Specialization of labor among humans boosts productivity. So is between humans and machines. The basic idea is to make the most of their respective comparative advantages: humans are best at being lazy and machines are best at being working, especially performing repetitive, boring tasks. They never feel tired unless they break down. In light of it, I discovered two fantastic machine friends which allow me to be as lazy as possible (or as efficient as possible?). One is called IFTTT and the other Alfred. Although the two are distinct in nature, they share one characteristic in common: automation.
IFTTT stands for “If this then that” and is essentially a service which combines other two services together. Consider the following scenario: you are following one’s personal website on which he or she publishes a new post very infrequently. Since you are an avid reader, you can’t help checking for updates quite often. Obviously, for most of the time your efforts are in vein and you waste a lot of time. But IFTTT can help! It asks Gmail to send yourself an email whenever he or she publishes a new post. Isn’t it brilliant? And it is only one of the million scenarios where IFTTT can help.
Even though I have noticed Alfred for quite a long time, I was never fully aware of its power until recently. Alfred is a launcher application in the same spirit of Spotlight. However, it is much more than that. Alfred is like a command center from where I, the general, assigns various types of orders for the applications, the soldiers, to execute. For example, with the help of Alfred, especially its feature called Workflows, I am able to preform a sequence of actions by typing only a few words.