Taking the “Paper” or “Flipboarding” When Traveling

March 7, 2014

in App Reviews

  • SumoMe

Keeping up with the news while you’re traveling can be a challenge.

Perhaps your hotel will leave a copy of USA Today or a local newspaper outside of your room each morning. Or maybe you can buy a copy at a newsstand or store.

If you are toting a laptop with you, you can access a myriad of online news Websites.

And if you have a smartphone or tablet, there are any number of news apps, including those for TV and radio stations and networks, that you can download.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you could “assemble” all of the news sources that interested you in one place? Or better yet, if someone else did that job for you.

Here’s where “Flipboard,” and “Paper”—a recently-released Facebook app—come into play.

In “Taking Your Home Newspaper ‘On The Road’,” I explained how you could read your hometown paper—in my case the San Francisco Chronicle—even if you couldn’t buy a copy at your out-of-town destination.

And while that lets me keep up on what’s happening back in the San Francisco Bay Area, it doesn’t give me a broad spectrum of news reporting.

“Flipboarding”

“Flipboarding” isn’t a variation of the “waterboarding” interrogation method.

It’s a way to “curate” news in a magazine-style format that lets you flip through stories.image

Here’s what you’ll experience using “Flipboard.”

 

“Flipboard” doesn’t just work on the iPad, although that tablet’s size makes it an ideal platform for reading “Flipboard” content.

Free “Flipboard” apps are available for Apple iOS devices, as well as those running Android, Windows, or Blackberry operating systems. There’s a version available on Appstore for Android and the Nook Appstore, too.

You can also read “Flipboard” stories using a Web browser,

“Flipboard” will find stories based on topics to which you subscribe. You can browse “Cover Stories,” read staff-recommended news sources and blogs, or search for stories.

image

The “Content Guide” helps you find relevant stories.

image

As the video demonstrated, you can connect your social networks, including Facebook, Google+ Twitter, YouTube, and others, to “Flipboard.”

But what’s really fun about “Flipboard” is that it gives you the ability to “create” your own “magazines.” Here’s how it works.

 

Once you’ve created your own “magazine,” you can “flip” content from any Webpage viewed in a browser into it.

Tales Told From The Road has a “Flipboard” magazine with selected stories from its Website.

image

Taking Facebook’s “Paper”

Facebook’s “Paper” is an amalgamation between what’s in your Facebook News Feed and content that it pulls from various sources.

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As you’ll see from this Facebook promotional video, viewing stories in “Paper” is a bit like  using “Flipboard.”

 

Unfortunately, at this time, “Paper” only works on the iPhone and iPad (where, regrettably, it doesn’t rotate from vertical or “portrait” orientation to “landscape” or horizontal orientation).

You can customize what you’ll read by choosing any of these sections—whose content is briefly explained below its name—to drag and drop into your “Paper.”

  • “All City”Paper Sections
  • “Creators”
  • “Cute”
  • “Enterprise”
  • “Equalize”
  • “Exposure”
  • “Family Matters”
  • “Flavor”
  • “Glow”
  • “Headlines”
  • “Home”
  • “Ideas”
  • “LOL”
  • “Planet”
  • “Pop Life”
  • “Pride”
  • “Score”
  • “Tech”
  • “Well Lived”

Some of the news sources that my “Paper” pulls “Headlines” from include The New York Times, Time magazine, The Wire, Politico, and The Washington Post.

Since I frequently write about technology on Tales Told From The Road, I asked “Paper” to serve up “Tech” stories for me, and it delivers ones from 9to5Mac.com, TechCrunch, Newsweek, Advertising Age, Gigaom and other online publications.

However, “Paper” doesn’t have a “Travel” section, so to find travel-related stories I have to weed out those about fashion and food that are also posted in the “Well Lived” section.

Unlike “Flipboard,” “Paper” doesn’t allow me to create my own “magazine” or “newspaper,” nor add content from any online source.

Paper Facebook Page

Besides reading content, you can use “Paper” for normal Facebook tasks such as posting to your Timeline, reading what you friends have posted, and checking your Facebook Friend Requests, Messages, and Notifications.

The Verge said that “Paper is the best Facebook app ever.” I might not go that far in praising it, and I don’t find it as compelling to use as “Flipboard,” but it does present information in a visually interesting way and integrates reasonably well with some of the usual Facebook functions.

But if you don’t on an Apple mobile device, you can’t get your “Paper.”

Readability and Usability

I had no trouble viewing photos or reading text using “Flipboard” or “Paper” on both my iPhone and iPad, although the larger screen of the iPad makes it the best choice for either app.

“Flipboard” stories seemed to load slightly faster than those on “Paper,” and I find “Flipboard” slightly more intuitive to use.

Taking These Apps “On The Road”

Neither “Flipboard” nor “Paper” allow you to download content to your mobile device. So neither will work unless you have either an Internet connection over Wi-Fi or a cellular carrier’s data network.

That means unless you are aboard a Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, you aren’t going to be able to use either “Flipboard” or “Paper” in-flight.

And if Wi-Fi isn’t available when you are “on the road” and are forced to connect to the Internet over a cellular carrier’s network, using either app will consume at least some amount of the data allowance under a “capped” or International roaming data plan.

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