As a somewhat geeky Mac user I’m always on the lookout for a new way to be productive. Newspapers? Bah, humbug. Relics of the 19th century.
Books? Got all I need on my iPad and iPhone. Comic books? Have you see comics on the iPad? Daily newspaper comic strips? I’ve got those too, thanks to freeComics, my Mac, the internet, and Mac OS X’s Dashboard Widgets.
Comics The Way God Intended
Comic strips are not comic books, though both have a place on your Mac. Gone are the days of washing news print off your fingers after reading the daily or Sunday comics.
Gone are the days of standing in a drug store magazine section; reading, not buying.
We live in a digital age and old habits die hard. Apparently, so does the age old and time honored need to pay for anything resembling information.
I don’t know how anybody makes any money, particularly newspapers whose readership and circulation are circulating flush mode. So much is available on the internet and it doesn’t cost much to get. A Mac. An internet connection. Some electricity.
I have a few favorite comic strips and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I also have the mother of all Dashboard Widgets in the form of freeComics. Yes, free. freeComics is free. The comics are free.
What’s not to like? Except that I don’t fully grasp the fundamentals of the business model at play. I pay Apple for my Mac. I pay the phone company for my DSL connection. And I get free comics.
freeComics is a Widget that let’s you select from about 150 different daily comics—from Dilbert and Doonesbury to Shoe and Calvin and Hobbes re-runs. Even Bloom County. But not Mother Goose and Grimm.
Free availability of each comic dates back to 30 days. freeComics’ interface is straightforward, easy to navigate, but needs some work.
The fact that you can choose from 150 different daily comics is a good thing, but the long list of comics is daunting, and not exactly in alphabetical order. Dilbert is at the top, which is good, but Shoe is way down near the bottom which makes for a very long scroll.
A button to open a browser window to the comic’s web site is easy to find, in the lower right corner of the freeComics Widget.
On the left side of the Widget are navigation buttons for Previous and Next, and a button for Today. freeComics requires you to scroll through all the listed comic strips to get to the one you want.
A better feature would be the ability to select specific comics for display, while ignoring the ones you don’t want to see; sort of a bookmarks for comic strips. Some strips are black and white, most are color, including the larger Sunday versions.
I’m not a Dashboard Widgets fanboy. But I love free and I love comic strips and freeComics massages both loves. I still don’t understand the business model.