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Instapaper December 19, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Odds and Ends, Reviews, Technology.

When I got my iPhone, the first order of business was to turn it into a portable news delivery medium. An easy enough task, given that NetNewsWire (my desktop RSS aggregator) had an iPhone version. In the process, however, I discovered an altogether better solution that doesn’t even need an iPhone to enjoy.

It’s called Instapaper, a service developed by Marco Arment that allows you to save online articles for subsequent reading. All it takes is an Instapaper account (which is free), a shortcut you add to your browser (which is easy enough to do), and you’re all set to go. If, say, while browsing the Internet you come across an interesting article that you don’t have time to read, you can simply “send it to Instapaper” (using the shortcut) and read it later on by logging on to Instapaper. Think of it like “bookmarking plus,” except that rather than create a bookmark you actually save the entire text content of a webpage for later reading.

Taken together, Instapaper and an RSS feed reader make for a potent combination. An Instapaper account can serve as a temporary archive of articles you’ve found interesting and would like to revisit, like a one-stop-shop for your web-sourced reading that eliminates the hassle of visiting multiple sites. It even allows you to syndicate your archived articles like an RSS reading list. But taken mobile — it has a Kindle version and is already optimized for the iPhone — Instapaper becomes a killer app, allowing you to take your internet reading with you on the go.

The free-to-try version of Instapaper for the iPhone/iPod Touch caps the amount of articles you can take with you at ten (i.e. your Instapaper account may have more, but your device will only download the ten most recent articles you’ve sent to Instapaper). The “pro” version, which only costs $5, allows you to take 250 articles with you and comes with a host of other features — tilt scrolling, text resizing, night mode — well worth the cost.

Easily, Instapaper is a vital tool for those who get their fix of news and information on the Internet, and a must-have app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.


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