If you travel a lot and want to stay in touch with developments in Bangalore, what do you do? You are an NRI, and want to stay abreast with all the developments in Bangalore, what do you try? News paper websites? There is a better way, “ePaper”.
Times of India
I have been hooked to Times of India ePaper since late last year. First time I tried it was purely out of curiosity. I was at Pune, and missed my daily dose of politicking around Bangalore infrastructure. So I signed up at TOI ePaper website. Once you log in, you have the option of reading electronic versions of TOI or even Economic Times. So, select TOI, pick your city – yes, they let you see electronic versions of a few cities, not just Bangalore – and you are led to a page that shows a scanned image of the first page! [If you run Firefox, you may see a page that says our browser may not be supported. Just ignore and continue, things works just fine inside firefix.]
You can zoom the scanned newspaper images to your liking. Unfortunately, pages can only be zoomed out that much, so I can’t make the best use of my UXGA resolution screen. But that’s okay. For navigation, you just go “next page” one at a time to go through the entire paper. You can directly jump to a page or a section if you like. There is a tool bar on top of the website that lets you pick older editions of the newspaper. You can also switch to reading editions printed in other cities. Nice. There is even an option to print the newspaper, but I couldn’t get that to work with Firefox.
You don’t have to strain your eyes to read things off the scanned images. Click on a story of interest and you get a popup with complete story in text. If you click on the advertisements, you get a popup of the complete ad image.
ll in all, Times of India ePaper is easy enough to read and navigate. And all this is free as of now. I will be willing to forego my print circulated version provided a few problems are addressed. If the images could be zoomed out a bit more, I may be able to read the stories directly off the scanned images. And there is no provision to bookmark or “clip and save” stories for reading at leisure.
If you are as hungry for local news as I am, chances are, you are not happy reading just one newspaper. No problem. The other Bangalore biggie, Deccan Herald, too offers an ePaper!
Go to DH epaper site and sign up. When you log in for the first time, you must set a bunch of options. You can opt for a text only version (kind of like TOI's dialup version). You can also decide if you like to view the ePaper in PDF or image form. I will tell you in a bit what difference this option makes.
DH ePaper website, after you are logged in and setup, looks a little different than TOI. The main difference is – you have personalization options. Notice the “My News”, “My Clips” like options on the top of the page. Also, there is no option to zoom the image in and out to fit your screen. To read a story, click on that article on the paper page. The story will come up as an image in a pop up window. In here, you can zoom on the clip image you are shown. If you opted for PDFs, stories will pop up as pdf files, and not images. The advantage with PDF option is that you can select and copy text content from stories.
DH started out on ePaper a bit later than TOI did. So looks like they have tried some improvements. Its more pleasant to read clips as images or PDFs, better than reading TOI's boring text only popups. Next, Personalization features are prominent, even though a bit raw rightnow. I had 15 clips saved in “my clip” section, even though I had not saved any. Last but not the least, it is not an IE only website, so no warnings if you are on Firefox. But be warned that DH ePaper website shows visible signs of being under construction. Expect to see ugly error messages here and there that go “Notice: Undefined index: …”.
Regardless, DH ePaper is usable and very much readable. I love it, you will too. The best part is, it is free right now, just like TOI.