I Have A Crush On You, Instapaper I couldn't sleep a couple nights ago, and finally got around to installing Instapaper for iPhone and for Firefox, and I am totally in love with this program.
No, that's not quite right. I'm not in love with it. I don't know it well enough. I think that, over time, our relationship will deepen and expand and we will be in love. Right now, I just have a massive crush on it.
Instapaper fills a role so seemingly limited that I'm surprised that anyone else but me thought to invent it. Instapaper is specifically designed so that you can flag long articles and set them aside for later reading when you have free time. And it does so so you can read articles when you don't have any internet access--like, say, on the subway, or the office bathroom that inexplicably lacks a signal. It saves your location within the articles, so all you have to do is open it up, read through, and continue on from where you were before.
That sounds simple, and for the reader it really is quite simple. The back-end for it must be significantly more complicated, though, because if you open up an article in, say, the New Yorker, and hit the "read later" bookmarklet, the entire article will be uploaded, even if it is spread out over fifteen pages. And it works out without any hitches that I've discovered through a bunch of experimentation.
Instapaper is hard to just kind of ease into. People who give it a shot won't see much of the point of it, because you kind of need to throw yourself into it and download a bunch of different things to browse through. It also sucks because the free App doesn't have the really great options, like the ability to remember where you were in an essay. The App is worth the $4.99, though. I am totally crushing on this program.
If you want to give it a shot and want a shitload of essays to bookmark for later reading, just install Instapaper and then go to this site for the 25 best magazine articles written in the English languages. I strongly recommend all the David Foster Wallace essays, the Hunter S. Thompson articles, and the Neal Stephenson article. They are some of the strongest bits of writing I've ever read. I would then move on to the New Yorker, and snag all those articles you've been meaning to read but haven't been able to get to. It will completely replace having a New Yorker subscription for me. And it means i get to read and reread some of the best writing ever. Seems win-win, to me.