A few months back, I wrote a brief bit about how MacTech Magazine had created a CD containing the complete archives of the magazine (see "MacTech Creates Archive CD," 2006-11-13). At the end, I mused that perhaps we should do the same with TidBITS, a suggestion that immediately generated a number of "Yes, please!" messages from readers.
So I'm happy to announce that, working with our friends at MacTech (hey, why reinvent the wheel?), we've created the first-ever TidBITS Archive CD. It contains every article we've published from our founding in 1990 through the last issue of 2006 - that's over 6,500 articles in 860 issues, written by more than 300 Macintosh experts - despite the popular misconception, I really don't write everything in TidBITS!
Putting this treasure trove of Macintosh information at your fingertips is the TidBITS Viewer, a custom application written by MacTech that uses Apple's Spotlight technology for lightning-quick, relevance-ranked searching, and the WebKit technology used in Safari for text display. It offers a three-paned interface, with the left pane providing a hard-coded list of navigation links, the top pane showing search results, and the large center pane displaying the content. You can use the TidBITS Viewer right from the CD or copy it to your hard disk; because of its use of current Apple technologies, it requires Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later.
The TidBITS Viewer is extremely easy to use, and works much like a framed Web site. Links to articles or other content on the CD load in the main pane instantly, and links to pages out on the Web load in your default Web browser with no fuss. Along with searching, you can browse our content chronologically by year, by author, and by related articles. Whenever you're viewing an issue, you can navigate to the previous and next issues or click through to any article in that issue. And when you're reading an article, a blue box provides links back to the issue summary, to related articles, and to other articles in the same issue. It's pretty slick.
(Special thanks to Glenn Fleishman, for the database wizardry to export our content in appropriate formats, and to Jeff Carlson, for all the necessary graphics.)
The CD normally costs $49.95, but through 31-Jan-07, we have an introductory offer through MacTech's online store for $29.95; that price will also be in effect as a show special at the MacTech booth (#N3320) at the upcoming Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Oh, to sweeten the deal, the CD includes a one-time coupon that will save you 50 percent off your next Take Control ebook order, and if you're not sure which ebooks you might want, I put a folder containing PDF samples of each of our ebooks right on the CD so you don't have to download them from our Web site. Enjoy!