One of the most exciting things about going on a trip, whether you’re going out of the country or exploring a new state entirely, is packing things you like to do to occupy your time on a flight, in the waiting area, or in the car. As someone who travels often for vacation, my must-bring items for any trip are a book, my iPod, my journal, and my portable handheld game system. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll make the time go faster if you bring your 3DS or PS Vita, while waiting to get to your final destination. I do think there may be times when you might not feel up to investing too much time on the game you’ve brought and want something much simpler and requires less focus. This is where app games become your solution.
Let’s say you have been using Feedly for at least a week now. You may have realized that it can be difficult reading so many articles everyday. Worse, sometimes you like to save those articles, and after doing this for some time, your browser’s bookmarks look like an insurmountable wall of text. My solution to all of those ills is simple: Pocket.
Pocket is a free app and website that stores links for you. It is my number one app of choice when it comes to saving articles or links I may want to write about (which I tag as ‘research’). Combining visual appeal and some really useful bits of organization, Pocket makes storing, viewing, and finding links you’d want to view another time a real breeze.
Better yet, it integrates perfectly with Feedly. Either using the website version (where you save articles to Pocket) or even by setting Pocket as your default article saver on the app version, Feedly makes Pocket a perfect choice if you often need to save things from your RSS.
While I am less familiar with iOS, Pocket on android lets you use the share button to send links, websites, and other things worth saving directly to Pocket. If I happen to check a link that a friend text me, I can easily save it to Pocket for later reading.
Pocket also uses the cloud, so your links are synced wherever you can sign in. This makes it especially handy for saving links to things you might want to access on a public computer. For instance, a few YouTube videos for a class. Rather than risking your email on a public terminal or bothering with a USB stick, you can just use Pocket.
Most of my use for Pocket comes from its organizational benefits. Being able to tag articles with my own made-up tags helps me keep track of them without having to organize them into various folders. As I enjoy cooking, I like to use Pocket not only for recipes, but for cooking tips and any other articles that I might want to reference back to multiple times. I also use it for tagging ‘wishlist’ items at the source I originally learned about them (book reviews, for example). If I save just the it, say on Amazon, I sometimes forget the context of why I save it, so it is handy to have original articles.
I have to admit, when I first read about Pocket, I was skeptical. Feedly already had a mostly functional ‘Save for Later’ option and my bookmarks have never failed me. Still, I do like to be surprised, so I decided to try Pocket in the hopes of its use surprising.
It took a while for that to happen. While Pocket has been incredible since the first day I used it, it took me a while to fully integrate it into how I operate. Once I did, however, I don’t think I would ever go back. It just offers a much cleaner, more organized, and more useful solution to the problem of retaining links than anything else I have tried. The ability to quickly search or to pull up specific tags makes it even better than many alternatives.
The one exception is probably Evernote, which I have also used extensively. Evernote is great if you want a copy of the link or some of its content, rather than the full website. I use it more extensively as an archiver, but only for recipes. It pairs particularly well with a tablet if you are looking to create a digital cookbook of your own favorite recipes.
For everyday use, however, I prefer Pocket. You can bet it’ll stay that way too!
Before I began using Feedly a few years ago, I had never used RSS before. Honestly, I didn’t even have a clue what it stood for (Rich Site Summary) or how it could improve my life. Anytime I wanted to check for news, I’d pull up each website I frequently individually, scan their front page to the point that I had last read, and repeat this process throughout the day. That was the sole source of my news since I had yet to join Twitter and my Facebook wasn’t overloaded with links as it is now.
This quickly became a problem: I am an information addict, so checking for news often occurred hourly, if not sooner. That meant that every time I wanted to satiate my hunger, I had to once again pull up the ten to fifteen websites I enjoyed. And boy was I hungry!
I eventually admitted the problem, so I decided to find a solution. I briefly looked at Google Reader, but its interface seemed ugly and loud. One of the major reasons it took me so long to get into Twitter was how overwhelming it felt, and it wasn’t until I found categories and Tweetdeck that I could structure the information so it wasn’t pure noise. Similarly, Feedly helped me organize, tame, and grow my news consumption habit.
These were the early days of Feedly so, despite being feature-rich, it wasn’t as featureful as it is today. I remember beta testing it on my iPod Touch (it was a while before I could afford a smartphone). Nowadays, Feedly is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. I primarily use it on my PC, but I frequently use it on my Android phone as well.
What exactly does Feedly do? Feedly captures syndicated RSS content from whatever websites you decide to add to it. With its variety of views, customization when it comes to categorizing feeds, and easy sharing options, Feedly is one of the most handy applications I have ever used. I’ve put it to work everyday, multiple times a day, for several years now. I even use it for aggregating podcasts since I no longer use iTunes, though it isn’t really meant for that.
It helps that it is incredibly easy to use if you haven’t before:
- Go to the Feedly website and click ‘Get Started’.
- Begin typing in a website to add to Feedly on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Your best bet is to copy and paste the site URL directly: try ‘geekforcenetwork.wordpress.com’ and give it a shot!
After that, click on Geek Force Network. Feedly will display what GFN’s feed looks like. Once you click ‘Follow’ at the top, you’ll be prompted to sign in with a required Google account. This makes it easier to take Feedly with you anywhere.
Once you have an account, it is time to add more websites and categorize them. For mine, I use Gaming, Culture, Technology, Sports, and Blogroll as my primary categories.
One of my favorite ‘tricks’ is adding the RSS link to my YouTube subscriptions. That way I don’t have to check YouTube separately and I don’t have a bunch of additional feeds on my Feedly. To find out how to get your RSS link for YouTube, go here.
Feedly is a great tool for bloggers looking to keep up with their community. Rather than use WordPress’s reader, I find it a lot more useful to have everything I read in a single location. Plus, I always felt like I was leaving Google Blogger users out in the cold.
It also helps that RSS feeds are quicker to sort through, since you always have the title and some of the body of the post available to read. As much as I wish it were not true, many websites publish articles that have zero interest to me. Feedly lets me go ahead and clear though out of the way. And for the articles on the fringe of ‘must read’ and ‘won’t read’, Feedly has a handy archiving function to save those to read later.
Since I am a huge fan, I am also a Feedly Pro user. Normally, Feedly is 100% free, but Feedly Pro promises additional features and the ability to suggest new ideas to the developer. It is still a bit early to call it a necessary upgrade, especially at $45 a year, but I don’t mind showing my support.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of Feedly if you haven’t used it before. If you use something else, I would love to hear about that as well!
If you are a fan, don’t forget to add Geek Force Network. Here’s a link so there’s no effort required!
I may be terrible at filling up my iPad with apps compared to others who own one, but one game that didn’t require a lot of thinking to have on my iPad was a little game called Sushi Cat. Way before I had the money to buy an iPad, my cousin was responsible for introducing me to this cute little app game and it was instant love. Sushi Cat, developed by Armor Games, is a free game that was once an iOS exclusive until it was eventually made available for the Android.