After trialling a number of reading applications, I’ve come to the conclusion that Read It Later (now Pocket) is also the best way to Keep Articles For Later—for future reference, that is
Then I read a tweet by Mandy Brown that begged a question and changed everything.
Think slimmer, faster Delicious without the shiny bits
Of the dozens of apps I’ve bought or signed-up for over the past 12 months, I have a feeling Pinboard is going to stick around for some time.
It works like Delicious, because it’s based on the Delicious API. It just doesn’t look like Delicious. Pinboard is reminiscent of ‘earlyweb’ pages, but with better typography. Advertising, annoying pop-ups and that ever-present pressure to feel you have to interact with others are all absent. You can interact with other users if you want to, but on your terms.
An elegant, clean writing app that requires some external cosmetic work to take it to the next level
I’ve tinkered with iA Writer* for an hour. It takes less time than that to discover and use all of its features.
Read the default document that appears when you first launch iA Writer; it contains all you need to know.
Once you’ve digested its contents—in a little under two minutes—sit back and feel hard done by. You’ve just bought an app that does… well, it does very little. But therein lies the beauty of iA Writer—its simplicity.
In an environment where reputations and relationships thrive on sharing, such as the internet, giving credit where it’s due should be high on your list of priorities
As I write, over on Google+ Jason Calacanis is accused of breaking some unwritten rules—and possibly some written ones, too*.
Calacanis’s crime, according to his accusers, is ‘post theft’, taking posts made by others and passing them off as his own. With 100,000+ followers—and I don’t even know who he is—it makes you wonder why someone would need to do such a thing. What’s wrong with just sharing the original, or at least giving some form of credit?
It makes me wonder if his huge following on G+ is as much to do with his ‘borrowing’, as it is his achievements elsewhere.
With web standards pretty much front and centre, isn’t it about time developers/designers turned some of their attention towards what appears to be a pretty ‘standardless’ digital creation, the ebook?
Publishers want us to buy ebooks because they are cheap to produce compared with their analog equivalent; production costs are minimised and logistical costs, such as storage and delivery, all but disappear. In other words, publishers are very happy with the ebook format. It saves them time; it saves them money; it saves them caring.
I’ve read ebooks using a variety of e-reader-type applications: Digital Editions, Kindle for Mac/iPad, Kobo, Readmill, Stanza. Each, with the exception of ebooks delivered in PDF format, has looked like the work of a designer who would be happier laying bricks. Yet the designers in question are respected for their work, both for print and digital media.
The ebook experience should be better than the printed book experience. It should be a treat to look at, and offer the bonus features you would expect of a digital product, such as web links, highlighting, notation and electronic bookmarking. While the latter features seem to be taken care of in many cases, the visual appeal has been neglected in every case I’ve come across.
My three latest ebook buys—HTML5 for Web Designers, CSS3 for Web Designers and Adaptive Web Design—are perfect examples. When you pick up a printed book, it’s not normal to come across headings at the bottom of a page, separated from their content; nor are widows and orphans. It’s not normal to have captions divorced from their pictures. Justified, hyphenated text might be fine when the dimensions of the finished product are fixed, because the designer has greater control. But it tends not to work when the page width is flexible.
I think the solutions to some of these problems lie in InDesign’s ‘Keep options’ (open the ‘Paragraph style’ palette; double-click a style; see left panel). (There was something similar in QuarkXpress when I last used it.) And in the designer taking a common sense approach to ebook design, like switching off hyphenation and setting text ragged for ebook output.
Unlike the publisher, as a reader I am not very happy with ebook formats at the moment.
This post first appeared in my Google+ stream.