No *you* don’t get it

So, earlier this evening I got email from someone I haven’t heard from in about 10 years, telling me that I was featured in last weekend’s Sunday Tribune alongside an article about BlackStar, in a “What I did after I made millions”(!) piece.

So, I dutifully trotted off to the Tribune website to see if I could find the article, only discover that they don’t place their articles online like any other sensible newspaper. Instead they’ve teamed up with NewsStand who promise to delivery print versions of newspapers to your desktop. It seemed that I could get Sunday’s edition for $2, so I decided to indulge my narcissism and give it a go.

The first hurdle to a potential customer was the notice that the minimum charge was $3.50. Making people spend money they don’t actually want to is a really, really bad thing, but the dollar is ludicrously weak, so I decided to persevere.

Then the next page tells me that actually the previous page was a lie. The minimum charge is $10 – but as a special offer to new customers they’ll let me only pay them $5. This actually defies comment.

However, the small print told me that I could claim back any unspent portion of my account at any time, so I figured I’d give them that $5. But first I had to download the software. Oh yes – they have proprietary software for viewing the newspapers! A whopping great download that took 6 minutes even on my spiffy ADSL (after I managed to get to actually start downloading – their JavaScript doesn’t work on Mozilla, of course).

Finally I could download Sunday’s paper. An even bigger download that took over 15 minutes. Thankfully I could start viewing it before it had finished.

This is where it gets really bad.

Their special software is really just an image viewer – every page is just a huge image that, even with the software at full-size, can only fit half a page onto my screen. I eventually worked out how to scale the pages down so I could see two pages at a time, but then I needed to zoom in eleven(!) times to make an article readable (which of course involves clicking on the magnifying glass in the toolbar, and then clicking again on the area of the paper you want to zoom in on).

They do have a search button, but my vanity search didn’t reveal any results. I figured this was because it hadn’t downloaded the whole issue yet, but even when that finished I still couldn’t find anything.

So I spent about 20 minutes painstakingly going through every page. Nada. After all that pain, I couldn’t find the article.

There was an ad though for Interface – a new 8 page IT supplement as part of today’s paper.

But of course that’s not included with the online edition – even though every other section seems to be.


Now for the fun of attempting to get a refund through their woefully confusing on-line support system.

Anyone have a copy of the real paper?

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