6.02.2008

                   
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So Many Links, So Little Time: Tools To Get Back To Those "Must Reads"



If you're at all like me, you have literally thousands of items bookmarked and not enough hours in the day to read all the info that's lurking out there in cyberspace. Your RSS feeds are overwhelming, google alerts never cease and you keep swearing that you'll get to that article before your mailbox alerts you that it's at full capacity.

So, what to do?
Read, Write, Web has a nice list of apps that help you 'get back' to those articles of interest. Here they are with links and pertinent info:

6 Great Tools to Save Links for Later

1. ReadBag

ReadBag is a quick and easy bookmarklet to save links for later. ReadBag requires a Google Account to use the service, though OpenID might have been a better choice. The UI is simple and clean with all the features available from the homepage. You can archive bookmarks after you're done reading them, star them, add a note, or simply delete them. ReadBag includes a host of goodies such importing options, a Firefox extension, Google Reader integration, Google Gears support, RSS for your bookmarks, and a mobile interface for both regular phones and the iPhone. Unfortunately, ReadBag doesn't support tagging.

2. Instapaper

Instapaper is a really simple "bookmark it for later" service. With only a simple bookmarklet to bookmark items, Instapaper doesn't offer nearly as much as its competitors. You can edit the title and url of your bookmarks, grab an RSS feed, and add a note to your links. There is one great feature that's available when you click the 'text' link at the end of each bookmark. Instapaper allows you to read your bookmark right from the site with no hassles. All in all, the service is very straightforward with a clean UI and zero distractions.

3. LaterLoop

A new tool from the maker of social bookmarking service Mento, LaterLoop offers the best features out of the group. There's a neat extension for Firefox that features keyboard shortcuts, mobile support, import and sharing options with Del.icio.us, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and more. Offline support is integrated with Scrapbook Firefox extension instead of Google Gears. You can also read a text only version of your links. However, the UI for text only reminds me of the horrible reformatting job that Google does for mobile phones. Overall, LaterLoop sports a clean and uncluttered UI just like the rest of the pack.

4. LinkRiver

We've reviewed LinkRiver as a great service to find more news on a slow day. Well, when the pace picks up and you find yourself not having enough time, LinkRiver offers a handy bookmarklet to save items for later. If you're a user of the site, you can also bookmark content for later directly from your profile.

5. FriendFeed: Read Later

Fans of the FriendFeed aggregation service will love using the Read Later Greasemonkey script. This script allows you to save entries in FriendFeed for later. It's a very useful tool for reading FriendFeed quickly and coming back to the articles that might get buried under the constant stream of activity. Once installed, you'll begin seeing 'Later' appended to the end of each item. There's also a convenient tab that the script adds to FriendFeed for browsing through your saves.

6. Star it in Google Reader

If you're using Google Reader to go through the never-ending process of reading feeds, Google's 'Star' feature can be a great way to save items for later. To quickly process your feeds, change your display to 'List View' in Google Reader. Then star only the headlines that jump out at you. 'Mark all as read' and repeat until all your feeds have been processed. Now you won't have so many feeds to read and a lot more time to weed through only what might be interesting whenever you have time.

So, you may not get to it today, but at least you can get back to it when you have the (sigh) time.

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