I love to read the newspaper. It is one of my Saturday rituals. Events in the past year, however, changed the way I indulge in this pastime.
First, my daily morning newspaper started getting delivered after I left for work. I want to read the paper while getting ready, not when I get home – so I canceled weekday delivery. My solution was to read the paper electronically from Monday to Friday.
The biggest challenge I faced in using the Internet to replace my morning paper was the comics. I start my read with the funnies page. I hoped that many of these comic strips might be on the web. With a copy of the Saturday comics section and a few hours on the Internet, I found my favourite comics, PLUS several I grew up with that were not available in the daily paper I was used to. On my personal blog, I created a post with the comic listing (Link) so that each morning I could quickly view them. When I travel now, I look for new interesting comics to add to my list.
Nothing is faster at getting news out than the web. When the propane transfer station blew up in Toronto, I found raw video and commentary on blogs three hours before CBC even mentioned it on their site. Many comments were speculation and not necessarily accurate, but the video and images were amazing.
At this point, the printed newspaper became more of a news recap or a place to scan for topics of interest. The next change came with my purchase of an Apple iPod iTouch last year.
I have been in the PC business since 1976. I worked on the two generations of personal computer before the IBM PC, and I had one of the first IBM PCs when I was with Research and Development for that firm. The iTouch (an iPhone without the phone part) has to be the coolest computer I have owned in my life. While the included Safari browser supports viewing most websites, the real power of the iTouch is when a site does the extra work to support small mobile screens.
Both CBC (CBC.ca/iphone/) and CNN (m.CNN.com) have mobile interfaces that makes viewing them a joy on a handheld computer. Even our own DurhamRegion.com (m.DurhamRegion.com) has a mobile interface now. Some news sites have even created a dedicated iPhone application for accessing their information. An application can make the interface quicker and more powerful for the user. I have Maclean’s, the New York Times and USA Today installed on my iTouch. All the applications were free and trivial to install.
Now I can scan the news categorized by topic with most of the advertising missing. I am amazed how little news there is in a large issue of the paper. The news applications are tuned to browsing and provide quicker access to the information than a website.
I love reading the news with my iTouch. Now if they can just make the it waterproof so that I can relax while reading in the tub …
(The funniest part is the iTouch is also an iPod for music and videos. While I have a 160 gig iPod classic for my music and videos, my iTouch is really a computer to me. I don’t have any music on it.)
As appeared at DurhamRegion.com on Jan 27, 2009