From Delicious.com's popular page, via Hacker News and Hacker Newspaper, to Pinboard.in and now my very own...

Long and tedious background

I was an early user of Delicious.com (from back in the day when it was del.icio.us... one of the first "clever" URLs).

I liked it for two reasons: One, it was a really nice place to store bookmarks, and tag them to easily find things again.

The second reason was kind of an emergent thing. They set it their software to track which pages were popular. This turned out to be a great place to find out about interesting blogs, new software, trending stories... it was fantastic.

Was.

Two things happened; first of all (as I thought might happen), people started astroturfing for their own websites.

Occasionally this was funny -- there was once a week or two where there were lots of stories about Large Sunglasses. Which celebrities were wearing them, what doctors had to say about them (!), which ones made you look good... there was really quite a variety.

As long as you could "filter around" the stupid stuff, there was still a lot of good content to be found.

The final straw for me was when the new owners changed the "Popular" link to "Featured"; okay, you have to make money to run the site, but... adios.

So I started looking around again, and saw several references to Pinboard.in. Checked them out, and they work, and charge (a small) one-time fee to join; well, that won't weed out all the astroturfing, but it'll get rid of the people with more time than money.

And fantastic — they have a "Popular" page too! But it's kind of... drab. And you have to remember what you've already seen; there's no indication that something is new since the last time you visited.

So another fantastic place (if you're a geekwad like me :-) to get news is Hacker News. Of course, this is "hacker" in the sense of clever and competent programmer, not in the sense of criminal.

It's a user-generated blog like slashdot, but again, kind of drab in the design department.

However, a very clever fellow named Giles Bowkett set up a site called Hacker Newspaper which reformats Hacker News to a kind of newspaper layout.

It's much nicer to look at.

And now, ladies and gentlemen...

So, putting two and... some other number... together and getting... a sum!, I thought I'd do a similar thing for Pinboard's popular page.

So here it is! It's the unofficial Pinboard Popular Pages!

You'll see that the design shamelessly steals from is greatly influenced by Hacker Newspaper.

The main difference is that, should you allow cookies for the site, you'll see the leaves next to each story turn from green to yellow to red. This just marks whether you've never seen the story (green), it was there the last time you visited (yellow) or was there even earlier than that (red).

I should mention that currently the Pinboard.in folks only update their popular page (and so the source of my page) once a day. I hope they'll do it a bit more often, but that really depends on them getting a lot of users to post.

A note on the styling of the site... I'm using the fantastic Foundation fluid grid CSS/javascript framework by the folks at Zurb.

One of the nicest things about it is that it reformats the columns to fit the screen of the device, so the nice three-column layout becomes a nice two-column layout on a smaller screen, and then down to one column, all with no work on my part! It also knows about really small screens, like smart-phones, so with a tiny bit of work on my part, it switches the title font from the small/medium/large that's used for regular computers to just the small size on smart-phones.

Oh yeah, and did I mention Foundation is open source? Check it out!