Hat tip to my friend Brian for sending along a message he received about this great, simple tool. Readability is nothing more than a script that runs as the result of you loading a bookmark. The simplest way to use it is to put the Readability bookmarklet on your “Bookmarks Toolbar” or “Links” bar in your web browser. When you are on a site with an article that is worth reading, simply click the button up on your toolbar and all of the ads, sidebars, banners, etc. will disappear leaving you with only the text you want to read.
There are several options that you tweak at the Readability website before dragging the bookmarklet up to your browser toolbar (or right-clicking and choosing “Add to Favorites” if you use IE). I find that eBook | Medium | Extra Wide works best for me in most situations. Especially with wide-screen monitors it is nice to have the resulting text column fairly thin when reading so that is why I choose the largest margin possible.
Below is a comparison of a news story as originally presented and after activating Readability. An added bonus is that the resulting article appears all on one page and not spread out over several pages so there is no longer a requirement to click “next page” several times. This can be done with Greasemonkey (at least on StarTribune) but it would probably require a specific Greasemonkey script for each site you visit whereas Readability handles it very cleanly and simply.