Developed in concert with Microsoft, the New York Times Times Reader (still in Beta) is a hybrid RSS feed reader and XPS desktop publishing system that runs as a standalone applet on your desktop. Like RSS, the Times Reader updates itself with the latest content from the New York Times. But going beyond traditional RSS, the Times Reader offers the look and feel of the print version of the Times. That's in part because of the new graphics system within .Net Framework 3.0 architecture available within Windows Vista and downloadable for Windows XP SP2 users.
The Times Reader renders New York Times articles better than visiting the Times Web site, providing users with the ability to search throughout the document for keywords; cut and paste, then either save or e-mail citations; and to print whatever content you want. Additional advantages with this reader include the ability to choose an article without scrolling and to read and view content while offline. A very cool "What's Read?" feature grays out the individual articles you've already seen. Another nifty feature is the "News in Pictures" slide show, where you can first preview the day's hottest articles in pictures, then drill down to the text via embedded links. There is no capability yet for rendering video feeds within the Times Reader.
The Times is currently offering a public beta to registered members of its site. Registration is free, however, be prepared to give your e-mail address, year of birth, and zip code. Ostensibly this is prevent minors from registering without adult consent, and to key specific advertising to your particular region of the country. We recommend reading through the member agreement section before signing up.
A few technical caveats: The Times states the minimum hardware requirements are 1Ghz processor, 384MB of RAM (with 500MB of RAM recommended). This application also requires .Net Framework 3.0 be downloaded onto Windows XP SP2. On our test machine, our Net Framework 3.0 installation caused numerous problems and had to be removed. On our Windows Vista machine, we experienced no problems installing or using the Times Reader.