Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
It's finally come to this. The august "Gray Lady," the venerable New York Times, today announced its new "Nano" edition. "We shrunk everything else," Sully Oxburger, the Times' publisher-in-chief explained. "First, we shrunk the number of pages, then the number of sections, then our offices, then our staff, and finally our printing facilities. Then one day I saw the new Ipod Nano, and I the idea just came to me."By shrinking the newspaper down to this new size, the Times was able to further downsize its production facilities, production staff, and its use of ink and paper. "In going to this new size," Oxburger explained, "we reduced our overall printing and delivery costs by 95%. Our printing presses have been replaced by high-speed desktop laser printers, and our delivery trucks by Volkswagen Beetles."Oxburger went on to describe the motivation behind this move. "It all started last month, when a famous Internet guru predicted the end of the printed newspaper. The Times has survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and countless other setbacks. But when an Internet guru predicts your demise, you know the end is near. This was our only way out."
While this may take some getting used to, there are certain advantages to the new scheme, as well as some disadvantages. For one thing, an entire week of the Times, including the Sunday edition, will now fit in a shirt pocket. On the downside, a special reader, or a magnifying glass, will be needed to read the paper. In addition, the paper is now easy to misplace. The MTA, which runs the New York City subways has already announced a downsizing of the trash cans in the subway stations in anticipation of the Times' new size.
Other daily papers are eyeing the Times' new move. The Washington Post is said to be considering a new "Shuffle" edition, even smaller than the Times' Nano, which will display random news items. The Boston Globe is rumored to be switching to a new Twitter edition, featuring reduced content for readers with a short attention span.
Given these developments, it may be a while before printed papers actually vanish. And while the Times can no longer be used to wrap fish, it can still be used to protect an anchovy.
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