Replacing Instapaper

After instapaper went dark for Europe, I moved to pinboard.  

Instapaper turned off all EU access with 24 hours notice. They’ve still not fixed whatever GDPR problems they had, and while the website refuses to serve you, the app looks like it is working (but isn’t). Instapaper is either abandoned or such a low priority that it would be better off abandoned at this point.

The major choices to replace it are pocket and Pinboard – pocket is an instapaper clone with the same business model.

I went with Pinboard. Pinboard is different. Very different.

How’d it go?

  • The apps/bookmarklets work fine for adding, but it’s sometimes less slick than the instapaper iOS app
  • There are various readers
  • I’ll not switch back

There is the core service of pinboard – keeping a list of web addresses (bookmarks) with a ‘to read’ flag – and the apps that rely on pinboard as the backing store and add functionality. Pinboard is a one time fee of $11 to create an account, with some additional services costing per-year fees (archiving of content being one).

On iOS, Pinboard has a bookmarklet for adding links, plus options from a bunch of plugin apps which both read and write in various ways. ReadPaperback is also nice for reading. On the desktop the pinboard bookmarklet and readpaperback do the job more than adequately.

I chose Pinboard, not because it is the most slick service – it is very minimalist – but because it works, and for everything I read, it will likely be there for as long as I pay them to be.

After a month of using it for long form reading, the only notable annoyance was there isn’t an app as slick as instapaper – they work, but Marco did a lot to make reading really nice. The upside is that standards based APis give confidence that it will be there into the future.

As Maciej said when he bought del.icio.us – “do not try to compete with pinboard”. It’s a pity instapaper ceased trying, but there are options.

posted: 08 Jul 2018