Automate Article Downloads on Your Kobo with Pocket and RSS

Automate Article Downloads on Your Kobo with Pocket and RSS - Webdesign Antwerpen

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read

Recently I've switched to an e-reader from physical books and the amount I read has gone up dramatically. It reduces the friction to "be a person that reads".

Mainly since my Kobo Clara HD is so compact I can bring it everywhere in my back pocket and there's always fresh content available. But it has other benefits over physical books as well:

  • Space-saving: No more need for a huge physical library. I sold all my physical books except the ones with sentimental value and exceptional illustrations (like The Way Things Work by David Macauley)
  • Instant access to any content type on 1 device. Articles, pdf's, books and social media feeds.
  • Customization: Adjustable text size, font style, brightness settings (reading in bed without having to turn on a light), dictionaries, translation tools, and the ability to highlight, annotate, and search text

But the stock model has some limitations so I've tweaked (#hackerman) mine to:

  • Download articles from blogs I follow to my kobo through pocket
  • (WIP) Connect kobo to a synology calibre library using kobo-tailscale

Here's how:


Integrating Kobo, Pocket and RSS

Auto-Pocket

Kobo allows to connect your Pocket account which enables you to send any "saved" article to your e-reader with their browser extension.

To automate this, I've used "Auto-Pocket". It's a python script you can configure that will check for new articles on your listed RSS feeds and add them to pocket over their API.

You just have to update the Auto-Pocket.config file to include your sources and schedule it inside a hourly/daily cron job.

[General]
Auto-Pocket-Tag = Auto-Pocket # The main tag used to identify Auto-Pocket content
cli_tag = RSS_FEED # Tag to be given to articles uploaded via command line
cli_delete_after = 7 # Delete cli uploaded articles older than 7 days

[Lyn Alden]
url = https://www.lynalden.com/feed/
delete_after = 7
days_to_add = 30
tag = article

Converting pocket images

A problem I've noticed however is that not all article images show up equally well:

To fix this, there's a shell script we can add that will automatically fix the missing images (convert to JPG). This trick I've learned from this thread; https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=347036&page=2.

First, you'll have to install Nickel Menu , which allows you to add custom buttons in the Kobo UI.

Then you'll have to extract this config folder inside the .adds directory on your Kobo. This will add the conversion script and the Nickel Menu config.

When you restart your Kobo, it should look something like this. You can start the image converting process in the background and check the status as well:

And when it's finished, you'll see that the missing article images have been fixed:

Conclusion

Switching from books and smartphones to a single-use device for consuming written content feels like an upgrade.

It enables a more thoughtful way to consume content vs the always-on social media snippets the world is starting to resent.

It's a pull-based system where you first select the signal (people, blogs, news outlets, books) and pull the content from those sources (downloading, streaming, storing) onto your own device. As opposed to going to their platforms and getting caught in a frenetic attention maximizing algorithm.

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