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Reading Things Later

I have noticed a slow change, over many months, to how I read content on the web. Instapaper was the only thing I’d use for saving articles that I wanted to read later and I never gave it a second thought. I needed a place to store links that weren’t long form reading though and rather than keep a local bookmark repository (before the days of iCloud), I turned towards Pinboard as a way to do that.

As luck would have it, over the last couple of years, as my uses for Pinboard increased, so have the iOS clients that support it. My current favorite is Pincase. It has a nice parser and some sweet discovery features. It smartly walks you through the creation of a shortcut in Safari that will load sites into Pincase almost instantly. I’ve been really happy with it as my iOS Pinboard client of choice.1

Bookmark List Discovery Features

Still, reading things on iOS isn’t always what I want to do. I often safe longform links and want to read them on my Mac. I could read them right through Pinboard but I want to cut down on the visual clutter when reading longer articles. Safari’s “Reader” mode is quite nice but I found a way that I like better: Nick Wynja’s Paperback.

Paperback is a Pinboard reader which strips all of the visual clutter and formats the article in a nice font on a clean white background. There are some minimal Pinboard controls (like the ability to read the full article, read the original article and mark the article as read in Pinboard) but the site is largely set up to get out of your way.

As these tools and apps continued to proliferate and get better, Pinboard just gradually took over all of my “read it later” duties and Instapaper has fallen to the wayside. I currently save articles to Pinboard on my Mac using an Alfred shortcut. On my iOS devices, I’ll use the native “add to” controls in Tweetbot and Riposte. In Safari, I’ll use the Pincase shortcut described above. For apps that don’t support Pinboard natively, they will generally allow me to bounce out to Safari so I can use the Pincase shortcut anyway.

Pinboard is a pay service but it has been worth every penny. I can’t think of a more integral and important tool for how I personally use the internet. If you try it and just don’t “get” it, do yourself a favor and keep using it for a while longer. For me, it went from a intermittently-used, semi-convenient repository to something I use all day long.

  1. I also use Pinbook because of its quick tag searching and it continues to be my tool of choice on the iPad. Search is front and center for Pinbook and it is blazing fast.