Despite the internet and RSS feeds, the newspaper is not dead. Yet. Add Times to your Mac and you get RSS feeds, headlines and summaries, stuffed into a digital replica of a newspaper. Times is like reading The Times. It’s an onscreen digital version of a newspaper with all the news you want.
I don’t read the newspaper much these days. Most of my news comes from an RSS reader which lets me scan a couple of hundred sites for updates in just minutes.
I can’t say that I miss the daily newspaper read, but that doesn’t mean scanning a newspaper-like utility on my Mac is a bad thing. That’s what Times is.
Instead of treating news like email (as most RSS readers do), Times presents you with headlines and photos from a variety of sources all in one place, letting you more easily discover the news you want to read. Like your own personal newspaper, you can put feeds into separate areas, create pages for different subjects, and more.
Interesting concept, no? Times looks like a digital newspaper complete with headlines, summaries, photos, and a curled page when turned.
Getting started with Times is easy enough. Download, drag and drop into Applications, double-click. Preferences are delightfully few and simple.
RSS feeds can also be set in Preferences to check every so many minutes and alert you to updates.
Times looks more or less like a printed newspaper. That’s not all bad. In fact, it’s rather like a comfortable throwback to the past, yet wholly digital and updated for the Mac’s screen.
What’s the point of a news reader if you’re forced to read the actual articles in your web browser? Times shows you the entire story regardless of source1, with every article formatted identically for easy reading.
Times can be stretched to fit your Mac’s screen, just like any Mac window. Drag the corner. Notice the section headings across the top? Click one and the page slides away revealing the new section (click the image for a close up view).
It’s like a newspaper without the paper and all the advertisements.
Turn The Page
Navigating around Times is simple, too. Click on a headline and the front page peels forward to reveal the complete article behind. A sliding bar appears for longer articles.
Because Times divides news into pages, you can browse the updates only in the subjects that matter most to you at that moment.
Even better than your daily newspaper made of recycled paper atoms, Times only uses clean and pure digital bits, safe for the environment.
Times also lets you save article clippings on a pop up shelf.
Simply start dragging an article to bring up the Shelf; you can then place it in any location. You can even create stacks for categorizing or prioritizing saved articles.
Times lets you email articles or upload to Facebook or Digg.
Different, Not Better
I’ll admit I like Times, though I don’t see it as more efficient than using, say, NetNewsWire (free vs. $30 for Times).
For a first try, Times is impressive. It looks good, works well, doesn’t do too much, yet does enough.
You’ll be impressed by the sheer attention to detail in Times. Every feature was carefully crafted to work as intuitively and naturally as possible, while still keeping with Mac design philosophies.
Adding RSS feeds is purely drag and drop (as always, click the image for a close up view).
Times is unique, attractive, and different than the standard list of RSS feeds, headlines, summaries; almost comforting in its design.
It will be interesting to see if the developers come up with an iPhone version of Times. It is easier to scan than read, but certainly more comfortable for those Mac users who haven’t adopted RSS as their main news source to venture into a digital newspaper.
Redux: The early versions of Times were a bit buggy, though the latest has been rock solid for me. One thing is for sure. I like the way Times works. It gets rid of all the clutter and options and provides a screen full of familiarity. It looks like a newspaper, works like a newspaper. Somehow that’s comforting.