Do you want to save money or find a job? Yahoo Pipes helps with both by grabbing the data you want, like job openings, and feeding it to you immediately. On top of that, it’s remarkably easy to set up and use.
The Pipes technology represents the web’s greatest secret – a ridiculously powerful information-gathering system that, shockingly, very few users have heard about. Its obscurity partly relates to the complexity in building a Pipe. Fortunately, using this software only requires that you access a database of community-created Pipes. Thousands of these creations exist within Yahoo’s servers, allowing users to access subjects as enlightening as science journals or as mundane as Flickr photos.
For our purposes, we’ll use Yahoo’s technology for more essential pursuits – finding work and saving money on cheap consumer junk. The beauty of Pipes is that it can find information on almost any subject with only a few mouse-clicks and keystrokes. The secret is in finding the right Pipe.
To get started immediately, take three simple steps – first, open the pre-built Pipe. Second, input whatever it is you’re looking for, such as the job title or a particular product. Third, and optionally, output the stream as an RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. The first two parts of this article will walk readers through two potential uses for Pipes – getting jobs and finding sales. The third part explains how to integrate a Pipe’s output into an RSS reader.
Part 1: Finding a Job
As previously mentioned, Yahoo Pipes features a variety of community sourced, ready-made Pipes that are immediately usable. To get started, simply open up a Pipe designed for finding jobs.
After finding the right Pipe, fill in the inputs, such as “nurse”, that you’re searching for.
In the example provided, we’re looking for intelligence analyst jobs based in the city of Langley in Virginia. As required, we will first input “intelligence analyst” into the “Enter search terms” box. Second, we need to input the city and state below it. Third, and finally, you run the Pipe and it outputs prospective jobs, gathered from twelve different sources. The sources are available for examination in the left column of the screenshot.
If an undesirable hit (or output) finds itself into your results too often, you may need to filter the results for that particular irritant in the “Terms to exclude” boxes.
Try it! Not only are the results very recent, but they’re also plentiful!
Part 2: Getting Stuff Cheap
As demonstrated in the example above, Pipes can filter through multiple websites simultaneously, finding the information you need, quickly. This feature makes it particularly effective for searching through deal-spotting sites, like Fatwallet and Slickdeals. Even more useful is that Pipes will rapidly alert users whenever a new product, meeting the search criteria, appears in its feed. It goes without saying that speed is a huge advantage in saving money – a great deal lasts only hours before selling out.
One of the best Pipes for this purpose is designed by Yahoo Pipes user, Shiva. His Pipe searches through ten different deal-spotting sites in seconds. You only need to input the item you’re looking for and Pipes generates a continuous stream of items matching your criteria.
Several other Pipes exist that perform a similar search as Shiva’s Pipe, above. One of his newer inventions searches FatWallet’s site for entries with a rating of four or above.
Part 3: Output As An RSS Feed
As indicated above, Yahoo Pipes’ output can convert into an RSS feed. The process is simple – first, run the pipe and then right-click on the “RSS” icon and copy the link location. Next, input the RSS feed’s link into your favorite RSS reader’s subscribe feature.
I highly recommend using Google Reader to subscribe to your Pipes’ RSS feed. For mobile platforms, JustReader is one of the better means of checking your feeds. On the desktop, FeedDemon offers an excellent alternative to Google Reader’s browser-based interface, while still syncing with Google Reader.
The Yahoo Pipes technology represents one of the most revolutionary information-aggregating systems on the Internet. While its uses are limited only by imagination, it has two very practical applications that can help its users save money and find jobs. There’s nothing else like it on the net, perhaps only rivaled by IFFFT, in terms of how flexible a product it is.
Are you a user of Pipes? What do you use it for? Have you made any Pipes that you would like to share with the MakeUseOf readers? If so, give us the link in the comments below so we can go and check it out.