Times Droid update better; still no cigar

The latest update of The New York Times Droid app shows some improvements, but I still prefer reading the Times mobile Web site with the phone’s browser. The good news: For those of us with aging eyes and smaller Android screens, the app now does larger fonts and uses the phone’s horizontal mode.

However, you still can’t zoom in on routine photos or graphics.

I also noticed there is no linkage between clearly related stories, such as today’s item about new New York education chief being recruited secretly and her actual appointment story. Only one of these appeared in my morning “latest news” feed, so I had to go search the “New York region” feed to find the other.

On the full Times website, a “Related” sidebar takes care of the connections.

Another continuing annoyance, the Times app’s “share” button only provides the headline of the story and a compressed URL, as shown above. It copies and pasts that combination into e-mail, Facebook, Delicious bookmarks, blog posts and other services.

Unfortunately, some of them want more. There is still no way to copy and paste a story summary or selected paragraph or two into a blog post or email. Delicious, for example,  expects the URL and headline to paste into separate fields, with a third field for a summary or notes and a fourth for searchable keyword tags.

Finally there is a small improvement in the app’s advertising. My earlier visits would only show me a single ad repeated over and over — an ad for home delivery of the Times, which is not available in my neighborhood, something the Times might be able to discern from the GPS data it accesses through my phone.

The small improvement is that the startup pages of the Times now show a different ad. I think it is for a hotel chain but the image is so small that I can’t read it. However, the Times subscription ad comes back as soon as I click on a story. Maybe I’m supposed to book a room at the hotel and have the Times delivered there.

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Computers, Newspapers, Radford, Tablets & eBook Readers, usability, WebDesign

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