I uninstalled my Delicious add-on in Firefox today but I’m still bookmarking more than ever. In fact, I’ve made sharing links an integral part of this blog now. I’m using a brand new service, Pinboard to store and manage all my online bookmarks. Founded by Maciej Ceglowski, a former engineer at Yahoo’s Brickhouse and Peter Gadjokov, co-founder of del.icio.us. Their decision to start Pinboard stemmed from the stasis that Delicious finds itself in after being bought over by Yahoo. After MyBlogLog, also a Yahoo acquisition, was shut down, I was afraid of losing my bookmarks that I’ve been collecting since 2003. Although a paid service, Pinboard is not only the closest option to Delicious’ still-robust service but also takes it further by adding option of archiving the links you share on Twitter as well as your unread items on Instapaper. These two features were enough for me to consider switching to Pinboard.
First, the payment aspect. We are used to getting things for free on the Internet but there is no such thing as a free lunch and along comes the cost of spam, slow upgrade, non-existent customer service, etc. Pinboard follows a unique pricing structure. The price is decided by using a simple formula – number of current users * $0.001 so earlier you join, the less you pay. The early adopters are thereby rewarded which is counter-intuitive to most tech products where price for new users is always lower as the product get popular. I paid $5.68 and as of now, the price for new users is $6.13. For me, it has been worth the price and if you think about it, it is as much as an iPhone app.
As you see, the interface is simple, text-based, and elegant without too much clutter. All the important tabs are right at the top. To make the transition easier from Delicious, it allows you to import all your bookmarks and the transfer is seamless and near-instant depending upon the size of your archive. The Starred are your like your bookmark favorites for easy retrieval. The Tweets tab archives all the tweets from your Twitter account so you don’t have to worry about Twitter deleting your older tweets. The tags are on your right and the links are in chronological order on your left with links in blue, description in grey, and tags in orange. It also shows the source of the link i.e. if it was via Twitter or Delicious.
The Settings page provides an overview of the true strengths of Pinboard. As I mentioned, it allows you to monitor a Twitter account and extract any links that are posted (a big plus for me). Any text accompanying the link is used as the description and any hashtags are used as tags. So you never have to go hunting for that link you shared on Twitter last morning buried beneath all your tweets and @replies since then. It also adds your Twitter favorites if you don’t want to retweet or re-link a particular URL. Monitoring your Instapaper account allows Pinboard to extract all those items that you have marked as unread and tags them as such. Further, you can share via email as well with the subject as the title and URL, description, and tags on separate lines in the body of the email.
Pinboard founders understand that in spite of their service, transition can be difficult and you may still want to continue using Delicious. You can keep using Delicious and let Pinboard monitor your account so that it pulls in any new links you post there and sync it every three hours. So this way, if Delicious turns belly-up one day, you can seamlessly move to Pinboard (and if Pinboard croaks first, you can always export your data out in XML format but remember you’ve paid for it so the chances are slim). I was using Delicious for a while after I paid for Pinboard but have made the jump now. You get generic bookmarklets that let you tag any URL in any browser easily and the pop-up/new-window box are as fast as Delicious and come equipped with similar features i.e. selected text as description and tag suggestions including popular tags for your link.
Since this blog is now heavily oriented toward sharing daily bookmarks from my web jaunts, I had set up the Daily Blog Posting feature within Delicious. Using a plugin and public XML feeds offered by Pinboard, I’ve easily replicated that feature (more on that in a future post). In fact, it is much more customizable (no tags at the end of each link). I’m still tweaking the frequency and styling so you may see a spurt of bookmark posts but it will eventually settle down.Alternatively, you could simply subscribe to my Pinboard bookmarks
In conclusion, Pinboard is a nifty, reliable, and fast bookmarking service. It not only equals Delicious but surpasses it in many aspects by understanding the current nature of the web. The best part is the direct line to the founders via Pinboard’s Google Groups listserv where the developers respond to your major questions and minor quibbles almost instantly and as with any community around a startup, the user group is quite active (extension for Chrome is already out). So if you forgo your latte for one day, you can rest in peace knowing your bookmarks are secure. Join me at Pinboard.