Being in NY and all and liking good journalism and all I really enjoy reading the NY Times. For the past week or so, I’ve been trying out the New York Times Reader. It’s an application that runs on Windows XP that displays Times content in a readable, newspaper style right on your desktop. You click on a link and it takes you to a particular article.
You’re probably asking now – why the hell would I need that? It sounds like a web browser. Well, it pretty much is a web browser. But goshdarnit, there’s something about it. It’s a very enjoyable way to read the news. I think the Reader has a few things going for it:
- The text and fonts have been carefully selected for readability. It’s not straining at all to read. It’s still not as good as paper, but a step up from what we’re used to in my opinion.
- It’s a single-purpose applicaiton. It’s not a browser with web pages. It’s built from the ground up for reading newspaper articles and that makes for a different experience. The way articles are laid out and connected helps simulate the “flipping through the paper” feel we enjoy today with offline content.
- I’m an avid user of RSS. FeedDemon is constantly running on my desktop. But I’ll be damned, there is something about a unique layout that RSS readers deprive us of. Our brains don’t only take in the words, but the structure, organization and aesthetic surroundings of content – and feed readers deprive us of that.
Overall, it’s pretty cool. The only annoying aspect of the whole thing was having to install the .Net runtime – a bloated bolt-on to Windows XP – to get this thing running. Other than that, it’s good stuff.
Long live paper.