Open letter to the developer(s) of Instapaper

Instapaper has long been my favorite read-it-later app. I still use it, but with trepidation. In recent months it has become unreliable and has fallen into disrepair.

Recently while working with a small group of articles on my iPad, the app kept locking up. Moreover, sync wasn’t working between my iPad and iPhone. Getting frustrated, I went to the App Store to check out the recent reviews. What I found was that I’m not the only one experiencing issues with Instapaper. There were complaints similar to mine plus many more including Kindle sync no longer working, disappearing articles, and Instapaper not appearing in the share sheet. To top it off, the developer isn’t responding to any support requests and the app hasn’t had an update in over a year. Has it been abandoned?

Instant Paper, Inc., the current state of Instapaper is shameful! Please fix it or sell it to someone who will.

Oh, here’s an option. In a quote, Matt Mullenweg of Automattic told David Pierce of protocol on December 21st, 2021 that he would be interested in Instapaper.

And if that’s the plan, there are plenty of places left for Automattic to explore. “I would have loved to have Instapaper or Pocket,” Mullenweg said when the topic of reading apps came up.

​Or maybe Marco Arment should buy it back and get it working as Brent Simmons did with NetNewsWire.

The trouble with BBEdit for new users

I’ve had BBEdit / TextWrangler installed on my Mac ever since the day I got my first Mac. I have never used on it consistently because it has never clicked with me.

The other day, I was experimenting with it again, thinking that I would like to use it more often. I even downloaded MarsEdit to go with it for publishing to this blog. Sadly, I gave up and put it away, just like I always do. I don’t get it!

Andrew Canion puts the trouble with BBEdit for new users perfectly.

But BBEdit is a Mac classic. It can do virtually anything with text (if you know how to drive it). That brings up the real weakness of BBEdit – a lack of support for the new user, and modern tutorials. BareBones, the developers, are old men. They write great documentation1 but offer zero modern promotion and support. The manual is great, but how about a YouTube channel with some tutorials? Where does a beginner start with this application?


Herein lies the problem with BBEdit. It’s great. It’s wonderful. It’s built for people who already use it and know how to use it. However, I would say this to the team at BareBones: if you’re building a software application, perhaps at some point you need to turn an eye to the new users. The ones that might otherwise choose the free Visual Studio Code. The ones who might already use the copy of iA Writer they own, or Drafts, Craft or Ulysses. Users like me?

I want to use BBEdit. But why should I? Perhaps I shouldn’t.

BareBones 14. I’m sure its great. But I can’t know, because I’m not experienced enough to say.

Viticci slams non-professional reviewers

Mere Civilian: The value of a non-reviewer’s perspective

Sometimes, I hear something and I find the need to consider what my thoughts are on a particular subject. This is one of those times.

In the first seven minutes of the episode 242 of the AppStories Podcast. Federico said:

“You wouldn’t want to read/or watch a review by someone who is not a professional reviewer. It wouldn’t be enjoyable.”


However, I strongly disagree with the first sentence. I frequently seek reviews written by people who are not professional reviewers.

If you’re wondering who Federico is he is Federico Viticci – Founder and Editor-in-chief of MacStories. He is also co-host of the AppStories podcast with John Voorhees.

I’m not a regular listener of AppStories but this week I was interested in hearing what Federico and John had to say about the new iPad Mini.

Like Mere Civilian when I heard Federico say “You wouldn’t want to read/or watch a review by someone who is not a professional reviewer. It wouldn’t be enjoyable.” I was shocked. Who and the hell does he think he’s speaking for? Obviously, not me and a few others.

Lee Peterson: I’m not a “professional” but my opinion is valid too

I don’t normally post this sort of thing but I feel so strongly on this one I had to get it out of my head.

I don’t listen to App Stories but I do listen to Connected and generally read MacStories but right now I feel really let down. I’ll let you listen to the podcast in question but like I say as a fellow blogger trying to make my way through this online world it’s a let down and shows a lot of hubris.

​Mike Rockwell: The Value of a Non-Reviewer’s Perspective

This was an incredibly bone-headed comment from Federico. I would rather read a review from someone that isn’t a professional reviewer. I don’t want a phone review from someone that does phone reviews for a living because their perspective is skewed.

My take is that Federico has gotten too big for his britches.