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How to Disguise Your Shameful Reading Habits as Virtuous News Consumption

Rob Walker

This may shock you, dear reader, but there’s an argument going around that you’re a hypocrite. News consumers, it seems, claim to crave serious information. But (here’s the shocking part) they actually devote their attention to jokey lists and frivolous celebrity gossip.

I know you would never do that — because here you are, reading the ever-productive-and-useful Yahoo Tech.

But. If you were the kind of person with a weakness for Kim and Kanye wedding gossip, yet preferred to project more sophisticated tastes, then perhaps you’d enjoy Timesify.

The premise is pretty simple: It’s a Web app that revises and disguises any online story to look like one from The New York Times site. So, in case a colleague or relative walked behind you as you were browsing your favorite rags, you could fool them into thinking you were grappling with the NYT.

For instance, let’s say that for reasons of your own you’d like to read the TMZ story “Miley Cyrus: Next stop … porn!” — one of the gossipmonger’s most popular stories today.

How to Disguise Your Shameful Reading Habits as Virtuous News Consumption

Before…

And let’s say you’d rather no one visiting your cubicle caught you in this particular act.

Drag the Timesify button to your browser’s toolbar. Click on the Cyrus story, and then click on the button. Voilà!

Timesify inserts an earnest-sounding headline and also a one-sentence cheat sheet response, should anyone ask you about that Iraq article you were reading earlier.

And below that, the payoff: The completely mindless and stupid Cyrus item, rendered in sober Times typography.

Screenshot of Timesified story

… and after.

Timesify was the “grand prize winner” at the recent Comedy Hack Day, which produced a number of other completely ridiculous new tech tools. See the pitch presentation from that event here.

Now get to reading all the news that’s fit to print — and also a little Perez Hilton, perhaps. Try out Timesify here.

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter, @notrobwalker. RSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.