Looking forward to 2012

My plans for events and happenings in 2012 started to form during the summer and at the beginning of semester one at university.

I am looking forward to 2012 as it means there are lots of things to look forward to and I hope many things will continue to develop in the year to come!

The Rebrand of OMG

In January 2012, OMG will be launching a new logo and rebranding itself. I’ve already redone the website and in January I’ll be launching a new player as a web app. Also we’ll start planning for Varsity and also a possible world record attempt.

Staffs Uni vs. Keele Varsity

Varsity is a great chance for OMG to show what we can really do. It will be a real test of the website’s ability to handle a large amount of users as well as the ability of our contributors to post great articles. It also brings challenges as to how we will broadcast from Keele and get it back to the studio.

Cre8 Radio is on air again

I was thrilled to be part of Cre8 Radio last year and this year I get the opportunity to be part of it again. I’m looking forward to being part of the team and also broadcasting on FM again. Hopefully I’ll be able to present a bit more this year and muscle in on some of the subjects broadcast.

Essex International Jamboree 2012

In October I found out that I had been accepted to be part of the EIJ radio broadcasting team. As we go towards August and the broadcast I’ll be assigned my role (hopefully presenting!), preparing show content and getting to know my fellow members of the team.

Continued work at Cross Rhythms & Staffs Union

I will start 2012 continuing to work with Cross Rhythms and Staffordshire University Students’ Union. At Cross Rhythms I will continue to work with them on their social media and also develop the website (where I can). At the Students’ Union I continue my job as Web Designer. No doubt I’ll work on Varsity integration with the OMG website and also the world record attempt (if that goes ahead!).

That’s my work and volunteering roles pretty much covered, but my continuing relationship with my girlfriend Amy is what I’m looking forward to the most! We’ve been together over a year and a half and we’ve shared some amazing experiences together and I hope that they may continue throughout 2012.

If you want to keep up to date with the emails I send out (Oliver Needham Updates if you will), then click here.

Discovering “ifttt”

If I said to you “ifttt” then you’d probably think I was slurring some random letters around to express my dislike for something.

Actually “ifttt” stands for “If This Then That”. ‘But what is ifttt?!’ I may here you cry!

ifttt is a web app that puts “the internet to work by creating tasks”. The tasks follow the formula ‘if this, then that’.

I found ifttt when Vic from Staffs Union started using it to tweet when he had a new follower. I also saw some others using it to tweet specific things but I’ve found a more creative use for it!

Some of the channels available on ifttt

ifttt tasks are built up by using channels to configure triggers and actions. There are currently 39 channels that you can configure, including the usual suspects of Twitter, Facebook and Gmail. There’s also some interesting ones like date & time, SMS and phone calls!

One that interested me was the triggers linked to your Last.fm account. Every time you scrobble a track to Last.fm you can trigger a channel action.

I’ve wanted to display the music that I listen to on my website for quite a while. Until recently I had Twitterfeed take my Last.fm RSS feed and tweet it to a Twitter account that I used just for that. I then displayed that Twitter timeline in a WordPress widget. It was a fairly long way round of doing it and sometimes I didn’t have the effect I wanted.

I figured that with ifttt and some goodies from Tumblr I would be able to show off my latest scrobbled tracks as well as their album covers in a slightly easier way.

So I attached my Last.fm account to ifttt, then set up a Tumblr blog called What Oliver Listens To. I had learnt when I put together Stoke CU’s media page that you can embed a tumblog using a bit of Javascript found on their Goodies page. It comes with no styling and just some Tumblr classes with which you can play with.

I told ifttt that when I scrobble a track, it should post a photo post on Tumblr, with the album cover as the photo and the artist and song title in the photo’s caption.

With a bit of CSS magic I got it to look reasonably nice on both this blog and my portfolio site.

There are loads of things that you can do with ifttt! Like ‘When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture‘ or even ‘Annoy friends by posting a link to Rebecca Black’s Friday on Facebook every‘! There are loads of them on the Recipes page on ifttt.

Now, can I get it to text message me when a relative has announced on Facebook what present they’re getting me for Christmas?