I have been playing with automation software to backup my computer, move files around, do some data entry, and organize my life. All of my automations so far.
Software/Accounts required for this automation:
- Yahoo Pipes
- RSS feeds
- Skitch – how I took my screenshots, saves to Evernote automagically
When the Waldo Canyon Fire really took off, I wanted to do something but knew that I would be in the way if I drove down to Colorado Springs and started trying to help. So, I figured I would try to aggregate some of the data that was coming out and put it into a blog. This way, if someone wanted to they could see pictures, tweets, and news stories all in one place about the fire. I ended up aggregating quite a bit of data. At one point I was locked out of posting to tumblr because of daily post limitations. The Waldo Canyon fire Blog I created.
Twitter Posts to Tumblr
I wanted to get posts tagged with #waldocanyonfire to show up, so I set up a recipe with ifttt to take Twitter posts from a search and post them to my Tumblr blog.
Instagram Pictures to Tumblr
Images were coming up quite often through Instagram of the fires, so it made sense to add them in as well. I simply added all images from an Instagram API search and sent them to tumblr. The nice thing here is that ifttt knew this was an image service and was able to create an image post from the Instagram images and give attribution for them.
Twitpic Pictures to Tumblr
I knew that people would be posting images to TwitPic as well as Instagram, so I wanted to get these on the site. This was not as simple since Twitpic doesn’t provide a solid way to pull their images without the API. I found a Yahoo Pipe where someone had hooked up the Twitpic API to a Yahoo Pipe and filtered it into an RSS feed. I was able to pull the RSS feed into ifttt and have it post links to Tumblr. ifttt couldn’t recognize the RSS feed items as images, because the feed was labeled in such a way that ifttt could not recognize.
RSS feed to Tumblr
In the end, this is pretty silly and doesn’t really do ANYTHING other than give a sort of timeline of the events and coverage of the events of the fires. One thing that is pretty cool is that the blog is a chronological record of things that were happening as they happened. One thing that kind of stinks is that ifttt only runs every 15 minutes and will only pull so many of the items from each of the locations at once, so for a true real-time reporting of the events it would make sense to build API readers that were not limited. This is not a huge problem for me with day-to-day activities that I automate, because I don’t generate the volume of content that was being created by people talking about the fire on a normal basis.
You can pretty easily create a blog of everything you do online. You could have ifttt grab everything from your twitter, facebook, instagram, flickr, bit.ly, blogger, wordpress, foursquare, etc feeds and put each item into a Tumblr (or WordPress) blog for you. This would give you a solid timeline of everything you’ve ever done from the time you setup your recipes until you stop them. I did something like this on my Everything Matt Bernier tumblr blog. There are HUGE gaps from when I got rate-blocked by tumblr, but I deserved that one 😉
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