Review: Instapaper for NOOK Color

I’ve been using Instapaper for years. It’s a service that lets you save online articles for later reading. Each is presented in a stripped-down, beautiful layout. It’s simple and convenient. It started as a browser-based service and most recently migrated to some Android devices, like the NOOK Color. I’ve been using it on the NOOK Color for about a week, and have identified good and bad about using the service on the device. Here’s my look at Instapaper on the NOOK Color [1. I could not figure out how to take screenshots on this thing for the life of me. Forgive the lousy photos.].

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Mobile Safari Reader vs. Instapaper

Recently I was in a conversation and I asked, “Do you use iOS 5’s Reader function in mobile Safari?”

“Oh no,” was the answer. “I only use Instapaper.”

I use both, as each has its own role. If I want to read an article right away, I’ll do so with Reader. It just looks so good. For example, which would you rather read:

Before...
...after.

On the other hand, I use Instapaper to stash articles I can’t read right away. My question to you is, do you send everything to Instapaper, even if you intend to read it right away, or do use the Reader feature in that situation? Let me know at @davidcaolo.

Maxing out Instapaper

There’s a terrific post up at Practically Efficient today that explores 5 features of Instapaper in-depth, including folders, search, data entry, online extras and iOS tips and tricks. I had no idea I could create my own folders until I read Eddie’s post.

He wraps up with a wish list for future builds, including this gem:

“Add PDF support. PDF are very pesky in my ‘read later’ workflow. If I could somehow ‘pin’ them to my Unread folder in Instapaper, that would be huge.”

I’ve often wished for just that. Go and read the whole article.

The three Safari extensions I love

Since Apple released the Safari Extensions Gallery, we’ve been compiling interesting examples at TUAW. There are many gems in the list, but these are the three that I use daily.

A Cleaner YouTube

This extension removes the visual clutter from YouTube. When you first visit YouTube with the extension enabled, you’re presented with a search box on a white field. That’s it. Enter your criteria and the box is replaced with an orderly list of results. Finally, select one and it’s presented all by itself. The experience is significantly less distracting, and I’ve pretty much had it enabled since I found it last month.

Caveats

Some of YouTube’s functionality is reduced with A Cleaner YouTube enabled. Specifically, YouTube’s recommendations, popular videos and access to the embed code. You can restore any of those features by briefly disabling the extension, but frankly I don’t miss them.

Naked Twitter

Much like A Cleaner YouTube, Naked Twitter’s purpose is to eliminate visual clutter. Once enabled, it removes the trending list, followers, suggestions and anything else that isn’t the actual stream of tweets. Four icons line the top of the page: profile, messages, replies and sign out. Personally, I never use anything beyond those functions, so they’re all I need.

Caveats

As with A Cleaner YouTube, some functionality is  lost. Those who enjoy reading the list of trending topics, for example, will miss it.

Instapaper Beyond [1. Full disclosure: Brett Terpstra, the extensions’s author, is a colleague and a friend.]

I use Instapaper daily.  Instapaper Beyond makes it even more useful by assigning a keyboard shortcut to nearly any action you’d want to perform while using Instapaper in Safari. For example, hit “S” to star or unstar an article, “s” to jump to the next starred article, “m” to move selected articles to a new folder and “u” to bring up all unread articles. It’s immensely useful and time-saving.

Caveats

You must be comfortable with abandoning the mouse. Also, hunt-and-peck typists will find it frustrating. Enjoy.

Each of these deserves your attention, especially if you prefer tidy efficiency.