The Other Side of the Coin

Because yesterday I indulged in bit of complaining, I decided to follow my own advice today: “If you have time to complain about something, you have time to do something to solve it.” Or at least to take a few steps in the right direction.

So I decided to pick up the reading service with the most robust note system, Instapaper, and look for solutions to improve that functionality.

The service itself has an integration with Evernote that supposedly copies highlights and notes directly to the application, but there are problems:

  1. Evernote is very inconsistent between platforms. The web application, for example, is slow and does not allow for smooth note management.
  2. It does not always work. After activating the integration, I made several notes and highlights that never showed up in my Evernote account.

I ended up with the following solution: I used IFTTT (a free online service that acts as a bridge between several applications) to establish the following rule: whenever I make a note or highlight something in an article in Instapaper, IFTTT sends me an email with the highlight and the note.

From there, it’s a simple matter to copy the content directly to my favorite notes app.

Is this a somewhat contrived system? Yes. Would it be better if Instapaper – or a competing application – let me copy the notes directly? Yes. But doesn’t. It’s better to find a solution, however imperfect, rather than keep complaining.

Painting: “The Wounded Philoctetes” by Nicolai Abildgaard