Friday, 3 February 2017



“If This Then That” is a great free web service found at and provides a lot of very useful things.
The basic premise is that there is a trigger then an action. You set up “Channels” as they call them for your devices, be that hardware, software or simple time and date data from providers on the internet.

Weather Channel

The Weather channel gives you many triggers, such as time, date, weather, sunrise and sunset. These last two are useful if you want your Lego model to light up at night.

This is the output if you send the results to your eMail

Littlebits Cloud Device and Channel

The simplest way to test out the service is to use the LittleBits and Weather channels together.
The LittleBit channel is very easy, it just sends an on or off to the WiFi connected Cloud connected bit. You can buy a starter bundle that contains all you need to light a house simply, and individual components can be bout separately if you want to head this way.

Remote Controls

Bricks WWW controls


Tablet Devices

No end of stuff here.


In this world you can be all over the place when inspiration hits, or you are forced to spend moments waiting for a bus to arrive or a Doctor to see. These times are great for thinking through your ideas and perhaps making some notes.
Given this, I’ve always kept on the lookout for solutions that allow me to get on with things when outside of my normal working environment. I have always favored Apple equipment, but by no means exclusively. The ability to link up your devices can be done on numerous platforms so that your ideas are transferred. Software out there that are the best are the ones that don’t focus on one platform. I list here a few items that may be of interest which I have used whilst doing the projects in this book, as they have enhanced my Lego and digital life in some way.


Dropbox, in a nutshell, creates a folder on your computer that replicate the files in it  automatically on all your computers.
I’m a big fan of Dropbox and I use it to keep all my code synchronized over my computers so I can work on it wherever I am. Any file you add or edit on one device is automatically synced with your other devices, and the cloud as well.
You can use it free for enough cloud storage space to easily do hobby projects. Visit to sign up, and have a place to easily put your files in a folder that will automatically synchronize with all your devices.


I use an iPad to keep notes and draw out the circuits for projects. My favourite is ICurcuit, which you can pick up from the App Store for the iPad or iPhone, and helps immensely understanding how your circuits will work.

Omnigraffle / Visio

For creating diagrams you can use good old fashioned pen and paper or use various software packages.
The apple pencil or Scribble pen 53 both provide easy natural interfaced that are a lot easier than a mouse.
You can get Omnigraffle for the Mac, in both iPad and Desktop versions. On the PC the similar package is Microsoft Visio.

Sublime Text

The Sublime Text editor is my favourite on both the Windows and Mac platforms, it's identical on both, and has an amazing amount of plugins you can add to it including the ability to compile and run your Arduino code straight from it.

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