A couple of months ago I got my Kindle 2. I was a bit skeptical, but fell in love with it. Even then, I thought, well, it’s new and shiny, see how much you like it in a few weeks. I still love it. In addition to books, I found it was a great tool for reading stuff later, such as blog posts or articles you see on the web. Of course you can subscribe to blogs (for $$$) and you can set up Instapaper to send stuff to your Kindle, and there are other services that also allow you to subscribe to and send blogs to your Kindle. These work through the Kindle conversion process, which is going to cost you $0.15 per megabyte or any part thereof. Not a big deal in the big picture. And there is the convenience of having it go straight to the device wirelessly.
But I found myself often seeing an article on the web that I wanted to check out later on the commute or whatever. The Kindle happily accepts plain text files, so I found myself just copying the text of the article, opening Text Edit and pasting it in, and saving it to the Kindle. Worked great. But my Kindle isn’t always plugged in. So I started saving the files in a folder and then later when I connected, I’d just drag the contents of the folder into the Kindle documents folder. Then I thought, hmmm… saving text to a text file in a specific directory and then copying all the files in that directory to another directory… that’s something a simple computer program should be able to handle. And so, KClipper was born.
Here is a rough feature / non-feature list:
- KClipper (pronounced “kay clipper”) is made with Adobe AIR, so it should run fine on Mac or Windows (though I’ve only tested it on my Mac.
- It’s FREEEEEEEE!
- Your Kindle does not need to be connected to copy and save articles.
- Your Kindle DOES need to be connected to transfer the articles to the Kindle itself.
- In other words, this does not use email or wireless, which also means that it won’t cost you a dime.
- Currently, KClipper only supports plain text. So no fancy formatting. No images.
Here’s how it works. You see something you want to read later. You selectÂ the text, copy it, open KClipper and paste the copied text into the left pane. KClipper reads the first line of the text as a title for the article, so you can edit that if it doesn’t reflect what the article is about. You hit “save” and the article is saved to your hard drive, in a KClipper Articles directory. The first time you use the program, you’ll be asked to choose a directory to store your articles in. You can change that any time through the preferences.
You can save as many articles as you want. Read them again right in the KClipper UI if you want. Mark them up, edit them, delete them if you change your mind about them. I don’t know of any particular limit on article length. I guess whatever the AIR text field will support. Most likely good enough for even a very large blog post. Not sure if you’d be copying and pasting War and Peace anyway.
So now you’re going to hit the road after a long day of saving articles from your favorite web sites. You plug in your Kindle and hit “sync”. Bam. All your articles are now on your Kindle. The first time you sync, you’ll be asked to specify your Kindle documents directory. Simply browse to your Kindle. There you’ll see a directory named “documents”. Choose that, and you should be all set from there on out.
If you didn’t make it through that explanation, hit play, sit back and let me babble incoherently to you, while watching the pretty pictures.
That’s it. Pretty darned simple. In fact, so simple, that I’ve put off releasing it for some time. I actually created the program shortly after I got my Kindle, almost a couple months ago. Then I started invalidating it. I mean all it does is save files to a directory and then copies them to another directory. But I realized that I’m still using it on a regular basis. Furthermore, I haven’t needed to fix anything or update it at all since I finished programming it. It’s so simple, it just does what it does and works. Anyway, if it’s useful to me, it might be useful to others too. If not, hey, it’s free. Delete it is it’s wasting disk space and move on.
Here’s the link to the installer.
1. Again, it’s an Adobe AIR program. So if you have some big irrational beef against Adobe or AIR, move along.
2. This means you’ll need the Adobe AIR runtime installed on your computer. Get that here. I could have done the whole installer badge thing, which would have auto-installed AIR for you if you didn’t already have it, but we’re all big boys and girls here. I’m sure you can manager two installs in one day.
OK, I lied. Three things.
3. When you go to install it, it’s going to tell you that it’s an unsigned app, and ask you if you want to trust it. I don’t know much about app signing. Apparently I’d need to go to some third party certificate vendor and pay them money for them to say that I am I’m not installing a virus on your computer. Whatever. I didn’t do that, so you’ll get this big warning that seems to imply that I AM going to do something bad to your computer. I’m not, but if this scares you, don’t install it. No hard feelings.