Show me yer rig! (Evernote + Instapaper edition)

Haven’t done one of these how-to screencasts in a while, and this one is reeeeeeally simple, so it’s very possible you’ve thought of it long ago and have been using it for ages and are all, “Gee, Colleen, it must be hard, getting old and losing all that processing power.”

However, I stumbled upon this solution for simplifying clipping stuff to Evernote, my fave catch-all/squirreling-away tool. If you’re already slick with the mouse, this will likely be more hassle than it’s worth, but if you’re like me and are not so good with the mouse/trackpad when it comes to highlighting content, you will LURVE it, I swear.

Some notes! Because there are always notes after wrassling with video:

  • It is not a 2-minute video; it’s a 2:42-minute video. I recorded this thing no less than SEVEN times trying to get it under 2:00; like a postmodern Blaise Pascal, I just didn’t have the time to make the thing any shorter.
  • My numeric dyslexia has spread to independent clauses. At about 1:20 in, I say “I want to save the URL and clip the page, just in case.” What I meant was to flip those things: you have to clip the page if you want the content to appear in Evernote; you do not have to have the URL, but I like to keep it, just in case. There’s a nifty little arrow button next to the URLs in every Evernote note that will take you straight to the full page in a jiffy. Sweet!
  • Shareaholic really deserves its own shoutout. It’s a fantastic social sharing tool for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. browsers that lets you easily clip things to Evernote, as well as share content in an insane number of places. Literally, you’d go insane doing that much sharing. Fortunately, it’s customizable: mine has links to gmail, Twitter, Facebook, delicious, Evernote and Tumblr, which is already borderline insane. You can also choose your fave flavor of link-shortening service (I use, mostly), so you can get shortened, trackable links for all the stuff you’re sharing, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • Ignore what I said about emailing, you can totally leave a comment, and I would love that. I have comment moderation turned on now, so depending on how diligent I’m being with my other work, it may take some time for it to appear, but unless you’re being a sh*thead in your comment, it will appear. (And yeah, I do need a clear commenting policy. It’s on the list!)

If you hate watching video, here’s the tip, in a nutshell: rather than highlighting text and content you want to clip to Evernote, use the Instapaper Text bookmarklet to convert it to clean text before clipping. That’s it!

As always, and especially while I’m on the steep, upward curve of this video-learning thing, comments as to what was and wasn’t helpful, distracting, fun, evil-ish, are particularly welcome.

And because I’m anticipating the question, no, I haven’t made it yet. BECAUSE I SPENT A BAZILLION HOURS TRYING TO GET THIS UNDER 2 MINUTES!

Life is easy; video is hard…


  • Evernote, a Swiss-Army-knife of saving and collecting tools (free; subscribe for extra features)
  • Instapaper, program that strips  and lets you read articles later (free, online and iPhone app; $5 for iPhone app with extra features)
  • Instapaper Text bookmarklet (scroll down to find) Javascript tool that strips visual nuisances from web pages for your reading pleasure; just drag from the page to your browser’s toolbar (free!; Mac users, also try Safari Reader, available in Safari 5)
  • Google Chrome Super-fast browser for PC, Mac and Linux.
  • Shareaholic Fantastic social sharing tool for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. browsers.


  1. I think your video rocks, Colleen. Frankly, I shy away from watching videos, preferring to read a summary (I appreciate that you offered one). I just don’t find talking heads all that interesting, and when I read — rather than watch — I can better control the speed at which I take in content. Having said that, your comfortable delivery is better and more accessible than most, and I’m grateful for your effort to keep the videos short. Mixing it up by showing the screen shots is also a big help.

    Now for a question (you’ll be sorry you asked for them): I just installed Shareaholic and by registering on the web site, was given the option not only to select the services I wanted to list, but also to list them in priority order. However, when I click on the Shareaholic icon in my toolbar, the services are in alpha order, and I can’t seem to drag and drop them to put them in any other order. Any thoughts? I won’t be offended if you can’t be my personal help desk on this one, but I wondered if you’d had a similar experience and could help. Thanks in advance.

    1. Thanks, Clara. I’m not a big one for video posts either, which is why it’s taken me so long to do them. Shorter definitely is better, and only video when video is warranted. The screencasts are the most obvious example, but I felt like the other ones thus far at least had marginal reason for being.

      To reorder your Shareaholic services, you need to be logged into the website. There’s a big orange link toward the top of the page that says “Set Menu Order.” Click on that, and order away!

  2. This post was incredibly helpful to me. I downloaded Evernote and installed the Instapaper bookmarklet on my Chrome browser. As someone with multiple interests and no way to organize the data behind the interests, I am looking forward to using these apps. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! I still have issues with trying to figure out what goes where—I subscribe to a LOT of clipping/saving services—but mostly, I can now put my hands on stuff when I need it.

  3. Those are great tools; thanks for sharing them. I have long loved Evernote, but the ability to clip things cleanly was also thwarting me!

    I have mixed feelings about video: usually I’m too impatient for it, and I think that impatience is partly because I’m reasonably technically competent and thus confident in my ability to figure things out given pointers in the right direction in text.

    That said, I probably would have known better what to focus on if you’d said right at the start of the video that you were going to post links to all of the tools you mentioned.

  4. Loved the video. You are great onscreen. I never heard of sharaholic or evernote, didn’t know I needed them, but I guess I must. Whooppeee! About to climb another learning curve.

    I want to learn how to do videos like yours. So cool. Thanks.

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