Back to Pocket

After spending a few weeks using Reading List as my read-later service, I’ve gone back to Pocket. There are two reasons.

Bugs

Reading List doesn’t feel ready for prime time. Tapping an article in the list is supposed to 1) display the article, and 2) remove the article from your reading list. Number 1 works consistently; number 2 fails (not consistently, but frequently).

When you insert a link into your reading list from 3rd-party apps like Tweetbot, the URL is displayed as the title of the article. Figuring out which article is which involves looking at the URL, reading the preview text, and looking at the attached image (if there is one). It’s a pain.

Ads

Loading an article via Reading List simply opens the page in a Safari window. By default, you see the raw page as it was built by its publisher. This often means that you’re bombarded with ads. Not just the typical side-rail ads or stuff that appears in the header. Big square boxes that sit in the middle of the screen and block almost all of the content. Full-screen interstitials trying to force you to download the publisher’s iOS app. Ads that kick you to the App Store and load a specific app’s page without your permission. It’s awful. Pocket protects me from that.

Trying Reading List was a nice experiment, but like so many features built into Apple software, it’s a half-hearted and buggy after-thought that looks good on a keynote slide. And given the current state of the web, loading a page without stripping the unnecessary cruft doesn’t provide a good reading experience, which isn’t Reading List’s fault, but it’s a feature I can’t be without.

Additional Organized Baggage

In light of the re-release of my favorite bag, I thought I’d post an update about what I’m carrying in it.

In my last post, I mentioned that “there’s ample room in the Gear Pouch for more” than what I had already put in it. So, I added a few things:

Also, I’ve swapped a few things.

My uni-ball Jetstream RT was replaced with a RULE/ONE loaded with a Jetstream refill. The USB drive and NomadKey on the lucky line were replaced with a pair of tweezers and a very tiny knife, which is great for opening Amazon boxes.

The Anker battery has been surprisingly useful. When I’m at a coffee shop and their Wi-Fi sucks, I use the battery to provide extra juice while I tether. Tethering is a serious battery drain. With the Anker, that’s not a problem.

The micro USB and Lightning cables are from a set sold by Incase. The lightning cable goes great with the Anker, and the micro USB is for charging our JamBox on the go.

The Space Pen comes in handy when the RULE/ONE seems too fiddly and I want to jot something quickly.

I tend not to carry cash at all, but sometimes you need it (parking lots in downtown Portland are largely cash-based, and there’s at least one toll bridge in the area that we cross on occasion).

The portable corkscrew is for, well…have you ever found yourself in need of a corkscrew when you didn’t have one? Total pain in the ass.1

I’ve also switched my daily carry bag from a tiny Timbuk2 to a Chrome Mini Buran. It holds just a bit more than the Timbuk2 (including my laptop). It’s also waterproof thanks to the 1000D nylon exterior and plastic-lined interior, which is great when you live in a rainy climate, and your daily commute involves walking to a nearby coffee shop.2


  1. Here’s the truth: When visiting my wife’s grandparents for Christmas one year, we snuck in a bottle of wine to drink in our room. We didn’t have a corkscrew. Couldn’t open it, and we eventually ended up with bits of cork in our verboten wine. Haven’t made that mistake since. This item’s more sentimental than useful. 
  2. Chrome’s bags are lined with “military grade 18 oz. truck tarpaulin liner.” Ever seen an 18-wheeler with a trailer that looks like it’s wearing a skin-tight tarp? Yeah, that stuff. 

Padded Gear Pouch from Waterfield Designs

I recieved a very nice email from the folks at Waterfield this morning. It appears they’ve reintroduced the iPod Gear Pouch (which I mentioned in Organized Baggage) as the Padded Gear Pouch. I love this bag to death, and I’m glad it’s back.

The new version is offered in the traditional black ballistic nylon exterior and a new, beautiful waxed canvas exterior. It looks like the interior padded pockets have been rearranged slightly, and the pull tabs are gone from the left top and right edge, but otherwise, this appears to be the same pouch. It’ll cost you $59. Totally worth it.