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App of the Week: PressReader [Mobile]

App of the Week: PressReader [Mobile] | 40Tech

Traditional newspapers are struggling. We’ve all heard this, time and again, and know that they are having the same problem that the music and other “olde world” industries have: namely, that the people in charge don’t truly understand the medium of the internet, and are too wrapped up in either complaining about it, trying to figure out how to control it, and suing people to recoup their perceived losses to take advantage of it. Some newspapers have embraced the web, openly or behind paywalls, and some of these websites and mobile apps are actually good, presenting their content well, and occasionally adding a bell or whistle here and there.

What if you have simpler tastes, though? What if, all you want to do is read your favourite newspapers, in their full, original, cover-to-cover glory, from the comfort of your iOS or Android device? How about from your Blackberry? If this is a dream of yours, then Newspaper Direct’s PressReader is your new best friend. Hell, you and your new buddy might even save a tree or 10.

PressReader is fantastic. If I had to use one word to describe it, that would be the one — that or awesome. There are over 1900 newspapers (though the app still says 1700) from around the world available (92 countries, 48 languages) for your reading pleasure, updated daily. These are, as I said, available in full, just the way you would pick them up from the news stands, including all ads, classifieds, the funnies, sections and stories. They are downloaded directly to your device (you can choose download by Wi-Fi only, if you like) so that they are available even when offline.

PressReader Downloads Full Newspapers to Your Device | 40Tech

Newspaper Direct, who are also the purveyors of PressDisplay (the web version and precursor to PressReader), have license agreements in place with all of these newspapers, receiving daily .PDF scans which Newspaper Direct then process to add all sorts of fun interactivity.


An Interactive Newspaper (the Really-Real One)

What sort of interactivity, you say? Well, for starters, all headlines are clickable. You can swipe through the pages as you like, in portrait or landscape mode, and can double-tap, pinch, and zoom to your heart’s content to read the stories — but if you want to see something that’s formatted for easy reading, then tap any headline and you will get a pop up version of only that story. While in the pop-up, you can change the text size and move to the next and previous story, as well, making for a customizable reading experience.


The story pop-up also allows you to print the story in plain text or with full graphics, and has sharing features as well. At the moment, you can share a story via email, Twitter, and Facebook. The Facebook share is a bit ugly with it’s long, title-less hyperlink, but all three methods link you to the full article on In my tests, I was able to access the shared article on the web and mobile safari (the mobile web app is pretty cool, too), without having to log in, or pay for access. That could be the case for all, or just for the papers I was using.


Newspapers That Read to You

The best feature, by far, of PressReader (and PressDisplay) is yet another gem that’s available in the pop-up when you touch a headline. It’s not the ability to search within nearly 2000 papers, and it’s not the Top Stories or Favourites feature (all available from the main menu-bar, not the pop-up) — it’s the cute little headphones icon in the bottom right. Touch this button, and PressReader’s built in text to speech functionality will read the story to you! This is a beautiful thing! If you are on the go, driving, or busily working, your newspaper story can be read to you, keeping your hands and eyes free for more important things — like not killing yourself while driving. I’ve seen more than one moron on the road that was reading a newspaper while in motion — and I’ve called the cops on the idiots, too. I’m no snitch/narc/derogatory tell-tale word of the day, but I’m on the road with my kid and you are not going to cause an accident that hurts her. If you like the paper while driving… get PressReader and save us all the trouble.

Slight digressions about morons aside, I highly recommend PressReader to anyone who enjoys the full newspaper experience (plus more) while on the go, or is interested in saving a few trees (NewsDirect claims to have saved 173,824 trees, and counting). You can get it on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as on Android (Gingerbread and Honeycomb devices), Blackberry (no Playbook yet, but it’s on the way), Windows 7 Slate, and even Windows Mobile 5 (go figure). No mention of Windows Mobile 6 (5 should still work) or 7 yet, but it is likely on the way. You can also download Pressreader for your PC or Mac, iRex Digital, WebOS is on the way, and you can access PressDisplay via the web or even on your Kindle and other eReaders.


What it Costs

The PressReader app itself is free, but newspapers cost $0.99 each, or you can get an unlimited subscription to everything (all 1900 papers) for $29.95 per month. If you want to try before you buy, PressReader comes with seven free newspaper downloads of your choice, and you can give the Top News feature a whirl as well. If you want to try and offset the cost a bit, head over to your account on PressDisplay and check out the referral widget. This is a beta tool that can get you 10% of each subscription that comes through you.

NOTE: My only problem with PressReader, is that the papers you choose to subscribe to don’t sync in your account and therefore have to be re-downloaded for each device. What I am not certain of, as I am using a trial of an unlimited account, is whether or not you would have to pay for that paper on each device. I’ve asked the people at News Direct and expect them to get back to me shortly.

UPDATE: According to my contact at NewsDirect, as well as a comment by Gayle, who also appears to work for them, you can download your newspaper issues on up to six different devices, unless there is something that precludes that in NewsDirect’s licensing deal with a particular publisher.

Also, for those worried about download size and data on your mobile, go into settings to change how long you want PressReader to keep a paper, and to set your PressReader app to download via WiFi only.



Text Messaging for Super Spies


Are you a spy, engaged in nefarious business dealings, or an extreme fan of privacy? Maybe you just really liked Mission Impossible or Inspector Gadget? If so, you will probably get a kick out of self-destructing text messages. That’s right, messages where you get to add your own little “time-bomb” that deletes the possibly offending or incriminating text off both your own phone, and that of the receiving party. Never get caught sexting by your significant other again.* Don’t leave a trail of incriminating evidence behind!* Etc. Etc. Etc… You get it, I’m sure.

Read on for more details, opinions, and the meaning of the little *’s.

ba-Bomb image by LKaestner

I understand the need for privacy in personal and business communications. I don’t have a problem with that and I support it wholeheartedly. It just seems to me that the marketing around TigerText and TigerText Pro, the mobile app that gives you the power of the self-destructing message, skirts the sleazy. Oh, they never out and out say “hide your potentially incriminating communications” or “never get caught.” They are very careful about that, in fact, focusing more on privacy protection and the fact that they are a free text and picture messaging service. However, something about the overall tone of their message tickles my increasingly cynical ear — especially when they bandy about quotes from some of their reviewers, like the New York Post, that state “TigerText eliminates the possibility of damaging evidence being left behind.” Maybe it’s just me, but broadcasting that statement as a part of your marketing seems to target a specific audience need.

I suppose, fundamentally, that I have some sort of righteous moral issue with the fact that the need exists in the first place. Somewhere, deep in my airy-fairy soul, there is a little voice whispering, “why can’t we all just be honest and nice, and stuff.” I recognize that the little voice is sadly naive and am actually much more practical in my view of human nature, but the tiny little fellow is persistent and closely related to the last resident (and black sheep) of Pandora’s Box. It also believes in the possibility of unicorns, dragons, and other romantic notions, so take from that what you will.

In any case, TigerText is a good service for getting around texting and picture messaging costs on your smartphone. It works over WiFi, and so can work in poor service areas, and is a fast, easy to use app available for all major smartphone platforms. You can only communicate with other TigerText users, however, so in many ways it is more like an instant messaging service that allows you to add a timed-delete function to your messages.

TigerText is free for personal use, and TigerText pro — the enterprise version — has some nifty features like email notifications and the like. It also has branches that are specific to those needing HIPAA (healthcare and insurance) and SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act – national securities investment protections) compliance in their communications. If you want to try it out, go to your smartphone’s app store, or head to this link for personal, and this one for enterprise.

* Notes

A word to the wise: as TigerText themselves point out, this is by no means a bulletproof method of not getting caught. Send sensitive information to others at your own risk — anyone can take a picture of a smartphone screen, either with another camera or the press of a button or two. How much you really trust the person you are sending the message to had best be at the forefront of your mind.

Oh, and also: 40Tech by no means condones cheating on your spouse, conducting nefarious dealings, yadda yadda.

What do you think of TigerText? What would you use it for?

My Phone Dilemma: I’m Ready for a Change and I Want Your Opinion

image Well, that time is finally here. My 3 Year (bloody) Contract with Bell Mobility (one of the Big 3 rip-off artist/cell phone & communications companies on the northern half of the North American continent) has less than a year left and I’ve been presented with a $100 hardware upgrade and about $300 in data credits. The data credits can be applied to the hardware too, leaving me with a substantial discount on any phone I would like to get. So the question is… which one? Bell is finally carrying the iPhone 3GS and has some older Android phones, as well as some Blackberries and newer-model Windows Mobile phones like the Samsung Omnia II. Currently, as some of you may recall from previous posts, I’m rocking the marvellous workhorse of the Windows Mobile world, the HTC Touch. Love the little beast, but it’s got to go. Time to pave the way for something faster and smoother and generally better than Windows Mobile has been able to offer me. I’d love your help! I am so torn at the moment, that I have been ripping at what little hair is left on my head trying to decide.

Save my scalp! Help me save myself from patchiness! Read on and then throw your opinions at me in the comments (and don’t be afraid to have fun with it)!


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TouchTwit Brings Pretty AND Functional to Windows Mobile

Twitter Application for Windows Mobile | TouchTwit Windows Mobile is not known for being either pretty or exceptionally user friendly, and the apps have been repeatedly put to shame by iPhone and Android software. WinMo users were waiting with baited breath for the launch of the Windows Mobile applications store (Skymarket), but initial offerings were largely disappointing and often grossly overpriced. Hope springs eternal, however, and TouchTwit, the newest Twitter app on the block for Windows Mobile, leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

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Skymarket THIS Windows Marketplace for Mobile!

Screaming kid destroys Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Skymarket | 40tech


You may think from the title that I am a bit less than enthused with Skymarket, the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store. You wouldn’t be wrong, either. This may come as something of a surprise to some of you, considering how much I have obviously been looking forward to the release of Skymarket, but my bitterness, and thus bitter message, is a direct result of keen disappointment. 


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