Thursday, August 23, 2007 by Dave Winer.
First impression: Looks like my.yahoo.com, a descendant of my.netscape.com of the late 90s. The page is divided into modules, each module corresponds to a RSS feed. Within the module the items are presented in the same order as in the feed.
Login here: http://my.nytimes.com/
Screen shot of the home page, uncustomized.
A press release ran at 9:30AM Pacific.
According to this blog post it was open to the public on Tuesday at 9:38PM.
I added Scripting News, but it doesn't seem to show up.
Of course I'm still looking for a reverse-chronologic list of all new stories as they are published (as they appear in a Times RSS feed).
Is there a mobile version of my.nytimes.com?
What Scripting News looks like in the Times environment.
Their answer to What is RSS? gets the Dave Winer Political Correctness Seal of Approval. Good job. I'm sure they handle all kinds of feeds perfectly well, no need to bother the poor user with technical arcania.
Obvious opportunity to kiss up to influential bloggers missed. Only Battelle's site is in the list of defaults. Markoff likes Joi Ito. Engadget gets a link, TechCrunch does not. Of course Scripting News is linked in nowhere, but I didn't expect it would be. (Also, they clearly didn't seed any bloggers with the beta since it's been open to the public for about 44 hours at this writing and there's almost no coverage in the tech blog-o-s'fear. You'd think the Times could do better PR.)
So with the disclaimers out of the way, you may take the following with a grain of salt...
Initial impression: No big deal. They haven't improved RSS news reading in any obvious way. Looking for the reason to use this service, coming up empty. A couple of generations behind Google Reader.
Salon tried building their own CMS, and learned the hard way that they should have bought one from a software vendor. Would have saved a lot of money and gotten a better CMS. The NY TImes is learning the same lesson with news readers. They clearly spent a lot of money developing my.nytimes.com, but in the end would have done better making a deal with Yahoo, Google, Netvibes, Pageflakes or any of a dozen wannabes who are working on customizable module-oriented viewing of news. If the Times wanted to blaze a new path, they should have done something new that used their unique understanding of news, something the software industry wouldn't think of or even understand. Such a fresh view is possible, but the Times lacked the courage, ambition, or maybe just the smarts, to try to blaze a new trail. Too bad!