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!

Importing Nokia podcast subscriptions into Google Reader

Exporting the list of podcasts

  1. load the podcasting application, mark all items and hit “send -> bluetooth”. Contrary to what you might expect, this will send an OPML file listing your subscriptions to your PC

Edit the list ready for import

  1. Open your new Podcasting.opml file in a text editor
  2. Find/replace all instances of url= with xmlUrl=
  3. Immediately after the opening <body> tag put <outline title="podcasts" text="podcasts">
  4. Just before the closing </body> tag putĀ </outline>
  5. (I also duplicated all the text=”blah” attributes with title=”blah” but I don’t know if this is actually necessary)

Import the list of podcasts

The Google Reader Import/Export page

The Google Reader Import/Export page

  1. load Google Reader
  2. Click “Settings” in the top right
  3. Go to the Import/Export tab
  4. Find your Podcasting.opml file and upload!

You should now find that you have a new folder called “podcasts” in your google reader containing all the podcasts from your Nokia device.

Even nicer – if you make the folder public (Settings -> Folders and Tags) you can import the OPML from Google Reader directly into other applications by giving the URL http://www.google.com/reader/public/subscriptions/user/USERID/label/podcasts where USERID is the long number in the URL of the “view public page” link next to your public podcasts folder in Settings -> Folders and Tags.

Google Reader view public page section

Google Reader view public page section

HOWTO download your Google Reader starred items

How to create a backup of your starred items in Google Reader, should the need ever arise:

A screenshot of the Google Reader settings page

  • Log in to Google Reader
  • Click ‘Settings‘ in the top-right of the window
  • Click the ‘Tags‘ tab
  • Check the “Your starred items” box
  • Click the “Change sharing…” dropdown box and select “public
  • Now click on ‘View public page‘ which has appeared to the right of “Your starred items” (this will open in a new window by default)
  • In the right-hand column there is a link to a feed. Right-click it and save it to disk.

Congratulations, you now have an Atom feed of your starred items to do with as you wish. With any luck it will even be valid.

Atom from any RSS feed via Google Reader

Got a site which only provides an RSS feed? Do you wish you could have an Atom feed of it, but don’t have mad XSLT skillz or somewhere you can host your own PHP conversion script? Fear not, because under the hood, Google Reader is all about the Atom, baby.

For example: I have a del.icio.us account, del.icio.us is gracious enough to provide me with an RSS feed for my account, Google Reader converts that internally into Atom. Voila. That URL is eminently hackable, just use http://www.google.com/reader/atom/feed/ followed by the URL of your own feed.

What’s nice to note is that in this case it actually retains the tags, using the category element. Lovely.

Much respect goes to Robert Sayre, who spotted this.