In an occasional series of blog posts, I suggest a bit of geekery that might just make your tv production life a little easier. Instapaper is one of those little bits web technology I use every day – in my work and personal life.
Instapaper is a bookmarking service that can help organise your weblinks and give you access to those links wherever you are. It works by sending links back to a central server – these are then available on any platform you choose. This is especially useful when researching ideas and stories.
First up go to the Instapaper website and sign up for a free account. When you’ve done that go to the Extras section. Work through this page – as a minimum add the Bookmarklet to your web browser toolbar, download the smartphone app and make a note of your personalised ‘email to Instapaper’ address.
From now on, when you find an interesting link – or one you want to save for reading later – send it to Instapaper via any of the methods you set-up above and it will be accessible on the website or app.
You can also configure many of your favourite desktop and smartphone apps that have Instapaper support built-in. It works well with RSS readers and Twitter clients in particular. I haven’t used it, but it also has features that work with Kindle e-readers.
When reading on a mobile app, the pages are stripped down to the text only. This not only saves on time and bandwidth but also makes articles easier to read – especially on a smartphone. If you prefer, you can still open the original article in a web browser.
Articles can be organised into folders (perhaps by project/story), archived or deleted.
It gets the most use from me when I’m about to get on a plane… send a bunch of links to Instapaper, fire up the App in the terminal so that, when you switch on Airplane Safe Mode, everything is there for off-line reading.
Instapaper is run by a single developer so if you do find it useful, consider making a small donation or becoming a subscriber.