November 7, 2008

New York Times - Times Reader

Original post from May 22nd 2007

Continuing my previous post about on-line readers for newspapers and magazines....
I went to New York Times - Times Reader download page to subscribe and download their new reader software with the objective of using reading it to read the NYT.

It remembered that I am a subscriber for New York Times from a previous occasion (Technology section on-line I assume, which I read sometimes when I get a MyYahoo or RSS page that links to it).

The initial download is a 5.5MByte download of a self-extracting .exe installer.
Not too much I hear you say, well wait....

The installer fires up and does the pre-requisite installation of Microsoft's .Net Framework 3.0!
Despite having a PC with everything up-to-date, obviously that doesn't include .Net Framework 3.0.

.Net 3.0 download, extraction and installation takes a significant amount of time and glad I'm doing it on a good connection.

The downloader shows you features and images about the reader while it's working. Including one image of a color, handheld reading device which caught my eye (but I didn't recognize it).
I have to investigate further what that's about....Maybe it's a UMPC or a Tablet PC I hadn't seen before? Maybe a TFT reader? Maybe an invention of their imagination?

It also shows what seems to be a "show me the news in a photo-slide-show" mode. Interesting. This seems to be a more passive reading, a little more like watching TV.
Instead of more active, directed, reading you just sit back and watch it go by. Maybe similar to what you sometimes do with a newspaper, just that you have to physically turn the paper's pages....?

By-The-Way: Anyone remember Pointcast?

The installer then moves on to the relatively brief Reader installation. It ends without the usual options to show a README file, or to start-up installed application immediately.
So I start-up from Program menu (which seems to have an entry for past days news too - initially empty).

My first use experience is dismal :-(
It fails to log me in, with no error message at all, not even a cryptic one.
I suspect it will be something to do with http proxies....but who knows?
All buttons shown are inactive, including "SETTINGS", so not sure where to start fixing this...

I look forward to trying it as I think the "sync" model is a good one, that offers a lot of transparency for the user and keeps me as up-to-date as possible, with a cache of 7 days past news, with no extra task for me.

I notice it has a "Refer a Friend" link which is a good idea.

So, I'm off to debug http proxies, which might require waiting until I can test it from a location with no proxy server between me and the internet.

As an aside, The Sony CONNECT software also fails dismally in this area - dealing with proxies.

If I was a paying subscriber I would be seriously pissed at this point.

But even so, my patience is limited so the NYT just maybe about to loose a future subscriber....and future blog entries on the subject :-)

Stay tuned.

No comments: