We’re all so busy that a coffee break now feels like an act of bourgeois indulgence. So, if you’re anything like me, you’ve got a stack of articles bookmarked, liked in Twitter or otherwise digitally ferreted away that you never get round to reading. How to beat this? Don’t read them. Listen to them instead.
I spend an hour a day walking a greyhound around the park. You might spend a couple of hours on trains or buses. If you’re on Southern Rail, you might spend a couple of hours between stops. You can exploit that time to have that backlog of articles read to you, using the brilliant Pocket.
Use Pocket to listen to articles
The first thing to do is sign up for a Pocket account from the company’s website. You can sign in with your Google credentials, so there’s no lengthy registration process.
Finally, add Pocket to your web browser, so that if you see a great article while browsing online, you can quickly save it for later reading. You’ll find the Save To Pocket extension for Chrome here, and the service is already integrated in the Firefox browser – just click the Pocket button that appears in the address bar.
If you see a great article in your mobile browser, find the option to “Share the story” within the browser. Add To Pocket should appear among the many options.
Now, when you’re embarking on that dog walk or tiresome commute,
Pocket’s synthesized narrator can read any of your saved articles. It’s a little jarring at first, and he/she will stumble over the odd word (especially proper nouns), but you’ll soon get over the quirks.
To have an article read back to you, click on the story of your choice and then press the headphones icon at the top of the page:
As you can see, there are basic playback controls and you can adjust the narration speed in tiny increments, allowing you to cram even more articles into your brisk walk around the park.
Some articles don’t offer the narration option. It’s hard to fathom why some are compatible and others aren’t, but I’ve found articles from most of the major sites work fine. The Big Tech Question is compatible, you’ll be relieved to hear.
Now read this: Why have my bookmarks disappeared in Firefox?