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Well done IFTTT, I didn’t see that coming at all

Today I got an email from IFTTT with news about their service. This is quite normal. They add to their service on a very regular basis. However, I wasn’t expecting the new addition to be a city. Louisville to be precise.

Whilst this was a bit of a shock, and also somewhat confusing as well initially it now makes perfect sense. IFTTT started off by connecting web apps and social services. Now it’s so much more. It moved on to hardware, IoT and more. Now it’s connecting physical locations and it makes perfect sense.

I hope that this continues. I’d like to see more and more connected cities hooked up to IFTTT, especially London. Well done IFTTT.

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Day One (2) Adds IFTTT integration

They’d said that they were going to do that, but now they actually have. It looks ok. But it’s made me wonder why I would automate a journal entry? What would that work? I’m not sure at all.

Anyway, I’m still on Day One ‘Classic’ and not 2 as yet as I’ve had too many problems with the new version. This might help me try version 2 again. Maybe.

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So Zapier releases Multi Step Zaps, or real workflows

Now this is a pretty impressive thing from Zapier. In the past you could like one trigger or event to one outcome. Now you can use Zapier to build whole workflows with connected apps, and they have a lot of apps that are connected.

This is something I’ve wanted to see with IFTTT for a while but they’ve concentrated they’re resources elsewhere, and, to be fair, they’re much more of a consumer brand rather than Zapier who are very business focused. Of course, Zapier has to be paid for, and IFTTT is free (at least for now anyway), but even so, this is a big step forward for Zapier and I think it’ll make a lot of business processes a lot easier.

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Pythonista 2.0 is a massive leap forward

There’s loads of new things to explore in the latest version. Here’s what’s new:

  • Pythonista is now compatible with all iOS screen sizes — from iPhone 4 to iPad Pro, and everything in-between.
  • For larger projects, you can now use multiple editor tabs to switch between related files more quickly.
  • The Pythonista app extension allows you to run Python scripts within other apps, using the standard iOS share sheet.
  • New and refined color themes are available in the settings; selecting a different theme now changes the entire app’s UI instead of just syntax highlighting.
  • The file browser and editor have much better support for non-Python files. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Markdown files are syntax-highlighted in the editor, Zip archives can be extracted, and a QuickLook preview is available for most common file types, e.g. images, PDFs, and audio/video.
  • Additional templates are available in the improved “new file” menu. You can also import photos from your camera roll as image files there.
  • The console’s interactive prompt is now syntax-highlighted, and provides better support for Bluetooth keyboards (you can use the up/down keys to navigate the command history).
  • You can now read the (pure Python) source code of the included standard library (and third-party modules) directly in the app. Simply enable the “Show Standard Library” setting if you’re interested in looking “under the hood”.
  • The UI editor contains a much improved inspector panel, undo/redo support, the possibility to set custom attributes, and a lot of other refinements.
  • The new traceback navigator allows you to get a lot more information about errors in your programs. When an exception occurs, a brief summary is shown at the top of the screen, and the line where the exception occurred is highlighted in the editor. By tapping on the exception summary, you can navigate the entire traceback, even if the source of the exception is in a different file. You can also tap the `<…` marker in the editor to inspect variable values in the selected stack frame.
  • The editor actions (“wrench”) menu has been improved significantly. You can now assign custom icons and colors to your script shortcuts. It’s also possible to invoke the standard iOS share sheet from the actions menu. If you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus (with 3D Touch), you can launch shortcuts directly from the homescreen by pressing the Pythonista icon.
  • The improved asset picker (`[+]` button) contains more free image and sound effect collections that can be used with the `scene`, `ui`, and `sound` modules. The UI for opening the asset picker is also consistent between iPad and iPhone now.
  • When the cursor is inside a color string (e.g. ‘#ff0000’ or ‘red’) or built-in image name, a preview overlay is shown automatically. You can also tap the preview overlay to select a different color or image.
  • The new *Highlight All* option in the copy/paste menu allows you to quickly find all occurrences of a word (e.g. variable name), without typing anything in the search bar.
  • You can adjust the indentation of a selected block of code more easily with the new `⇥ Indent` menu items (in the copy/paste menu).
  • iPad only: The extended keyboard has a more compact layout by default. If you prefer a larger keyboard with an additional number row, you can enable this in the settings.
  • The completely revamped `scene` module gives you a lot more possibilities for building 2D games and animations in Pythonista. You can even use custom OpenGL fragment shaders. Lots of new sample code and a tutorial for building a simple game are available in the included *Examples* folder.

So I probably need to revisit some of my old projects and maybe even finish them!

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Not really doing much in the way of automation

One of the things I wanted to do in 2015 was a lot more automation and getting things to work by themselves. Largely that hasn’t happened. However, there are reasons, the main one being that for the most part I haven’t had the need for it. This opens up a bigger question about technology though. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was telling me about something cool he could do with his new phone. It was cool, but when I asked him if it was something that he’d actually use, he said no.

That started me thinking. How many times to we (I) think that a thing is cool and would be really useful only to find that actually, whilst it is a cool use of technology, it is in fact a use that we (I) have no real need for. So in actual fact, it isn’t so cool after all. I’m starting to find this a lot these days. Things I thought I’d use or assumed I’d use are actually just cool, or fun, or more often both, but fundamentally, not of any practical use after all.

It’s a shame, but I’m beginning to start questioning myself when I look at a new app, or gadget or whatever, and say, would I really use this? Would it just collect dust? Would it end up taking up time and effort to show me that I’m not going to find it very useful? This is starting to happen more and more. In many ways it is a good thing though. It means I will waste less time and effort, but it’s also a bit sad. Sometimes it’s nice to play with cool stuff just for the sake of it, and now, I find myself just asking, why?

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Still waiting for that Pebble IFTTT channel

It’s been such a long time that I’m beginning to question whether I heard it correctly or rather read it correctly. But I’m sure I did. I’m sure that Pebble said that that was something that they were working on ages ago, but so far, it hasn’t arrived unless I’ve missed it. What would I use it for? I don’t know to be honest, maybe nothing at all in the end, but I’d like to have the chance to play around with it.

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A simple IFTTT app arrives for Pebble

I noticed it on the Pebble Time store the other day and installed it. It seems easier to use than the other one I have, which only seems to work intermittently. Also, this one has three slots to trigger different recipes, all using the IFTTT maker channel, which is expected.

I haven’t had any time to try it out as yet, mainly because I have thought of three things I want to automate via the IFTTT maker channel. Perhaps I will, and then I’ll tell you how it works out.