The initial novelty of\u00a0Amazon's Echo\u00a0smart home device quickly\u00a0wore thin, and I find myself using it\u00a0less and less. However, the "Siri with a speaker" gadget, which is still available only by invitation (or via eBay), just got a bit more useful, thanks to new integration with IFTTT.\nIFTTT (which stands for "If This Then That") is a free cloud service that lets you use or create "recipes" to connect two services and trigger automated actions between them. Want to automatically forward your weekly Fitbit progress email to Evernote? There's an IFTTT recipe for that \u2014 several of them, in fact.\n\nThe new Amazon Alexa channel\u00a0on IFTTT currently includes dozens of recipes that connect Echo (a.k.a. Alexa) with Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Nest thermostats, iOS, Todoist, and Toodledo, among other services. The Echo-IFTTT mashup seems cool, but so far it's not particularly useful.\n\nAmong the more intriguing IFTTT recipes I tested is one that lets you send short SMS texts by adding the messages to your Echo shopping list, though you need to have an\u00a0Android phone for this recipe to work. When you add the IFTTT recipe, you simply enter the intended recipient's cell phone number \u2014 make sure you add the country code, such as "1" for U.S. phone numbers.\u00a0Then you say "Alexa, add 'I am running late' to my shopping list." The voice command gets translated into a text message, which is sent to your pre-designated recipient.\nIt works well, but you're limited to only one recipient unless you change the phone number in the recipe. And it's faster to simply dictate a quick text on your smartphone. (You can also send email messages through Echo via Gmail.)\nI added to-do items to a specific Evernote notebook by adding them to Echo's to-do list using a new\u00a0IFTTT recipe. The recipe works, but the to-do items in Evernote don't show up in checklist format, which I prefer.\nAnother recipe I like lets you add new items from your Echo shopping list to a designated list in the iOS Reminders app, which is handy. You could use this recipe if you're cooking and realize you're nearly out of, say, olive oil. Without using your hands, you can say "Alexa, add olive oil to my shopping list," and the item appears on your Reminders app's shopping list.\nIs any of this life-changing? Nope, not at all, but it is fun and moderately convenient. And it could very well reawaken your interest in Amazon Echo, at least for a while.