Guru Magazine - - Contents -

This month’s app-themed re­views look at PressReader – a new way to read your morn­ing news­pa­per – and Hu­man De­fense Vi­ral – a game to keep you up at night.

As an iPad owner, I love the con­ve­nience of tech­nol­ogy. But as some­one whose dream home blue­print in­cludes an enor­mous li­brary, I find dig­i­tal ver­sions of books quite de­press­ing. There is some­thing ir­re­place­able about the feel of a printed book, mag­a­zine or news­pa­per in

my hands. On this ba­sis, I should hate the PressReader app, the mo­bile reader and store for the world’s most pop­u­lar news­pa­pers. Turn­ing the pages of a daily through this iPad app should break my heart, but it doesn’t – it’s just too darned con­ve­nient. First of all, when you subscribe to a pa­per, it is au­to­mat­i­cally de­liv­ered to your iPad or tablet ev­ery morn­ing. Gone is the need to prance down the end of the drive­way in your py­ja­mas to re­trieve a copy of your favourite news­pa­per. And in­stead of hav­ing the aw­ful black toner residue on your hands and hav­ing to fight with 50 pages of thin pieces of re­cy­cled pa­per, you can ac­tu­ally spend your time read­ing the news.

PressReader al­lows read­ers to en­joy the same lay­out of a printed news­pa­per with pages that are es­sen­tially dig­i­tal repli­cas of the orig­i­nal. In­di­vid­ual ar­ti­cles can be read in ‘Smart­flow’, where text is for­mat­ted to fit neatly in the mo­bile screen – an eas­ier al­ter­na­tive to scrolling and zoom­ing each time you want to read a sec­tion. There are some other nice fea­tures, such as the ‘on-de­mand au­dio’ which will read the pa­per to you – a par­tic­u­larly use­ful op­tion when you are on the tread­mill and get­ting dizzy from try­ing to read the jig­gling pa­per.

Even though PressReader of­fers 2,300 dif­fer­ent news­pa­pers from 97 coun­tries, this does not in­clude all news­pa­pers that have their own app: there is no New

York Times or The Wall Street Jour­nal. I did, how­ever, find the lo­cal news­pa­per from my col­lege town of Saratoga Springs, NY. Lo­calised of­fer­ing are a bonus: I can get a copy of the New York Times al­most any­where, but where else can I get a copy of the Sarato­gian? While the app is good over­all for those who just want to read the pa­per, it does no jus­tice to my fa­vorite sec­tion of any pa­per, the en­ter­tain­ment sec­tion. The im­ages of the comics and cross­words in some news­pa­pers were so poor that I sim­ply couldn’t read the cap­tions. In terms of us­abil­ity, ev­ery­thing is fairly straight­for­ward but I have some gripes with ‘shar­ing’. The app’s de­scrip­tion page boasts that you can share ar­ti­cle clips on Face­book or twit­ter and save clip­pings to apps such as Ever­note and In­stapa­per. I ex­pected to high­light the text and tap an op­tion to share the clip­ping. In­stead you are re­quired to tap and hold on the de­sired sec­tion un­til the op­tions ap­pear. I would have pre­ferred a less fid­dly, more in­tu­itive process, closer to how in­for­ma­tion is trans­ferred in apps de­signed by Ap­ple. Sin­gle is­sues can be pur­chased for $.99 (£0.69) or un­lim­ited monthly down­loads for $29.95 (£19.45), which rep­re­sents good value, given the se­lec­tion on of­fer. While

PressReader is not go­ing to re­place printed news­pa­pers for ev­ery­one, the ex­pan­sive cat­a­logue, ease of read­ing, and clean in­ter­face will win many con­verts.

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