Pocket: the new way to learn Comments

Just wanted to take a moment to write about how awesome Pocket has been and continues to be. If you’ve never heard of it, Pocket (formerly Read it Later) is a service and set of apps available for Mac/iOS/Android/various browsers that allows you to quickly add web content to a list of everything you want to read but have no time for right this moment. If you’re like me, you come across articles, specifications, videos, and more that you know you really want to read, but you’re a busy guy! (Or gal)

The Pocket extensions for Firefox and Chrome make this stupidly easy. Sign in once and you’re good to go. I’ve been using the service for over 2 years now and it’s been stable and constantly improving the whole time. The creator, Nathan Weiner, exchanged emails with me, took bug reports from me, and was generally a nice, communicative fellow. There’s even a public API, which I once used to build a Read it Later client for webOS called Rilly (for all that link is worth)

“What improvements have been added over this time?” You might ask. Well, the first significant one was adding offline support to the native readers, which means I can read on a train, or in this cheap motel room where the Internet is crap and costs far more than crap should. Second, there is now a plain text view, which is how I prefer to read most articles. In this view, the contents of the original web page are extracted and carefully parsed through to determine whether they’re a part of the article or merely trimmings like ads, navigation and so on. This feature has seen several revisions itself, including adding a “night time” dark theme which works well in low light, and pretty decent controls over presentation (serif/sans serif, font size, justification, color theme and brightness independent of device brightness) I just discovered this last feature: if one of your articles links to another, it will open it as though you were still online. Awesome.

Syncing happens automatically and generally works great. I have noticed discrepancies in count of articles between different instances of my account across devices, but haven’t noticed specific articles missing.

Recently I’ve started using the Mac native desktop app, which is handy for reading about new tech as you work with it. Plenty of keyboard shortcuts for archiving, opening in browser, switching between text only/full web views, etc.

The service is a free service and software. I find it incredibly useful, especially when stuck without Internet and needing to catch up on internet reading!

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