This weekend I ran across a Mac app that I’m sure someone could use, but probably not more than nine people on all of planet earth. It’s free. Why? Who would pay for an app that does what this does the way it does it?
The Web Site Time Machine
Web Slices is a free Mac app that grabs snap shots of web sites. It’s a full screenshot of sites that gets captured at regular intervals.
The app displays a thumbnail of the site, too. The idea is to gather a bunch of sites, perhaps news sites, and read them offline later.
You know, like an RSS reader. The site’s pages are downloaded, including graphics.
It’s like having a giant list of web sites to scan and view. The advantage over an RSS reader is the option to view the sites offline, too, without an internet connection.
The idea seems plausible. Capture web sites over a period of time. Read them later. Most news web sites change frequently so you need to keep up. If you can’t, Web Slices attempts to make it easier. The problem seems to be in the execution.
Start Web Slices by selecting a web site to monitor (click on the image above for a larger, pop up view). To add a web site go to the toolbar on the bottom and click Add Site. The site’s page is added as a scrollable graphic. Repeat for as many sites as you wish. Web Slices grabs a copy of the site at regular intervals which you can set.
Each web site is a graphic snapshot. The links don’t work. You can’t click on a headline and view an article. A right click, though, provides options to zoom in on an a single web page. Another right click opens the web site in a browser window for online viewing.
Unfortunately, some of the pages it captured turned into Frankenstein monster pages, with graphic elements and advertisements strewn all over the page. Worse, drilling down into a page with links to articles requires you to be online (Web Slices doesn’t capture the whole web site, apparently– just a slice or two) which defeats the purpose of reading offline.
After being totally frustrated for 30-minutes I tried in vain to figure out who could figure out how to use this app and why. What’s the compelling reason to use Web Slices instead of an RSS reader? It’s a good thing it’s free.