In conjunction with our 30th anniversary last week (see “TidBITS Marks Its 30th Anniversary in a Time of Pandemic,” 13 April 2020), I noted that TidBITS has been in a bit of a financial slide this year, made worse by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. Happily, between extra one-time contributions from loyal TidBITS readers via our PayPal-powered Boost TidBITS button and nearly 600 readers who joined TidBITS in response to an email I sent to non-members, we’re feeling much more relaxed about our fiscal future. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help out—it means a lot that you think highly enough of our work to contribute in this fashion.
I find it difficult to make such appeals, but the outpouring of support has been tremendously encouraging. And while reaching out to 21,000 people meant that I spent several days replying to email, I always enjoy the opportunity to talk directly with readers. They included longtime subscribers who were regular correspondents in the past, those who reminded me of times we chatted at a Macworld Expo or other conference, and people for whom this exchange was the first we’ve had despite their decades of following TidBITS.
In some ways, it would be cleaner if TidBITS were a subscription service or relied on a paywall like many other publications. But a few messages I received reminded me of why I appreciate some readers contributing so TidBITS can stay free for all. One woman said she’s 74 and lives mostly on meager Social Security benefits, and since she has numerous health problems, she doesn’t dare go out to do Mac consulting like she used to. Another guy told me he’d been reading TidBITS religiously since 1994, but at 69, he’s now retired and scraping by on his Navy pension and Social Security benefits. As I told them, I’m just happy to hear that they’re reading TidBITS at all.
Finally, my apologies to those who had trouble with our site. The problems fell into a few categories:
- Most common were login problems that required new passwords; it seems that some ISPs are using greylisting to control spam, which can result in delayed password reset messages. Little is more frustrating than not getting a password reset email for hours, but we have no control over that.
- Although I intended to email only non-members, a handful of members accidentally ended up in that group, some due to a technical glitch and others because they had an extra account under another email address. Sorry for any confusion!
- One person, and I’m hoping it was only one, was temporarily prevented from becoming a member by the Stop Spammers plug-in for WordPress that we installed recently to block the 20–50 spammers who were registering accounts at our site every week. Shockingly, in the last month, it has logged some 400,000 attacks of various sorts. This isn’t the Internet I had in mind back when I wrote Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh in 1993.
Lauri Reinhardt, our friend who helps with support issues, and I have been trying to get everyone squared away, but if you’re having any trouble, just write to Lauri at [email protected].
Thanks again for all you make possible for Tonya and me, for Josh and Lauri, for our writers, and for all those out there for whom TidBITS remains a useful technical resource.