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TidBITS Needs Your Help in 2019!
In 1992, we started the first advertising program on the Internet, but as you can read in “TidBITS Sponsorship Program” (20 July 1992), it was more akin to the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio sponsorships. Little did we anticipate that, 19 years later, we’d take another note from PBS and NPR and ask you, our readers, for direct support—see “Support TidBITS by Becoming a TidBITS Member” (12 December 2011).
The TidBITS membership program has been crucial for enabling us to afford the staff, servers, and development efforts necessary to keep TidBITS coming to you each week. Thank you for that support! It’s especially welcome given how so many of our peers have been lured to more lucrative corporate jobs. Apple’s support documentation has benefited from those moves, but now there are fewer independent voices helping Apple users with things that don’t work perfectly, or with solutions that rely on third-party products.
I’ll be up front with you—last year was tough. We lost several hundred members due to how long it took us to revamp our Internet infrastructure and switch the membership handling from eSellerate to Paid Memberships Pro and Stripe. Worse, because it was impossible to transfer all billing details between the old and new systems, those who previously had automatic renewals have to renew manually this year.
The bulk of renewal reminders will start going out in email this week, and thanks in advance for renewing—every little bit makes a difference. We hope our new system will be easier for everyone to understand and use, but if you have any troubles, send Lauri Reinhardt email at [email protected] and she will help you out.
For those of you who aren’t yet in the TidBITS membership program, would you consider joining the nearly 2400 other readers who are? You know that we focus on content that’s practical, timely, and free of the constructed drama and conflict that so many other sites like to drum up. How worthwhile is our work to you?
You can choose from different levels of support: $20, $50, $100, and $1000, or set your own monthly or yearly amount. The membership perks are the same at each level, with one exception: the $1000 level is a lifetime membership that includes a fine dinner with Tonya and me any time you’re in Ithaca or we’re in your city. Seriously—we enjoyed food and conversation just a few months ago with an Australian TidBITS member who was passing through Ithaca.
Speaking of which, we have a number of membership perks for you:
- Discounts of 20% to 40% on over 80 Mac products, worth over $900
- A 30% discount on all Take Control books
- A full-text RSS feed (non-members get a summary-only feed)
- A version of the TidBITS Web site free of paid banner ads
- Acknowledgment on our public TidBITS Members page
Be sure to scroll through our redesigned Membership Benefits page, which now features gorgeous icons of all the Mac apps on which members receive discounts. Among them, you’ll find essentials like 1Password, Audio Hijack, Default Folder X, DEVONthink Pro, Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, Nisus Writer Pro, PDFpen, PopChar X, Scrivener, SpamSieve, and more. (Contact me if you’d like to include your company’s product.)
So if you find TidBITS valuable, or have received personal help from one of us simply because you asked, please become a TidBITS member to help us continue publishing the kind of articles you’ve become accustomed to reading each week. You’ll have our undying gratitude, and more importantly, you can rest assured that every article you read was made possible in some small part by your generosity. Thank you!
The number of Mac centric support oriented web sites has declined drastically in recent years. Others, like Macworld, have become abrasively commercial.
One new site, however, offers the kind of in-depth analysis and discussion we used to find on sites like MacFixIt and Macworld. The Otherworld Computing Blog called Rocket Yard: https://blog.macsales.com. Unlike Macworld, which gave up their author supported blogs for a useless Facebook replacement, Rocket Yard, like TidBITS, encourages comment and discussion. True, they also push their own Mac centric products, but they come in separate e-mails that are easy to ignore. Of course they also have great sales so you might not want to ignore all of them. I give them props for starting a user centric blog while so many others are giving up the ghost.
Otherworld is also unique in that they have survived where most other Mac related catalog businesses failed—after Apple opened their own brick and mortar stores. They have been serving the Mac community for decades now. So they have the expertise to support a tech blog. There are a few others still holding up, like MacRumors, but I’m down to two now, TidBITS and the Otherworld Computing Blog. And, yes, I support TidBITS with my own humble widows mite/membership. You, dear reader, should too, so I don’t lose another of my favorite Mac sites.
Thanks for the kind words! I second your recommendation of OWC’s blog—they have good writers and the articles are indeed well done and useful.
One problem that I noticed is that the underlined text that comes in the TidBits mailings, look as if there are links to the articles being underlined. But strangely that’s apparently not so. The underlining seems to be for emphasis, not linking.
I’m trying to spend less time on my computer, which is already time intensive enough…
@ “…those who previously had automatic renewals have to renew manually this year.”
I see what you mean. I clicked on my account and despite being an automatically-renewing member, my account said I was not a TidBITS member!
That’s now been corrected.
I nearly passed this article by, figuring didn’t apply to me since I was an auto-renewing member. But for some reason, I did read it. Hopefully others like me will too. And renew their sustaining membership.
Hmm, that’s odd—we don’t use underlining as a standalone style, so if you’re seeing underlines that aren’t links, there must be something going wrong with your email client. I’m having hernia surgery this week, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to be able to troubleshoot, but if you can forward me your email that lacks links, I can take a look.
Two possibilities come to mind. The service we’re using for email delivery, SendGrid, insists on making trackable links (we can’t turn this off) so links are long and nasty-looking. So, for one, it’s possible if you’re using an unusual email client, it might be rendering the links badly. Second, it’s not inconceivable your email provider’s server is seeing those links as problematic and stripping them from the email message before you receive it.
We’re in the process of switching from SendGrid to Sandy and Amazon SES for email delivery, partly to address this link problem and partly to reduce the monthly cost from about $200 to about $20. SendGrid proved to be a LOT more expensive than initially promised once we realized how it had to be configured.
Thanks! There was simply no way to bring credit card details over from eSellerate to continue the automatic renewals, so we hope that folks like you will either see the article or read the email our new system sends explaining the need to renew manually this one time.
I am surprised that your account didn’t know you were a member. @lauri can look into that—it’s possible you had two accounts or something else happened.
I looked back through several issues and didn’t see the underline text issue you described. Maybe it’s because I’m viewing on my iPad (an iOS device)?
I’m so glad I read people’s replies or I would have not paid any attention to this. I’ve been setup for auto-renew so I would have assumed I would be billed. I’ve logged in and added a credit card & set it up to auto-renew so I should be good for years to come.
Thanks and keep up the great work.
@Felix01, thanks for renewing your membership! It looks like your previous membership had expired already. When a membership expires, your account will revert back to a regular account. This would not have prevented the TidBITS issue from being sent each week, so things might not have seemed out of the ordinary for you. If you have any further questions about this, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected].
Thanks so much, Betty! I’ve heard enough of these stories that I’m going to put another article in TidBITS this week about auto-renewals specifically.
Saw your new notice and reactivated my auto-renew… I too had expired, and if I saw the notice earlier, had totally forgotten it. Back in the fold!
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