The Future of Newspapers: New York Times Reader

Every second Thursday we go through tremendous TreeHugger angst and guilt as we take our newspapers to the curb for recycling. We get three every day at home, and justify this to ourselves because in the spread of a broadsheet, your eye picks up items that you might not find using a search engine or a website index- when you search you are looking for something; when you read a newspaper you take in a much broader stream of information, and when you have to keep Graham and Mike happy you need a lot of information. One of those papers is the New York Times, and I don't know if they will be happy to hear that their new Reader is so good that I might just dispense with the Dead Tree Version.

Using a new Windows Presentation Foundation technology developed for Vista (and which will not work on Mac's or Linux), it is a complete transformation of the internet reading experience. It is not a slavish imitation of the print model (which I think is a failing of a lot of slick and expensive ideas like Greenlight) but takes the best of the print model and combines it with the best attributes of a computer. We are able to see the broad brush of information, zoom in on the subjects of our interest and then to the articles, with the contents reformatting and readusting to fill our screen. It looks good, is completely intuitive, updates itself and completely changes the experience of reading news on a computer. It may also be the first thing that Microsoft has done in years that is cooler than Apple.

I will go out on a limb and say that in a year or two, any site (including treehugger) that does not work as well as this or look as good as this, will be as dead as my print subscription to the New York Times. ::Times Reader

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