2021-04-05 08:15

Instapaper vs Pocket — Which Read Later Service Is Better for Me

As much as I love Craft, in its current version, it is not suitable as a read later solution. I do keep a list of bookmarks within Craft’s, but the article’s content is not fetched and saved into Craft, something Notion is able to do. This list is kept for other purposes like helping me build my Numeric Citizen Introspection newsletter. I need a better reading solution.

Reading is something that requires the least distraction possible. Safari reader mode is great, I use it quite frequently to remove the noise from a webpage, but it is lacking the highlighting feature of Instapaper or Pocket. Using a shortcut to save a text highlight is possible but it is distracting. This is where an app like Instapaper or Pocket comes into play. But which one is the best? For me, it is Pocket1, here is a quick comparison of both solutions.

  • Pocket design is richer while Instapaper is minimalistic, which could be seen as an advantage. Yet, Pocket in that regards is still frictionless for reading.
  • Pocket updates are more frequent.
  • Pocket is more expansive than Instapaper.
  • IFTTT support is more extensive with Instapaper than it is with Pocket.
  • Instapaper allows quick notes to be created next to the highlighted text. It could prove to be useful. Think of it as meta-highlighting.
  • Instapaper seems stuck in the pass when it was created by Marco Arment.
  • Instapaper allows organization of bookmarks into folders, something I wish Pocket would support. I’m a bit compulsive on the organization front.
  • Pocket supports iOS widgets, not Instapaper.
  • Share sheet allows tagging with Pocket which makes me more efficient.
  • Page rendering seems better in Pocket.
  • On the Mac, Instapaper Safari extension doesn’t work. It keeps asking me to authenticate with the application, which I did. See next observation.
  • Both, Pocket and Instapaper, doesn’t support Sign in with Apple within the macOS application; only on the website. Because of this, the Instapaper is useless on the Mac while Pocket supports creating an password for the account which fix this issue.
  • Pocket offers a public profile page where article recommendations can be shared.
  • I have more confidence in Pocket’s future and sustainability than in Instapaper’s.
The following screenshots are page rendering example of the same article from both service.
Instapaper page rendering example
Pocket page rendering example

If Craft is ever updated to extract an article from a website, allows tagging and highlighting, I’ll probably reconsider my use of Pocket. For now, I’m a very happy user of Pocket, a service which helps me read more and better.

My Pocket profil.

  1. I used to be a Pocket user back in the days when the service was started, but somehow I stopped using it, maybe because of Apple’s introduction of the Read later feature in Safari.↩︎

View comments Pocket Instapaper Services Reading
2021-04-02 09:45

Why so Many Publishing Platforms?

For long-time readers and followers, they know that I own a few websites or publishing places (see a full list here). With so many places to publish to, you might wonder why not use only one big blog on WordPress? Well, I’m glad you asked. You’ll find most of the answers on the following diagram.

My (too) many publishing platforms

As you can see, each place fills a different role. Think of them as publishing channels. I prefer to have many focused places with content directed to a specific crowd over having a single channel full of seemingly unrelated posts. But there is more to it: I love using different tools and services. Each have their strengths and weakness, a specific set of features. That’s the thing that drives me the most for using different publishing platforms.

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2021-03-30 08:00

A Quick Overview of My Craft Workflow

This article is about my Craft workflow which is behind any article, short or longer, I share online. Here is what happens when I just got a new post idea.

  1. In Apple’s Reminders.app, Create an entry and set priority and desired or expected date of publication if known.
  2. In Craft, create a new document, set the title and then copy the document’s deeplink to the clipboard.
  3. Still within Craft, move the newly created document in the appropriate folder.
  4. Still within Craft, add an entry in My Publishing Pipeline which is available for the public from the The Numeric Citizen Digital Garden.
  5. Return to Apple’s Reminders and paste the Deeplink in the URL field. Really handy to jump from Reminders to Craft with a single tap.

At this point, I can start my research, writing and editing of my article or blog post in Craft. Now, here is what happens after publishing my article:

  1. Mark Reminder item as done.
  2. Mark item as completed in My Publishing Pipeline
  3. Copy the article’s permalink URL to The Numeric Citizen Digital Garden in the appropriate section.
  4. Monitor the appropriate RSS feed for quality control. See this article about subscribing to my own RSS feeds.

There you have it. Craft plays a central role in my blogger and content creator workflow. This blog post expose what happens at the beginning and at the end of a new post idea. I hope you enjoyed.

View comments Workflow Craft
2021-03-27 10:00

The Value of Using Links and References

Let’s put aside « link posts » (like this one) for a minute or two; the time required to read this article. Recently, I noticed that the use of links in published content varies a lot from one author to another. Some bloggers or writers use a lot of links while others barely include any in their published content. I thought that was fascinating, and I started to think about my own links usage.

For example, M.G. Siegler, a well-known writer on Medium, does make use of links in its writing. Quite a lot actually. One prime example is in «Oh yeah, Intel. Nice! ». Another example is from another well-known author, John Gruber, in « Apple Holds Up ProtonVPN App Update for Two Days Over the Phrase Challenging Governments’» . On the opposite, an article like this one, there is no link to be found. Here is another example.

Was Internet supposed to be about cross-referencing content, a mesh of knowledge? It was and it still is. Links come from researching on a subject, on a topic or event. They’re not free. They need some processing time to gather, read, grade, curate, comment and store for future reference. Links processing is worth it.

Personally, I’m a « put as many links as possible » type of guy. I would argue that references add value to an article beside the basic obligation of referring to sources. Links can refer to contextual information. They can also help support some justification for a given stance on a subject. They can help the reader better position an article with others on the same subject. Links are powerful.

Sure there is a risk of prematurely losing the reader as he might go read the referenced article, leaving behind my article, though. I think the added value is worth it, though. Are you still with me? Yes? Great. Thank you for reading this article.

View comments Web Linking
2021-03-25 07:45

Which App or Service Is Best?

Recently, I had a chance to read and participate in two different discussions about which app, feature or service is better for a specific task or use case. In the first case, someone was asking about Ulysses handling of Markdown links. The question triggered a really enlightening discussion about how Ulysses, and many more writing apps for that matter, was good or not at certain things like Markdown handling in general1. On the second case, Lee Peterson expose his disdain for being forced into using the block-based Gutenberg editor, replacing the venerable classic editor. Again, a simple blog post triggering a great exchange about where WordPress seems to be heading2.

On the subject of Ulysses, I usually like the way Ulysses handles Markdown. I prefer not seeing Markdown tags while writing in Ulysses. But, I would certainly like to see an option where we can toggle this feature on and off, in which case Markdown would be shown in all its glory. On the Gutenberg editor, I must say that I didn’t like it at first. Eventually, it grew on me and today I wouldn’t go back. Block-based editor is also the way Craft is doing its magic.

At the end of the day, It doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong, as long as everybody finds their best app for the task at hand.

  1. I’m a big fan of Ulysses, but sure there are areas where improvements would be welcomed. Once such example is the publishing workflow.↩︎

  2. The idea of introducing Stories on WordPress.com is simply stupid. I don’t want WordPress to copy Snapchat or Instagram.↩︎

View comments Tools
2021-03-24 07:00

Should I Try Write.as?

I saw someone on Micro.blog that is using write.as for publishing a blog. After spending a few minutes on the blog and on write.as website, I find it very tempting; it’s clean, super simple, well thought out. And cheap. Maybe I should try it? Or maybe not. I’m already spread too thin. I feel it would be another rabbit hole. If all my current platforms were fully satisfying, I would’t be looking at other places.

I could at the very least open a free account, and see if my impressions are valid.

View comments Service Write.as