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34 Years of TidBITS and New Mac App Discounts for Members

Anniversaries sneak up on one. I had planned to write a short article about recent additions to the collection of apps for which TidBITS members can get discounts, but by the time all the back-and-forth took place, weeks had passed. And it’s now mid-April, and thus, TidBITS’s 34th anniversary. How time flies.

Where We Are Now

Since those exciting first few weeks of publishing TidBITS as a HyperCard stack in 1990, much has changed. macOS might be recognizable, but can you imagine your 1990 self seeing today’s MacBook Air when the only Mac laptop to that point was the Mac Portable? What about the iPhone? Mobile phones existed in 1990, but I didn’t see one in person until we moved to Seattle in 1991. For analogs of many other current Apple products, you’d have to turn to 1990s science fiction such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, which featured Siri-like voice interfaces, iPad-like PADDs, and a virtual reality holodeck we’re just starting to approach with the Vision Pro.

But despite all that change in what we cover, the concept underlying TidBITS has remained stable. We’ve long said that TidBITS is for the person behind the personal computer, and helping people make the most of it is what I find compelling about today’s technology. That informs what I write about in TidBITS, of course, but I’ve noticed that problems have become less general and more personal in the last decade or so. Solutions to such problems are still article-worthy when I can solve them myself and explain the underlying issues (such as “Solve Credit Cards Not Appearing in 1Password 8 Autofill Pop-Up,” 13 April 2024).

However, when someone outside my personal sphere has a problem, a tech-focused Socratic method is necessary to understand the conditions and variables in play, and that’s where TidBITS Talk shines. As you can see in the chart below, the number of TidBITS Talk posts (excluding article comments and poll discussions) has been steadily increasing over the past four years. It has become a valuable support community with incredibly knowledgeable and generous contributors.

TidBITS Talk post stats, 2020–2024

Right now, TidBITS Talk is in a sweet spot in terms of size. It has 6700 users overall, 200 of whom have posted at least 10 times in the past year, creating an average of 35–40 daily posts. That may grow slowly, but I’m uninterested in ending up with a site with tens of thousands of users and millions of posts. The Internet lends itself to scale, but human brains can maintain only a certain number of relationships, and 200 is roughly within the range of Dunbar’s number. If it grew much larger, I fear we’d lose personal connections.

I have also been extremely pleased with the reaction to our Do You Use It? Polls, which leverage the poll capabilities in the Discourse software underneath TidBITS Talk. So far, the polls have generated over 1400 posts—50 to 250 each—and received thousands of page views. Most results have confirmed my beliefs about usage patterns, but some have been surprising and illuminating. They have also provided good excuses to help more readers learn about less common features.

All this is to say that I like where we’re at. With those TidBITS Talk numbers and about 26,000 people subscribed to TidBITS in English, Japanese, and Dutch, the entire enterprise feels manageable. Plus, with 3650 TidBITS members contributing, we’re on financially solid footing. In today’s age of struggling publications, that’s huge, and I can’t thank you all enough for enabling us to keep TidBITS going.

Along those lines, we had the pleasure of having dinner last week with one of our TidBITS Angels—people who have contributed $1000 for a lifetime membership. He had traveled to upstate New York to watch the eclipse, so the day after, Tonya and I met up with him at Kindred Fare in Geneva and shared a dinner that was thoroughly enjoyable for both the food and the company. We’ve coordinated a handful of these dinners over the years, and they’ve always been a lovely opportunity to connect with some of our most supportive readers.

Here’s to many more years of TidBITS!

New Mac App Discounts for TidBITS Members

Apart from that offer of dinner for TidBITS Angels, all the TidBITS membership levels have the same perks: a full-text RSS feed, the option to receive individual articles before I collect them into a weekly issue, no paid banner ads on our site, a 30% discount on Take Control books, acknowledgment on our TidBITS Members page, and discounts of 15%–50% on nearly 100 Mac apps.

That list grows periodically, and I’m particularly pleased to have added apps from a pair of Ukrainian companies that have long supported the Mac: Belight Software and MacPaw. You can now save 20% on Belight Software’s Amadine (a vector graphics app), Art Text (text-focused graphic design software), and Live Home 3D (home and interior design software). MacPaw is also offering TidBITS members 20% off a 1-year subscription to CleanMyMac X, which helps remove unwanted apps, eliminate clutter, improve performance, and scan for malware. Make sure you’re logged in on the TidBITS site, and then go to the Membership Benefits page to access the necessary links and coupon codes. Both companies help support the war effort in Ukraine, where many of their employees remain.

Amadine 1 iconArt Text 4 iconLive Home 3D icon

Other apps I’ve added to the TidBITS membership discount list of late include:

  • DisplayBuddy, a utility that gives you control over third-party external displays from your Mac
  • HazeOver, which dims inactive windows to help you focus on your work
  • Lunar, which provides intelligent adaptive brightness, volume, and input controls for external displays
  • Retrobatch, an innovative batch image process that we use for bordering screenshots
  • TextSniper, which lets you capture any text from your Mac’s screen, regardless of app

DisplayBuddy iconHazeOver iconLunar 5 iconRetrobatch 2 iconTextSniper icon

I’m happy to add more apps to the list, so if you’re a Mac developer who would like to offer a discount to TidBITS members, get in touch.

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Comments About 34 Years of TidBITS and New Mac App Discounts for Members

Notable Replies

  1. Congratulations on founding and sustaining an absolute INSTITUTION.

  2. Congratulations on your Anniversary. That’s awesome!!!

  3. From me too — TidBITS has been indispensable since its beginning!

    Adam & Tonya, you’ve enriched our lives! Many, many thanks!

  4. Congrats on 34 years of TidBITS, Adam! Thank you for your great, informative work.

  5. Is that right? Geez, I look so stingy, I had to give this a like!

    Really, I’m here cause I like everyone involved.

    Happy 34th!

  6. I’m pleased to share that I have now added Hookmark (both the Standard and Pro editions) to the list of discounted Mac apps for TidBITS members. Hookmark boosts productivity by enabling you to link digital resources on your Mac or on the Web, saving you from having to browse or search for them repeatedly. And if you have any question about Hookmark, @LucCogZest can answer them here. :slight_smile:

  7. Gefeliciteerd met jullie jubileum uit regenachtig Nederland, Adam.

  8. i can still remember the Hypercard Stack!

  9. For a while, our goal was a private island. Then we realized that would be a huge headache. :-)

  10. bravo ! outstanding and essential.

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