Havoc: Please re-read, as I'm making 4 distinct arguments. They are:
- I don't like the aesthetic, independent of the real estate issue. I still contend that it looks cool for 10 seconds, and then the novelty wears off quickly.
- It unnecessarily wastes loads of real estate without conveying useful information or increasing usability. I contend that the majority of wasted space exists not for usability issues, but "hey, floating heads with speech bubbles look cool" issues.
- The page is unecessarily heavyweight relative to what information it conveys.
- It doesn't work in any browser other than a recent version of Firefox.
I've never argued for text to go across the entire screen. But covering more than 50% of it might be nice. Instead, we're left with large vertical and horizontal dead zones that don't appeal to my sense of style and negatively impact how quickly I read the text. Western languages read left to right, top to bottom. Every carriage return means that the eye has to backtrack and scan down one line. There's probably a happy medium here. I just don't think that what we've got is it.
The most commonly used word processing usage is what Microsoft calls the "Normal" mode, which shows only the editable page area, without any page margins.
Finally, your analogy to newspapers is weak, as they don't include the author's head in its own column. Pick up any paper or online journal - the author's head is almost always top left, and less frequently, top right. They don't devote whole columns to the author's head.
Again, just my $0.02.