It should go without saying that I’m here for all your doubts or queries about anything. I mean it :D. Happy smart working!