Getting your words to my kindle

Nathan and Tim both made a sensible comment on my “Readme” post – Instapaper supports daily delivery of unread articles directly to a kindle – use that!

This is a great idea; I’ve started using it and it works very well.

But this means that I’m using Google Reader to do my aggregation, and then when an article is too long to read right then, scrolling back to the top of it, opening it in a new tab, hitting the Instapaper bookmarklet, and letting it do its thing.

I already star articles in Google Reader that I want to read later (by pressing ‘s’). When I meet something on the wider web that I want to mark to read later, I add it to my scuttle install, and tag it with “readme”. This is two lists of “read me later” content.

So I want two things:

  1. When I star an item in google reader, it gets automatically added to scuttle tagged “readme”
  2. Items tagged with “readme” in scuttle are automatically added to Instapaper via their API

In fact, I really want more than this – I want to use a port of Arc90’s Readability (there are many, in many different languages) to grab the content from the page I’ve tagged, and then every day generate my own .mobi file and email it to my kindle – basically, take the instapaper bit out of the equation. However, other than calling out to KindleGen, I can’t see a way of generating a .mobi file at all. Any pointers would be very welcome!

php-fastcgi woe in blogland

At the end of last week I upgraded my server from Ubuntu Intrepid to Jaunty (and have since gone all the way up to Lucid, a process that was not as simple as I would have liked). As far as I could tell, everything had gone smoothly, but my blog was unavailable (which I discovered very quickly thanks to the automated Pingdom emails). My blog runs on php-fastcgi behind nginx, which had been very simple to install, but now, executing /etc/init.d/php-fastcgi start resulted in an “OK” status but no PHP server actually running!

Isolating the correct command from the startup script eventually got it running (although I still can’t work out whether it really is the quotemarks around $DAEMONARGS that’s causing this problem or not), but it stops again after a couple of hours. I can only guess that this is because I’ve been running it as a simple sudo and without & – but surely start-stop-daemon should handle all this for me?!

Anyway, an investigation into PHP-FPM as an alternative is underway, and this here blog will be massively intermittent until then!

A tastier bookmarking tool

The practical stuff first.

In February 2009, inspired by Pete Prodoehl, I set up my own version of scuttle, an open source clone, and hacked it to auto-post my bookmarks to my account using the php-delicious library.

I have finally pushed this to github. My change is literally about ten lines of code, although as my delicious account testifies, it has bugs that I haven’t been bothered to fix. It is currently version 0.7.4 of scuttle, and I plan on merging it to the latest 0.9 in a day or two.

Update: actually it looks like I set this up in 2006, way before I remember!


  • get out of the office for lunch
  • walk up the hill to work, provided it is not snowing
  • do something creative first thing at work rather than answering email
  • leave work promptly!

I think that will do for the first couple of months of 2011 🙂

Hacker Monthly workflow

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I subscribe to Hacker Monthly. HM is provided in PDF, epub and .mobi – the Kindle can read .mobi file natively, so when the latest HM arrived today I was keen to try it out.

A link to the latest download is delivered by email, so the normal workflow for viewing the PDF is like this:

  1. receive email
  2. click link to PDF
  3. file downloads and PDF reader opens

For the kindle it appears to be this:

  1. receive email
  2. click link to .mobi
  3. file downloads
  4. compose new email to my address
  5. attach downloaded .mobi file
  6. send
  7. wait for it to arrive on the kindle (a minute or so)

I could simply connect the Kindle to a computer and transfer the file over USB, but that kind of defeats the point doesn’t it?

I had been hoping to just be able to load my email in the browser on the Kindle and click the link from there, but unfortunately I use GMail which opens links in new tabs, which the Kindle browser doesn’t support (even in mobile GMail, which is what I’m actually using on the Kindle).

Are there better options that I’m missing?