Instapaper 2.0

   24 June 2009, terribly early in the morning

I’ve been using Instapaper for a little while now. It’s a simple web application. You use a bookmarklet to mark off articles you want to read later, as you encounter them while surfing on the Internet. When you visit the Instapaper web site you are presented with all the articles you saved. The site can also remove all the cruft from web pages, just leaving you with the content. When the service originally launched I didn’t think it was particularly compelling. (“Why wouldn’t I just book mark the site on del.icio.us?”)

Some time after the service launched, a matching iPhone application was created. Now articles you saved could sync to your iPhone. Articles were stored on the phone, so they could be read when you were off-line. This is a surprisingly useful feature, especially if you ride around on the subway a lot. Instapaper went from something I thought was pretty ‘meh’ to something I used every day.

I started off with the ‘lite’ version of the application — the only version that existed at the time. I felt compelled to buy the “Pro” version of the application when it was releasedlame philanthropy. Instapaper Pro 2.0 is out today, and it’s got all sorts of features that make my glad I splurged on the ‘pro’ application all those months ago. There are some big new features — folders and subscriptions — that are impressive. What I am liking the most are the changes to how articles sync: the application quietly updates itself while you are using it. It’s always impressive seeing how subtle improvements to an application can have a big effect on its usability. Instatapaer is one of the better thought out applications I have on my phone.

To conclude: the Instapaer web service & Instapaper Pro 2.0 are all kinds of good.

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