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Spectra Visual Newsreader: get your news in bright rainbow colors

Are you bored of reading news sites that all look the same, or staring at rows and rows of headlines in your RSS reader? MSNBC has something you might want to see. The new Spectra Visual Newsreader grabs MSNBC stories, color-coded by category, and sends them flying around your screen like index cards in a wind tunnel. Maybe you don't want to get your news this way all the time, but it's fun to play with.

Spectra has three modes: you can put it on automatic and let the camera fly around your floating news stories, or you can leave the camera in place, watching the stories spin. The third mode is the most interesting: it lets you use a webcam to manipulate the stories with "human interaction." Unfortunately, it didn't want to cooperate with a MacBook's built-in iSight.

We don't want to completely write off Spectra, because it's a lot of fun, but it seems like MSNBC put a lot of work into a cool toy that doesn't do too much. Webcam integration in browsing is definitely an interesting trend to explore, so it would be great to see that feature working on more platforms. For now, though, we'll just get our news via RSS.

[via Josh Spear]

Tags: animation, flash, MSNBC, news, newsreader, spectra