Spring time for me means a lot of time spent at the baseball fields. My husband usually coaches my son’s team, which means I have some free time on my hands before each game. To help pass the time, I’ve been using an app called Pocket (formerly called Read It Later) to catch up on my reading while sitting at the baseball field.
Pocket is a free app that collects articles, videos, and images I want to read and saves them in the app until I’m ready to read them. I add articles to my Pocket account from the browser, RSS Reader, and from over 300+ apps. Just like I don’t get paid to send and receive email all day, I don’t get paid to read articles online all day either.
Getting Started With Pocket
To get started with Pocket, first go to their site or download the app (iPhone, iPad, Android) and create an account. Remember your account information as you will need it to log onto each device you want to use.
Next, install the Pocket extension in Chrome or Firefox. If you aren’t using Chrome or Firefox, there is a bookmarklet you will need to drag to your bookmark bar. Follow the instructions on the screen. Once you’ve installed the extension, there will be a new icon in your toolbar. Mine showed up next to my Evernote icon (I use Chrome).
Saving to Pocket
Now you are ready to start saving to Pocket. As you find an article you want to read later, click the Pocket extension or bookmark and it will be saved to your account. If you are using Chrome and Google’s RSS Reader, you will see the Pocket image on each item in your RSS Reader (hint: its next to the star). (Don’t know what an RSS Reader is? Don’t worry, we will get to that.) If you are using another browser, you will need to open each article individually and save them to Pocket.
You can also send articles to Pocket via email and other apps. For the iPad users, I recommend you check out the list of iPad apps that integrate with Pocket. Twitter, Feedly, Zite, and Flipboard are iPad apps I frequently use and add articles to my Pocket account from those apps. (Hint: Some apps still reference Pocket’s first name, Read It Later. I expect the apps will be updated over time but until then you have to look for both Pocket and Read It Later.)
Reading Your Articles In Pocket
Finally, the good stuff. You can view the articles you have saved in Pocket through all the devices you used to save articles. My favorites are the iPad and my Android phone. The days I know I will be sitting at the baseball fields, I make sure the iPad is charged and I’ve synced with Pocket while I still have wifi access. (If your iPad is wifi only, you will need to sync the app before you leave otherwise you won’t be able to access your reading list.) I primarily access my Pocket account on my iPad, so that is what I will discuss here.
Your Pocket list will include the title, images, and the first few lines of the article (the list changes to fit the content, so sometimes you see text and sometimes you don’t). Tap on the article you want to read and you will see the entire article with the any sidebar text and advertisements stripped away.
As you finish reading an article, you can add Star it for later reference or you can use the checkmark to remove it from your list. You can also highlight sections of text and tap the Share button and send it via email, save it in Evernote, tweet it, post to Facebook or Tumblr, and more. Repeat the cycle until your list is empty or its time for the baseball game to start (whichever comes first).
Don’t let the length of the article fool you, Pocket is easy to use. I like that I can keep all the articles I want to read in one trusted place and know they are ready for me to read whenever I have a chance. You could also use Evernote to do what Pocket does if the thought of using another app does not appeal to you.
Any other Pocket users out there? Why do you like Pocket? Anyone going to sign up for a free account and give it a try? Let us know in the comments.
Do you have a Kindle Fire? Then you should check out Sam’s Send To Kindle post.
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