About a week ago, our Interactive Team got a fresh (the kids are still using “fresh”, right?) TV for our office space . The primary use is to screen share what we are currently working on via an Apple TV. That way we don’t have to crowd around one of our monitors when we’re reviewing work or brainstorming. But we quickly realized that when the team isn’t doing that, it’s just a really expensive screensaver. Well, it took only 5 minutes to get tired of the stock images of flowers and animals that the Apple TV comes with. So we needed something better…we got the idea to pull in images from dribbble. We started asking around, and few friends gave us the idea of using IFTTT to automatically pull them in. Here’s what we did.
Step 1 – Dropbox:
You’re going to need a Dropbox account, if you don’t have one, hit yourself in the face with your fist, because Dropbox is so last year.
Step 2 – IFTTT:
You’re also going to need an account at IFTTT. A quick rundoown of IFTTT is that you build recipies from all of the different web services they can hook into. Each recipe consists of 2 parts: If [action happens on a web service] then [go do something on another web service]. If that doesn’t make sense you can always learn more.
Step 3 – Gather your ingredients:
To make our recipies, you’ll need to turn on some of the channels on your IFTTT account. Go here and activate the RSS Feed Channel, the Dropbox Channel and if you want to pull in Instagram images like we did, activate the Instagram Channel (you will need an Instagram account).
Step 4 – Go to the bathroom:
We don’t want any accidents due to the excitement of the next few steps
Step 5 – Recipies:
What our recipies do is anytime a new item is added to the dribbble popular feed, we download it to a folder on dropbox (ours is called…dribbble). We do the same thing for a couple of different Instagram users, just to spice things up (BAM!). Building your own recipies is simple, but if you want the ones we are using, here ya go (dribbble & Instagram).
Step 6 – Screensaver Stuff:
If this screensaver is for anything other than an Apple TV, point it at the Dropbox folder, and you are done. For Apple TV, keep reading. First, you need to turn on photo sharing on your computer that has the Dropbox folder. Open iTunes, and click Advanced (along the top bar on a Mac). Then, select “Choose Photos to Share” and select your Dropbox folder. Then, on your Apple TV, go to Computers and add your Apple ID. Now, you can go to the screensaver, and choose Photo Stream as the source for your screensaver. Good luck. When you are done, here is the result:
A couple of tips:
- At the beginning of the week, I delete all of the stuff from last week. Sometimes, it’s hard to let go, but this screensaver isn’t for nostalgia; it’s for inspiration. Bring on some new stuff!
- If you want to use Instagram, you have to create a recipe per user. We have 3 or 4 different ones going.
- You aren’t limited to just dribbble or Instagram, IFTTT can also hook up to Flickr or any other photo streaming service that has an rss feed.
- Apple TV doesn’t automatically update as new images come in, so you have to stop the screensaver and repeat Step 6 from above. And make sure your iTunes is open when it is refreshing the feed.
- We used the screensaver mode “Shifting Tiles.” It doesn’t stretch the dribbble images out too far, and doesn’t move to fast–a dangerous screensaver combo.
If you end up making this screensaver, let us know in the comments with some cool screenshots.