Jason Kottke seems to have decided this week to empty a full clip of silver bullets into the just-stilled heart of the New York Times’ ill-conceived TimesSelect subscription service. He’s been digging through the now-free archives of the Times, finding treasures and blogging the hell out of them.
Earlier this week, he celebrated the first day of free archive access with Gems from the archive of the New York Times, including articles on Lincoln’s assassination, Custer’s last stand, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, through to the first mention of the web. Next, he threw in a link to Paul Krugman’s new blog, Krugman being one of the main voices muffled by TimesSelect’s paywall. Finally, today, he found what seems to be the first restaurant review in the Times, from January 1st, 1859. This last is completely wonderful to read — history, foodism, and love for New York, all in one.
I take it that the point of this progression is to show what the web, and the Times, have been missing by locking away TimesSelect. Hear, hear. Jason is producing a beautifully illuminated manuscript, glorifying the new openness and implicitly scolding the failure to get there sooner. I hope everyone in a position to make the same sort of mistake the Times made with this program will find Jason’s posts and see in them the canonical example of why not to bet against the Internet. Don’t make us tell you again (*ahem*, Economist! That last link is a trackback to “irony”).