PressReader: Newpapers in really, really, tiny print

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I used to subscribe to the Sunday paper, and loved those lazy Sunday mornings perusing the headlines, clipping coupons, drinking coffee.

And then I started working on Sundays and began to develop a huge stack of papers that I didn’t have time to get through.  Before becoming eligible  for an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive, I cut off the subscription and these days I typically try to catch the news on the radio.

I must not be the only one, because the papers are sinking big time.  Publications have had to get creative in order to survive the newspaper apocalypse. Enter PressReader: a massive database of 2,300+ full-text publications all available for download on your mobile device. The occasional paper peruser can purchase individual issues for $0.99 each, or the full-on news junkie can have any of the database, any time, for a monthly subscription fee.

This seems really great for a person who, say, commutes by train and owns an ipad, or a person who travels frequently for work.  The idea of reading The Irish Times on a layover in Tulsa in the middle of the night is amazing to me.  I would assume that flight attendants sometimes just want to know what’s going on in their hometowns, and this way the local paper is always at your fingertips.

The problem is: I’m not any of those people… and I don’t have an ipad.

I have that bookshelf app and a few other reader-type apps and despite my optimism to read all of these things while on public transportation, I mostly end up staring out the window.  The thing is: reading newspapers on your phone is sometimes awkward.  In order to get the words big enough to actually read I have to scroll over every three words.  Maybe I’m dense, but then I get lost in the article and give up.  Plus, reading on the bus makes me a little woozy.

If I consider where I really like to read, PressReader doesn’t really do it for me.  Call me a romantic, but there’s something about a tangible newspaper that is so wonderful; online versions don’t give you that leisurely feeling you get from flipping the oversized pages, black smudges of ink on your fingertips, sipping a cup of joe will the sun shines in on your dining room table.  That’s a feeling I just can’t get from scrunching over my little rectangular box.

But, it’s not personal…

I can see how this app would be totally amazing for the right user.  It’s also a great model for, say, an obscure publication that might not otherwise be able to recruit readers to a mobile format (like, for example, the Albanian Gazeta Panorama or Cambodian Business).  And, you can bet when Dance Magazine jumps on board I will most definitely be downloading it on a monthly basis, no matter how tiny the text.

Living simple is complicated

After returning from a weekend trip away, the cupboard is bare. I always make a point before traveling of using up any fresh ingredients that might spoil while I’m away. But this was a rather whirlwind trip, and it didn’t occur to me that (1) it wasn’t really long enough for everything to spoil, and (2) there was no time before returning to work to go to the store and replenish the bounty.

As a result, the past few days have been really-creative-meal wise. Determined to eat at home and not order food (having eaten in restaurants for the entire weekend), I was nearly brought to tears standing in the kitchen at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night mashing pinto beans by hand into refried beans (for which I have no salsa or chips) with a red sauce made from frozen tomatoes and a slightly past-peak summer squash on the stove, and a mystery casserole in the oven.

Tears of joy, or tears of pain?
Yes.

It feels pretty good to take a pantry of nothing and freezer of next to nothing and make four full days of food out of it. It is envigorating to make things from scratch; if I have one goal in life it’s to make as many things from scratch as possible. And, I feel as though I could definitely survive an atomic bomb or the apocalypse given my uncanny ability to create a variety of meals from dried beans, rice, chicken, frozen tomatoes and slightly off squash.

On the other hand, no one should be mashing beans after 9pm on a school night.

When people lived in a time where everything was made from scratch they had the whole day to mash beans, churn butter, bake bread, whatever. I, on the other hand, am required to spend eight hours of the day with my butt in a chair and have few precious moments between, say, 8 and 11pm to try and “live simply”. I’m not saying I work harder; butt-in-chair is not hard, it’s just extremely time consuming.

So what, then, is the point? Why do I do this to myself when I could, with a lot less effort and a roughly equal amount of money, eat a TV dinner every night? It almost feels like in this day and age, living “simply” is less simple than living a technological, busy-body, microwaved life. Why does everyone say “I’m so busy,” or “I don’t have any time” when we spend SO much time sitting on our butts?

Three days sans cell phone

I am not one to follow technological trends, but I love my iphone. I love even more that I was eligible for an upgrade at the same time that the brand new super fancy iphone is due to come out. So I sold my phone on ebay, bought the fancy new phone, and turned a healthy profit. How tech saavy I am! Well, with some help from my partner/personal IT consultant.

Said transaction worked out in such a way that I was without a cell phone for three and a half days. So many times we say to ourselves, “gosh, what did we ever do before cell phones?” Honestly, I think we did just fine. Throughout the course of the day, I’m usually within fifteen feet of a land line and/or sitting in front of a computer with internet access. I found the change to be, I dare say, refreshing.

This morning, we arrived at a retail store-who-will-remain-unnamed to pick up our “pre-reserved” new phones, and, SIX HOURS LATER, walked out with our new fancy appendages. Oh my, it is so pretty and shiny and fancy.

Worth the wait? Not a chance.
Willing to live without an iphone? Absolutely not.

OK… I know that I’m an all country bumpkin, back to basics, make my own syrup and cleaning supplies type of girl, but seriously-this phone is awesome.

Perhaps if I was living in a place where the pace of life was slower and my personal safety wasn’t at risk on a regular basis then I would be willing to reconsider this position. In the meantime, I’m sold 100% on this little gadget and where’s a techie out there who can write code for the “One Crafty Lady” Ap??