New TidBITS Managing Editor
With this, our 256th issue, we are pleased to welcome Geoff Duncan <[email protected]> as our Managing Editor. You may have noticed his [GD] tag affixed to a few MailBITS in the past few issues, and starting with this issue, he’ll be writing and editing more articles. Frankly, this is a huge move for TidBITS; in the past Tonya and I have handled all of the administrative tasks associated with TidBITS, as well as much of the writing (with the able assistance of Mark H. Anbinder, our indefatigable News Editor) and all of the editing. Geoff’s main goals are to help keep the quality of TidBITS high and to work on new and innovative ways of creating and maintaining a fully electronic publication.
When we decided this summer that we had to bring someone in to help with TidBITS, Geoff was one of only a few conceivable candidates. We needed someone who was totally comfortable with email as the primary method of communication, whose knowledge and experience complemented ours, who could write his or her way out of a paper bag, whose computer skills were at least on a par with ours, and – most importantly – who knew and understood true electronic publishing.
Needless to say, Geoff met all of these requirements perfectly. He’s worked on many different computer systems connected to the nets from the time he was a student at Oberlin College (where he received a degree in Sociology and Art History/Studio Art and wrote a senior honors thesis on implications of the net). Geoff has worked as a studio musician and recording engineer, had jobs in a biochemistry lab, as a technical writer, and as an intern in charge of user services in academic labs, not to mention his work in advertising and marketing production and as an independent computer consultant. Most recently, he worked as a software tester and test lead on several Microsoft CD-ROM products, and he’s better at breaking programs than most anyone I know.
Geoff knows far more about Unix and VMS than I’ll ever hope to; he’s a competent programmer and scripter; and he participated in an early electronic fiction magazine called Athene, which later became the highly regarded electronic fiction magazine InterText <[email protected]>. Geoff is the long-standing assistant editor of InterText, and works with the editor, Jason Snell (also an assistant editor at MacUser), and another assistant editor, Susan Grossman.
[Thanks for leaving out the awkward bits about my electric bow tie collection and the incident with the Hawaiian shirts and chocolate cake mix. I owe you one. -Geoff]
The addition of Geoff to our staff makes possible positive changes to TidBITS in the future. We’ll start using <[email protected]> as our public address soon, so as to spread the massive email load around among us. You will also start seeing more corporate sponsors, since the income generated from the sponsorships will support Geoff, in addition to being funneled back into the business to cover our connection, travel, hardware, and office expenses. We hope to improve and increase the information we make available by more fully utilizing alternative methods of publishing on the Internet.
The main reason we decided we needed help with TidBITS is that as TidBITS has become more popular, we’ve had more trouble keeping up. It hasn’t helped that both the Macintosh industry and the Internet continue to grow and evolve; nor has it helped that both Tonya and I have various book publishing projects that constantly clamor for time and attention. TidBITS is now read by well over 110,000 people every week, and our direct mailing list (graciously hosted by Rice University, one of the early members of the Macintosh university consortium) has become one of the largest LISTSERVs on the Internet, with more than 14,700 subscribers and increases well in excess of 1,000 readers per month. So, if an article generates even a 0.05 percent response, that’s still a fair amount of email to respond to. In the early years of TidBITS, the volumes were much lower, of course, and we had more to prove back then. Now we’re concentrating on figuring out ways of reclaiming our lives from the gravitational pull of Eudora’s In Box while still contributing to the net community. After all, no one benefits if we burn out before we hit age thirty.