Adding Read Times to Pocket

I’m an avid reader of online content, and to keep up with it all I save everything to Pocket. When that list gets long, I find myself looking through the list to read the quickest ones first. For a while I was just determining that by looking at how long the article was, but it turns out there’s a better way.

A site called ReadRuler will automatically assign tags to corresponding to the read times (based on your own reading speed) to your articles in Pocket.

I’ve improved the process by creating two smart folders in ReadKit, Quick Reads which includes articles tagged 1 or 2 minutes, and Long Reads which is anything not 1 or 2 minutes.

Now the one caveat is that you need to visit the ReadRuler site to allow it to scan your articles. To make things a bit more automated, I set up a Keyboard Maestro macro, triggered by a hotkey, that opens the Read Ruler site, closes the window, and refreshes ReadKit to get the new read times.

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An Update to My ReadKit Setup

If you’ve read some of my more recent posts, you know I consume an insane amount of content from the internet. I’ve written a couple posts now about how I avoid information overload using web services like Pocket and Feedly and apps like ReadKit and Reeder. If you’ve missed them, you can check them out here:

Today, I’m back with a bit of an update of both how ReadKit is working out for me, and how I’ve tweaked things since writing about a month ago.

Since writing my post on how I was using ReadKit on July 24th, I’ve knocked my number of videos to watch later down from 204 to 61.  {For all you math people, that’s nearly 70%.} My list of blog posts to read later is at zero and has been there for a while.

Now I have been doing other things besides watching YouTube and reading. Okay, maybe sometimes I was binging on YouTube, but for the most part, I’m just watching videos in my spare time. I have picked up a new habit of watching a video or two as I get ready in the morning which has helped a bit though.

So the ReadKit set up is here to stay though, at least until Reeder is re-released. Then I’ll really have to do some soul searching as to which app to use.

Now onto the tweaks and changes…

When I wrote my first ReadKit post, I was just starting to use smart folders. I started out with these 5:

  • Incoming – RSS feeds from Feedly fed into this folder.
  • Read Later – If I wanted to read something, I saved it to Pocket, and it ended up here.
  • Follow Up – As I was going through the Read Later folder, if I found an article that either required a computer, included a video, or required more than just reading (e.g. a picture I wanted to look at on something larger than a phone), I’d star it which would put it here.
  • Pin It – Periodically, I read things that I want to save. By adding the tag “pin” to the item, it’d show up in this folder and I could easily find it and pin it when I got to my computer.
  • Videos – I feel like this is self explanatory, but anything tagged “video” ended up here.

The beauty of this was that it essentially filtered my content into contexts {a lot like GTD for all you planner people}. I’d skim the incoming folder, save things to read later, star the ones that required a computer or additional time, and pull out the videos and things I wanted to pin. The result was essentially folders for “on the go,” “at the computer,” “pinterest”, and “outside of work” {because we aren’t supposed to watch videos at work, right?}.

Now I’ve been using this system for several weeks, and the beauty of it is that it can evolve, and it has.

I had a lot of videos when I started, and since I like to watch shorter videos first, I started tagging videos by length to help me find the shortest ones. At first, I started with generalized times like “less than 5”, “less than 10”, etc. Eventually I ended up breaking the generalized times down into minutes like “14”, “15”, etc. for only the current chunk of time I was working with. For instance right now I’m in the  “less than 20” block, so I have tags for “16”, “17”, “18”, and “19”. Once I’m finished watching the 16 minute videos, I’ll delete the tag for “16”.

So I’ve rethought tagging, but my smart folders were a mess. They accomplished what I wanted, but in roundabout ways, so I tidied them up a bit and renamed them to reflect how I use them.

  • Incoming – No change here. This folder is the same as before.
  • Read Now – Anything I’ve saved to Pocket from Feedly. This was my old “Read Later” folder renamed to reflect that these are the items I can read at anytime.
  • Read Later – This is the same as the Follow Up folder just renamed. Read later signifies that I’ll need to come back to these when I have time.
  • Watch Later – Videos end up here. This folder now filters by content type rather than a video tag which means one less tag to add to each item.
  • Save It –  Anything I tag with “fav” or “pin” will end up here. The tag indicates whether I need to mark it as a favorite on YouTube or Flickr or pin it on Pinterest.

Do you use ReadKit or another app to read blogs or manage videos? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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How I’m using ReadKit to Keep Track of Blogs and Videos

ReadKitOne of my more recent posts was about how I keep up with all the things I follow on the internet. My system has evolved little by little over the years, but the general concept has stayed pretty consistent. I subscribe to RSS feeds using an RSS reader and save the articles I want to read for later. Of course I’ve also managed to find some great little apps over the years to help me with this like Reeder, Feedly, and Pocket. If you missed how I’m using them, check out the article I linked above.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the newest app I’ve learned to love.

It’s no secret, I’m a diehard Reeder app user. It was one of the first apps I got for my iPhone. It was the first app I downloaded to my iPad, and I was part of the Mac version’s beta program. Reeder’s earned coveted spots in my dock on my MacBook Pro and my iPad, and if the 4 spots on my iPhone weren’t already claimed, it’d be there too. I really can’t say enough about this app. It’s simple. It looks great, and it has a ton of features. It just works, and I love it.

BUT….

The day Google Reader died, I think Reeder died a bit too. I moved to Feedly well in advance of the day Google Reader was going away, but Reeder wasn’t updated to support Feedly. Reeder got removed from my dock and put away to make room for Feedly’s iOS app and their web version on my Mac.

Reeder for iPhone was eventually updated to support Feedly, and it’s happily made it’s way back onto my home screen, but the iPad and Mac OS X apps were put on hold. The developer said that those apps weren’t as easy to update and that he’d focus on creating new versions instead. The iPad and Mac OS X versions have since been removed from the App Store, and I was left without Reeder.

As it stands now, I don’t do anything RSS related on my iPad. I haven’t found an app I like enough to replace Reeder for the time being, but I don’t use my iPad to manage incoming content anyway.

On my Mac, I was semi-happily using Feedly’s cloud interface {read:patiently waiting for Reeder}. Then, in came an article about ReadKit. It integrated both Pocket and Feedly into one app, and I’m all for having fewer windows open on my computer, so I bought it for $4.99. It does also support other RSS services and things like Instapaper by the way if you don’t happen to use Feedly or Pocket.

Now for my first impressions. I wasn’t too sure what to do with it at first. I liked the idea of one app for Pocket and Feedly, but I struggled with the interface a bit. I’m still not a huge fan of Feedly’s interface, but I do enjoy Pocket’s apps so that one was a bit harder to give up. I also have to comment that the icon is not the best. In fact, I hate it sitting in my dock, and I’m going to find a new one after I’m done with this post. As simple and clean as the app itself looks, I think it deserves a better looking icon. The biggest draw to ReadKit is having all of my content in one place. My only complaint is that there isn’t any way to save my items from Feedly to Pocket without dragging the article to the Unread section in Pocket. You can’t right click and select “Save to Pocket.” There’s not button or hotkey. You can only drag and drop. I believe they are working on adding some new features so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be one of them.

I bought ReadKit on a whim, as I do with most things. I honestly just hoped it would keep me content until Reeder’s updated, but now I’m not sure I’ll want to go back. ReadKit has really changed how I collect, manage, read, and watch content from various sites on the internet.

The one feature that keeps me using it is the smart folders which I completely blew off at first, but they have changed everything. So here’s how I use ReadKit.

My RSS subscriptions from Feedly get pulled into a smart folder called “Incoming.” That’s where I make my first sweep. If I wanna read something, I drag it to Pocket’s Unread list in the sidebar and wait for the number to go up to make sure it worked because I’m paranoid like that. {ReadKit developers…. I’m anxiously waiting for that button/hotkey…}

Anything I save to Pocket gets added to a smart folder called “Read Later.” I skim the “Read Later” folder and  favorite anything that I need to view on the computer, includes a video, or I might want to pin.

Anything that gets favorited in Pocket, or starred, whatever you want to call it, gets added to a smart folder called “Follow Up.” Most articles don’t make it to “Follow Up” so this is usually a pretty small folder, but I’ve broken it down a bit further based on type of content.

If it’s something I’m going to want to add to Pinterest, I add the tag, “pin”, to the article which moves it out of “Follow Up” and into a “Pin It” folder. Similarly, I can add the tag “video”, which will move the article to a Video folder. I can easily batch all my “pin-worthy” finds at once, and if I’m in the mood to binge on YouTube videos, I can do that too.

Now, I do the majority of my processing and reading on my Mac using ReadKit so that’s where this system really shines, but I can also mark articles as favorites and add tags from the mobile Pocket apps, so I can really use this system anywhere, it’s just more efficient using ReadKit.

After combining all my reading into ReadKit, it became really apparent that I had ironed out all the kinks in my system for everything except for YouTube. I could read all in one place, but videos were another story. I had some blog articles that contained non-YouTube videos saved in Pocket. I also had my Watch Later playlist and my overflow “Watch Later 2” list in YouTube. I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was in one place?”

Now I’ve tried using an ifttt recipe in the past that added any video I marked as “Watch Later” on YouTube to Pocket. Sounds great right? WRONG. If I watched a video in Pocket, it still stayed in my Watch Later playlist. Eventually my Watch Later list was going to fill up making that recipe useless unless I also went to YouTube and removed it. That meant I had to remove it from 2 places… No good.

In the end I just saved all the videos from my YouTube playlists to Pocket. They of course got favorited with a video tag so they now appear in my Video smart folder in ReadKit, and since they aren’t in YouTube playlists that have a 200 video limit, they can all go in ONE list not two or three.

I actually really liked this set up. In fact, I loved it so much, I recently decided to add my YouTube subscriptions directly to Feedly. Now, when someone I subscribe to uploads a new video, it shows up in my Incoming folder, and I don’t have to log into YouTube and scan my subscriptions page for new videos I missed.

I’m really loving how I have settled into this system. It’s really helping me manage the information overload. In fact, I have less than 10 things to read later, and I’ve whittled my videos down to 204.

If you like to follow blogs, videos, or really anything on the internet, check out Feedly, Pocket, Reeder, and ReadKit. They are all fantastic apps. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my OCD mind, and how I sort of keep track of everything.

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