The majority of the internet is filled with crap. Most of this will eventually find its way to Reddit, where it will enjoy 15 minutes in the spotlight and then burn out just as quickly as it rose to fame. A month or two later, whatever it was – probably a “life pro tip”, a picture of a cat or a mutilated body – might be reposted, but most of the people commenting will ignore the actual content just to point out that it’s another repost and soon it will be forgotten once again.
But even though a lot of stupidity is found on Reddit and elsewhere on the internet, every now and then there is actually something interesting or perhaps even useful surfacing. On sites where editors are doing the aggregation, like Slashdot and Digg, the signal-to-noise ratio is even better. In terms of interesting articles, Digg, for instance, is miles ahead of Reddit – even when I’m logged in and only seeing my preferred subreddits.
The challenge with this great content is often that they are long articles. Browsing the internet is more often than not used to pass time between other things. Maybe you’re on the bus for a stop or two or at work waiting for 4 million lines of code to compile. Soon you’ll be off the bus, so reading for half and hour is rarely something you have time for when you see that interesting article. Or to put it in a way generation meme will understand it:
So how to solve this challenge? Well, save it for later, of course!
Fortunately, some bright and intelligent, techy-savvy people realized long ago that finding something you want to read when you didn’t have the time to read it was a problem. Their first solution was the browser bookmark: Simply create a bookmark and return to it later. Great in the time before, the long-long ago, when all you had was a single computer in your living room connected to the internet through an analog modem. Not so great these days, when you browse the internet using your tablet, your mobile phone, your desktop, your laptop and your fridge. If you save a bookmark on you laptop, it would be great if you can use the same bookmark on your phone later.
Modern browsers solve this by allowing you to synchronize bookmarks between browsers on various devices. Chrome, Firefox and Opera are all browsers that lets you do this. If you, for some reason, prefer to use different browsers on different devices, for instance Firefox on you laptop and Opera on your phone, you can use bookmark services like Delicious instead, which allows you to access your bookmarks with any browser.
But there is still one issue that plain bookmarks, whether you’re using browser bookmarks or a bookmarks service, don’t solve: Reading an ad-ridden article designed to be read on a desktop computer on a mobile phone. You often have to zoom in and out, navigate left and right, to read the text. But fear not, this is also easily solvable: Clean view services.
These marvelous services turn any web page into a clean view version for reading later on any device. Ads and huge images are removed and unreadable fonts are replaced with fonts designed for the device you’re using. It’s almost like reading the article in the newspaper or a magazine. I say “almost”, because in my humble opinion, actual paper has yet to be beaten when it comes to the most enjoyable reading experience. But once again, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Personally, I’m using Pocket as my clean view service, but there are many other great options, like Instapaper and Readability. All these services integrate nicely into most modern web browsers, but since you might be using a browser without the proper plugin, extension, add-on or bookmarklet installed, and you might still want to save an article for later that you find on this site, I’ve added a smooth clean service integration you can use.
Simply click on the bookmark symbol under the heading on a post, and you can save it to Pocket, Instapaper or Readability. As everything else here, this is a work in progress, so it might be changed a bit, but as far as I can tell, it’s working as expected. So, come one. Save it. Save everything!