Combine Web Reading & Email And Get CC:To Me

Some people like their readers. Some people prefer their inboxes. I use my inbox as a sort of “to do” list, by keeping messages that require action in the active inbox, moving those that I have completed to a certain file within the inbox and organizing the rest according to type.

If you are the type of person who relies on their inbox and prefers email subscriptions to blogs to RSS, then CC:To Me might be for you. This bookmarklet will allow you to catch any web page you are browsing and send it to your email. You can send a note containing text and images or the entire article. You get a reader friendly version of your selection in your inbox, where you can read, sort, file, and resend at your leisure. And the sent post includes the original URL, so you can go back and get more.

Do you use labels or filters? I do – I can’t live without them. With some tweaking of those filters or labels, you can use CC:To Me to turn your inbox into a reference library – add dedicated topic “hashtags” to your CC:To Me posts and your filters will do the rest. You can even have CC:To Me and your filters auto-send on certain notes to a different email address. You can add more emails to your CC:To Me account and then have options within the bookmarklet as to where to send. This works beautifully for me, as I have dedicated email accounts for my blogs, personal and business – I can forward mobile app articles to my MobileAppOfTheDay email, personal articles to my personal email and business articles to my business email.No need to log in and navigate a separate site to get your goods – most people are in and out of their email all the time and your saves will be waiting for you, right there in your inbox (or filters / labels).

That is a lot for nothing! And it appears CC:To Me will be developing pro accounts with more features. Such as sending items to different email users (great for enterprise) or to other services, like DropBox. All in all, the free version seems very solid and perfectly capable of helping you sort, save and share via your inbox.

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Pining For Long-Form News

Short form journalism definitely has its place in our modern, fast-paced, Web environment. “Real-time” implies “short-tail” and even shorter attention spans. But long-form news articles (generally in excess of 4,000 words), requiring a greater depth of investigation and crafting, still have their place in our reading lists. Or should have their place, anyway.

Enter Longform.org. Think of it as a semi-curated, highlighting service for web-based long-form journalism. With its close ties with Instapaper, the web and mobile device-based off-line reading tool, you can easily bookmark these longer piece and save them in Instapaper for more leisurely reading.

Topics are broad, ranging from crime to tech, with editors’ picks and access to archives. There are approximately 50 stories in archives. You can even submit your own suggestions as to worthy long-form articles and they will be considered for inclusion. Candidates for inclusion are driven either by top-notch writing or compelling topics.

There are RSS feeds for all stories and for editors’ picks. Another small, but important, detail is the serving of the entire story in one swoop, rather than breaking up the story into approximately 450 word increments by web news outlets, requiring serial clicking to get the entire piece.

The site’s simple, journalistic look reminds me of paging through my beloved New Yorker Magazine. Not much there in terms of bells and whistles and, thankfully, no advertising.

If you love to read well-written, fully developed, topical pieces and would love the freedom and flexbility of serving them up from the Web, try Longform.org.

One Step Closer to Efficient Off-Line Reading

I use Instapaper, an off-line reading tool, but not as much as I should. I use Google Reader, an on-line RSS reader, but I often don’t have the time to devote the proper attention to every interesting article. In Reader, I “star” a lot of articles that I plan to go back and consume later, but many times, later never comes.

Enter InstaReader, a free plug-in that bridges the gap. Lifehacker tipped me to the tool, which can be found here. Simply feed the RSS feed from your Google Reader starred items into InstaReader on your desktop and it will automatically update Instapaper with your starred items every few minutes. Load Instapaper into your iPhone, remember to sync before you go off-line and your are good to go!