Times: The newspaper newsreader for Mac

There are several solid news reader options for the Mac, but none offer the slick interface and unique tools found in Times. Check out this alternative news reader which lays out your favorite feeds like a news paper.

Acrylic (Credit: CNET Networks)

There are several solid newsreaders for Mac OS X including the popular NewsFire and NetNewsWire which I've talked about here before. But I found an application today which puts a different sort of visual spin on the standard newsreader. It's called Times and it organizes feeds in an entirely different, though immediately familiar way. One quick note: this application only works on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

The newspaper layout makes it easy to browse through news stories. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Most newsreaders offer a three-paned interface with your feed list on the left, headlines with summaries on the upper right, and full stories (once clicked) in the lower right. What Times does is turn your newsfeeds into a fully customizable newspaper layout. Choose categories like World News, Technology, Science, or Sports at the top, and Times displays the latest newsfeeds of that type, laid out like a newspaper. To add a new feed you can click on the pencil icon in the upper right of the interface to display a list of recommended sites which you can drag onto your page. You also can add feeds to this quick-drag area by clicking on the "+" button to bring up a huge list of topics.

Choose from several available feeds or add your own. (Credit: CNET Networks)

One of the best things about Times is you can create your own page and add feeds based on your favorite sites. I was able to create pages with some of my most frequently visited sites, such as CNET News.com, Engadget, Gizmodo, Digg, and Reddit, and I also created a page with my most viewed politics sites. You have complete control over where your feeds show up, so you might put your favorite site in the featured headline area at the top, while another feed is moved to the sidebar on the right. It's completely up to you.

Use the Shelf to grab stories you want to read later. (Credit: CNET Networks)

As an added bonus, Times offers an interesting and useful feature called the Shelf. Clicking on the shelf icon in the upper right (next to the pencil icon) brings up a wood-grained shelf. To get at the news which interests you from each category, simply drag stories onto the shelf to read later. This makes it possible to quickly scan stories from each of the main categories (and your personal pages) to bring your reading list into one place. From there, just click on the pages to read the full page stories.

NewsFire and NetNewsWire are both great ways to get the news on your Mac and you can't beat the price: they're both free. Times might be the coolest way to display your favorite news feeds and create your own new pages, but you'll need to pay $30 to register. Playing around with it has made me seriously consider hitting that purchase now button and, with all of it's flexibility, Times might be worth the extra money.

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.