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The paperless breakfast table of the future 
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PITA Bred
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Post The paperless breakfast table of the future
As of this new year, twenty-ten, we made a major household change: we canceled the newspaper.

Sort of. I have been a morning paper junkie since I was 17 or 18. Sacramento originally had two dailies, one feisty morning paper, the Union, and a bloated, sedate afternoon paper, the Bee. The Union went under years ago after the Bee went to direct competition in the mornings; many here still miss it. The Bee remains an unreadable blob and has only gotten worse in the decades without competition.

So like my dad, I read the SF Chronicle, and for over 25 years. Caen, Delaplane, McCabe and the early years of Jon Carroll... fantastic stuff. Then it lost all four of those worthies (the later Carroll turning unreadable) and for that and other reasons (editorial devolvement) I finally gave up in favor of the New York Times.

I still like the Times, but it's often only partly read on any day and rarely read by anyone but me. The cost keeps going up and up - around $60 a month for seven days - and I finally had to let go of a lifetime's habit. We now get the Sunday paper only (still almost $30 a month)... and the online electronic edition, which comes free with any paper subscription or can be had for about $15 a month by itself. To read the e-paper, I bought an Acer netbook running a 10 inch screen and Win7.

I am liking the change. Unlike reading news on a web site, the refined news reader presents the whole paper, organized much like the paper edition, and can be easily flipped through with the four arrow keys. It looks like the paper edition and reads like it. The reader retains the last seven editions as well and updates every time you make a wifi connection.

I get most of my news online, with GoogleNews being my home page and frequently reviewed, but the pleasure of reading one compact news source still has its charms. I am not entirely ready for web-only news.

I took the netbook with me this morning (our first without a paper) so I could read the... paper... while waiting in line at DMV for several hours. It was convenient and worked better than I had expected. I am also very comfortable with the small, crisp screen - and understand, I am a screen junkie staring at a 24, a 22 and the vertical 20 I am typing this on.

So far, change is good. And by Mercer, it's a PKD homeopape to boot. :D

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Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:15 pm
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
as the luddite here we shall see.....


Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:13 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
I ditched my last newspaper subscription nine years ago and have felt very good ever since.


Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:09 pm
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
I feel anxious and unhappy whenever it comes time to renew my Sunday-only subscription to the Chicago Tribune. The TV listings are banished to Saturday; so are the book reviews; my beloved funnies have gotten thinner and less interesting; and I often don't have time to read the remaining parts before the next Sunday's edition arrives-- my eyeballs are probably occupied with the Net most of the week.

I am reluctant to cancel because I dislike becoming a Guy Who Doesn't Read A Newspaper. But one of these months, I may kill off the Trib anyway.

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Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:28 am
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
I grew up reading two-three papers daily (outside of New York City). In college I read the local paper almost daily. I have a 7-day sub to the Baltimore Sun right now. In the last year it has diminished with fewer columnists and no real in-depth reporting. I have the ability to see an "e-edition" which is a screen view of the paper as printed, with the ads (although not any insert ads). It has a "blowup" section on screen to better read individual articles.

I think if I had the option to get the paper that way for a reduced cost (how much overhead does printing and carrier delivery add?) I'd take it. I still do like the act of reading a formatted paper, though. U.S. News Weekly online is delivering a weekly .pdf that reads very well on screen but is still "page formatted" not hyperlinked. I think that is a decent model to follow, although I didn't like it enough to pay for it.

Let us know if you warm to it, Audrey!


Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:37 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
PeterScott wrote:
I ditched my last newspaper subscription nine years ago and have felt very good ever since.

I believe it's essential to read a digest of news on a regular basis. Call it a briefing.

Getting all of your info a la carte, even from the endless buffet that is the web or GoogleNews, means that you pick and choose your topics and likely ignore others to the point of oblivion. I may only glance at a story about, say, troubles in Namibia or Austria, but at least I'm aware of the gist of the situation there. Ditto for many other topics I would not seek out but am glad to be able to read as part of a reasonably comprehensive take on what's going on around me.

All biases and limitations of the medium and the providers aside, reading any halfway decent big city paper puts one ahead of those who focus on a few web sites (likely techy, since that's the way web users tilt) or, horrors, teevee news. And no, I don't see it as 'wallowing in the troubles of a few million neighbors' - that's what TMZ.com et al. are for.

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Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:10 am
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
JamesGifford wrote:
PeterScott wrote:
I ditched my last newspaper subscription nine years ago and have felt very good ever since.

I believe it's essential to read a digest of news on a regular basis. Call it a briefing.

Getting all of your info a la carte, even from the endless buffet that is the web or GoogleNews, means that you pick and choose your topics and likely ignore others to the point of oblivion. I may only glance at a story about, say, troubles in Namibia or Austria, but at least I'm aware of the gist of the situation there. Ditto for many other topics I would not seek out but am glad to be able to read as part of a reasonably comprehensive take on what's going on around me.

All biases and limitations of the medium and the providers aside, reading any halfway decent big city paper puts one ahead of those who focus on a few web sites (likely techy, since that's the way web users tilt) or, horrors, teevee news. And no, I don't see it as 'wallowing in the troubles of a few million neighbors' - that's what TMZ.com et al. are for.

I haven't taken a newspaper in decades, and I despise television news programs and avoid them whenever possible, with the exception of half an hour of a morning news program in order to get the local weather forecast (and I despise them also).

I find, oddly enough, that casual conversation in newsgroups, plus the miscellany of other pop culture exposures, alert me to news-that-is-news I need to know about. The interests of other people do "get me out" enough to be aware of what is going on. So I look into usenet groups twice a day, quite regularly, including, periodically, stuff like Eurotrib.


Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:13 am
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
JamesGifford wrote:
PeterScott wrote:
I ditched my last newspaper subscription nine years ago and have felt very good ever since.

I believe it's essential to read a digest of news on a regular basis. Call it a briefing.

Getting all of your info a la carte, even from the endless buffet that is the web or GoogleNews, means that you pick and choose your topics and likely ignore others to the point of oblivion. I may only glance at a story about, say, troubles in Namibia or Austria, but at least I'm aware of the gist of the situation there. Ditto for many other topics I would not seek out but am glad to be able to read as part of a reasonably comprehensive take on what's going on around me.


Yes, I quite agree. Oh, I do find the act of picking up the newspaper and reading it at the breakfast table oh-so urbane, like I expect to be called by the State Department to render advice at any moment. But that warm fuzzy is not worth the insane cost. So I get my news from the Los Angeles and New York Timeses, plus Canada.com, the Beeb, CNN, and of course the Daily Show and Huffington Post, roughly in that order, and all on-line, not from the TV. Financially I hew to Agora Financial, John Mauldin, and Richard Russell, and to STRATFOR for geopolitics.

I occasionally feel guilty for not watching more public television news.


Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:09 pm
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
PeterScott wrote:
I occasionally feel guilty for not watching more public television news.

The BBC News can be quite useful -- but it's on at some insane hour out here -- 5:30 a.m. or somesuch, and just shutting down as I get home from work, so I rarely get to see it.


Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:53 am
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Post Re: The paperless breakfast table of the future
NPR here has the BBC news about 1 or 2 in the afternoon - I usually hear at least part of it while driving between clients.


Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:31 pm
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