Background and Goals

Typically, I try to keep non-work related browsing/research away from my work PC. I can only run IE 9 and my company monitors any website an employee visits, a totally reasonable and transparent policy. That being said, over the past three months, I have sent myself 42 emails that contain a link I wanted to add to my Safari Reading List for future processing/investigation. On the PC, in IE 9, I click on File, hover over Send, click on Link by e-mail, type my personal email address and click send. On my iPad I open Mail, tap the link, tap the Share button in Safari and finally tap Add to Reading List. Way too many clicks and taps if you ask me.

As I’ve written before I use Safari’s Reading List as my inbox for quickly saving sites, articles, products, etc. I process the Reading List into Pinboard bookmarks for future reference, Instapaper for articles I want to read (usually longer form), or add the URL to a task in Reminders if it’s something I need to take action on.

What I want is a single bookmarklet in IE9 that “magically” sends the current URL to my Safari Reading List. Below is how I made this work.

Side note: The PC that I use for my day job is locked down. I can’t install Safari and iCloud tools that would make this possible with fewer steps.

Implementation

My initial thought was to use a Rule in Mail.app on my Mac that triggered an Apple Script telling Safari to add the content of the email, the URL, to Reading List. Somewhere in the research on how to write this Apple Script I came across a great write up by Jono Hunt for pulling links from Instapaper into Reading List using IFTTT (RSS and Dropbox) and Hazel. I had all the tools to make this work but I decided to use Pinboard rather than Instapaper (I use Instapaper solely for reading longer form articles).

Of course, Pinboard has a RSS URL for just about everything you bookmark so my next decision was how am I going to tag or mark the bookmarks so IFTTT could see them and take action. I settled on using the built in “To Read” tag that Pinboard offers as a type of Read Later service. The reason I chose this was Pinboard has a pre-built bookmarklet that can be placed in my IE bookmarks bar.

I now have my one magical button that I renamed to Safari Reading List.

NB: The remainder of my post closely follows the steps that Jono describes on his post but I thought this was so cool that I had to write it all out just in case I was dreaming.

I used Jono Hunt’s recipe as the basis for my own RSS to Dropbox IFTTT recipe. I grabbed the To Read RSS URL from Pinboard – it’s a private tag and it all still worked great, Pinboard has that covered by including a secret key in the URL string – threw that into the recipe and then picked a folder in Dropbox where the URLs, saved as individual text files, would briefly live.

I tested it all at this point and sure enough when I added a site to my Pinboard using the newly created Safari Reading List bookmarklet in IE 9 a text file with the URL showed up in my Dropbox folder. I then set Hazel to monitor the same Dropbox folder as used in the IFTTT recipe and execute an Apple Script that grabs the URL from the text file, sends it to Safari’s Reading List and then deletes the text file. I used the Hazel rule that Jono provided on his post.

As soon as the Hazel rule was applied I received a notification that it had processed the URL’s I used in the previous test. I fired up Safari and sure enough there were new items in my Reading List. I went back and ran a start to finish test of this workflow and everything ran successfully. The only hold up is from IFTTT as recipes are only triggered every 15 minutes. This is fine for me as I tend to process my Reading List over the weekend.

I now have an easy, one-click method of sending URLs from my work PC to my Safari Reading List.