What's the best tool to read long metafilter threads offline ? April 30, 2013 3:16 AM   Subscribe

What do you use to read long mefi or askmefi threads offline ? I often read long threads weeks after the posting date. I send them to an instapaper queue (and send manually the link(s) to instapaper too) - then read them on my kindle when I have the time. I'm wondering if there is a better way to do this.

My ideal tool would :
- have a good formatting on the kindle (instapaper is ok, but not great)
- keep a different formatting for author/best answer/etc in askmefi
- grab the links from mefi post as well as the thread
- allow me to 'mark' posts or comments for sharing/favoriting later

But I would be happy with the subset of the above :)

I would be reading this on a kindle or an ipad - although I would prefer the former.

Does anyone has a similar workflow ? what tools do you use ?

[reposting here as this was too specific for askmefi]
posted by motdiem2 to MetaFilter-Related at 3:16 AM (29 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for the repost. Here's a related recent MetaTalk thread. Instapaper seems to get a lot of love on the iPad side of things, just tested it and it picks up the comments and links just fine. Pocket (formerly Read It Later) and Readability don't, it seems.

I don't have any experience with the Kindle, I'm afraid. But maybe someone who does will pipe up with some useful incantations for that device later today.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 3:32 AM on April 30, 2013


On this topic, I might just mention that I offer a personalized MetaFilter experience called You Metacha!

The standard service involves me coming around to your house, place of business or a convenient pub/bar and reading a thread out to you, doing different voices for different posters & commentators. I also offer a premium service, which involves me acting out comments with costumes, props and musical accompaniment by the quidnunc kid players. My prices are extremely reasonable.

There is one small caveat you should know about, however: I have bubonic plague, so if you do hire me to act out a MetaFilter thread in your presence, you may end up with bubonic plague. I've thought about having the plague treated, but I feel it adds a certain gritty realism to my work. Also, I just like oozing pus - it's an underrated bodily secretion, if you ask me.

Anyway, prices and a full set of terms & conditions are on my profile page.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:47 AM on April 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


(Checks profile, is disappointed.)

You didn't commit to the bit!
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:18 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


How do I favorite things?
posted by Drinky Die at 4:28 AM on April 30, 2013


Can I humbly suggest that the quidnunc kid has a segment on the podcast radio hour called "The MeFi Players recreate..." a thread of Matt's chosing from the previous month. He would bring his own bubble and harmonica.
posted by arcticseal at 4:49 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pocket (formerly Read It Later) and Readability don't, it seems.

Pocket works fine for MeFi threads in "Web View" mode.
posted by grouse at 5:00 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Forgot to answer the question, doh! Pocket and it syncs well with my tablet.
posted by arcticseal at 5:03 AM on April 30, 2013


grouse: "Pocket works fine for MeFi threads in "Web View" mode."

Ah, right you are. I somehow assumed that was online-only but it's true, it works fine in airplane mode.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 5:11 AM on April 30, 2013


Can I humbly suggest ... a segment on the podcast radio hour called "The MeFi Players recreate..."

Surely the MeFI magazine needs an audio edition, and a crack team of Merry MeFite pranksters to do readings of select threads? For too long our ears have been monopolized by the MeFi moderation teamsters union, whose pro-socialist podcasts dampen every true American with crotch-wetting anxiety. In that cortex, we should deregulate and privatise the podcasting sector of MeFi and allow private entities to tickle the aural canals of the userbase, bringing capitalist efficiency and consumer choice back to the marketplace. This comment ended up being a lot more right-wing than I originally intended. Wow. I mean it started out about podcasts, but I'm starting to think now about giving myself a huge tax-cut, denying climate change and invading Syria. It's like I can't even keep on-topic with my own irrelevant bullshit anymore, never mind what this thread is about. But in summary, the MeFi Magazine Audio podcast is a great idea, and I hope some of you who are not suffering from debilitating ADD can pull that off. Thanks.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can you read MetaFilter with the Kindle Web browser? That would let you add favorites and follow links. The tool you're describing sounds very similar to a Web browser to me.

You mention better formatting for the Kindle. Have you tried adjusting your site display preferences in your Kindle browser? You might be able to get close to the Instapaper look with a few tweaks.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:09 AM on April 30, 2013


Depends on which Kindle, I think. I've found the "browser" on both the touch and the paperwhite to be miserable, suitable only for emergency "help I'm trapped in an elevator" situations.

(Which is fine by me, because I get way more book-reading done when there's no easy web distraction.)
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I love the Paperwhite like crazy but the browser is a nightmare. It's the best device for reading books and that's all I care about. I would probably just read and wait for someone else to notice the elevator wasn't working.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:37 AM on April 30, 2013


The kindle browser works ok - but I'd rather be offline (ie: I load up tons of posts on the kindle, then read them on a plane or a train).

I seem to remember in the past there was a page on instapaper where you could add your own regexp to certain sites, but it may have been a dream.

And of course, I would love to have the quidnunc kid option ! or even better, have a different member provide a dramatic reading of the questions I favorite on a weekly basis :-)
posted by motdiem2 at 6:44 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I must add that the part that bothers me the most with instapaper is that I don't like the separation between each comment, which makes it not so great to read.
posted by motdiem2 at 6:46 AM on April 30, 2013


I'm the best tool for reading long metafilter posts online.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2013


The kindle browser does work pretty well.

I beg to disagree. The Kindle web browser (for the epaper Kindles, anyway) is the most unpleasant web browsing experience I've had in my life.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:05 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's an offline?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:47 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can I humbly suggest ... a segment on the podcast radio hour called "The MeFi Players recreate..."

Only if The MeFi Players are a mod-staffed barbershop quartet.
posted by davejay at 9:28 AM on April 30, 2013


Ya, Readability's inability to work with Metafilter is frustrating
posted by rosswald at 9:38 AM on April 30, 2013


You could try contacting Readability to see if they can fix things on their end.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:54 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the browser on Kindle is pretty much unusable. I gave up using it on my 2G Kindle years ago, but set up a friend's new Paperwhite last week and to login to the company network required the webpage to load; it hadn't improved much in the intervening years.
posted by arcticseal at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2013


I would love if we could just get permission to post this as an askme and see what results. We know there's a smaller subset of users who use metatalk and they might not be the ones who can give a good answer to this question that only incidentally is "metafilter related".

The browser is shit, Instapaper is on the one hand excellent, but not for this. If the lo-fi add-on worked on posts that might solve the issue, it's that readibility etc interpret the site literally as a blog since it uses the same classes (or something, what do I know) as wordpress.
posted by Iteki at 12:55 PM on April 30, 2013


dotEPUB looked good on paper (there's a .mobi variant, could be combined with your kindle's email address), but the text extraction is readability-based and cuts off the comments.
posted by Tobu at 1:11 PM on April 30, 2013


Your ideal would be an RSS reader of some description, plugged straight into the feed you get from the "Subscribed" link next to the headline on the comments page. However I'm regrettably unqualified to speak on the merits of any Kindle RSS reader.

There are a variety of web apps that do for this, among them: MobileFilter, bespoke by schmod. I think it might not be the greatest for your particular purposes because it paginates big threads, but the formatting's pretty nice.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:33 PM on April 30, 2013


PeterMcDermott: "The Kindle web browser (for the epaper Kindles, anyway) is the most unpleasant web browsing experience I've had in my life."

You've obviously never used a BlackBerry.
posted by dg at 2:52 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]




Your ideal would be an RSS reader of some description, plugged straight into the feed you get from the "Subscribed" link next to the headline on the comments page.

This suddenly reminded me of this thread over on reddit, about getting feeds for various subreddits onto one's kindle by using Calibre's fetch news function. There's probably an easyish way of doing the same thing for mefi threads? I don't know what it is, but someone here might, and then might share that way with us!
posted by rtha at 8:35 PM on April 30, 2013


I've used a BlackBerry for browsing and it was perfect for MeFi IME. Love hitting the space bar to scroll pages and the shortcut keys for "top" and "bottom." Getting used to iOS and Android browsers took some time. I wonder what it'd look like to "print" pages to PDF using Chrome in mobile site mode to minimize width and such and then send that to your Kindle.
posted by lordaych at 3:57 PM on May 1, 2013


I've fiddled around a bit with Calibre and you can get pretty decent results. Example output here. If you want to use this in Calibre:
- Click Fetch News -> Add a custom news source
- Click Add/Update recipe
- Select the Unknown news source from the list and hit Switch to advanced mode
- In the source code window, replace the code with this one

There's room for improvement but I think it's already pretty nice. Maybe we can make it a bit better and then get in Calibre as a built-in recipe.
posted by dhoe at 2:16 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older When is a "cool thing in the real world" a "cool...   |   Help me understand this. Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments