Sunday, January 6, 2013

iOs Tip: "Reader" and "Reading List"

Here's an iOs 6 tip I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere:

If you receive an email on your iPhone or iPad which contains lots of interesting web links (such as the wonderful weekly digests from Quora, which are a me if you need an invitation to their site), and you don't want to keep switching from Mail to browser to read them, you can touch and hold a link, and you'll be invited to add the link to your "Reading List", which can be accessed from the topmost folder in your Safari bookmarks. You can also send web links to your Reading List straight from Safari.

Along the same lines, "Reader" is a seldom-discussed feature of Safari where the text of a web page is reformatted into comfortably readable form. This is particularly useful if you're reading a busy page on the go, and your finger keeps accidentally hitting links or ads - or the page keeps updating. Just send the article to Reader and you'll have it all rendered in nice stable comfy text (you can also add stuff to your Reading List directly from Reader).

Reader appears to overlap some of the function of Instapaper, but I remain a loyal user of the former (for those who don't know, Instapaper lets you quickly mark articles you find on the web and want to read later; it downloads and formats the text and stores it for later reading on your smart phone, even if you don't have an Internet connection). But both have their uses: Instapaper's the serious industrial-strength tool to store my entire backlog of web article reading, waiting for me to get to it. Safari's "Reader" feature is more of a stop-gap for the stuff I'm reading more or less right now.

It may sound like overkill, but I also use Pinboard to bookmark and archive web pages I may need to refer back to (more detail here). Listen, we all spend lots of time on the web, and the days when your browser's bookmark feature were all you needed to keep track of stuff are long gone. I couldn't manage without all four of these tools: Instapaper, Pinboard, Safari Reader and Reading List.

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