November 15th, 2014 | Published in etc
My preferred “save it for later” reading service is Pocket, and my preferred bookmarking service is Pinboard. Getting stuff into either of them on iOS was always a little cumbersome or fraught. Each app I had for finding stuff to read later had its own ideas about which services to support and how to support them, and none of Apple’s native apps were about to acknowledge that you’d want to use anything other than Safari’s reading list (which is fine, but designed to treat deferred content like it’s ephemeral).
So you could set up bookmarklets or pick apps on the basis of how good they were about sharing stuff with other services. I loved Reeder, for instance, until Mr. Reader came along, because Mr. Reader completely embraces the idea that there are all sorts of ways you might want to remember something for later: Maybe it’s a long-term bookmark, maybe it’s a Pocket sort of “read it later” proposition, or maybe it’s a todo for an app like OmniFocus or Things.
With iOS 8’s new share sheets, it’s all better: The Pocket app now provides a share sheet that turns up in Safari, Reeder and Mr. Reader, so it’s just two taps to get something into Pocket.
Two Pinboard Clients
For Pinboard saves, you just need a Pinboard client. I’ve tried two, and have an opinion on which is better based on one tiny difference.
Pinner is the first of two clients. It’s $4.99 for a universal app. It provides a way to manage and read Pinboard bookmarks and has a reader view that works much the same as you’d expect from Pocket and Instapaper. It seems fast enough when syncing, and it offers a pair of share sheets. One of them just grabs the bookmark without any interaction required, the other lets you fill in a title, description and tags then mark it as read/unread, private/public.
Pushpin is the other. It’s $9.99 for a universal app. It looks and behaves a lot like Pinner: Manage bookmarks and tags, read bookmarks, reading view, etc. It also has two share sheets (one for making a regular bookmark, another for saving one as a “read later” item).
The difference between the two is that with Pinner’s in-app browser/reader, a long press on a link on a page you’re reading gives you the choice to copy the URL to the clipboard, or add the item to Safari’s reading list. With Pushpin, a long press on a link gives you the choice to copy the link or save it as a Pinboard bookmark.
That’s easily $5 worth of difference over a year of reading big, link-rich pages saved from Pinboard and saving some of those links for later.
But Why Not Just Use a Pinboard Client for All Your Read-It-Later Needs?
Because I’m not aware of a Pinboard client that caches article content. Consequently, Pocket — which downloads new content in the background and saves a local copy — is always ready for no-network or slow network situations. Why waste my phone’s battery running the personal hotspot just to read something on my iPad? Or sit through my phone trying to choke down an ad-laden page when I’m on a slow connection? Pocket makes sure it’s ready for me when I want to read it.
Weren’t You Into Instapaper for a While?
Yeah. I was. Marco was really cool to me years ago when I wrote him asking for an addition to the Instapaper API so I could save NetNewsWire articles to Instapaper. At some point, though, Pocket (which was probably Read It Later at the time) passed Instapaper up in the features race. I mean, they’re both pretty good.