[NOTE: This post is now woefully outdated. I’ve added an up-to-date method for achieving this at this post.]
I’ll come right out and say it, I’m an Evernote junkie. My brain lives in Evernote: To-dos, bookmarks, records, receipts, notes, parking space reminders, beers I like; everything. It’s really great, and runs on every computer I use, my phone, and the web. I can get to it anywhere.
I also spend a large amount of time finding things to read on the Internet, but don’t necessarily have the time to read them when I find them. And even more often, when I want to read them, I have only my iPhone, and intermittent connectivity (commuter train, subway, etc.). For a little while I was using Instapaper to save articles for offline reading, but I had to think ahead and sync the Instapaper app before going off the grid. And frankly, another bookmarking service wasn’t something I was really into at all.
Now, Instapaper does this crazy thing where it magically finds the content of an article and formats it so that sane people can read it, but that wasn’t really enough to get me to keep using it. However, I also knew of another service called Readability which essentially does the same thing, minus the read-it-later aspect. And also, I knew that Evernote comes with a web clipper that shoots the content of a web page into your cloud-brain with a single click in the bookmark bar.
How great would it be if I could reformat articles and send that stripped-down version, with only the relevent content, into Evernote to read later? I’m always syncing Evernote on my phone, and I’ve always got it open when I’m on a computer, so everything should stay in sync really well.
Well, turns out that’s possible. Thanks to some helpful articles (which I of course copied into Evernote), I made a little bookmarklet which Readability-izes the current web page, then clips it to Evernote. Just copy the code below into a new bookmark’s URL field and put it in your shortcut bar. Click it on a page you want to read later, and it’ll pull the article contents, then launch the Evernote clipper (you need to install that first), and clip it.
Some caveats though: be sure to turn off the Evernote clipper’s formatting, or you’ll actually wind up with a carbon-copy of the Readability page, with no wrapping text, and some colors and fonts that won’t look so good on, say, a phone. But once you sort that out, you’ve got yourself an Instapaper alternative that integrates with everything else in Evernote.