IFTTT (If This Then That) – First Thoughts

I was listening to Know How on the TWiT network this morning and they were talking about this service called IFTTT that will “Make the Web Work For You”. The basic idea is that the site will take you various web services like Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram and a lot more (57 in all), and let you tie them together with logic statements.

For instance you can make a rule (called a recipe) that will upload every picture you take on Instagram and put it on Dropbox or Google Drive. This way you have a local backup copy of your pictures. One reason I don’t use Instagram at the moment is because there wasn’t an obvious way to do this.

One thing I was curious about was if I could take my blog posts and back them up automatically to Dropbox. Turns out WordPress is an app they support. There are a few pre-built recipes out there that will do this. Sadly I couldn’t get a lot of them to work as it would give a Dropbox error. I figured I’d try Google Drive, same problem. Turns out the recipe was constructed wrong. I had to create a new one to get this to work.

Potential Uses For IFTTT

I think this service is great for automation. There are few things easier to forget than to back things up. Automatic backing up of content and connecting to other services is something I look for when deciding whether to use a service. For instance, Instagram is not something I use a lot because even though it connects to Facebook and a few other social networks, it did not have any obvious way to keep those photos elsewhere, or to get access to the unaltered copies of them. I found out later that the Dropbox Camera Upload feature works pretty well for this as does the Google+ instant upload.

With IFTTT you can add the automation that these services lack once they get a channel. I really hope the website takes off. I plan on blogging more about what you can do with it from a Home/Small Business perspective here. I don’t see this as an Enterprise product, but if I find uses I’ll post them over at workendtech.com.



How To Convert a Word Document to Google Docs With Drive

I got asked if it was possible to convert an already uploaded Word document on Google Drive to the Google Docs format for better editing. This is possible and in fact very simple to do. When you first upload with the web interface you get an option to convert it upon upload, but not if you use the little folder app on your computers. So here’s how to do it if you’ve uploaded it that way.

I only tested this in Chrome, but it might work with other browsers.

How to Convert an Uploaded Word Document to Google Docs in Google Drive

Step 1 – Log into Google Drive from the website.
Step 2 – Right click on the Word Document you want to convert.
Step 3 – Click “Export to Google Docs”. It will make a Google Docs copy of the file with the same name. If the original file was in a folder you’ll need to click “My Drive” on the left to go back to the root folder to find the new document.

Note: It will keep the entire name, extension and all. So if the file was “Scrambled Eggs.docx” the new file will have that exact title, you’ll have to take the .docx part off if that isn’t acceptable. You can do that through the edit window that pops up. Also note that third-party pop up blockers might prevent the copy from opening up in a new window, but it still should show up in your root folder.

Recover Deleted Files From Google Drive

So you have a Google Drive account. You also like to hit the delete key and enter repeatedly in sequence for no reason. Or you have a large orange tom cat that does this for you while pawing at the mouse on the screen. Well never fear because there is a way to recover deleted files from Google Drive.

Step 1 – Go to the Google Drive Website at http://drive.google.com

Step 2 – Click on Trash and look for the removed file. It just lists them all and doesn’t really show you any sort of folder structure.

Step 3 – Check the box next to the files you want to restore, click the restore button and in a few moments you should see them back in your Google Drive folder.

That’s really it. It’s annoying that the folder structure isn’t obvious in the Trash folder but Drive is still a work in progress.