Wednesday, April 19, 2023

TidBITS Downsizing and New Direction

Adam Engst (Mastodon):

33 years. That’s how long I’ve been publishing TidBITS, starting in April 1990. Last year was the closest I’ve come to shutting TidBITS down, but with changes that came late in the year, I’m more enthused about TidBITS than I have been in quite some time.


Plus, since we couldn’t predict when most news would break, I often found myself dropping whatever I was doing to edit Josh’s articles. Much as I liked working with him, I had come to dislike all the editing interruptions, particularly because we found ourselves publishing the same kind of articles over and over again. Outside of the details, news isn’t usually new—stories fall into categories, and after 30-plus years, I have written or edited most of them many times.


Although I initially thought I’d make more extensive changes—I’m still pondering starting a podcast—I’ve found spending more time in my own head simultaneously relaxing and invigorating. […] I’m actively excited to dive into topics that I think will make a real difference in the lives of many readers.


I was amused when he said he thought I should focus on writing one article per week on whatever I was doing rather than news of any sort. […] I can’t compete with all the tech reporters at the likes of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, nor do I have the loose-lipped industry sources that whisper secrets to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. But unlike me, they won’t delve into the murky details of the File Provider extension for cloud storage services or explain how to resolve nagging problems with a Level 2 clean install.

It’s been great seeing more writing from Engst, and I like this new focus.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

I also like the new direction, I feel like the writing in TidBITS has become more interesting recently.

I think this is perfect honestly. Give me more long form or even some mid form, but definitely more nitty gritty focused content. Apple news is covered by everyone at this point. I want more info on specific topics. Skew a bit technical or power user. Why not right? If they want to do a linked list type thing with news, that's fine, but I'm not sure much else is needed in that realm. The "Let's write about every breaking story," is mostly tedious and almost always redundant.

You know what else I miss? Those really long OS X reviews written by John Siracusa. I also miss ATPM, for something even closer to home for our host. I liked that style of content and Tidbits has done quite a bit of it as well. Good look to Adam and company.

Nathan those OS X reviews were friggin awesome.

For those of us who still have some remaining attention span, any kind of long form reporting is valuable. That Tidbits has been running in any form for so long is amazing. I also have massive respect for how they did their website transition a few years ago. All old URLs still work fine and they have every thing published since the beginning still online. Stuff about Performas and System 7.

I emailed them a few years ago about some petty concern and I remember Engst was the one who replied.

Just total respect for that whole operation.

Give Tidbits your money. They are well worth it. They can be a bit on the small-c-conservative side sometimes, but I respect the work they do for the Mac community, the high SNR on their forums and in their deep dives, and the generally high regard for detail and honesty. Really great.

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