You’ll learn a few new things about robots and eldercare in this article from The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad-only news app. Unfortunately, though, you won’t be able to save any of it using the usual copy and paste routine for text because The Daily renders its web pages as single, large .jpg images. Try to save a Daily web page as a PDF and you’ll discover that you are able to save only an image of the first part of the article. This image is followed by a page of promotional text urging you to download The Daily iPad app. Saving the web page as an html document will save all of it, as will right-clicking (on PCs) of Control-clicking (on Macs). In both cases, though, what you will save is one giant .jpg image, rather than searchable text.
As with the iPad app versions of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, The Daily provides an easy mechanism to send the link of the web version of a particular article to an email address. In addition, The Daily, like many other news apps, gives you the option to post a link on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Daily’s links, however, lead to web page versions that are giant images of the article. In contrast, the New York Times’ and Wall Street Journal’s iPad- generated links lead to html text-rich web articles, which can be saved in a variety of ways as editable and searchable text. All three news apps allow, you, the iPad subscriber, to save a copy of the article to your iPad for later viewing. Note, though, that NONE of these three iPad news apps are yet searchable. Nor are the articles you save from them to your iPad searchable. Neither are the AP, BBC News, or the Washington Post iPad apps. By contrast, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, Engadget, and Mashable all provide a search feature, however primitive.
Unlike the Wall Street Journal’s iPad edition, which keeps one week’s worth of issues available on the iPad, The Daily has a very short memory. When you, the subscriber to The Daily, tap on its app, the new version immediately overrides any previous version. In so doing, it cuts off your access to the articles from the previous edition (unless you stopped to save copies to your iPad). Unless you saved a copy of a particular article from the previous day to your iPad, posted a link to it on Facebook or Twitter, or emailed a link to yourself, you can kiss access to that article goodbye. This is both annoying and disturbing. Annoying, because it unnecessarily complicates your information-gathering routines. Disturbing, because it limits your access to news and information for which you’ve paid (starting Feb 23, when the free two week trial will end).
Visit The Daily’s web site (http://thedaily.com) and you’ll discover a site devoted to selling The Daily’s iPad app. Other than the few links provided daily on its blog, The Daily’s web site provides no access to articles other than through those links that you may have emailed and/or posted to Twitter and/or Facebook. The Daily’s blog’s few links lead to web pages that consist of single .jpg images of the articles, not to searchable html-based text.
Why has Mr. Murdoch made the decision to operate The Daily as the equivalent of disappearing ink? Why does he force you, the subscriber, to capture a glimpse and/or link to its iPad articles at the moment your view them, or risk not having access to that information again? Why does Mr. Murdoch so cavalierly disregard your need to have control over what and when you read? Why does he think the news has no past — that it should not be retrievable beyond today’s sell-date? Is it because he has decided that it’s easier and less expensive to produce the news in only one format? Or, does he hope to force those who wish to read The Daily’s articles to do so via its iPad app? Does he not realize that providing such a hobbled interface is unacceptable?
Interestingly enough, Part 2 of The Daily’s 2-part series on robots and eldercare (published today, February 14) is rendered in html text, although other articles from today’s edition are rendered, like Part 1 (published yesterday) as single, giant jpg images.
There’s no doubt about it: many of the The Daily’s images are visually striking, and some of its articles are interesting, information-rich, and useful. But, all of the articles disappear from view too quickly. The articles that you do make the effort to save are image-bound and non-searchable. With so many information-friendly news apps available, including Mr. Murdoch’s own Wall Street Journal iPad app, why would you choose to use the here-today-gone-tomorrow Daily?