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Ask HN: What is your favorite way to read online content?
40 points by MaximumMadness on May 28, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments
I've been spending a bunch of time recently browsing online content now that I'm at home a lot more.

I find that the reading UX between newsletters, news sites, Medium, Reddit etc is super varied.

Is there anyone site that makes reading content particularly enjoyable for you?

I use pocket. It is installed by default in Firefox (my default browser). From there I save the articles I want to read. And then i read them on my Kobo eReader (which syncs pocket saved articles automatically). The perfect combo to save my eyes a few "back-lit screen hours".

Pocket and Kobo as well (with Newsblur for RSS feed aggregation).

That said, if there was an ereader that worked with Instapaper instead I'd probably jump across. Frequently enough Pocket screws up an article which Instapaper handles with aplomb.

Interesting.. I have just the opposite experience. Instapaper sends a weekly epub with my articles to my Kindle. More ofter than not, technical articles (i.e. math, code, many images) do not get converted well, to the point of making some of them completely unreadable.

I use pocket + kobo as well.

I consider my Kobo Forma the most cherished tech purchase I've made in years.

Ditto. Great experience.

I am happily addicted to NetNewsWire 5.0 + Feedbin

I get extremely high quality content and no advertisements, tracking or pop-ups. Also, NetNewsWire is blazing fast.

If you're looking for some RSS recommendations:

[1] An extremely good blog for the latest in Covid related pharmaceutical research: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/

[2] Math with bad drawings: https://mathwithbaddrawings.com/

[3] A blog that analyzes military details in fictional battles: https://acoup.blog/

I don't read much of anything online these days. Most "reading" environments treat you as a user, not a reader. Poor typography, endless scrolling, and an endless supply of content that isn't worth reading in the first place. So I mostly consume text on screen only so that I can accomplish tasks. In other words, "reading" online is a means to an end.

All that said, if I stumble on a long form piece of writing that looks interesting, I'll print it!

I also tend to print anything substantial that I plan on reading. It's just easier on the eyes (though Firefox's reader mode and usejournal.com also help) and I can re-use the blank side of the paper for my notes. After that, it makes an okay fire starter.

I've also started subscribing to magazines and newspapers again. Most of the 'online' content I read is available in print form.

I am very much a fan of the printed word. I've been thinking about it like this: Online, text delivers itself to you, almost always in short-form streams, everything is ephemeral. With a physical book, you have to bring yourself to the text. Language, dialog, form, typography all come together on the page in a way that is highly satisfying. The act of reading printed pages is an "event" of sorts.

Any magazine recommendations?

I really enjoy both the Economist and the New Yorker. They tend to take very different stances on the same issues, but both have really excellent long-form articles that I enjoy. I also recommend hobby magazines (like Shutterbug or Adventure Kayak) that fit with your interests.

This is probably the comment that I resonate the most with - what defines "something worth reading" to you? Part of me feels like theres no way to get to the good stuff without sifting through it all a bit first.

I don't have a standard definition, I just spend time browsing for articles and essays that are aligned with whatever is top of mind at the moment. I might the weird one here, but I think my JSTOR subscription is worth every penny. The variety of content, along with the quality of publications is generally excellent. I stumbled on ETC: A Review of General Semantics recently and I've printed a bunch of articles and essays from their publications, dating back to the 60's. It's good stuff!

Firefox's Reader View, with custom userContent.css to fix the unnecessarily low contrast:

  @-moz-document url-prefix("about:reader") {
    body {
      background-color: #FFFFFF !important;
      color: #000000 !important;
In recent versions of Firefox this requires toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets to be set to true in about:config

The most legible style is the style you're most familiar with, so "design" is almost always a negative. I don't care about your unique branding.

For any text with more than a couple paragraphs, I always hit the "reader mode" button. If a webpage doesn't work with that, I'm not interested.

Like many others I use RSS pretty much exclusively (using native clients on MacOS and iOS). I use reader mode by default in those apps and for my web browser too. HN is the only non-RSS sites read regularly.

The one site I'd like to read but don't is Scott Galloway's -- he doesn't have an RSS feed and it's just not worth visiting the site to see if there's anything new.

I assume you're aware HN has an RSS feed? That's actually how I get to HN. I never actually read the front page directly...

How does that work? I'm interested in the number of votes but I figure once I've cached the feed file that won't change.

Are you using hnrss?

To be honest I don't know! I consume HN's feed at:


But that might just be a feed of things in order of submission...

RSS. Feedly to manage sources. Newsify on iOS and ReadKit on macOS to consume content. Love Newsify's extensions to share and publish

Fraidycat: https://fraidyc.at

helps a lot to read LESS and focus more

Looks interesting, thanks !

My system primarily revolves around Instapaper[0].

If I run into anything that looks like it might be intereseting I save it to Instapaper using the browser extension on my workstation, or the app on my phone / tablet.

I also have a handful of email lists that automatically forward into instapaper, and a couple rss feeds that auto send to instapaper (Via ifttt[1]).

When I want to actually consume content I use the instapaper iPadOS app, which has a simple and clean UI. (This can also be done in your browser if you prefer)

[0]: https://www.instapaper.com/ [1]: https://ifttt.com/

Earlier last year, I wrote a tool which scrapes a ton of web feeds (industry news, news about investments, cooking blogs, etc..) to my email. (shameless plug[0]). Everything gets organised with labels that fit my morning reading workflow well.

Something else I've also been practicing is not letting online reading disrupt me at work. If I ever find my concentration drifting, I use an extension which bookmarks it for later (either Google Keep or Pocket). Usually I have a nice backlog for when I'm in the reading mood.


Push to Kindle [1]. There are extensions for both Chrome and Firefox.

I wrote myself a simple python script so I can send articles from terminal [2].

[1] https://www.fivefilters.org/push-to-kindle/

[2] https://pypi.org/project/url2kindle/

From principles: you want to minimize the left right action of your eyes/neck, to reduce fatigue, and not blast your retinas with a wall of white pixels.

One column of centered text with a non-busy black and white background looks great. For a while I read Amazon books like that because I put the online reader in an iframe.

Now I use a HiSense A5 e-Ink screen with a remote control for page turning and I couldn't ask for more.

I like to read my online content as offline content. Paper prints FTW.

This is mostly aimed at night-time reading and is an extension of f.lux but on linux you can apply custom glsl scripts to the screen with the compton compositor. I invert the screen and then highly red-tint it. This way I get 'native' darkmode on everything black-on-white, without having to depend on developers making a dark mode, buggy userscripts, and it works on all applications, even videos. (https://github.com/JZL/linux-color-inversion)

I have a script which changes my terminal and texteditor colorscheme then calls this script

I like to bound the amount I read (fewer endless scrolling sites) by subscribing to a limited number of email lists.

It prevents fomo, idly browsing sites with content I've already read, etc

And if the content stops being high quality (or starts bring diluted with low quality content), unsubscribing is cheap

Ideally, I would pay ~$1000 per year and have high quality content (no more than 1-2 hours of reading per day) ranging my interests be delivered to my inbox

If something is overly topical, it'll quickly get archived if I didn't end up reading it the day it arrived

Pocket + Kindle. Kindle doesn't do it automatically, but (e.g.) P2K handles the automation side.


This seems like a better free service. http://www.klip.me/sendtokindle/

Will try it out, thanks for the heads up.

Been reading a lot of longer articles and papers lately. If the author doesn't provide a PDF, I roll my own -- using Reader Mode and Print To File. I store a copy in Zotero so I can keep track of things and so I can add notes.

This enables distraction free reading and lets me archive the stuff I'm reading.

Used to have a similar workflow with Polar instead of Zotero, but switched to Zotero.

I'm using Polar for this and am pretty happy with it, especially with the page marks for reading progress and with the highlighting/annotations.

I'm not too familiar with Zotero. Does it have similar features, or do you just use it for storage and read/annotate in your PDF viewer?

Pocket and @Voice apps tts. @Voice allows you to jump through text by double tapping and supports more sites and formats (PDF, etc.), but pocket manages your article list so much better so I use pocky 90% of the time.

Pockets uses a readermode view, so it's non tts UI is nicer, so if you don't care about tts just use pocket.

Firefox reader mode is also nice, Firefox preview is great.

Yes it does, I mostly use pocket for tts, but the ui is worse. If you use android's local you can only skip forward and backwards 15 seconds, and it frequently loses your place if you pause it. @Voice allows you to tap on the text to seek.

I use Innoreader for feeds and a lot of email newsletters. If you don't like things in multiple places, Innoreader can also generate feeds from websites (with mixed results depending on the structure of the website) and can give you temporary emails that you can subscribe to newsletters in so that they'll show up in the same interface.

You can give https://intrgr.com a try. It standardizes the Article format (removing clutter), gives you related articles from around the web, and recommendations if you make an account.

I made it because the web has become unreadable for me.

Disclaimer: Mobile view comes out next week

Pocket + Kobo (my eReader)

Kobo has no RSS client, though, so for catching up on news feeds, Feedly on my Android phone or tablet. But I've largely stopped using Feedly at all, as my backlog would simply get so far that it started feeling like a chore to get through them.

I recommend longform.org for finding great longform article content.

I started aggregating a few finance sites via RSS, and then added twitch trading streams, and some discord servers.

It was my own personal feed for a while, but I've now put it on the homepage of a side project - https://topstonks.com

The author's website. I'm done with big aggregated content platforms, I started using RSS again recently and trend to my own digital garden of blogs and newsletters.

I use Slack's RSS integration to get new articles notifications, then read them as they were intended to be read by the author.

I use a RSS feed aggregator, which I curate with blogs and websites I discover and want to follow.

I find Reeder for iOS to be exemplary in terms of UX. I use inoreader to sync the state and find it to work well as a tool for that.

I get everything I can in there. Email newsletters, hacker news etc are all in here to save my inbox.

For longer articles I save them to pocket and read them on my kobo e-reader.

the nytimes website (with an adblocker) is about as good as it gets for me. my wants are pretty simple:

- nothing jumping around as i try to read, whole article on one page

- decent contrast (accessibility guidelines says >= 4.5:1)

- ~150% line height

- ~80char line width

- ~16pt font size

If anyone has a Kindle and is willing to help us beta test a new RSS/newsletter reading service for the Kindle please email me at the email address in my bio. I would love to get your feedback.

Miniflux + Pocket.

RSS / Atom / Json feeds are the way I subscribe to content and then read it either in Miniflux or Pocket. I rarely visit sites directly.

I save everything to pocket that I want to read later while browsing the web.

I use feedly for RSS feeds that go to pocket.

I have a script that tags pocket articles.

Care to share the script and how it tags the articles? Sounds interesting.

tt-rss (with plugins to inline full content into the feed) + wallabag + calibre RSS push to Kindle (for offline reading of long-form content).


Fwiw, pocket is great. ReadEra is perfect for PDF reading.

RSS in InnoReader (web and Android)

Hacker News, Twitter, and QuiteRSS

RSS using Inoreader



On latest news: I'm hooked on TLDR Newsletter.

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