Modern times will make your head explode
In days of old when knights were bold and the Internet wasn’t invented, the main sources of incoming information, other than school would be the television, gossip and maybe the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Of course before television there was the radio, before the radio there was sitting around the fire, talking to each other. Now we have to endure or enjoy many more hours of television and even more so, have information coming to us thick and fast through the Internet. Sometimes you might think that there is too much information, that you could never keep it all inside your brain and your head, just might explode.
Read it Later Service – It’s coming from all directions
There has been an explosion also, in terms of the data coming in and going out in the realm of mobile computing. From all sorts of phones, whether they be Android, iPhone or whatever, you have information coming in from Facebook, Twitter, all manner of webpages and also over various other applications. Another problem is that there are times when you are trying to find out about a certain subject and you stumble upon other information that you also want to keep for later. You could be trying to find out about the latest video cameras when you see a link that takes you to another website about something altogether different and unrelated. At that fork in the road you have to decide whether to stay with the subject that you started with, or go down the rat run that has presented itself to you. Either way you stand the chance of forgetting to go back to one or other of the areas of subject matter you were researching.
It’s Twitter, Facebook and everything else
Many tweets that you see within your Twitter application will have links attached to them and if you are using an application that like Tweetbot you have the opportunity of using a service that will let you save that tweet or the link within the tweet for reading at a later time. The services that we are talking about here, are Read It Later, Readability and Instapaper. These are developments and improvements upon bookmarking services such as Delicious or Digg, that allowed you to bookmark webpages so that you could remember where they were and what they were about, or for you to go back to later.
Instapaper is perhaps the most well-known of these services and it is very easy for you to mark a page to be read later by tapping on a bookmarklet that you have already placed in the toolbar of your web browser. Now there is also an application for your smart phone or for your iPad, where everything that you have marked for reading later will appear. So if you see a tweet in Tweetbot that you want to mark to read for later you will be able to skim through the iPad or iPhone application and get to that information or data. It all gets synchronised, so it doesn’t matter whether you first saw it on your mobile device or whether it was on your desktop computer, you will have one place to go to get all your stuff. When you are sitting at your desktop computer or your laptop, then you can get at the information by logging into the website of your read it later service, whichever one you use.
An application to use on your desktop computer
With the service from Read It Later there is an application that you can get from the Mac App Store that collates all of your stored information. It is a very simple application with the list in a pane to the left and the information in a window to the right. What is particularly nice about an application like this is that it strips out all of the non-essential gunk from the website, so that you have just the text and the main images of the article. You can still click to go to the webpage if you wish. So that is another reason why you might send data to your Instapaper, Readability or Read It Later service, to clean up cluttered pages.
Getting it in and getting it out
There are tools available in web browsers and within other applications that will give you one click, or perhaps two, to collate the data into your service. Often this will be a bookmarklet although it could, quite likely be an extension application for your browser. I like the Read It Later extension that I use in the Google Chrome browser, as it also tells me how many items I have stored that are unread, as a little badge on the icon for the extension in the toolbar. With some of the services you will find that there are one or two, maybe even more different extensions that you can choose from. I picked one at random for Readability and also for Read it Later service and I found that both of them worked without giving me any problems.
Read it Later Service - More ways to get it in
Some of the services give you a special e-mail address that you can use to send either a link or a document, that will go into your Read It Later queue of information. If you are using an application such as Flipboard or other news based application like the app from The Guardian newspaper or National Post, then these applications have taken advantage of the API available from Instapaper. The same thing happens as well with applications such as Net Newswire and The Early Edition.
Getting it out again
Like I said, I prefer a service that gives me an application that I can use on my desktop or laptop computer. It is also very handy to have native applications for use on mobile technology. I have downloaded the free apps available for Readability and Read It Later, on to my iPad and iPhone. Another way to get out your content will be to have information transferred out, to your Kindle or Kindle app on the iPad. This works better for longer texts and you may find also that there are surcharges, if you set it up for wireless delivery. The Kindle is a super device for reading stuff when you are on a bright sunny environment, such as on the beach. So could be a great way to get at your Read it Later content.
Which one do I like?
Instapaper is probably the better all-round service with more options for getting information in and also for getting the information out. With more tools made available from Instapaper and also integration with other applications. The service doesn’t cost anything unless you want to have the Instapaper app on your IOS device and that will cost you €3.99.
I particularly like Read It Later Service because it offers me the application that I can use on my Mac desktop. Seeing as I do most of my computing at my desk, you can understand perhaps why Read It Later suits me best. There is also a free version of an application for iOS and a paid version. I couldn’t tell you what are the differences between the two at present. Readability also has free and paid for options for mobile computing. It is not just a mac service either.
Now it is up to you to choose
Which one suits you better depends upon your personal requirements, so that is down to which apps you are likely to want to collect stuff from. If you want to do that from a larger number of applications, then you might find that Instapaper is the one for you and you won’t mind paying the €3.99 for the iOS application. Then again, it may be that your needs are easier satisfied and one of the other two applications that you can use without cost will be all that you need.