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15/11 — 2020
13.99 cm   2.2 min

How I read blogs

I have recently gotten into the habit of reading more blogs, in particular, ones featured on HackerNews.

Reading books, personally, has been a difficult habit to cultivate over time, which I mainly attribute to the periodic feelings of being “stuck” or bored on a certain set of books. Blogs, however, offer a condensed read making them efficient and often amusing sources of information.

My typical sourcing routine would usually just consist of scrolling through HackerNews, potentially seeing something that peaked my interest and reading it, or realizing I didn’t have the time and putting the url off in a .txt file somewhere.

Realizing the severe lack of efficiency present in this routine, I thought about how to make it better. First, by asking the question: what were the things I didn’t like?

  1. Having to scroll through articles myself
  2. Reading on mobile or desktop
  3. Having no effortless like or archive feature

To address these problems I chose to try out Instapaper and build a simple tool called hackerpaper.

Instapaper has a feature that let’s you send articles to your Kindle, which makes reading blogs much more comfortable. Moreover, the built in like and archive features carryover to the Kindle as well, making it a seamless process of read -> archive or like -> repeat.

To solve the issue of having to scroll through articles myself and add them to Instapaper, as mentioned above, I built hackerpaper. This tool sends HackerNews articles to Instapaper with certain filters such as type, subdomains or a specific article id.

I run a cron job that sends the articles to Instapaper at 5:00AM and have Instapaper send those articles to my Kindle at 7:00AM.

The script is as simple as:

$ ~/path/to/python3 ~/path/to/hackerpaper -a <email> <password> -t topstories

To recap the routine:

  1. Have hackerpaper send articles to Instapaper
  2. Have Instapaper send those articles to Kindle
  3. Read and archive those articles
  4. Repeat

I'm Liam.

I'm currently a software engineer intern at 1Password on the Filling and Saving team, where I primarily work on the browser extension and related infrastructure.

I also study computer science at McGill University.

I like developer tooling, distributed systems, performance engineering and compiler design.

You can reach out to me via email at liam@scalzulli.com.

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