Spillo for Pinboard

I’ve been using Pinboard to manage my bookmarks since 2010. It replaced del.icio.us, which, humorously, is now owned by the guy who runs Pinboard, and is read-only.

I like Pinboard a lot, but there are a few little annoyances with it. For one, the Firefox bookmarklet for Pinboard still doesn’t work for any page on github.com. (This is due to something called CSP, and also affects other bookmarklets.) I’d also like to have better searching and filtering capabilities. And the Pinboard site isn’t as reliable as I’d like it be; it’s often slow for me, and sometimes inaccessible. (I’m not sure if that’s Pinboard’s fault, or if it has something to with my ISP or VPN or whatever.)

So I’ve been looking at third-party Pinboard clients for macOS. I already use a third-party client for iOS, called Pushpin, and that’s pretty good (though I have a few issues with that too). The best third-party client for macOS seems to be Spillo. It costs $15, and has a 14-day trial. There are a few negative reviews on the Mac App Store, and it hasn’t been updated recently (last update was April 2017), but I decided to give it a try this weekend.

So far, I’m pretty happy with it, though it’s not everything I’d like it to be. I was hoping that the Firefox bookmarklet that comes with it would solve some of my problems with the official Pinboard bookmarklet. But the Spillo bookmarklet hasn’t been updated for Firefox Quantum, so it no longer works at all. (I’m not sure if the author is going to update it or not.)

If is definitely good for organizing and searching through your links, and can do a few things that Pinboard can’t do on its own. (Or at least I haven’t figured out how to do these things with Pinboard.) First, it can scan through all of your bookmarks and find dead links. When I ran it, it found about 1000 dead links (out of my 12,000 bookmarks). I spent some time deleting a bunch of those yesterday, and updating some of them to point to the correct current URL. To some extent, this is just busywork, and doesn’t really accomplish anything useful. Does it really matter if I have a bunch of dead links to old Lotus Notes and PowerBuilder content in my account? No, not really. But it feels good to clean that stuff up, and it does allow me to take a stroll down memory lane, and stumble across some cool defunct bands, for instance, like Omegalord or Hotrod Cadets, both of whom used to have their own web sites, but apparently don’t anymore.

Spillo also allows you create “collections” — basically a saved search that can have a combination of useful conditions. I’ve created one that will show me unread links from the NY Times, so I can catch up on Times articles that I’ve been meaning to read. I’m also going to want to create one for unread Bandcamp links, since I have a ton of those. (At some point, I’m going to go on a Bandcamp spending spree and buy a bunch of random CDs and/or MP3s.) I have a few other things like that in mind.

I’m also hoping Spillo might work as a way to add bookmarks to Pinboard when the Pinboard site itself is slow or down. I think it’s designed to cache stuff locally, then sync to Pinboard in the background, but I’m not sure if it works in practice, if Pinboard is actually unavailable.

So, overall, I’m finding it useful, though it doesn’t solve quite all of my problems. I’ll probably go ahead and buy it before my trial expires.

I last wrote about bookmarking in August, and got pretty philosophical about it, so there’s no point in doing that again here. It was zero degrees out this morning, so I may wind up spending a lot of time today sitting around in my apartment organizing bookmarks and drinking coffee. Maybe not the best use of my time, but not the worst one either. There’s a lot of stuff I want to do that involves going outside, but it’s really not a good day to do any of it.

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