Reading MeFi discussions on a Kindle? January 12, 2015 10:02 PM   Subscribe

I often queue up MeFi articles for my subway ride using Amazon's Send to Kindle tool. It'd be great if I could also send the accompany discussions to my Kindle, but Amazon's tool only picks up the post text. My usual trick of running Readability on the page first doesn't work: Readability also discards the comments. I realize Kindles are pretty far down the long tail of devices that pb could spend his time supporting, so I'm not expecting official support here, but have any MeFites hacked together a good way to send the discussions to their Kindles?
posted by d. z. wang to MetaFilter-Related at 10:02 PM (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Could you maybe print the page to PDF and then send the PDF to your Kindle?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:02 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Instapaper includes comments on MetaFilter threads, and can send anything you save with the service to your Kindle. See this thread for more details, and a way to automatically send favourited posts to Instapaper with help from Yahoo Pipes and IFTTT.
posted by jack_mo at 1:59 AM on January 13, 2015

Er, never mind - it looks like Instapaper's MeFi-friendly features have gone away. It now ignores the post text and grabs all the comments without the bylines. Shame.
posted by jack_mo at 2:07 AM on January 13, 2015

Calibre can probably do it, but it's a while since I've used the feature. You might need to create the script yourself, but it's pretty straight forward.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:02 AM on January 13, 2015

So you're using the browser extension? You might try, instead, choosing the print option and then forwarding that to email via that interface. I suspect the browse extension is using some sort of magic to determine the main block. It shouldn't be able to do that if you're electing to print the entire page.

IIRC the AddThis extension had some options for this sort of thing too. It might do the job better for you.
posted by phearlez at 7:01 AM on January 13, 2015

I am not sure if this would help you at all but I'll mention it. On the Play store there is an app called Pocket. It lets you save a webpage for offline viewing. This has a few drawbacks for you. Primarily, I'm not sure if it is available for Kindle, and secondly it would not be in real time. It will capture comments currently on the page(i tested it with this thread) but won't update unless you are connected.
posted by Twain Device at 8:10 AM on January 13, 2015

"Calibre can probably do it, but it's a while since I've used the feature. You might need to create the script yourself, but it's pretty straight forward."

No, it has the same problem. I've tried it. This is a result of MeFi's markup.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:14 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I should say that if one creates a script oneself specifically for MeFi, Calibre can manage this quite well. And this is well within my technical capabilities and experience. Nevertheless, I couldn't be bothered. I keep hoping someone else will do it. :)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2015

I use textise to convert webpages to text sometimes. I just used it on this thread and then saved the result to Instapaper which worked! The comments and the post were saved. Textise also has a bookmarklet. You could try it with the send to Kindle tool.
posted by bluefly at 10:04 PM on January 13, 2015

Previously. That having been said, there's not really much useful there.
posted by WCityMike at 1:06 PM on January 14, 2015

WCityMike linked my previous thread, I must admit I more or less gave up after that. I am on an android device now so I might make a new attempt at finding a method. I will be following this thread closely. Again.
posted by Iteki at 2:08 PM on January 14, 2015

Altering that code to push the HTML out to an email (to your address) rather than saving it locally to a PDF would be pretty straightforward. I guess the question is whether getting Node.js installed locally and copy/pasting thread numbers would be too high a bar to overcome.

Usage could be streamlined somewhat by writing a simple regex to pull the needed number out of a full url string (^.*\.com/(\d+)/.*$ should do it) but it's still going to be browse, copy url, switch window, paste to fire off the process.
posted by phearlez at 7:10 PM on January 14, 2015

Friends and neighbours! Textise gives a navigable text version of the page. Not superfast but I think it's doing the job. Sent the dev a message to ask if he wouldn't add "email to kindle" as an option along with the save as pdf etc. In the meantime tinderising from that site works decently but removes breaks after comments. Ideally that page could get dumped directly as is.

There is also a site It has a bookmarklet but doesn't automate like tinderiser, you have to click send (and perhaps fill in your adress again). It does however manage the page and comments quite nicely. It does remove most formatting though.

So, for me, as of now I think fivefiltering regular links is the way to go. Fingers crossed for some good news from the textise dude.
posted by Iteki at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2015

The fivefilters bookmarklet looks like the best option so far, despite the mild annoyance of filling in my Kindle's email address every time.

Other approaches I investigated, for the next poor schmuck who starts down this twisty maze of passageways:

PDF-based solutions are harder for me to read because my Kindle can't reflow the text.

Textise + Amazon's Kindle extension gets the comments, but not the bylines for each comment which are the only thing that indicate where one comment ends and the next begins.

I think Calibre's custom news recipes are designed for RSS feeds, and Metafilter's RSS feeds don't include the comments. I didn't spend a lot of time on this one, though, so I might be wrong.

gwint's script clearly gets the screen-scraping right, but unfortunately I don't know Node so I can't say how hard it would be modify it to email me an ePub instead of writing out a PDF. From a cursory search, it doesn't look like npm has an ePub generator yet, only ePub parsers, so you'd minimally have to implement that. (I read the ePub spec; I do not want to implement an ePub generator for this!)

On the bright side, it's actually not hard to mash together pycurl (libcurl bindings), BeautifulSoup (HTML scraper), and ebooklib (epub parser/generator) to convert web pages into ePub. I went from an undergrad's understanding of Python and zero experience with any of these libraries, to scraping all 305 chapters of Worm in about three hours.

By the way, guys, I'm having a lot of fun with Worm so far.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:24 PM on January 16, 2015

"I think Calibre's custom news recipes are designed for RSS feeds, and Metafilter's RSS feeds don't include the comments. I didn't spend a lot of time on this one, though, so I might be wrong."

The feeds for the actual posts have the comments.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2015

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