Sunday, April 22, 2012

Going to put that in my Pocket

As I wrote about in one of my earliest posts, I have not been a smart phone user for very long—less than four months now. I have, however, been surprised at some of the things I now prefer to do on the phone versus my laptop.

I like the convenience of sitting on the sofa and doing a little light reading on my phone. I have several websites that I like to scan through, and I really wasn’t doing that when I had to sit in front of the laptop.

That’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? The laptop is supposed to be portable, but I rarely move mine from its desk complete with wireless keyboard and mouse and an external 22” flat-panel monitor. So funny.

In fact, I’ve found there are certain website apps that are easier to scan through than the real websites. For example, I like reading Twitter on my phone. What I like about it is that it starts the display of tweets where I left off so I know I am less likely to miss something.

But what I’ve found is that so many tweets refer me to web pages—140 characters quickly become 1,000 words—and I don’t always have time to read them right then. Or when I’m scanning through one of my other favorite sites—Engadget—I don’t always have time to thoroughly read some of the articles.

Pocket App in the Android Market
In fact, it was on Engadget that I learned about my new, favorite thing—Pocket (formerly known as Read It Later—this is probably how you’ll find the app in the Android Market and on iTunes). It is both a great app for your phone and a great addition to the browser on your computer.

I downloaded the app first and once I did that, I created an account by selecting a username, password, and providing an email address—very easy to get started.

The next time I found something on my phone that I wanted to read, I navigated to the share button, selected Pocket, and it saved the article for me. You can also have Pocket download the articles so that you don’t have to have a connection to view them—perfect for that next plane ride.

Later, when I had a little more time, I navigated to the Pocket app and there were my articles. But there was a bonus—in my opinion—the ads of the original website were removed. It was all cleaned up—just a white page with black text that fit perfectly on the screen. Nice!

You can enlarge or decrease the text size; and if you like block text, you can change that, too. There is even a slider to control the brightness of the screen.

Pocket App
If you’re one of those people that thinks it’s easier to read white text on a black background, you can change that. It may be easier in limited circumstances—maybe in a dark room, but ordinarily it’s not. And as a side note for all of you with your websites designed that way, I immediately leave when I encounter that—I can’t read it and that’s the point of me being there, right? Sorry, I just had to get that off my mind. <smile>

As you finish reading articles, you can delete them, archive them so that you can find them again later, or even share them with the usual suspects—Twitter, email, facebook, etc.

But there are times when certain articles are really easier to read on the big screen, and I wondered if I would automatically have access to them on my laptop. I signed into Pocket and I was pleasantly surprised that they were there.

You can also add a browser extension and bookmarklet for pages that you find while online on your computer. I thought that sounded like a good idea so I added both. The browser extension gave me immediate access to all of my articles with a drop-down list and the bookmarklet gave me a one-click way to add web pages to my Pocket.

This is a great app (free) for the smart phone and a great addition to the browser. If you’re like me and have too much to read, this should help you manage those articles much more efficiently.

Question: How many articles do you read each day on your phone?
Leave a comment below and let me know.


  1. I used "Read it Later" on my iPod Touch a while back and liked it but I usually only read articles on my laptop. Nice review!

    1. Howard, I didn't even know this would work on the iPod Touch. You should try it on your laptop, too. It will give you the option of coming back later to read articles without having to bookmark them individually. Thanks for the nice comment!