Do you have one of those overly-strict employers that thinks your favorite harmless blog sites hamper productivity? That thinks they can filter the internet into black-and-white buckets of “needed for work” and “not needed for work”, as if anything in life is ever that simple, much less the Wild Wild Web? Or maybe you just don’t trust the IT department not to tell everyone about your penchant for trashy celebrity gossip or your addiction to Oprah’s Twitter feed? Well, you can stop losing sleep about it, right now.
Zinepal is a slick tool designed for something entirely different that what I’ve described. It’s goal is to print-to-PDF anything that’s available via an RSS feed, and kick your content to your inbox in your own little custom digital magazine (thus, the name). You can set it up to automatically send you the most recent 10 (or more, in increments of 5) articles from your chosen feed daily (or every Monday, etc) and deliver your stock prices at breakfast (or on the morning train ride), the latest electronic gadgets for some lunchbreak wishlist-building, or even a little hollywood scuttlebutt with your afternoon tea.
There are lots of Zinepal feeds already created under the “Read” tab, so your favorite site might already be there with no setup required. Otherwise, a link directly to an RSS feed (or potentially just the homepage URL, although I found its ability to parse pages for their RSS metadata a little flaky) can be rolled up into your own zine, that you can share with other Zinepal users or clutch to your bosom for no one else to see. You can also have your zine delivered as an eBook or to a Kindle (but who has one of those?) as well as customize the layout and format, even including logos and ads in there if you’re promoting your own site.
The unintended-but-brilliant use, though, is in delivering content to your mailbox that you otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t surf directly, and in an offline way that doesn’t require a live connection to view (including the pictures and everything!) that never expires. So go ahead and set up that feed for The Superficial every weekday morning at 7am; in these difficult times Brad and Angelina’s latest baby is the only amusing thing left to discuss at the water cooler, and your boss just doesn’t understand that.
My Zinepal feed, which will contain this post next week (ooo, reciprocal!)