Bill’s done it again! In the very same thread that inspired my last post, Bill responded to my question about the differences between Evernote and Instapaper in a very insightful way. I have been using Evernote since 2008 on all of my various machines and phones, in fact Evernote was the first application I downloaded when my wife gave me my iPad back in August of last year. Evernote has also been a common theme across many of the posts since starting this blog back in June; this post in particular focused directly on how to use Evernote as a ubiquitous capturing tool for digital information. Let’s just say that I was fairly confident in my ideas and my process for keeping track of my stuff. And, this is exactly why blogs and digital publishing can be better than the printed word with regards to technology… things change really quickly as bigger minds like Bill’s figure new ways of doing things! Thanks Bill for giving me yet another topic for a post!
Here is a brief excerpt of Bill’s response to my question about Evernote vs. Instapaper:
“InstaPaper is tilted toward the “read later” axis, whereas, Evernote is a comprehensive capture, store, organize, retrieve model that supports many types of digital artifacts. … InstaPaper has one additional benefit – it can provide a queue of content you want to read and catch up on. It helps you focus on just the important reading tasks you may queue up for a trip. Evernote is more of a warehouse of stuff so there are many distractions to the idea that it could be used for reading. “
Interesting ideas. I kind of sat on this for a day or so and considered all of the ways I attempt to capture information for “later” consumption. As I had written, I use Evernote to capture web pages I come across at work or at home. I also archive important emails to Evernote using the Outlook Evernote Macro in addition to emailing articles that I receive through various mailing lists. The problem is that these are not the only places I gather and process information. I spend lots of time on twitter via Hootsuite on the iPad and UberSocial on my Blackberry and have gotten into the habit of flagging interesting tweets as “favorites” so that I can read them later on the iPad in my “favorites” window. This works, but the information must be processed in Hootsuite which is really just a sophisticated twitter client that displays the shared URLs is a browser window; i.e. an active internet connection is required AND I have to read the articles in a browser rather than a “reader” application.
Instapaper changes all this and acts exactly how Bill describes above; as a intermediary processing application equally comfortable online or offline. And, the reading interface is nearly as pleasing as a Kindle (well, sort of) and equally as pleasing as the Amazon reader or the iBooks reader on the iPad.
Here is my new flow starting today:
- Find something that I want to read on the internet (work computer, iPad, Blackberry, etc.)
- Send the information to Instpaper using the appropriate interface (bookmark on computer and iPad, email using a special address, email a tweet from the twitter client)
- Read later on Instapaper
- Decide to: a. Delete, b. Favorite, c. Archive to Evernote, d. Send to someone else
That’s it! Instapaper automatically pulls the full web page from the shared URL or Tweet and places the text in a format that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate. I then get to read the information and decide what is appropriate for deep archiving in Evernote. The real advantage here is exactly what Bill describes above; Instapaper becomes a processing queue and a MUCH better interface to digest information than Evernote.
Sign up for your free Instapaper account today and give it a try on your computer. If you like how it works go ahead and download the client for your iPad and tell me what you think.
P.S. Please check out Bill’s blog at ipadCTO.com. Trust me, you will learn a lot about the iPad..specifically how it can be utilized in the executive suite!
Here are a couple of pictures to show you a graphical representation of my workflow:
My Reading Queue:
A Tweet I sent to Instapaper
Archive to Evernote