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Om Malik: Instapaper Clutter

I stopped using Instapaper. Early on, I relied on it as a space to store ideas and information I could draw from, but it quickly became my intellectual limbo: the unfortunate vault of forgotten stories and Twitter residue. When I had breathing space during the week to dip into something to read,…

Forward Simon Collison:

“I collect articles in Instapaper like pennies, and like pennies, I do nothing with them.”

Ditto.

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The Right Tools: Apps That Will Save You Time and Headaches

As a worker, blogger, and commuter I’m always searching for the right tools to capture content.

Here’s the breakdown of a some essential apps that will help you on the go or at the desk. It took me a while to realize these were the best tools so I hope it helps save you time and money.

The Toolkit

Instapaper: Use this to save your favorite articles across the web. Those articles are like pennies you may never use but at least you know where they’re saved when you need to come back to them. You may also want to create categories to classify those articles further. I have built folders for anything social media related to health.

If you use Google Reader or even the Safari browser on Mac or iOS, make sure you install the “Read Later” Instapaper button for instant one click saving.

Evernote: I resisted using Evernote for years. The UI was a bit clunky and I had other ways to dump content. However, the last two months at work have been nuts and I needed a quick reference tool for all my notes and next steps on projects. Basically, Evernote saved me from rummaging through my Microsoft Inbox to find that important email. It also enabled me to send people a URL of clean summarized notes with snapshots and examples. Additionally, I use Evernote to dump blog posts ideas.

Scrivener: If you’re a writer and publisher this is your best tool. Scrivener excels in keeping your chapters formatted as you visualize them and most importantly, compiling the finished product in the right file format for distribution to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

The program is as advanced as you want it to be.

Drafts app: The best notebook is the one you have with you. The Drafts app is the quickest way to record and store any idea, opening right up to a blank page. Once you get your idea down, you can also share it everywhere with one click: to social networks, Evernote, Day One, et al.

I write my blog posts on Drafts and then copy it in Markdown. This saves me time from manually entering HTML on the Tumblr app.

Day One: This is the modern digital diary. It’s beautifully designed to collect private thoughts and memories in a clean, easy to navigate interface. I’ve been writing in Day One daily for more than a year. I love scanning back to a random entry and seeing where I was and futuring to see where I want to go next.

Dropbox: Dropbox is the definition of cloud access. I keep all my files on Dropbox, off my computer so I can access them from anywhere. I also use Dropbox to save all my images. I even have an ifft recipe set up to save each of my Instagram photos.

Camera+: Camera+ should be your default camera app for iPhone. It opens fast, allows rapid shots, cool filters, focus tools to avoid tilt, and instant share options.

All of these tools, minus Scrivener, are available as Smartphone and desktop apps and share everything in the cloud for ubiquitous access.

What’s in your tool Arsenal and why is it so useful? Please chime in on the comments below.

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60 percent of Moleskine customers said they also use a digital device to take notes. (TechCrunch) This is probably an accurate number although I will say I don’t use Evernote and I won’t be buying the Evernote Smart Notebook.   My process for collecting and saving Internet articles is probably a bit different than most.  I will star the articles I like on Twitter and Google Reader and then reevaluate their worthiness for my Instapaper.  Obviously, great articles get the instant Instapaper treatment.  I also like to scribe all my ideas on the Notes App and email them to myself.  A similar process ensues as discussed above, the best ideas get saved in my Scrivener notebook. I use my Moleskin when I want to think holistically about something and connect the dots.  I also use it to get a way from the computer.   Yes, I’m a bit everywhere but it works for now. 
60 percent of Moleskine customers said they also use a digital device to take notes. (TechCrunch) This is probably an accurate number although I will say I don’t use Evernote and I won’t be buying the Evernote Smart Notebook.   My process for collecting and saving Internet articles is probably a bit different than most.  I will star the articles I like on Twitter and Google Reader and then reevaluate their worthiness for my Instapaper.  Obviously, great articles get the instant Instapaper treatment.  I also like to scribe all my ideas on the Notes App and email them to myself.  A similar process ensues as discussed above, the best ideas get saved in my Scrivener notebook. I use my Moleskin when I want to think holistically about something and connect the dots.  I also use it to get a way from the computer.   Yes, I’m a bit everywhere but it works for now. 
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Speedier Apps

My favorite apps are just fast.

I’m currently writing this post on the Draft app. All I did was open it up and start writing. All my words get saved instantly.

Instagram uploads photos while we pick filters and write captions. It’s so fast it often uploads images with one connectivity bar from AT&T.

It’s also much faster to take pictures with Camera+ versus the native iPhone app.

In contrast, Facebook, Instapaper, and Soundcloud are great apps that are slow to load.

Facebook – I can never tell if I get a new mobile DM on Facebook until I rebuff the messages. Shouldn’t opening the app rebuff the messages automatically?

Instapaper – All I want is faster saving and faster viewing for newly saved articles. I always open it up on my iPhone and then close it as a reminder it’s best viewed on a PC.

SoundCloud – The recording feature is slow to upload files. Like Instagram, this is easily solved in the background while I name and attach a photo to that sound.

Mobile design and functionally are really about the behind the scenes tweaks. As a user, we don’t want to see the word “loading.”

App developers need to accelerate app functionality. The best service is simplicity and speed which if done right, go unnoticed.