MSNBC News offline reader

Microsoft really makes me laugh sometimes. You may recall a few months ago when Microsoft posted a beta release of "News Viewer", an excellent configurable Internet-push news tool that blew PointCast out of the water. A few days later, Microsoft announced that PointCast would be getting a premier spot on the IE 4 desktop and News Viewer was unceremoniously yanked off the Microsoft Web site. Behind the scenes, it turns out, PointCast was about to strike a similar deal with Netscape and Microsoft couldn't resist the urge to put the screws into its newest nemesis. A few days later still, after numerous customers complained, Microsoft explained that the News Viewer program had been posted "by mistake." No one bought this story, but the deal was done: PointCast was in, and News Viewer was out.

Well, I thought that was the end of News Viewer, but I was wrong. One of the News Viewer "channels" was devoted to MSNBC, Microsoft's fledgling--and very unpopular--cable news channel. Microsoft has since recast News Viewer as an MSNBC-only offline news reader and they are making the 2.0 release available to Web users this week. It's a cool program, although it has vastly diminished usefulness now. If you're into news updates, you should check this out.

I guess no piece of code goes unused at Microsoft.

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MSNBC News Offline

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