Instapaper

Instapaper is a new online bookmarking service from the creator of Tumblr (which drives my side project The Random Post). Unlike other popular online bookmarking sites, like del.icio.us, Instapaper has no social component, no tags, no bells and whistles. It just allows one to quickly bookmark a page for later reading.

Those who know me know that I am a sucker for any tool that does things in a simple, minimalist way. I love applications that do one thing, do it very well, give you very few features beyond what you absolutely need, thus providing little distraction for the task at hand. Everything about Instapaper is simple. Sign up with an e-mail address or username (no password necessary), drag the “Read Later” bookmarklet to your browsers toolbar, that’s it. Then, as you are surfing, click the bookmarklet while on any page you want to catalog for later reading. When you are ready to read, go to Instapaper, log in with your credentials, and there is everything you marked in a simple, orderly list. Reading an item on the list causes it to drop down to a “Recently Read” list. There is also a button beside the item to “skip” it and read it later (which then creates a “Recently Skipped” list). Brilliant!

The page also looks great on mobile devices like the (coveted) iPhone or the (beloved) Nokia N800/810. Therefore, when you find yourself stuck waiting somewhere and you have some internet access, you can whip open Instapaper and have something to occupy your time.

After using it for only a few hours I must admit what a revelation this is to me. Previously, I spread such things across multiple services with no real system of followup or easy from anywhere access. I have since, gone through all of those other places and added those items to Instapaper.

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