High Variance

Sharing and Saving

You may have noticed that I hardly ever write posts that just link to something good I’ve read elsewhere on the web. That’s what most people use Tumblr for, but my main goal here is to write and share original content. It doesn’t mean I don’t run across things I find interesting and want to share through other channels. I also like to save good stuff in the cloud where I can easily access and search it. I hate remembering I saw something and then not being able to find it again later. These two related goals (sharing and archival) have led me to a somewhat unique system that I think satisfies both pretty well.

I do most of my reading of web content in a browser, an RSS reader (Reeder), or Instapaper, and want to be able to share and archive easily in all three. If all I wanted to do was share, I’d probably hold my nose and just tweet everything. Twitter is well-integrated into all three apps and my friends could just follow me or visit the Twitter website as needed. But I want to be able to archive and share in a single step.

Pinboard is an almost free service that stores bookmarks and lets you search them by tags you assign. I pay a little extra ($25/yr) and they save the full text of the pages and let me search that too. They provide a bookmarklet that lets me tag pages from almost any web browser and the same functionality is built into my RSS reader. If I think my friends might also find a page interesting, I just add a “like” tag.

Instapaper is a service that saves content that I find on the web but don’t have time to read in the moment. When it’s more convenient, I bring up the Instapaper app on my iPhone or iPad and it’s turned all my saved pages into beautifully formatted highly readable ad-free text. If I like what I read there, I just mark it that way by clicking on the heart icon. I have my account configured to then automatically send the link to Pinboard for archival.

There are several ways for you to see what I’ve found interesting:

  1. Follow me on pinboard; my username is dmckee. You’ll see everything I tag, including stuff I’m archiving but not necessarily recommending.

  2. Visit my pinboard pages:

    What I like: https://pinboard.in/u:dmckee/t:like

    What got sent over from Instapaper: https://pinboard.in/u:dmckee/from:instapaper

    I wish these could be combined in a single page. If Instapaper would tag items I like with “like” when it sends them to Pinboard, you would only have to visit the first one. My system is good, but it’s not perfect.

  3. Subscribe to my Pinboard RSS feeds:



  4. Follow me on Instapaper (dmckee@ucla.edu). You only get a subset of the stuff I’m sharing, but it’s a good subset. I wish things I share directly through Pinboard would automatically get liked and archived in Instapaper so this would be complete. But not even ifttt.com can take care of this.

A few of the blogs I read publish an about-weekly list of their very favorite recent links. Maybe I’ll do that someday, but for now we’re going with this.