Although I sometimes slip in and out of self-imposed media blackouts (at times it’s just healthy to unplug from negative vibes), I’ve a long love affair with The New York Times. Sunday afternoon used to find me curled up in an easy chair plodding though the Sunday New York Times, more book than newspaper.
But I live in a small Northwest Ohio town where delivery is not available, and the snailmail subscription is a bit pointless with its two-day+ delay. I’ve tried using their Web site, which has to be one of the worst designed sites for users, although everything’s there if one has the patience to wander around lost and serendipitously bump into bits of news. Yes, I can walk down to the local newstand and buy a daily copy, but at current prices that amounts to $85 a month, and even for a pleasurable habit that’s an obscene amount of money for a newspaper. I’ve even tried their $20/month TimesReader, which is pretty slick, but I *hate* paying a subscription fee for something online that delivers ads to me. Subs are supposed to be a way to avoid online ads, not pay for the privilege of their annoyance.
Enter TimesSkimmer, stage left. I discovered this alternate way of reading the Times online last week. Skimmer’s been there a while, but like everything else on the NYTimes.com site, it’s apparently a bloody secret since they hide it so well. While it’s missing the panache of TimesReader with its slick browse-news-by-photos feature and ability to look back through seven days of papers, Skimmer has smaller ads (which I can block in Safari whereas Times Reader is an AdobeAir product and unblockable) and Skimmer is organized well enough to make finding things not quite as onerous as the main site. No search, but once one clicks on a story headline/summary to read, you get the Web page and can search, etc., from there. Pretty slick, not perfect, but will do for now.
I don’t ask for much: just let me live in a small town where I don’t have to drive all time and can walk to work, and has The New York Times home delivery. I guess one out of two is as good as I’ll get…for now!