Tag Archives: cloud

IFTTT for Integrating Cloud, Mobile, Wearable, Social Media, and Internet of Things

IFTTT for iPhone - Intro Screen 01I like gadgets and discovering how I can use them beyond how they come out of the box. One of the fun part about having these gadgets is trying to figure out how to integrate them with other devices and services. This is where IFTTT (If This Then That) comes in. IFTTT is a service that through triggers and actions can enable different devices and services including cloud, mobile, wearable computing, social media, and internet of things to work together. I use these technologies including Evernote, Dropbox,  iPhone/iPad/Samsung Galaxy Note, Fitbit, Pebble watch, Google Glass, Nest Thermostat, Automatic app, and various social media platforms. I’ve experimented with some IFTTT “Recipes”, a combination of triggers and actions, just for fun and to see what I can actually use for productivity. Listed below are a few of the recipes I’ve used:

1) Fitbit activities to Google Drive. This recipe saves daily activity summaries to a spreadsheet on Google Drive.

2) Automatic/Nest Thermostat – turn on Nest with car comes home. This recipe turns on Nest thermostat when my car, which has Automatic, is detected within a certain distance from home.

3) Automatic/Nest Thermostat – turn on fan for 15 minutes when car is home. This is similar to #2 above.

4) Twitter favorite creates a note in Evernote. This recipe creates an Evernote that contains the tweet I have marked as favorite.

While this post is about IFTTT, I also want to mention an application I have used to issue commands to my Nest Thermostat using voice command from my Google Glass. As this page shows, this app called “Google Glass App for the Nest” can be used to issue different commands which include adjusting the Nest thermostat temperature to certain temperature.

Klout recently gave me a Parrot mini-drone as a “perk”. Currently, there are no IFFFT recipes published for it but just like the Google Glass App for Nest, I wonder if I can control the mini-drone with Google Glass. It seems some companies, including this one, has tried it.

It’s fun trying to integrate these technologies through IFTTT and other means. I do them mainly to explore what is possible for entertainment’ sake. Sometimes they work and sometimes they do. But, I do explore these possibilities as part of my thinking of what the future may hold. There are ethical and privacy considerations with the use of these technologies and so as I do these experiments, I think about what the implications are. As I mentioned in this blog post about why I decided to buy Google Glass, to truly understand how these technologies work and the implications behind the use of them, one must have real-world experience with them. Just like golf, there’s no substitute to actually swinging a golf club to understand how a swing works.

Going back to IFTTT, there are thousands of recipes for you to try. Check it  out and have fun with it!

Photo credit: http://blog.ifttt.com/post/55130449805/the-power-of-ifttt-now-in-your-pocket

 

 

 

Change Your Lenses, Change Your Perspective

Two weekends ago, I went to the driving range and I was hitting the balls pretty well. Then I decided to get contact lenses the following Monday because I wanted to start playing sports again since my eyeglasses had became too cumbersome. Last Sunday, with my new contact lenses, I went to the driving range and all of a sudden, I could not hit any shots at all. My swing just didn’t feel right. As I would set up and look at the ground, something felt different. The clubs look different and it seems my depth perception has changed. It took me awhile to figure out what has changed until I realized it was my contact lenses that was the difference.

As I took a break from hitting balls, it dawned on me that this concept of changing my lenses at work led to changing my perspective. I don’t mean lenses as in getting new eye glasses or contact lenses. What I mean is more of a mental lens. Before my wife went for a vacation to Seattle the beginning of September, I was getting a little frustrated trying to figure out how to promote the use of social media and cloud. Because of security and policy concerns, there were (still are) hesitation on the use of these technologies as business tools. Taking the vacation provided me some time to clear my mind and put on a new set of mental lenses which allowed me to look at the situation a little differently. I came back with the perspective that while the adoption of these technologies might be slower than I would like, I understand that it is a process that requires examining constraints and having to accept that our organizational culture and personalities will ultimately dictate the pace of adoption. I also came to realize that I can continue exploring the benefits of social media and cloud on my personal time knowing full well that the knowledge I acquire now will be of value to my organization at the time we are ready to come to terms with the risks/rewards of these technologies.

New School Year, New Opportunities – Exciting Times Ahead!

School year just started and I am excited, really excited and optimistic about the prospect of what my team and my organization can accomplish this year. We’re going through perhaps the biggest project our department has ever undertaken, the conversion of our mainframe-based student information system to .net environment.  This project is in addition to multiple enterprise projects throughout the entire Student Affairs division. With the decreasing budget and changing demands and expectations of our customers, technology have become more central to the operations of the departments. Personally for me, I am excited with the challenge and opportunities of  merging consumer technologies (social media, cloud computing, mobile) with enterprise IT. I think the last time I saw this much shift at work is back in the mid-1990′s with the advent of the web.  There were paranoia about security, employees wasting time on the web, or if web was of even any value to  our organization. But just as I am seeing the same fears and concerns, I also see the same curiosity,  grassroots adoptions and even some level of  formal institutional adoptions of these  consumer technologies. The reality is that the demographics of those we serve in student affairs have changed and along with these changes are the expectations of more agile, more open systems.The students we serve are far different from those in the 1990′s. Our students grew up with technologies that we did not even envision back then. The rise of social media as we know it now, arguably, could be traced back to when friendster came to existence in 2002.  The creation of facebook in 2004 and twitter in 2006 further changed the social media landscape. With the increased and more robust wireless infrastructure and cheaper mobile devices, the way our society communicate is far different.

I wrote a blog post a few months ago that for social media to thrive in our institution, it has to be formally adopted.  Since then, our organization has created a formal position to coordinate divisional efforts to advance the adoption of consumer technologies.  Just as I had suggested in the same blog post, our organization has created a productivity/security group composed of individuals representing different perspectives to properly assess the integration of these technologies for business use and to address the challenges of accommodating the needs of individual users for flexibility with the needs of the enterprise.

In addition to social media, my team has begun to explore and develop mobile web sites. Using the UCLA Mobile Framework, we are exploring how we can use it within our existing content management system. Personally, I have learned a lot the last few months on the principles of mobile web development.  I truly believe mobile devices has begun and will continue to significantly alter how universities do business.  By taking advantage of the features of mobile devices such as geolocation, multiple inputs (QR Codes, NFR, location, gestures) and the fact that they are widely available even in the poorest sections of the world, in my opinion, more and more business transactions will be conducted via mobile devices.

Just as it was in the mid 1990′s for me when I woke up with a book about web development in my hand and go to sleep with it, going to sleep at 4 am, spending every night learning about how to develop web applications, I find myself in the same situation now. I wake up every morning to find some new knowledge via social media, new ideas I want to research, new applications I want to build. I go to sleep with ideas in my mind on what technologies mean to me, to my work.  It truly is an exciting time and I’m just enjoying the ride!

 

My Social Learning Network + Entertainment Using Social Media, Cloud, Mobile

Update: I presented on the topic of Alternative Professional Development to the UCSB NASPA Undergrad Fellowship Program (NUFP) on April 6, 2012 which included the materials below. Presentation on slideshare.

I wrote about the benefits I have gotten from social media here,  Powered by Twitter: Social Media Experience of a Student Affairs Techie. These benefits include meeting colleagues in student affairs and technology professionals from all over the United States and Canada as well as learning from others via blogs, twitter, facebook and now google+. Below is a diagram how I access and manage contents I come across from different social media platforms as part of my personal learning network and for entertainment. Image below links to the pdf diagram.

 

What of these social media sites do you use? How are you using social media as a personal learning tool? Any other sites you could recommend for me to use?