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Posts Tagged ‘readitlater’

I have to confess something: I don’t surf the internet anymore. Honestly, there is so much information and good stuff as well as so many worthless and evil things, where would I start? How would I surf nowadays? Would I just limit myself to a few sites? Should I just stick to Twitter? It’s overwhelming. The number of good blogs is overwhelming. The amount of news and quickness of it today is mind numbing. So how do I deal with it? Well, the nice thing is that there are also a number of tools and applications today to help with this! Good Noows, ReadItLater, Readability, and Last Pass are 4 of my favorites.

Good Noows

If you do not know what RSS is, then let me explain. RSS is basically a way of viewing a site as a listing of articles. Most sites these days will feed out their information in this format from news sites to blogs to anything. An excellent primer on RSS is here. If a site has an RSS feed, then the next thing you need an RSS feed reader. There are numerous ones out there like Google Reader or Sage for Firefox but my current favorite is Good Noows. Good Noows is a very customizable RSS reader and you can access it from anywhere, any browserou can set categories and then drop the links of the sites you want to track into those categories. You can turn off or delete feeds you’re no longer interested in and it will keep track of what you’ve clicked/read.

ReadItLater

Once you sift through what you actually want to read, you likely can’t read through everything you want to read at that moment, can you? Should you simply bookmark them all to read later? Is there an easier way to do this? Yes. ReadItLater is a very flexible, fantastic tool to save good reads for later when you have more time or even just to save good stuff that you read without building up an insane library of bookmarks on your own machine. There are multiple apps for ReadItLater making it easy to save links within any browser with one click of a button.

Adding additional power (for a $5 one time cost) is ReadItLater’s Digest. Digest allows you to build a custom categorizing tool to make it even easier to prioritize reading. I use ReadItLater in combination with Instapaper to send every 12-15 saved articles to my Kindle.

Readability

ReadItLater Digest also is a great place to read articles because it will filter out advertisements and sidebar distractions and images but Readability is the king at doing this. Readability will transform a 5 page article into a streamlined single page read weeding out the advertisements and sidebars but retaining the main article images and tables. If you’re reading articles on the fly, right when you run into them, this is the tool to use. See before and after below.

LastPass

The last tool I especially wanted to mention is LastPass. How many passwords do you think you have saved in your browser cookies? Do you just use the same old password for every site you register for or utilize consistently? This is very dangerous. Ever have your email hacked? You’ve surely seen this happen to multiple friends. Last Pass is way to securely store and access your passwords online utilizing one main access code. You can then use LastPass to generate random 8-12-16 digit passwords for any website (highly recommended for your email accounts)! You can also categorize your saved username/passwords and alter and update them with ease with any of their browser tools.

I hope these tools are helpful to you! In terms of browsers, it simply has to be Chrome. What tools do you use? How do you sift through the data deluge of the internet? Do you just bypass it by avoiding it? That’s not exactly the worse solution!

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I am a avid reader. Reading is a hobby. If I have downtime, I’ll choose to read as opposed to most anything else. I’ve been this way since college, and honestly since I came to know Jesus Christ have I enjoyed reading. I love books. I love the feel, I love bookstores, and books are treasures to me. This is probably a little too much so and I know that I can struggle with making knowledge an idol! Over the past year, I think I have averaged reading close to a book every week.

So to make the leap to a Kindle is a big one for me. I have thought about the paradigm shift of E-readers and what it may mean. I understand that one of the biggest reasons people shift to a Kindle is purely out of convenience. That is not in and of itself a good reason when it comes the shift that Tim Challies outlines in the above link!

However, the new Kindle looked fantastic and when I couple the size and convenience with the potential to use it in conjunction with Calibre and ReadItLater; I decided to put it out there as a wish for my birthday or Christmas. Of course, my sweet wife comes through and I received it for my birthday this past week! With that, I wanted to share my first impressions.

What I don’t like

  1. Ability to Scan: I usually scan a new book whenever I begin. I look at every single page and study the table of contents. The Kindle makes this a little more tasking.
  2. Maneuverability: I am constantly flipping back and forth to the table of contents and previous chapters to keep my grounds in the big picture of whatever book I am reading. I am always doing a mix of scanning and immersion. Also, one of my first purchases for my Kindle was the ESV Study Bible (only $8 on Kindle!). On my Treo phone, I can navigate my Bible program faster than I can turn to it in print. On the Kindle, it’s slower than both of those. However, this is an area that could get better as I get used to the Kindle.
  3. PDF conversion could be better: For either manuals or just documents in native PDF form that are converted, it’s still a bit rough. This would be a huge help to me if it handle PDFs better or converted them easier.
  4. Note taking is less flexible: I’m used to being able to do whatever I want: notes above, in the margins, underlines, circling words and passages, and just about anything I want. It’s not difficult in the Kindle but it’s not as easy as with a printed book. It’s something again that I’ll have to adjust to.
  5. Convenience of obtaining new books: I can download a new book in less than minute! For someone who has a queue of upwards of 10-20 books at home that I want to read as well as an Amazon wish list pushing 100 books, this is very bad! It’s not necessarily a good thing that I can purchase a new book so easily when it comes to our budget or my true needs.

What I absolutely love

  1. Calibre and ReadItLater: This pushed me over the top. These tools allow me to send blogs and my readilater list converted into the Kindle format straight to my Kindle. I much prefer reading on my Kindle already to catching up on my reading online on a laptop. This leads to point #2.
  2. The immersion is excellent: It’s not like reading on a computer or a laptop. There are barely any distractions on the device and it is obscenely close to the view of a book on the eyes and feel that it really is very immersive and that’s exactly what you want in a dedicated reading device.
  3. The screen is unbelievable: See #2 but I had to make this a separate bullet. Everyone who has seen my new Kindle is blown away by the clarity and the ease on the eyes. When you see it in your hands, it does not look electronic!
  4. Barely good enough WiFi: I don’t want the distraction of WiFi, but it’s nice to have. The Kindle’s WiFi and experimental/beta browser is good enough that you can check a blog or download a book but not fast enough that you would choose surfing over reading what you already have on your device.
  5. Convenience of obtaining new books: I can download a book in less than a minute! There are close to 2 million free, out of copyright, books available from Dostoyevsky to Augustine to Calvin to Dracula. It’s incredible. I can have a free copy of Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews for 99 cents and most are literally $0.

The Kindle is soon to be available at Best Buy and Target. Use that as an opportunity to get a feel for it and also take a look at the other devices. My money is still on the Kindle but newer versions could be coming out even faster now. Also, the E-reader competition is heating up immensely and some have predicted that the Kindle could be below $100 by Christmas.

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