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Ask HN: How do you keep track of articles you want to read?
57 points by pastaking on July 29, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments
When I browse HN, I usually pick out a few articles I want to read from the front page, then email the links to myself to read later.

This method works out pretty well for me. I’m wondering if people have other strategies that work better?

I used Instapaper (https://www.instapaper.com/), then moved to Pocket (https://getpocket.com/) to take advantage of the social features, then moved back to Instapaper for no really good reason. Pocket still looks nicer and the apps are more reliable, in my experience.

They both allow you to save the full text of an article to read later, as well as archiving and organizing articles you've already read. They sync to phones, so most of my reading actually happens on public transit. Pocket can also sync to a Kobo ebook reader; not sure about Kindle, but I wouldn't be surprised if it worked with them, too.

I'm a fan of Pocket as well. It's what I use. It's also easy to quickly look up old articles I've read or to find new content to read via recommended/explore option.

Plus you've got that whole cross-platform thing.

I open them in a new tab and come back to them when ready. This ensures I’ll actually read them relatively soon. Bookmarks would be forgotten about by me and some more involved method seems like overkill.

What if I have 6 chome windows each with 10-30 tabs?

Switch to firefox. I have one window with over 1000 tabs, and it all takes just 4GB virtual, 2GB resident.

Older versions gave me the incentive to sort things out by slowing down with many tabs or taking too much memory. Now, I unfortunately just accumulate :( At the current rate, I'll likely never get down to 0, as I find more interesting things per day than I can read....

Also, if you still have memory/performance problems, these two addons make a noticeable difference:

- LoadTabOnSelect: Load new tabs on selection. This addon will prevent new tabs from automatically loading, instead loading them on selection.

The intended usage of the addon is to facilitate power-users who open many tabs before viewing, but dislike auto-playing videos (and other annoyances).



- Auto Tab Discard: Use native tab discard method to automatically reduce memory usage of inactive tabs. Auto Tab Discard a lightweight extension that uses the native method (tabs.discard) to unload or suspend browser tabs to significantly reduce the memory footprint of your browser when many tabs are opened.


edit: typos

> LoadTabOnSelect

As this is a built-in feature of Firefox, I'm curious if there are any additional benefits this addon provides?

Edit: Oh, I'm a bit slow, apparently this prevents loading a tab even on the initial click (the built-in option only prevents it on startup). Thanks, looks useful!

The original question is asking about a few articles he/she wants to read later, if you have 180 articles (6 * 30) you want to get back to you’d probably we wise to use an alternate system. Personally I am familiar with the problem the original question asks about and that’s how I find it frictionless to handle. If it’s getting to such a large number as you describe I doubt I’d ever come back to reading them because I’d notice something new I’m interested in too and keep adding to the list.

Linux OS with SSD really gave me a different picture. I have 338 tabs open right now across 5 chrome windows. It is taking up almost all of my RAM but the response is very very quick. I had HDD earlier and my OS used to crash every now and then. Now I keep putting my computer to hibernate/sleep and I am able to retrieve history up until a month.

I rarely have a Chrome window with less than 50 tabs, but at least it'll encourage you to take the time to read the articles.

Switch to Firefox, with the option to load tabs only when they're in focus. Your computer will be very grateful for that.

I use the Tabs Outliner: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabs-outliner/eggk...

Here is a screenshot of my current HN reading list: https://i.imgur.com/KvbucE2.png

It is similar to Tree Style Tabs for Firefox but with some key differences:

- It sits in a separate window and shows the tree for your entire current session. Each Chrome window is a child of the root node.

- It supports indentation via Tab or Shift-Tab and has several useful keyboard shortcuts

- Rearranging the tabs with the mouse is very precise. Indentation can also be controlled this way.

- It uploads the entire tree to Google Drive periodically and manually. This way I can move my tab tree between computers with a simple drag and drop.

- It can unload tabs or entire sub-trees (the green X icon in the screenshot). This makes extensions like The Great Suspender obsolete and I can still keep my gigantic tree hierarchy without eating all my RAM.

It became nagware, which among several other (mis)features was a killer.

Do you mean that it repeatedly asks for payment? I purchased a license long ago and did not know how bad it treated free users in recent versions.

That being said, I still do not regret for paying for this extension. It is still the only browser extension I ever paid for and just like back then with Tree Style Tab for Firefox this is the extension that keeps me from switching away from Chrome.

It broke flow, which is the greater offense.

I've not used it in years.

I use Firefox everywhere.

When using phone, during commute to/from the job, I send links to desktop using Firefox's built in feature.

When using desktop at the job, I read articles instantly or send them to desktop at home.

At desktop at home I have Panorama View extension [1] to avoid tab clutter.

I plan to install Wallabag [2] on my server to have place to categorize and store already read articles.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/pl/firefox/addon/panorama-view/ [2] https://wallabag.org/

> I read articles instantly or send them to desktop at home.

From phone to desktop? Is it possible in an iPhone?

I don't.

I have started bookmarking 10 years ago everything I find interesting, thinking I would be able quickly to read them later, and now, 10 years later, I have 34.000 bookmarks, of which there is at least 32.000 I am still waiting to read in depth.

But it's changing. I took some "vacations" to focus on closing this gap, and do it full time for the past days. So hopefully there will soon be "only" 1000 "to-read-soon" articles in my bookmarks ;)

That being said, I recommend you using "Shaarli" (with extensions available for all browsers and on iOS and Android) as your read-later system, I found it to be pretty useful and effective.

I use "Push to Kindle"[1] (available as both a browser extension and mobile app) to push articles to my Kindle for later reading.

[1] http://fivefilters.org/kindle-it/

Push to Kindle is great. I've built simple CLI app [0] to send articles directly from my terminal (using Push to Kindle). It works from Gnome Shell run command prompt too.

[0] https://github.com/silenc3r/url2kindle

For the most part I use Pocket because my Kobo ereader supports it. However if it supported Instapaper I would swap in an instant.

I've found Pocket often skips bits of text, usually bullet point items which I'm assuming it things are navigation menus or something. Really annoying. Instapaper does much better with this.

Every now and again it also finds an article it cannot extract the main content from. In that case it never ends up on my ereader, and there’s no obvious indication that there is a problem.

For either of those cases I save with Instapaper and use Erudite[1] to convert it to an epub.

To track my readying habits, I wrote a little PHP browser based application that interfaces with the Pocket API (and the hn.algolia.com API). Once I’ve read an article I archive it. Then when I’m back at my computer I run my app, which lists the archived articles, any related Hacker News pages, and lets me manage the articles (delete, save locally, etc.). It makes it easy for me to follow up and read the HN discussions after I’ve found the time to read the article.

Naturally I called it Pocket Lint.

[1] https://evanmclean.com/software/erudite/

I use a text file named "read". I store links as a list. When I have read them and it was worth storing I move it to a subsection called read and write notes or copy content if necessary. It looks somewhat like this:

    # To Read
    - [ ] [Ask HN: How do you keep track of articles you want to read?](https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17637835)
    # Read
    - [x] [why children aren’t behaving and what you can do about it](https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/06/02/611082566/why-children-arent-behaving-and-what-you-can-do-about-it)
    This is a short interview with the author of the book “The Good News About Bad Behavior“. It’s interesting how the author talks about disciplining kids.
The good thing about plain text is you can create any organizing method you like. If you want tags just create them :) If an article was useless I remove it. It uses basic github flavoured markdown format that I can render if I want to.

Someday I plan to automate it using a firefox plugin.

are you using this method when mobile too?

I've tried many others and always end up back at email to name+toread@domain.tld. After I read it and if I want to keep it for reference, I tag and archive it, otherwise just archive it. I'd like to move from tags to a personal knowledge database with full text search, but I haven't been sufficiently motivated to set it up.

I favorite them, and I made an api for HN user favorites. I pull into other software.

It’s free to use also https://github.com/reactual/hacker-news-favorites-api

Feedly (https://feedly.com) works great for me. I browse all my RSS feeds in the app and whatever seems interesting, I can tag it to read later.

I use rss feeds + a rss reader. I have a 2 step process: i read headlines and tag interesting articles as "read later". Every now and then i go through this read later list, read some of the articles, and star the ones i want to save. I use the rss reader/news aggregator Aktu (https://aktu.io),shameless plug: i built it, but Feedly (https://feedly.com/) is a good option too.

1. Both Pinboard and Pocket as my main bookmarklet storage. They're just storage but not necessary to read them all.

2. Instapaper and emailthis as my "to read" tools. Instapaper is very nice for article readability (better than pocket) and emailthis as article storage, or sometimes needs to send out to friends or colleagues.

3. Zotero as main research or pdf keeper.

4. I don't use Evernote now because I already bumped into their 100,000 limitation three years ago.

5. Please remember to use "star" or "Love" to pin your important bookmarks. It'll help someday.

I use Feedly for reading selected sites, it allows for tagging articles to organize for later reading. * https://feedly.com/

Pearltrees I use to organize things I find outside of Feedly. * https://www.pearltrees.com/

Both have apps and Pearltrees has a Chrome plugin.

I used the Firefox extension "Scrapbook", until the switch to web extensions killed support for it.

It was quick. And it saved a local copy; no worry about stuff "going away". I might get back to it sooner, or I might a considerable time later. Regardless, it would be there.

Things like this differentiated Firefox and promoted much support of it from its user base.

In short, it's my god-damned client/user-agent, and it should do what I want.

(And I thank all the developers who helped enable that. It is, was their creation.)

I welcome progress. But, taking away useful features like this, does not feel like progress.

P.S. Yes, my thanks and all that, don't really suffice.

However all the credit and blame shakes out, we've got a composite medium that seems, in important aspects, to be becoming more transitory. Things disappear. It's harder to "keep up with the flow". Noise and rank-gaming and all.

And (thinking of another recent round of comments on Google search results), I guess search isn't "sexy" anymore. Not for Web content, at least.

It depends. For a lot of content on HN, I simply save to Pinboard with a tag. Most of that never gets read, but when I happen to need to work on something that uses, say, a graph database, I’ll review my “database” tag bookmarks to see if there’s anything useful there.

If I actually intend to read the content of the link and not just potentially return to it later if needed, I’ll save to Instapaper, which is configured to automatically create a Kindle-formatted digest of all the links and send it directly to my Kindle on Friday mornings. It’s like a mini-magazine of only articles I care about.

Some other commenters have suggested other “Send to Kindle” options, but I prefer this because those create a single Kindle item per article, while Instapaper’s digests compile a whole weeks worth (or more, the length of time is configurable) of content into a single Kindle “book”.

Books : amazon wishlist Internet content : bookmark Anything else : gtd personnal archive system

Little trick : telegram has a "saved messages" chat where you can write messages, including photos, audio and video. It works offline, automatically synchronize when you get online with all telegram instances.

You can put a direct shorcut to it on your android home screen, meaning you have a synchronized multimedia in-basket system between all your devices. I just dump all my random thougths or todo in it to sort it out the next morning.

So somebody talk about something i might wanna read ? I just take 2s to dumo it into the chat and forget about it. Later, i review it, assess if i really want to read it, and if yes, i put it in the proper list.

I open them in a separate tab, then occasionally think about reading some of my tabs when I have time in the future. Then occasionally my browser crashes such that it loses the open tabs, thus cleaning up. And thus I start anew.

I like Linkpack: https://www.linkpack.io/

It syncs to Dropbox, so I own my data, it's a nice interface over that.

I use Safari as my daily browser so I end up just using the Reading List feature. It works well, but if you want more options like tagging/categorizing then it's a no go.

Bookmarks bar folder on chrome.

Don't see the need for a specialized app, which I would enthusiastically install and then never touch again.

I use Org Mode so I have a plain text file called todo-bookmarks.org with a list of links to the articles I want to read.

I read what I have time for at the moment and that’s it. I accept that I won’t ever be able to read or even do all the things I want in life and just take it moment by moment. If something seems important than I use my built in memory to remember it later. If it’s very important then I make time for it now.

Newsblur. You put the HN RSS in its feeds, and you have a folder for saving stories and/or tagging them.

Second newsblur, its awesome; My two missing features is adding a random website (not an rss / mailing-list article), and storing the article text for offline/archive.

I am a paying customer, planning to run my own instance when I have the time, but it's been so reliable that I just can't prioritize switching to my own instance over other stuff...

Thanks! Looks neat, will try that one out.

I add articles to Instapaper using the Chrome and iOS extensions. Then in Instapaper I highlight key phrases/takeaways which get automatically added (via IFTTT) to a new Evernote note for each article. I periodically review these notes to reinforce the takeaways (ie. spaced repetition).

I use Instapaper but I have also recently started trying out Pocket. These tools are effective since it is very easy to set a bookmark let to save articles for later.

One great thing about them is that they allow you read articles offline and without ads and in the format you want such as black background.

I like to use tiddlywiki to keep track of stuff like that. It is super flexible and it is easily self hostable. Therefore, I don't have to worry about some startup going out of business but I still have the benefits of advanced features like tagging, full text search, etc.

I pin the tab in Chrome, then move most (when eventually not read) to a bookmark folder called 'Tsundoko', never to be seen again.

This means the most important ones are read, and the ones that don't matter are no longer taking up my "background" attention.

Google Keep browser extension.

I store my "jotted notes" of all kinds in Keep, and one of my labels is "toread", while the one for videos is "towatch". Keep works for me since it's cloud-based, free, and works across iOS and Android.

I use a simple TXT file formatted as YAML that is a part of my organization system: https://github.com/galfarragem/superfolder

Interesting. Nowadays I manage only three TXT files: one for bookmarks, one for notes and one for calendar/todos. Less is definitely more but having just one file is too extreme.

I 'tree shake' them agressively to be always under ~2K lines and keep them maintainable.

The |favorite| link on each story is one way. The advantage, it is integrated to HN.

I have a bookmark folder and within that folder i have multiple folders “philosophy”, “politics”, etc. Moreover, i have Evernote i created a a note book called “Inbox” where random articles are saved in to read later.

I use Snooze (a Chrome extension). Some articles I'll snooze for when I get home from work. Other articles I snooze until the Saturday.

If you haven't heard of Snooze, be sure to give it a try [1].

[1] No affiliation to the Snooze extension.

I use the favorite link, as mentioned in the other comment, but I also use Pocket, and its chrome extension. I have the app on my phone, and my e-reader downloads my pocket saves for me to read offline.

I get most of my articles by Feedly and save them there if they are short or time relevant like news, but I use Pocket for any articles which are longer and more in-depth.

I save anything that looks interesting in Pocket and sort it out later. My to-read list never gets bigger than 10 articles. Other people seem to struggle with this.

I bookmark them into a folder named "Reading List". If after two weeks, I haven't read it, then I reconsider if it needs to be kept.

I use a own instans of wallabag(wallabag.org)

I like to save the page as .mhtml file by Chrome, and I can read it later offline or even the author delete the article.

As an open source alternative to poket, you can use wallabag. Or you can store url through shaarli too...

I'be been favouriting them since the feature was added.


I confess though that I haven't actually gone back and read any yet.

The Google Keep Chrome extension is a handy way to save articles that I want to read later.

I forward the link to the "Saved Messages" chat on Telegram. Nifty Feature.

You just add them to your favorites ... Remove them later if you dont like them ..

New tabs in browser, and the "onetab" add-in to keep lists of links.

I use a app which I have written especially for this stash.bobbydreamer.com

Yup...this is how I do it too actually for all sites

Instapaper or newsblur save

thats what browser tabs are for, open 10-100 and read thru the day

F-Droid, Bulkshare

I use Pocket.




Feedly is awesome in terms of keep track of sources, and saving article for general "Read Later" as well as specific tags (can add multiple to any article). Highly recommend for gerneral content aggregation / sorting.

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