Realtime hacking with JSOxford

Yesterday I went to a hack day run by JSOxford. The theme was ‘realtime’, i.e. using Web technologies to update a site automatically from a data source.

Since I had no experience with realtime technologies before I came, I didn’t want to make anything too ambitious! I just wanted to learn the basics so that I could make something useful in the future.

Continue reading “Realtime hacking with JSOxford”


MS Word How To: Different Alignments on the Same Line

TL;DR: View the ruler, click the L symbol twice, then click (and drag) your mouse across the ruler to the right margin. When typing, press tab to switch to right-aligned.

We were going over some past papers in one of my lectures the other day. The questions were put up on the projector and we discussed what we would write as answers. The questions typically look like this:

Rather than answering the question, one of the students asked how our lecturer had aligned the number of marks to the right, but the rest of the question on the same line was aligned to the left of the page.

Continue reading “MS Word How To: Different Alignments on the Same Line”

Website of the Week –

This “Website of the Week” isn’t going to be a regular occurrence, but IFTTT sent me a text a couple of days ago, and I decided to write about it because it’s pretty cool.

IFTTT stands for “If This Then That”, and it is an online utility to perform a particular action when a particular event occurs.

I’ll try to explain that again. You connect IFTTT to your other online accounts such as Google, Facebook and Dropbox. There are lots of different triggers that can occur. For example, every day at a particular time; when you are tagged in a photo on Facebook; or when you send IFTTT an email with a particular subject. You can add services like Yahoo weather and you can connect your mobile phone as well.

By connecting all these services, you can perform a whole range of tasks. For example, if you are tagged in a photo in Facebook, it can automatically be saved to SkyDrive; every time you write a blog post with a particular tag, post it to Facebook automatically; send you an email when an RSS feed updates; or if it’s forecast to snow tomorrow, send me a text!

Text alert from IFTTT

All of this crazy functionality, and the service is completely free!


Setting up a rule

I’ve mentioned only a few services. Here’s a picture of all the other services you can use to make rules. I have no idea what most of them do.

ifttt channels

Let’s set up a rule so that if one of my programs on my Raspberry Pi crashes, IFTTT will send be a text. Now obviously a Raspberry Pi can’t send texts on its own, but it can send emails. I’m not going into the details of how to send an email when an error in my program occurs, but the important bit is that it sends from my Gmail to IFTTT can read emails and send texts accordingly, so technically, it has given my Pi the ability to send texts when it couldn’t before.



I want the event to occur if IFTTT receives an email from my Gmail account with the hash tag #textme.

When you create a new recipe, click on ‘this’, then ‘Email’

if this


We then need to send the content of the email to my phone.

then that

It’s as simple as that.