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Show HN: clipboard.com, the best way to save anything online
104 points by Shalen on May 23, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments
We are longtime members of HN and this is our only submission requesting feedback from the HN community on our product, Clipboard which we have been developing for the past year. Clipboard is a service to save anything online using a bookmarklet or browser extension (think Dropbox for content on the web). Clipboard is built using open source technologies, including Riak, Redis, NGINX, Node.js, and jQuery. One of our core differentiators is how we preserve the visual look and functionality of the original source, which is evident in the sample clips from github here: clipboard.com/site/github.com and hacker news here: clipboard.com/site/news.ycombinator.com

We are still in private beta but we'd love your feedback. Visitors from HN can access and register on our site directly at clipboard.com/register?token=hn. You can also reach us via email at support@clipboard.com.

Very slick setup && service! My one question: are there any safe-guards against people sharing sensitive information hidden in the html, e.g. user-auth tokens (like the ones you can find in HackerNews up-vote links: http://clipboard.com/clip/LQjwmHJQNjxVAYYPgQzmbPAYrMjpkkHdOT...)? Is this even a practical security concern?

How much did you pay for the domain, and how was it acquired?

Clipboard seems to be what Gary Flake left Microsoft for. If he didn't happen to own the domain already, I'm sure he had the resources to acquire it.

I bought it around January of 2011, when I knew I was going to move forward with the concept. It seems kind of tacky to share the amount, but it cost about 5-10x less than what most people guess, as the previous owner was extremely reasonable.

Amazing effort, @gmf & team. Super impressed & for years i have cribbed there is not a good way to save, with context, really AWESOME & insightful HN comments, for future perusal, archiving & searching.

IMHO, it does not seem tacky at all to share the amount, especially as a fellow hn reader explicitly asked to know it.

Obviously, you have every right, no to disclose it, for whatever reason.

What a silly response. It's not a tacky question, and you just don't want to say for understandably selfish reasons.

The rest of the world would still like the data point.

No one has an obligation to tell you about their private financial transactions because you want a "data point."

Obviously there's no obligation. It was just a smug move to decline to share the price.

This is cool!I really like the clipping interface. I tried everynote before a while back and it didn't feel as good.

Just a side thing, you sent me two emails: An email confirmation and a Welcome To Clipboard email. Would it be possible to join the two together, or forgo the latter? I'm just tired of getting so much email.

It looks really good. You seem to have the potential for the pinterest/delicious tagging stuff, but I don't know anything about that stuff. Another rant: when you delete a clip, it just deletes and displays the empty page, would be better if you went back to Home.

I wish you guys luck!

Thanks for the compliment and finding a good bug (deleting from a clip page). I don't know why we didn't fix that sooner. Already rolled out a fix.

Regarding the welcome email and the confirmation email, we saw a hacker news post that shared we'd have better success when the confirmation email had a clear and actionable subject. http://clipboard.com/clip/LQiJMrYD7dhXX8DWhgOoKa8A2PHm_0fHaw...

Not sure if you guys are still reading this thread, but I've got an extensive collection (3k+ images) that I've already stored up on Lookwork, in addition to hundreds of posts on Snip.it.

Clipboard finally looks like an end-all be-all for these types of services, but my problem with getting involved in yet another curation site is that I have these thousands of posts with their own tags already. Will there be any future efforts to allow the mass-upload / transfer of this content? I'd love to use the site but I can't pull myself away from two other dedicated services I've put years of effort into.

Edit: Actually, upon populating my feed and checking out the public posts, I'm not sure how this is any different from Snip.it and how the content is any better than the regurgitation on Pinterest or Piccsy. Also the layout is really busy and turned me away quite quickly.

Snip.it's primary feed is at least dictated by staff members who have gone through and vetted that the user's posts are substantial enough to warrant showing them on the front page as a means of proving quality. Much like I told the founders in the Piccsy thread, I think it is hard to launch a service like this when so many exist and your content looks the same and is equally unfulfilling. Piccsy's response was that users would do the legwork to enhance their experience, and my retort was that users don't want to bother doing all of this extra work when tomorrow another site like this will launch with higher quality content and a better layout. Thoughts?

I think that it's a very nicely formatted product. You've done some really interesting things with laying out the content. That said, I have a few issues:

Mobile - I often consume this kind of "clippable" content on a mobile device. It's limited in usefulness since it's just a browser extension (which doesn't exist on my Android)

Clipping UI - It can be frustrating to try and clip just the parts of a page that i want. The clipping box moves around seemingly randomly. I'd expect it to work similar to how a screenshot tool works, (a rectangular square on the screen) but it appears to be scanning for parts of the web page and then offering those parts as suggestions. This makes it difficult to just clip what I want.

Readability - On the "pinterest" board view (sorry - that's how I think of it) - the text is dramatically shrunk, and the headlines are often clipped. So I've got no idea what some of the clipped articles are about, unless I click them.

If there was a way to summarize the text instead of showing a thumbnail of the whole thing, it might be more useful. That technique (thumbnails) seems to work well on pics, but not on text oriented clips.

When I do click them, they appear in a lightbox view. The URL doesn't change unless I click through again to another view. It'd be good to have a linkable URL in lightbox views so I could share easier.

Nice work though, good luck with it. Also, I would love to hear more about developing your site in NodeJS .

Hi tarr,

Mobile - we've recognized the need for a mobile app so it's on the future roadmap

Clipping UI - we have heard mostly positive feedback on the rectangular clipping box. You could also use your mouse wheel to select desired portion of the page to clip. Of course, this feature is not very discoverable (yet) but it does make it very easy to clip.

Your points on enhancing readability for text clips and light box are spot on. We have heard similar feedback in usability study and we will see what we can do to address it while maintaining overall consistency and design of our product.

Thanks for your feedback.

A bit of feedback - the first thing I see is a message saying "you need to create your account", which put me off. It would be nice if I could save a few things immediately with an auto-generated temporary account, accompanied by a "sign-up to keep what you've saved" message. Otherwise, it's difficult to know whether it's a service I'd find useful.

Couldn't agree more! Here's my feedback:

If I see a big page that tells me "first things first - you need to create your account" before I even know what this site is, you lost me. The next website is just a click away, or in this case, the closing of a tab away.

I've also tried the http://clipboard.com/site/news.ycombinator.com link another HN'er posted here, and I get an empty page. Oh, right, that must be because I'm using NoScript, but it would be nice if you had some kind of fall-back for such a case?

This is useful feedback for lowering the barrier to entry and we will consider this for our future product roadmap. Thanks.

How is this notable? Not trolling, serious question. Whom do you see using this and why would they not use existing alternatives?

Hey, I'm one of the developers working on Clipboard.

There certainly are a lot of other bookmarking and web clipping services out there, but I'll tell you what I think makes Clipboard special.

1) Lightweight workflow - The bookmarklet is lightweight and easy to use. While I can easily annotate, tag or share my clip at creation time, I can also decide to skip all that and just save it with a single click. Personally, when I want to save something, I want that to be as frictionless as possible - I'll think about organizing it later.

2) Style - Clips preserve the style of the original content. Whether it's a facebook post, amazon product listing or tweet, your clips retain the look and feel of the original content. I find that to be really helpful when I'm scanning a page of clips - I can quickly recognize lots of pieces of content without reading any text.

3) Functionality - Lots of sites let you save a url or an image, but Clipboard clips are full HTML. This means links are active, flash embeds will play inline, text is fully indexed (which is very powerful for recall) etc...

4) Granularity of privacy - Clipboard makes it easy to save for yourself, share privately with one or a handful of people (via @ mentions), or publish clips to share them with the world. I think it's fair to say that most other services out there are heavily geared towards private or public without much middle ground.

FYI, and I said this to Ken as well - I kind of think your reliance on a bookmarklet is a pretty big downer. Personally, I really, really don't like bookmarklets in general, but even moreso because I don't use a bookmark bar. I didn't use Instapaper, for example, until I found a good Instapaper extension for my browser. As it is, it really doesn't do a lot for me that just grabbing a bookmark doesn't, because I have to go out of my way to do it.

We actually do have a chrome and firefox extension. You can find them at http://clipboard.com/tools

That said, we haven't put the chrome extension in the webstore yet because we haven't yet opened up the service for public signup. As soon as we do it'll be in the chrome store.

I've made an Opera extension for you as well. Where's the best place to send it?

Shoot me a mail, ken@.

Thanks, done.

What do you see as existing alternatives? I can say, there are Instapaper and Pinterest, for example, but they both differ from this one.

Gimme Bar (https://gimmebar.com/) was the first service that came to mind. That's just based on my initial impression of Clipboard. I haven't used it yet.

Pocket (formerly Read It Later)

You need an ipad client, thats where a lot of content consumption happens, especially long form.

One feature which i really like about Pocket, is it saves a parsed copy locally on the ipad.

So i can "save"/ clip a bunch of links/articles, i want to read & then i can read them later, even when i dont have internet access (e.g. on a tarin/metro)

Very impressed with the product. All the best.

Thank you tuxguy. We currently don't have apps for iPhone and iPad but your feedback is certainly useful and we will consider it for our future product roadmap.

It's not a web service, but I recommend and use Scrapbook[1] to achieve similar ends (aside from the sharing part).


I would say Snip.it would be a good alternative to this, especially since I already use it a fair amount for sharing and finding web content. I'm interested in signing up to see the difference though.

Yes, on the surface it seems to be similar to Pinterest, Instapaper, Evernote and possibly even plain old bookmarks. A comparison between the services would be helpful.

For text, http://readon.ly/ is somewhat similar.

readability has a new service called http://readlists.com/ which i just started trying and it seems pretty nice, basically it lets you create a list of of urls then export them as an epub/mobi and email it directly to your phone/tablet.

(me shilling Lookwork again)

Striking resemblance to Slash7's Charm logo: http://charmhq.com/ ?

We worked with the awesome Jackson Fish Market for the logo about a year ago. Someone pointed out the Charm logo to me later on, and I thought it was best to just live-and-let-live, since the two services have no similarity. I know that we came up with logo independently, and I can only assume that given their reputation that they came up with it independently as well. So it goes; stuff happens; you move on.

That said, I like our logo and I think it makes sense in that the union of the heart and paperclip strongly relates to the act of saving. But I don't quite get the Charm logo; for me, it doesn't really connect to what I understand their product to be. In any case, it's all good.

Pretty cool concept. I love the flowing endless canvas on the public page, it's what I wish Reddit and HN had. If clipboard.com fails, you could always pivot and pitch that component as a SaaS for aggregators and blogs, or something.

Some UX suggestions: I sign up, and I said I wanted to follow music, programming, and tech, but I get to the Home page and I don't see any way to see others' content based on that subscription. Sure, I haven't clipped anything yet, but you already have the content at Public, so why not show me what you can do right away? Also, it's unclear that I need to click the Visit button to visit a post. Think of Reddit Enhancement Suite: it shows inline pictures, but if you click anywhere on the picture or on the link itself, it takes you to the original source. Here, clicking the picture does nothing.

Both are good UX suggestions and we will consider them. Thank you!

I've been using clipboard in the beta for a while now, and there is a lot I like. I have a few people I work with who also use it, and my biggest piece of feedback is that while it is very handy for me and for creating "boards" of things I can show someone, I still don't feel like I know how to use it in a team or company setting. We end up clipping similar things or tagging almost-but-not-quite the same way, and in the end I don't have a way to coordinate across accounts on a team.

All that being said, I love sharing design samples with Clipboard when I am kicking off a project with a customer. It helps us scan the landscape and discuss the early plan. So it is useful for work, but I'd love if there was an easier way to collaborate. Or are there features I should be using differently?

Hi Jenn, today, you can share and collaborate on your private or public clips with your friends by typing “@” in the annotation box and completing on their username. The shared clips will then appear in the "Shared" tab for both of you. I agree with your feedback overall. We do intend to make group collaboration easier and intuitive in the upcoming product roadmap. Thanks for sharing.

This was not clear to me.

@ followed by their fb &/ twitter username ?

OR their clipboard username ?

their clipboard username.

I like the concept and that there's depth behind the glitz. Hopefully users will progress along the path from savers (useful initially in its own right as a bookmarking service) to sharers (more useful as more users join).

Here are some observations on sign-up and initial use:

Sign-up: Feedback for good field input shows check mark with FF 12 but missing font square for IE 8 and Chrome 21 dev.

Sign-up: Too soon to ask me to access my social accounts. We just met. No trust established. At least it's optional, though.

Sign-up: Bookmarklet installation guidance is slick.

Operation: Clipping via bookmark bar works very well. I like the subpage selection interface.

I'll have to play more to appreciate it all but wanted to get an initial reaction out for you. Nice job.

What operating system were you using when you couldn't see the check mark? Were you on a native Windows OS or inside a VM?

Also, glad you liked the bookmarklet installation nags. :)

Native Windows XP for all three browsers mentioned (which I have to pull up all too frequently during dev myself, unfortunately).

Nothing happens when I click the "Request an Invitation" button.

Edit: There it goes, but it took a few seconds. Also, when I mashed the button four times, four "Email Address" boxes popped up: http://i.imgur.com/Y1s9q.png At least give me some indication that something's happening if you must delay like that.

Edit 2: Same thing happens when I "Submit" my email address, again with no indication that you got my address except for an unfriendly "Invitation already requested for....." message.

I'm on Luakit (which is just webkit, like chrome)

looking into it.

This is excellent, I particularly enjoyed the interactive bookmarklet installation - simple, but really powerful!

This idea (or similar concept) was actually proposed to me my brother a few years ago, looks like you've executed it really well. I probably should have listened to him at the time!

One bug/missing feature: You don't seem to preserve custom fonts in the clippings - which means the formatting isn't quite preserved either.

Eg. Compare the full site, to the clips, at http://clipboard.com/home/openrent.co.uk.

UI note -- it's annoying to have the annotation box at the very bottom of the page preview popup. Often, I will try to clip only the top potion of a page, however, due to the div structure, I will end up with a really long clip. This means item view is relatively useless at it involves too much scrolling. However, in tile view, I can't edit the keywords. When I click to open an item, I'm stuck with scrolling to the bottom of this very 'tall' clip to get to the annotation box.

Is there a way to save all the stuff you on your clipboard offline? I am looking for something like this, but in a local software kind of way, not a webapp. These new startups' survivability are very unpredictable and I don't want to lose all my info if the site goes bust. It's the top thing that's stopping me from committing myself to your site.

We currently don't have the functionality for users to download and store their clips locally but it's a fair request and we will consider it for our upcoming product roadmap. Thanks for requesting.

I am trying to figure out if this site is any different from del.icio.us (earlier) to pinterest and so.cl (so... yesterday), which consumes a lot of energies on something that was already there some years back. Just a good user interface? It may not be enough to keep us on it longer. Thanks for a bonus to HN users, though.

There are so many bookmark services...Something that I'd like to see is a bookmark based in a goal or objective. Something like, I'm learning Lua and I want to save a bunch of links that I won't need afterwards when my goal was accomplished.

Clipboard is more than just a bookmarking service. You can clip and save individual parts of the web pages including text, pictures, videos, flash applications and even bookmark. You can also create public or private clip collections for interesting topics using hashtags. For example, clipboard.com/tag/jquery lists all public clips tagged as #jquery. clipboard.com/Mati/jquery lists all public clips by user Mati tagged as #jquery.

I can't think of a comment with any substance cause I'm about to go to sleep, but I'll check back in the morning.

This is something I would like to share with the ~150 journalists I manage if it's any good.

Nice to see you guys here on hacker news!

Goodnight! (from the United Kingdom)

Thank you for the kind words. My email is shalenATclipboardDOTcom if you want to discuss further.

It's a beutiful service, but I still can't see how to make good use out of it.

It seems to me a Evernote-ish within your network. I'll keep using for a while and, in the case I come up with any feedback, I'll share with you guys.

Thanks for a bonus to HN users.

This is quite an awesome app. Although, I've been using Springboard service for quite sometime and has served it's purpose for me. Although the UI components can be a bit clunky at times, it definitely is not that bad...

Saving a long page gives me the "unresponsive script", like this one: http://ruby.railstutorial.org/chapters/modeling-users#top

I like it. The interface feels a little laggy to me but that might be because I'm using phone tethering at the moment. I see it as an odd mix of Pinboard, Pinterest, and Evernote; kinda what I was looking for.


Every corner I turn I sense the effort, thought and joy things were made with.

a question though, who produced your animation video? I am curious as we are also planning to produce an animation video for promotion for our product.

At the end of the video it says animation by Grumo Media. http://grumomedia.com/

Well, I guess the habit of no staying seated when credit lines start running from the movies theaters affects the way I watch videoclips on the web...

Hi tzury, we worked with Miguel at Grumo Media and had a great experience. They are based in Vancouver BC. grumomediaDOTcom/

thanks for the info.

will contact them soon ;-)


I've been using this service for a couple months now, and I like it. Not sure if it's possible, but a context option (right click) would be really nice.

Also, I want to see what others who saved this web page also saved.

For storing and remembering stuff I think Evernote is more or less the best option. The social aspect of Clipboard seems to be the same thing as Pinterest too.

I really like the UI however, very attractive.

Just a minor issue: The default clip titled "Browsing Clips" lists tabs as "Home, Shared, Publish", where the last one should have been "Public".

Thanks for pointing this out. We made this typo and are fixing it soon.

I see you are using Node and Express on the frontend - what other Node modules are you using or found useful?

We use a whole bunch, some of the main ones:

- async => helpful async library https://github.com/caolan/async

- nodeinspector => node js debugging in a nice webkit UI https://github.com/dannycoates/node-inspector

- riakjs => for talking to Riak: http://riakjs.org/

- knox => S3 helper https://github.com/LearnBoost/knox

- optimist => helper lib for writing command line node apps (no more bash :) https://github.com/substack/node-optimist

- mocha => unit testing node code https://github.com/visionmedia/mocha

- emailjs => email helper https://github.com/eleith/emailjs

- uglifyjs => code minification https://github.com/mishoo/UglifyJS

I've actually been curating this set for a little while. http://clipboard.com/ken/nodejs_modules

It's quite pretty, I like it. Assuming it works sort of like Pintrest?

Huge plus points for the domain name, it's great.

Looks nice - I'll try to use it and share my opinion in a few days.

What about privacy? How do you approach that?

I'm using this already and I just love it!

support for gravatar would be nice

We have had requests for gravatar from other users too so we will consider it for our future product roadmap.

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