Archive for May, 2006

May 31st, 2006

Interesting Thing of the Day 3.0

The extreme Web makeover is complete, and Interesting Thing of the Day is finally back up and running. There were, as I fully expected, a number of little glitches in the new system that I’ve had to work through, but for the most part, the transition was pretty smooth. If I do say so myself, I’m quite pleased overall with the new site.

This little publishing project, which is now, incredibly, entering its fourth year online, has taught me all sorts of valuable lessons, but what has astonished me more than anything else is the seemingly complete disconnection between the site’s income and the amount of effort I expend on it. Revenue from ads and affiliate links generated significant money, month after month, even when I didn’t touch the site at all or add any new content. Conversely, times when I’ve worked around the clock for days at a time to add features or write new articles have had hardly any financial impact.

Of course, the majority of traffic to the site (and thus, by extension, the majority of income) has been driven by search engine referrals. So what the statistics tell me is that if I want the site to succeed—as in, provide me with a reasonable paycheck for my efforts—I should focus less on creating lots of new articles and more on making people aware of what’s already there. So that will be one of my biggest ongoing projects in the coming months.

Nevertheless, I do have a healthy list of topics to cover, and I’ve already begun receiving submissions from several guest authors. I would love to have other people write, say, half the content, and that’s yet another thing I’ll be pushing for.

My fantasy remains, as always, that at some point the site would bring in enough income that I can treat it as a full-time job and post a new article every day. I don’t expect that to happen soon, but I’m hopeful that the new, more relaxed publication schedule—along with help from other authors—will enable me to keep it going indefinitely while trying to build a bigger audience.

May 26th, 2006

Windows-on-Mac Ebook Finalized

Two and a half weeks ago, TidBITS published a preview version of Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac. Folks who pre-ordered it and reviewed the preliminary manuscript on the Web made more than 100 comments. I incorporated most of their suggestions into the final version, and made numerous other edits and additions. The final (version 1.0) result went on sale today.

This is my tenth Take Control ebook, and despite the fact that writing it required installing Windows numerous times, it has turned out to be one of my favorites. It took me a long time to collect and test all the information in this ebook, and I think its usefulness-to-cost ratio is extremely high.

The 104-page ebook costs $10, but it includes a coupon for $10 off Parallels Desktop, which I cover in some detail and recommend highly. It also has a $5 off coupon for Small Dog Electronics, so we’re basically paying you to $5 buy it!

As usual, I’ll update this ebook as the relevant facts change. For example, if Microsoft ships Windows Vista during my lifetime, I’ll add installation and upgrade instructions. And if Apple changes the nature of Boot Camp dramatically with the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (as most people expect they will), I’ll cover that as well. Minor updates to the ebook will be free.

May 25th, 2006

Appeals Court Sides with Mac News Sites over Apple

New TidBITS article: Appeals Court Sides with Mac News Sites over Apple (2006-05-29)

May 25th, 2006

Relaunch of Interesting Thing of the Day: Next week!

On May 31, 2005—almost exactly one year ago—I published the last of the 365 consecutive daily articles that made up “version 2″ of Interesting Thing of the Day. Since then, there have been no new articles, but the long wait is nearly over: the site will relaunch next week!

I am pleased to announce that Interesting Thing of the Day will return with NEW articles, new features, and a completely new look and feel next Wednesday, May 31, 2006. I’ll be spending the upcoming long weekend putting the final touches on all the site’s revisions. If all goes well, the official roll-out of ITotD version 3.0 should be complete before the end of the day on Tuesday.

At that time, I’ll post a complete list of what’s new. Some of the things you’ll notice are:

  • A new logo and site layout, with easier navigation
  • Never-before-published articles
  • Improvements to podcasts and RSS feeds
  • Buzzword-compliant “Web 2.0” features (if you have to ask, you don’t need to know!)

One other major change will involve the publication schedule. Next week, there will be new articles on Wednesday (May 31) and Friday (June 2). Thereafter, I’m shooting for two new articles per week (most likely on Mondays and Wednesdays) and one recycled article (to appear on Fridays). However, I intend for the schedule to be flexible. If the site’s income warrants more-frequent articles, I’m happy to oblige; if circumstances require a reduced workload, I may cut back here and there. In any case, expect to see more articles by guest authors—and if you would like to become a guest author yourself, please see this page for information.