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TidBITS issue blurbs

adamengst
Administrator
Hi folks,

In our new system, one of the things that will be changing will be the issues. Rather than four separate formats, there will be a single issue, with full HTML, formatted for easy reading on large and small screens.

However, what I want to ask you all about today is the top of the issue. Right now, it looks something like what you can see below with the title, a summary, and then a table of contents.

TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018

  If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
  a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
  looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
  Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
  Typinator 7.4.

Articles
    Dictation Eases Data Entry
    CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
    HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
    CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
    TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
    ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018

We’re planning to change the title (which is also the Subject of the email) so it’s descriptive, rather than duplicative of the Sender and Date columns. For instance:

#1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation

The table of contents will remain the same, of course, since that shows what’s coming up in the issue. Ideally, those article titles will link down into the articles below, though some of that depends on Apple’s Mail clients honoring anchor links.

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Mr. Seth Anderson

On Jan 29, 2018, at 3:36 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

If the subject/title is overloaded so that it contains enough information to indicate what topics are contained in the issue, I see no need for TidBITS staff to write a separate, slightly longer version. The only objection I could anticipate is that not all email applications display the entire subject line, if the subject line is too long (I’m assuming there is a precise number of characters allowed, but it is not a universal constant applicable to all email applications). 

I vote to drop the summary - while I do always skim it, having a table of contents available, and a descriptive subject line will suffice.






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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

TidBITS Talk mailing list
Actually, I don't pay much attention to the title but always read the summary. If any changes are made, I would suggest shortening the title and keeping the summary.

That's me 2 cents.
Betty



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Phone:<a href="tel:650-364-4134" style="color:#545454;text-decoration: none; font-size: 12px;"> 650-364-4134 || Email:[hidden email]

From: Mr. Seth Anderson <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2018 2:03 PM
Subject: Re: TidBITS issue blurbs


On Jan 29, 2018, at 3:36 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

If the subject/title is overloaded so that it contains enough information to indicate what topics are contained in the issue, I see no need for TidBITS staff to write a separate, slightly longer version. The only objection I could anticipate is that not all email applications display the entire subject line, if the subject line is too long (I’m assuming there is a precise number of characters allowed, but it is not a universal constant applicable to all email applications). 

I vote to drop the summary - while I do always skim it, having a table of contents available, and a descriptive subject line will suffice.





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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Don Bennett
In reply to this post by adamengst

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

The only thing I read the summary for is to see what software updates are available. If you include those in the table of contents, I personally wouldn't need the summary.


Thanks,

Don 


Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. (Thomas Merton)

SDG




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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

TidBITS Talk mailing list
In reply to this post by adamengst
I do like the summaries and it makes me want to read more, or sometimes not to. I do go on and look at the TOC but maybe not the actual articles based on the summary.



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Betty Fellows
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Phone:<a href="tel:650-364-4134" style="color:#545454;text-decoration: none; font-size: 12px;"> 650-364-4134 || Email:[hidden email]

From: Adam Engst <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2018 1:37 PM
Subject: TidBITS issue blurbs

Hi folks,

In our new system, one of the things that will be changing will be the issues. Rather than four separate formats, there will be a single issue, with full HTML, formatted for easy reading on large and small screens.

However, what I want to ask you all about today is the top of the issue. Right now, it looks something like what you can see below with the title, a summary, and then a table of contents.

TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018

  If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
  a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
  looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
  Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
  Typinator 7.4.

Articles
    Dictation Eases Data Entry
    CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
    HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
    CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
    TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
    ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018

We’re planning to change the title (which is also the Subject of the email) so it’s descriptive, rather than duplicative of the Sender and Date columns. For instance:

#1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation

The table of contents will remain the same, of course, since that shows what’s coming up in the issue. Ideally, those article titles will link down into the articles below, though some of that depends on Apple’s Mail clients honoring anchor links.

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

cheers... -Adam


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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Lynne Adema-2
In reply to this post by TidBITS Talk mailing list

I always like to read the summary.


On 1/29/2018 4:24 PM, Betty Fellows via TidBITS-Talk wrote:
Actually, I don't pay much attention to the title but always read the summary. If any changes are made, I would suggest shortening the title and keeping the summary.

That's me 2 cents.
Betty



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Betty Fellows
Platinum Plus Results
Phone:<a href="tel:650-364-4134" style="color:#545454;text-decoration: none; font-size: 12px;" moz-do-not-send="true"> 650-364-4134 || Email:[hidden email]

From: Mr. Seth Anderson [hidden email]
To: TidBITS Talk [hidden email]
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2018 2:03 PM
Subject: Re: TidBITS issue blurbs


On Jan 29, 2018, at 3:36 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

If the subject/title is overloaded so that it contains enough information to indicate what topics are contained in the issue, I see no need for TidBITS staff to write a separate, slightly longer version. The only objection I could anticipate is that not all email applications display the entire subject line, if the subject line is too long (I’m assuming there is a precise number of characters allowed, but it is not a universal constant applicable to all email applications). 

I vote to drop the summary - while I do always skim it, having a table of contents available, and a descriptive subject line will suffice.





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-- 
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When we meet what we're afraid of, we find out what we're made of.



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Don Bennett
Actually, I don't pay much attention to the title but always read the summary. If any changes are made, I would suggest shortening the title and keeping the summary.

The title (which is also the email Subject line) as it stands isn’t useful at all, because it’s just

TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018

But in the new world order, we’re proposing making it something like:

#1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Fritz Mills
In reply to this post by adamengst
FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.


> On Jan 29, 2018, at 3:36 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi folks,
>
> In our new system, one of the things that will be changing will be the issues. Rather than four separate formats, there will be a single issue, with full HTML, formatted for easy reading on large and small screens.
>
> However, what I want to ask you all about today is the top of the issue. Right now, it looks something like what you can see below with the title, a summary, and then a table of contents.
>
> TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018
>
>   If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
>   a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
>   look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
>   looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
>   Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
>   Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
>   GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
>   DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
>   Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
>   Typinator 7.4.
>
> Articles
>     Dictation Eases Data Entry
>     CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
>     HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
>     CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
>     TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
>     ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018
>
> We’re planning to change the title (which is also the Subject of the email) so it’s descriptive, rather than duplicative of the Sender and Date columns. For instance:
>
> #1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation
>
> The table of contents will remain the same, of course, since that shows what’s coming up in the issue. Ideally, those article titles will link down into the articles below, though some of that depends on Apple’s Mail clients honoring anchor links.
>
> The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again?
>
> cheers... -Adam
>
>





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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Don Bennett
The only thing I read the summary for is to see what software updates are available. If you include those in the table of contents, I personally wouldn't need the summary. 

Ah, that’s an interesting point — have to think about the best way to get that info into the top of the issue.

cheers... -Adam 



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Mark Nagata
In reply to this post by Fritz Mills

On 2018/01/30, at 7:50, Fritz Mills wrote:

> FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.
>
Seconded. For us translators of TidBITS-Japanese, the date of the issue is the most important information.
That helps us keep our translation deadline... :)

Mark
--
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mailto:[hidden email]



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Fritz Mills
FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.

I realize that everyone is accustomed to things being a certain way, but we need to think about whether doing them that way makes sense in the modern world.

The goal of the Subject line is to encourage people to open the issue. If it says TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018, there is absolutely nothing there that would encourage someone to open. The From line will say that the message is from TidBITS, and the Date line will give the date the message was received, and the fact that it’s issue #1401 is almost entirely irrelevant. So the Subject line as it stands is completely duplicative — it’s a complete waste of information architecture space. 

What I’m asking is if a handwritten summary that essentially restates the article titles is of any real use, particularly given that lists are easier to scan than running text. It’s at least 15-20 minutes of work every week for me and Josh, so it has a real cost in our lives, and it has to be worthwhile in a real way if we’re going to keep doing it. So look at the summary below and see if it tells you enough _more_ than the article titles to be worthwhile (and this is just one example - feel free to look back at other issues to see what you think of them). 

The point about the Watchlist items is well made, and I’m going to think about how to deal with that.

  If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
  a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
  looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
  Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
  Typinator 7.4.

Articles
    Dictation Eases Data Entry
    CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
    HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
    CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
    TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
    ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

James R Cutler
In reply to this post by adamengst
In saving and searching, the Mail Subject: is often used for file naming.  In both cases, TidBITS is often helpful. And, searching a date range can be done on message date or file creation date. So the redundancy in the title is actually quite useful.

James R. Cutler
PGP keys at http://pgp.mit.edu



On Jan 29, 2018, at 4:36 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi folks,

In our new system, one of the things that will be changing will be the issues. Rather than four separate formats, there will be a single issue, with full HTML, formatted for easy reading on large and small screens.

However, what I want to ask you all about today is the top of the issue. Right now, it looks something like what you can see below with the title, a summary, and then a table of contents.

TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018

  If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
  a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
  looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
  Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
  Typinator 7.4.

Articles
    Dictation Eases Data Entry
    CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
    HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
    CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
    TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
    ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018

We’re planning to change the title (which is also the Subject of the email) so it’s descriptive, rather than duplicative of the Sender and Date columns. For instance:

#1401: More gadgets from CES, CARROT Weather, HomeKit, Data entry via dictation

The table of contents will remain the same, of course, since that shows what’s coming up in the issue. Ideally, those article titles will link down into the articles below, though some of that depends on Apple’s Mail clients honoring anchor links.

The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again? 

cheers... -Adam


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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

adamengst
Administrator
In saving and searching, the Mail Subject: is often used for file naming.  In both cases, TidBITS is often helpful. And, searching a date range can be done on message date or file creation date. So the redundancy in the title is actually quite useful.

When would you not be able to search on the From or Date, much less the body of the message?

And why would you search in your email rather than on the Web anyway? :-)

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Mike Noonan-2
In reply to this post by adamengst
Adam, 
I’m more of a bullet point and embedded link guy. Here’s an example:  red is noise to me (sorry)

If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, 
- Adam Engst tells how to make speaking easy. make it as easy as speaking. 
- Josh Centers takes a  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, 
- Josh Centers looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. 
To wrap up this issue, 
- Jeff  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in Las Vegas
- Notable software releases this week include"
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, 
  Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, 
  Mailplane 3.7.2, 
  Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, 
  SoundSource 3.0.3, 
  Piezo 1.5.6, 
  1Password 6.8.6
  Typinator 7.4.

The article lines could be shortened further. 

My goal is to get through wheat and chaff of email quickly and then go through the queued up Safari links to the reading.  There might be an important message lurking down the list at message 50 for example. Ping-ponging between Mail and Safari for each message is a waste of time.

From this list I’d probably crl-click the embedded links in the first and third articles and 1Password (I have MS Office 11).  When all email is processed, Safari is all ready teed up for reading Tidbits, ZDNet, LA Times, etc. 

My twos cents.  Thanks for asking. 

PS you didn’t mention whether the Yahoo.com problem is going away. From article, forum, etc.  I handle you have to only site with this problem.  (please make it go away). 

Thx Mike 


On Jan 29, 2018, at 3:05 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.

I realize that everyone is accustomed to things being a certain way, but we need to think about whether doing them that way makes sense in the modern world.

The goal of the Subject line is to encourage people to open the issue. If it says TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018, there is absolutely nothing there that would encourage someone to open. The From line will say that the message is from TidBITS, and the Date line will give the date the message was received, and the fact that it’s issue #1401 is almost entirely irrelevant. So the Subject line as it stands is completely duplicative — it’s a complete waste of information architecture space. 

What I’m asking is if a handwritten summary that essentially restates the article titles is of any real use, particularly given that lists are easier to scan than running text. It’s at least 15-20 minutes of work every week for me and Josh, so it has a real cost in our lives, and it has to be worthwhile in a real way if we’re going to keep doing it. So look at the summary below and see if it tells you enough _more_ than the article titles to be worthwhile (and this is just one example - feel free to look back at other issues to see what you think of them). 

The point about the Watchlist items is well made, and I’m going to think about how to deal with that.

  If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has
  a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking. Josh Centers takes a
  look at the snarky yet powerful CARROT Weather app for iOS, and he
  looks ahead to HomeKit hardware in 2018. To wrap up this issue, Jeff
  Porten brings us more gadgets and gizmos from this year’s CES show in
  Las Vegas. Notable software releases this week include
  GraphicConverter 10.5.4, Microsoft Office 2016 16.9,
  DEVONthink/DEVONnote 2.9.17, Mailplane 3.7.2, Fantastical 2.4.5,
  Ulysses 12.3, SoundSource 3.0.3, Piezo 1.5.6, 1Password 6.8.6, and
  Typinator 7.4.

Articles
    Dictation Eases Data Entry
    CARROT Weather Predicts Cloudy with a Chance of Snark
    HomeKit Hardware to Expect in 2018
    CES 2018: ShowStoppers Prepares for the Collapse of Civilization
    TidBITS Watchlist: Notable Software Updates for 22 January 2018
    ExtraBITS for 22 January 2018

cheers... -Adam


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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

James R Cutler
In reply to this post by adamengst
see comments below

James R. Cutler
PGP keys at http://pgp.mit.edu



On Jan 29, 2018, at 7:24 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

In saving and searching, the Mail Subject: is often used for file naming.  In both cases, TidBITS is often helpful. And, searching a date range can be done on message date or file creation date. So the redundancy in the title is actually quite useful.

When would you not be able to search on the From or Date, much less the body of the message?

When looking in my Mail folder “On My Mac/TidBITS” or my Finder document folder where I have saved PDFs of articles I expect to reread more than a few times. In neither case can my eye see the message contents. And, I do live in a temporal stream and think of things in the context of general category and time. 

It is also learned behavior for saving objects in an application independent hierarchy, as in 

Media > Photos on Media > Year  > Month     > Day DESCRIPTIVE TEXT
                                                                                      yyyy              mm EEE yyyy          dd-EEE-yyyy <TEXT>

which has held up well for almost 30 years in the presence of vendor intransigence in user information management applications.

And, in SMTP messages, 
  • The Date: header is the date of submission of the message and is unrelated to the Subject: or or body contents. (May be OK for some searches.)
  • The Date Received displayed by a Message User Agent, such as macOS Mail, is also unrelated to the Subject: or or body contents. And, even when accurate, is not necessarily in same day or even week as the message submission date.

And why would you search in your email rather than on the Web anyway? :-)

Searching locally is modestly faster than on line searching. But primarily because I am looking something I have saved locally using names and tags memorable to me. And this regardless of saving in email or PDF file form.

Of course there is the added factor of an idiosyncratic view of information presentation.


cheers... -Adam


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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Alexander Forbes
In reply to this post by Mike Noonan-2


On Jan 29, 2018, at 6:01 PM, Mike Noonan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I’m more of a bullet point and embedded link guy.

My take on high level abstracts is pretty much in line with Mike’s here. I liker links and bullet points leading to the actual article content. A concise description of content  works for me, but I like to see the adjective and descriptives in the article and probably will anyway.

“Just one more thing, Sir?”  From time to time we all forget the TidBITS rule of appending our comments to the bottom of the text. You explained some years back that this has to do with how the code processing extracts new content and adds it to the web archives. Under the new web design, can this go away, more in line with conventional Internet email and most web forums handle comments?  When I read any email reply I like to see it at the tip along with the mail headers, rather than scrolling down the page.

Regards,

Alex 







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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

James R Cutler
On Jan 29, 2018, at 8:47 PM, Alexander Forbes <[hidden email]> wrote:



On Jan 29, 2018, at 6:01 PM, Mike Noonan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I’m more of a bullet point and embedded link guy.

My take on high level abstracts is pretty much in line with Mike’s here. I liker links and bullet points leading to the actual article content. A concise description of content  works for me, but I like to see the adjective and descriptives in the article and probably will anyway.

“Just one more thing, Sir?”  From time to time we all forget the TidBITS rule of appending our comments to the bottom of the text. You explained some years back that this has to do with how the code processing extracts new content and adds it to the web archives. Under the new web design, can this go away, more in line with conventional Internet email and most web forums handle comments?  When I read any email reply I like to see it at the tip along with the mail headers, rather than scrolling down the page.

Regards,

Alex 


Trying to follow a discussion sequentially with top posting causes cognative dissonance. Have pity on those with ADD or OCD leanings.

Thank you.

James R. Cutler
PGP keys at http://pgp.mit.edu







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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

@lbutlr
In reply to this post by adamengst
On 29 Jan 2018, at 14:36, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The big question is, should we even bother to write a summary? In theory, the title is itself a very brief summary, and the article titles describe what they’re about, so is there any reason to say it yet again?

A summary that is longer than a short subject (because subject headers are often cut down by your UI, but body text never is) is will be helpful if it is as short as your example.

However, if it is immediately followed by the table of contents, maybe it is not needed. I think on a mobile device it is still good to have a single line that you can scan quickly, which then lets you find the article int he TOC you most want to read.

(To be fair, I now read the individual article posts instead of the weekly issues, so I've no dog in this hunt.)

--
"Reality continues to ruin my life."




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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Travis Butler
In reply to this post by adamengst

On Jan 29, 2018, at 5:05 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.

I realize that everyone is accustomed to things being a certain way, but we need to think about whether doing them that way makes sense in the modern world.

The goal of the Subject line is to encourage people to open the issue. If it says TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018, there is absolutely nothing there that would encourage someone to open. The From line will say that the message is from TidBITS, and the Date line will give the date the message was received, and the fact that it’s issue #1401 is almost entirely irrelevant. So the Subject line as it stands is completely duplicative — it’s a complete waste of information architecture space. 

As a note, though, an extended subject line is pretty useless on mail clients that show just a short segment of it in the message list. Apple Mail or Outlook in Column View, for example, or the Mail client in iOS. On my iPad, ferex, a recent TB-Talk subject line came across as 'TidBITS: 16 Conferences for Mac and i…'. 'TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018' at least fits a small subject area in its entirety, and is also a regular pattern that is easier for me to spot at a glance as I’m skimming through a list of subjects. 

What I’m asking is if a handwritten summary that essentially restates the article titles is of any real use, particularly given that lists are easier to scan than running text. It’s at least 15-20 minutes of work every week for me and Josh, so it has a real cost in our lives, and it has to be worthwhile in a real way if we’re going to keep doing it. So look at the summary below and see if it tells you enough _more_ than the article titles to be worthwhile (and this is just one example - feel free to look back at other issues to see what you think of them). 

The thing I like about the summary is that it can give some additional flavor context beyond the article title, which encourages a read. "If you’re struggling with manual entry of numeric data, Adam Engst has a hot tip that can make it as easy as speaking." is a heck of a lot more meaningful as a preview for the article than 'Dictation Eases Data Entry'.






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Re: TidBITS issue blurbs

Bill Rausch
In reply to this post by adamengst

On Monday, Jan 29, at 3:05 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

FWIW, I prefer having the date in the subject line and the summary a little more conversational.

I realize that everyone is accustomed to things being a certain way, but we need to think about whether doing them that way makes sense in the modern world.

The goal of the Subject line is to encourage people to open the issue. If it says TidBITS#1401/22-Jan-2018, there is absolutely nothing there that would encourage someone to open. The From line will say that the message is from TidBITS, and the Date line will give the date the message was received, and the fact that it’s issue #1401 is almost entirely irrelevant. So the Subject line as it stands is completely duplicative — it’s a complete waste of information architecture space. 

Agreed.

And I think the summary could be left off if there is a TOC right at the top.

Bill




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