I’ve recently updated my iPad Metro App and I’m loving it. I suspect that a lot of thought has gone in to it’s design. Well done Metro.

It’s called Metro Online and once opened, you have the choice of downloading back issues or, more importantly, the current one.  Once downloaded, the publication resides in iOS5’s Newsstand, ready for you to open and read whenever you like – online or not.

screenshot of Metro on iPad

The reporting and story content is no different to that picked up in bus and train stations nationwide, but the way you access it is quite cool. The written word looks sharper on the iPad screen than they do in the paper itself and the images look superb with the ‘Window on the world’ photographs being particularly stunning. Access to each part of the publication is provided in several forms, making navigation really quick and easy.

But the best bit?

Well, the best bit is the way in which advertisements are presented. We all know that adverts are the lifeblood of ‘free’ papers like Metro, but are generally irritated by their all-invasive manner. How often, for example, do you see a YouTube video that hasn’t got an advert to be viewed (or more likely closed) before you watch the clip? With Metro, a full page ad. will appear on a page of its own, in full colour and you can read it or simply flip to the next page. I’ve actually read more adverts in is way than I have ever done elsewhere in the digital world.

Again, well done Metro and well done Metro advertisers.


I sat and watched Heroes the other night, I think it was episode 14:

Anyway some quick (as in speedy) knife guy (Edgar) was getting a good beating by Mr. Bennet in a fridge. (Compare this Mr. Bennet with the other Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice… a world of difference?)

Bennet’s wannabe girlfriend Lauren, suggested to him that a gentler approach would be more productive so the scene changed from being Guantanamoesque to an afternoon at Betty’s.  Edgar is English you see – you can easily tell this because his accent is one you would never hear on the streets of Bristol, Birmingham, Bolton or Bradford – but one that is obviously not American. I’d thought he was South African or Australian – but no, he’s English. We know this because Noah (Mr. Bennet) was offering him tea.

A cup of tea.

Why is it then, that despite (whilst?) promoting the stereotype, America (and much of the rest of the world) gets it so wrong? First of all, what Noah Bennet was offering poor Edgar was neither a cup nor a pot. If it was tea, it was being served in a handle-less cup like you might get Green tea in at the local Chinese restaurant. Now I realise that this is what some people, some races even, might call tea – but it is not I suspect, what the average English person brings to mind when they think of tea. And Edgar for one certainly didn’t seem to be a pinky-waving, light-weight, milk-less, weak tea drinker.

We’ve been drinking tea for over 350 years, so I suspect that we have it right by now. 350 years ago Americans were only just beginning to denude North America of trees, Bison and Native Americans – what do they know about tea? Well for one, the tea bag was developed there, but it only really took off big-time in the UK. And that’s no real surprise given the way they (and many Europeans) serve tea.

Any tea drinker who has traveled abroad will have been presented (countless times) with cups of hot water, accompanying tea bag on the side, two sugars and a tea spoon. In America, the thought of adding milk to a hot beverage is anathema – even coffee drinkers seem to get cream or half-n-half in preference to milk (I don’t mind this, half-n-half in coffee is fine, but in tea it’s just pants).

For someone that was brought up on the notion that tea should be made as follows, the tea-bag-on-the-side model it just strange.

– Warm the pot (warm your mug)
– add the tea leaves (add your tea bag)
– take the pot to the kettle (take the mug to the kettle)
– pour on boiling water
– set aside for five minutes (It’s usually ok after two)

    My Grandma really poo-pooed the idea of tea bags in the first place, but had she been served tea in a cup like Edgar the circus knife thrower (or anyone else in America) she would have been mortified. So come on Mr Bennet, the next time you want to be ‘nice’ make a proper cup of tea.