An anonymous reader writes "New York magazine has a story about some of the flashy new ideas that are coming out of the labs of the New York Times. The piece prompted Peter Wayner to dig up some of the old Java applets he wrote to explore whether more promiscuity really stops AIDS and whether baseball can do anything to speed up the games. He notes that these took a great deal of work to produce and it's not possible to do them on a daily basis. Furthermore, they're cranky and fragile, perhaps thanks to Java. Are cool, interactive features the future of journalism on the web? Or will simple ASCII text continue to be the most efficient way for us to mingle our thoughts, especially when ASCII text won't generate a classloading error?"