Day 23: Keeping up with the news

Lincoln Spector

Tuesday, March 3: It’s my 23rd day substituting a Windows 8.1 laplet (laptop/tablet hybrid) for my usual Windows 7 laptop and iPad. A week from tomorrow, this digital experiment ends — I’m looking forward to that day.

One of many annoyances with using the laplet is reading periodicals. From my experience, Windows 8 currently doesn’t stand a chance against the iPad. To be fair, the problem is with the third-party apps, not the operating system itself.

I’m in the habit of reading a daily newspaper — specifically, the San Francisco Chronicle — and two magazines on my iPad. All three periodicals have iOS apps that makes it extremely easy to read them on Apple’s tablet. None of the publications, however, have Metro/Modern apps, which means reading them in a browser on my laplet.

Of the three, the Chronicle is the most Windows friendly. The paper’s website contains a subscriber’s-only online mockup of the daily dead-tree edition. Click a headline, and the article comes up full-page mode that’s easier to read.

Well, usually easier to read; the full-page format is truly practical only if you hold the laplet vertically — which is fine most of the time because that’s how I prefer to read the articles. However, if an article is illustrated with a large photo, the text doesn’t wrap properly in the vertical orientation; I have to turn the laplet sideways to read comfortably. And if there’s a really large photo, even the horizontal orientation won’t do. There’s a workaround, but it isn’t pretty.

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Lincoln Spector

About Lincoln Spector

Lincoln Spector writes about computers, home theater, and film and maintains two blogs: Answer Line at and His articles have appeared in CNET, InfoWorld, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.