Howard Rheingold turned me onto Netvibes several years ago, and I have been using it since to organize my news feeds. Last month, they published their new web programming and IoT application, Potion (see the video at the bottom of this post). To create a potion, you specify one or more triggers and actions, e.g. (from Netvibes’ preset potions):
- When the word “apple” is mentioned in a news feed, email me.
- When my stock exceeds a set price, send myself an email and tweet the stock price.
- When the weather is nice, text me.
Possible triggers include content or notifications from RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, stock and weather data, and many more. Possible actions include posting to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and others websites, and sending email or SMS messages, etc. One of the actions is to send an SSH command to a remote computer, say, a Raspberry Pi or networked Arduino that is the “brain” of your magic robot or Talismachine. Here is a simple example:
Every time the Blog of Baphomet publishes a new article that contains the word “chaos,” the potion sends a remote command to my magic robot to do something. Anything! Sing, dance, lacerate the next sacrifice in the queue and draw a sigil in its blood… whatever. The example is a little silly because the Blog of Baphomet publishing an article containing the word “chaos” is not seriously interesting, but what about a wealth Servotor that responds to financial data, or a healing Talismachine that reacts to climate data? How about a machine that automagically curses or jabs a pin into the poppet of a politician every time he says something racist, misogynist, or homophobic on Facebook or Twitter? Or one that enchants until it receives a sign of the enchantment’s success. Or that divines from the latest news, or just tweets your fortune every time you weigh yourself with your Withings wifi scale. The possible applications are many and varied.