Anyway, price spikes, spotty delivery service, and a confluence of personal circumstances that left my partner and me ready to take a break from longstanding news-over-breakfast habits, led to cancellation of our subscription in late 2012. We ignored a number of 'please come back' offers since.
Then, earlier this month, the Chron sent an offer we couldn't refuse: seven-days-a-week delivery for a year for $99. Okay, not a year; fifty weeks. But still. We bit. Yesterday our delivery started.
First impressions: compared to the unbelievably slow-loading web site at SFGate.com, my ink and paper news is fantastically easy to skim! That's what I like most about news printed on paper, even compared to the fast, fat-pipe network connection I enjoy at work. Negligible 'load time'; for a fast reader and news-skimmer, the difference is huge.
I also took note of stories I would likely have missed over the last couple of days if I hadn't read the news in paper form -- things that wouldn't necessarily make the SFGate home page, assuming I had the patience to wait out the load time -- and I probably wouldn't have found by intertube-accident. Here are a few:
- Teju Cole's new novel, Every Day Is for the Thief, is out, reported and reviewed by Michael David Lukas on Friday and printed in Sunday's book review section. Okay, I'd have figured that out the next time I walked into a bookstore, which happens pretty regularly. But still: news to me, and now it's on my To Read list.
- I'm now aware that from 2011 to 2015 the number of railroad tanker cars filled with crude oil coming into the Bay Area is expected to rise from 9,000 to 200,000, thanks to regular columnists Phillip Matier & Andrew Ross, whose reporting usually makes my eyes roll. Favorite pullout: "It's not that crude oil is any more dangerous than ethanol or other products that we currently see on the rails," said Chief Jeff Carman of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. "It's just that with the sheer volume that will be coming in, we are going to see more accidents." Note the non-conditional assertion Chief Carman made: we are going to see more accidents. And I imagined those towns devastated by oil-tanker derailments and subsequent big, big 'splosions were something that only happened in places like Casselton, North Dakota -- far, far away from the Left Coast. No longer.
- Sony plans to make a movie about security blogger Brian Krebs, who broke the story about Target's data security breach last year. Really? A movie about a blogger? No production date has been set, according to the article, which is syndicated from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. STV is my guess, but surprise me. Somewhat to his credit, Mr. Krebs seems to be holding the project at moderately ironic distance on his blog: Judging from accounts of the screenwriter’s other movies, if this flick actually gets made someone vaguely resembling me probably will be kicking some badguy butt on the Silver Screen. And he names Edward Norton as one of his favorite actors, also to his credit. Still. STV, if that. You read it here first.
Will it be worth the $99 to get the SF Chronicle in print for the better part of a year? At that price, it'll pretty much be worth it if all I do with the delivered papers is train a puppy. (Note to landlord: not getting a puppy, stand down please.)
Will it be worth paying full price? ($99, said the mailer, is 84% off 'regular' price -- my calculator tells me that makes 'regular' price more than $600/year.) Nope. I kinda doubt I'll ever pay more than $50/month for the SF Chron.
But we'll cross that bridge when we get there in about a year.
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Thanks to Another Believer by way of Wikimedia Commons for the image of the SF Chronicle's building at 5th and Mission Streets in San Francisco.