Friday, October 11, 2013

My First Time Using "Clearly"

While I had read about Clearly, I paid little attention. Ads don't bother me. They are the vehicles which make so many Internet resources free. Like billboards, ads in magazines, and television commercials, I tune most of them out and only pay attention to the ones that interest me. Therefore, a tool which removes extraneous information from web pages was not at the top of my wish list.

My first experience with Clearly
I installed Clearly, a browser plugin, and want to share with you my first attempt at using it. I was looking for an online copy of an article I had read entitled "Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office?" It was an outstanding article from the February 2013 issue of Esquire, and while I wanted to keep the article, I did not want to add to the amount of paper in my life. By entering the title into Google, I found the article here.

The top of that web page appeared as follows:

After the one mouse click necessary to view the web page with Clearly, the page looked like this:

Big difference, huh?

Again, ads don't bother me. What does bother me is getting to the bottom of the page and having to click to continue to page 2, 3, 4, etc. Let's take a look at that element. Here is what the bottom of the first page looked like viewed normally:

Six times, I would have to advance a page. Six times, I would be presented with all of the social media icons. On each of those six pages, valuable real estate would be taken up with ads.

With Clearly, the same portion of the article looks like this:

Notice there is no clicking to go page 2. Simply continue to scroll down the screen to read page 2, then page 3, and so forth. It was at that point I became a Clearly fan.

A video demonstration
This short video demonstrates Clearly. One click on the Clearly icon in the upper left-hand corner gets rid of the extraneous material. In the video, also notice how the user is able to change the background from a light background to a dark one.

So how do I get it?
So how do you get Clearly? Go here. Download for Firefox, Chrome, or Opera. Once installed, you will notice an icon resembling a small lamp in the upper-right corner of browser. While viewing a web page, clicking that icon kicks Clearly into action.

The toolbar which appears down the right-hand margin of the screen allows the user to highlight text, which will be saved that way in Evernote. Premium Evernote subscribers can click another tool which will read aloud the text on the page. Other tools clip the page and send to Evernote, print the article, or change the background. A "back arrow" on the toolbar returns the screen to the normal view of the web page.

Now you see why Clearly got my attention, and why it just may get yours. If you are an Evernote user, Clearly is almost too good not to use. I wish I had paid attention sooner! If you want to copy and paste an article into Microsoft Word, Clearly allows you to copy the entire article and paste it into your new document. Without Clearly, the user would have to copy and paste each of the six pages separately and also deal with deleting the ads.

When I come across an article I want to save for future reference, it looks much nicer in Evernote without all of the ads. If you are already clipping items to Evernote, I think you will agree.

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