About a year ago I came across an interesting concept for a website. I don’t recall exactly where I heard about it, but when I did I knew it was something unique. The website is simply ifttt.com. Those letters are an acronym that stand for IF This, Then That. The whole concept is a pretty simple one. You have a qualifier and an action. When the qualifier is met, the software automatically does the action specified. If this happens, then do that.

The beauty of the website is in the actions that it can do. You can link your IFTTT account with any number of other channels including Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, Craigslist and more. All told there are over 40 channels you can use. Creating an if this, then that scenario is known as making a task. There are many popular recipes you can choose from, or you can always create your own. You can link any number of different accounts to IFTTT including your Gmail or your phone number. This means that you could have IFTTT call or text you if your qualifier is met, or simply send you an email. One of the tasks I created is what helped me buy my wife a tablet. Hit the break to find out more.

I created a simple task that would email me whenever my local Craigslist found an ad that matched my search terms. I set my search as “Touchpad.” IFTTT scans Craigslist every half hour for any listing that matches my search, and if it finds a match, it then emails me a copy of the listing. It was very simple to setup, and I just leveraged the internet to help me find a deal. Instead of me searching Craigslist a few times a day, I could just sit back and let IFTTT do it for me. That’s the whole basis of the idea behind this, how to use the internet to your advantage.

So after I setup my task, I just waited. And waited. And waited. Probably two months after I set it up I get a hit, but it was just a listing for a laptop that used the word touchpad in the listing. But then about a month ago, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I am sitting on my couch with my TouchPad watching some TV. I see a notification popup that I got a new email, then almost immediately I got another one. I check my email and start to get excited. The subject line of the email was “HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 16 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer – $100.” I almost dropped my tablet. A hundred bucks for another TouchPad? I was all over that! The second email was almost identical to the first. It looked like the poster had accidentally posted it twice. I replied to both emails just to make sure with something along the lines of: “I want it!”

It took a little while (like 20 minutes) to hear back from the seller and the whole time I was thinking “what if someone beat me to it?” I’ve already had one frustrating experience trying to buy a second TouchPad, I didn’t need to have another one swiped out from under me. Well I eventually heard from her, she had in fact not sold it to someone else, and yes she would meet me that night so I could buy it. I think I was more excited than my wife, who I was buying it for. She decided to tag along on the 30 minute car ride as I went to go buy her a tablet. When I reached our designated meeting site I was again afraid that she might not show up. Maybe someone offered her more money since you can sell them for almost double her asking price on Ebay.

Again my fears were found to have no merit when she pulled into the parking lot a few minutes later. What she presented to me for inspection was a perfect looking TouchPad, still in the original box, plus a case. After I asked her a couple questions and verified that the TouchPad would boot up, I paid her the money and took my… I mean my wife’s…new prize home. I skipped through the setup of webOS, and a short while later I had the latest version of CyanogenMod’s Android running on it. I set the background to a pink one, loaded up some apps I thought she would want, synced her Google accounts, and presented my wife with her new toy. Score one for the technologically smart husband!

There are so many uses for IFTTT that I would encourage you to check it out and see what you can setup to have it leverage the internet for you. Already an IFTTT user? I would love to hear what you use it for.

[ifttt.com]