Monday, April 4, 2011

Hitting The Wall. And Some Other Stuff.

I'm sure most of you know that the NY Times recently instituted an online subscription policy.  You get to look at 20 articles online for free, and then you get locked out unless you pay a subscription fee.  This went into effect on March 28th.

Well, I've been husbanding my 20 free articles.  I've made a point of reading the NY Post and the NY Daily News (as well as Gothamist), before looking at the Times.  That way, I figure there have been some articles I didn't need to read in the Times to have a clue what's been going on.  And, though I haven't put a whole lot of thought into what I'd do when I'd used up my 20 free views, the thought has occurred to me.  I'm still not sure if I'm willing to pony up the cash to read the Times online.

The question has just gone critical.  Earlier this morning, I got this warning. (Don't worry...this is a screenshot, so if you're being choosy about using up your own NY Times views, this won't count against you.)
And then, somewhat to my surprise, I found out that it's not only the Times, itself that's part of the subscription dealy; The Local, the Times sponsored blog for my neighborhood also counts! (The screenshot below showed up when I went back to the Times after having looked at a couple of articles on The Local.

I hadn't realized I was using up more precious article views on The Local, but apparently I had been.

They probably have me over a barrel.  How the hell am I supposed to get by without The Times?

Item #2: I've updated my review of Pym.  I fell out of love about 2/3rds of the way through.  Ah well.

And one more thing.  My Post Office, (Pratt Station), just reopened after being closed for a year for "necessary renovations".  Today was the first time I've been there since they've reopened.  I'm not sure what the hell they did.  The part that's open to the public looks exactly the same with a few notable exceptions I'll get to in a minute.  The walls are still chipped and there are the same peeling decals on the bulletproof glass that keeps the Postal Workers safe from their natural enemies customers. The floor still looks like it could use a mopping.  The stanchions holding up the little path we have to follow is in the exact same arrangement and, I'd swear, that rubber mat still has the same corner sticking up to trip the unwary.  What I can see behind the bulletproof glass looks the same too, as far as I can tell.  And there are still two workers back there manning 6 Customer Abuse Service windows.

What's changed?  Well, you used to be able to use a couple of stamp machines and even an automated mailing station in the lobby.  Those are gone.  You used to be able to get mailing labels and envelopes for a variety of overnight and priority mailing.  Those are gone.  Now, if you want to mail something overnight, you have to wait in line to get the supplies, go to the desk and fill in everything, and then stand in line all over again to actually send it somewhere.

You may hate your Post Office more than I hate mine, but I've got a much better excuse.  I do.


Eric said...

I certainly want the NYT to be a profitable and enduring venture. I don't begrudge them that.


(Yes, couldn't you tell there was a "but" coming?)

But, I have to conclude that if they want to restrict online access when the basic paradigm of the web is that information wants to be free, free as in beer as well as free as in free as a bird, that they no longer prize their traditional position as America's paper-of-record. Which is sad. But it is what it is. All good things come to an end, and if the Old Grey Lady wants to be a local newspaper and that's how she can stay in business, well... like I said, it is what it is.

Nathan said...

Ya'know...I don't really begrudge them making a profit (or even their operating expenses, when it comes to that). I've just gotten accustomed to getting it for free and I'm going to have to make an adjustment. The fact is, everyone is still feeling their way around how to operate in an internetty-connected world and some mis-steps are to be expected.

The Times has, apparently, discovered it can't support its operations under the totally free model (advertising only as revenue). Unfortunately, I guess I'll have to pay something if I think the paper has value to me.

WendyB_09 said...

I get the NYT delivered only on Sunday. According to the email on the change, that one day of real paper lets me continue to have on-line access for free.

There is nothing better to do in the world on a Sunday morning than sit and read a newspaper with your Sunday breakfast/brunch/lunch. I get both the NYT & the Atlanta paper just one day a week for just that reason.