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Opening a Folder from the Dock

Sick of the dock on Mac OS X Leopard not being able to open folders with a simple click, like sanity demands and like it used to be in Tiger? You can, of course click it, and then click again on Open in Finder, but that's twice as many clicks as it used to be. (And while you're at it, Control-click the folder, and choose both Display as Folder and View Content as List from the contextual menu. Once you have the content displaying as a list, there's an Open command right there, but that requires Control-clicking and choosing a menu item.) The closest you can get to opening a docked folder with a single click is Command-click, which opens its enclosing folder. However, if you instead put a file from the docked folder in the Dock, and Command-click that file, you'll see the folder you want. Of course, if you forget to press Command when clicking, you'll open the file, which may be even more annoying.

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Betaworks Takes over Instapaper

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The five-year-old Instapaper service for storing Web articles that you want to read later has been taken over by Betaworks. Instapaper’s owner and developer, Marco Arment, said in a blog post that he had sold a majority interest in the product to Betaworks, an investment firm and incubator that owns Digg and bitly.

Arment developed Instapaper for his own use while he worked at Tumblr, a blog-hosting company, and then opened it up to friends and colleagues. In January 2008, he made Instapaper available to anyone to use, and was overwhelmed by the response. He eventually left Tumblr to turn Instapaper into a full-time business. Instapaper has several competitors, notably Pocket (formerly Read It Later) and Readability.

Instapaper arrived at a neat juncture: the iPhone was a year old, cellular data networks were widespread but often suffered from spotty coverage (especially on public transportation), and long-form journalism was on the rise. Many Web sites then had neither optimized their main pages for mobile viewing nor developed mobile versions, thus forcing iPhone users to download bandwidth-sucking pages that were often hard to read on the small screen.

Instapaper started as a Web app; iOS and Android versions followed, generating most of the product’s revenue. After purchasing one of the Instapaper apps, there are no additional fees to access all the features of the service. Instapaper also makes its service available to third-party apps, although users of those apps must have an otherwise optional $1-per-month subscription via the Instapaper Web site. (The subscription also offers additional features, such as searching and removing ads.)

Betaworks is a venture-capital firm that has invested in a remarkable range of interesting companies — including Kickstarter, Pinterest, and Twitter. It also provides startup-style resources in its offices for companies until they reach sufficient scale. Betaworks owns a significant though undisclosed portion of several of these companies, including bitly, Tumblr, and UserVoice. It purchased Digg to rebuild it into a more news-oriented site, which dovetails neatly with Instapaper’s features. Betaworks CEO John Borthwick has now provided additional details to TechCrunch on how the deal came to be.

(Disclosure: I contract for Marco Arment as executive editor of his other project, The Magazine, but had no financial interest in Instapaper nor any foreknowledge of the deal.)

 

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