Whatever Happened to Bookmarks

Before apps took over the world, there were bookmarks.

As you surfed, visited sites and found one that might be of use at some later date, you bookmarked it. Job done. Easy.

Then the web got more complex due the the financialisation of it.

Bookmarks that stayed in the browser meant when you moved to another device, you couldn’t access them.

Then cross-browser syncing came of age.

Unfortunately, websites come and go. How often have you visited an old webpage only to find the content has disappeared.

Frustrating, right. So the answer was handed to us with Read Later apps, which usurped the role of bookmarks.

Then these Read Later apps started charging. Nothing wrong with that if they actually worked well. Every RL app I have paid and tested fails miserably when searching for what you want.

Pocket, I hope you hear this. Your search function is diabolical for something you want me to pay for. And Instapaper, well let’s just not even start.

How I longed for the simple early days of the internet. Before the hipster SaaS fuckers started trying to extract every last penny out of me.

That’s why I hate subscription models. I refuse to pay unless the app provides way more than the amount of money being requested from me.

There are a few of them out there. Not many. Most fail miserably. Most are just money sucks, developed my kids more focused on their cool beards and hairstyle, rather than delivering a rock-solid service. What a male dominated tech world we live in.

Maybe I’m jealous because my hair is falling out and I am, in this culture at least, considered over the hill.

One day I was reading Paul Jarvis’s book Company of One. It’s about keeping your business small and manageable so you have more life to enjoy.

While reading Paul’s book, he mentioned a small company based in India called Pinboard.

The super-premium version of Pinboard will set you back an annual sub of $39.

So what Pinboard does are bookmark websites you like.

Err, okay, Robin. What’s so special about that?

Glad you asked. Unlike browser bookmarks, you can tag and make notes on each bookmark you save.

And more than that, if you go full in, Pinboard will cache the website you have saved, just in case, it disappears overnight.

Now there are limitations. It won’t cache the content behind paywalls. But anything else pretty much gets saved.

Another feature I love makes every other Read Later app obsolete. When you bookmark a web page, you can also check a box that says, not surprisingly, Read Later.

Oh, I nearly forgot. You can also request a download of all your bookmarks, including the cached pages, just in case you get a little nervous that Pinboard might close down overnight.

However, you cut it. Your saved bookmarks will be saved forever. You just have to have suitable backup protocols in place. That’s your responsibility.

To get up and running, install the browser extension button, and you’re good to go.

The dashboard looks like something from the 1990s. But who cares. It does what it says it does, and it does it well.