Everything You Need to Know about the TidBITS 2018 Infrastructure

Yes, indeed, see “Mail in El Capitan and iOS 9 Ignores Named Anchors,” 5 January 2016

It improved but took quite a while.

Yes, that’s built into SendGrid, and enables us to see what people really click. I don’t know if it can be turned off or not, but I’ll look into it.

You guys are killing me — all this just after we publish an article from a vision expert explaining why white on black is hard to read and include a JavaScript bookmarklet that makes sites like Daring Fireball black text on a white background for better contrast. :slight_smile:

I’ll add it to the list, but I worry it’s one of those designs that sounds simple but is really a rabbit-hole.


I do miss the days when 7-bit ASCII email was appreciated by more people. :slight_smile: It did require quite a lot of work each week, though.

Should be easily dropped with Command-minus, though, right?

We should be ALT tagging everything, but we never did any of that before, so I fear we’re likely to be inconsistent. I do wonder how many people turn off remote loading of images at this point — bandwidth constraints are the only reason I would since it’s just a hassle otherwise.

That works for us — there’s no way to meet everyone’s needs in every channel, but we hope the different channels will stand in like that.

I read, that. I think I replied to it.

I entirely disagree; I could not possibly disagree more. I can read my iBooks all day long; my eyes start hurting on a retina Mac after maybe two hours. Huge white screens are the bane of my existence in computers. Everything that I can set to black or dark-grey backgrounds, I do. Paper and computer screens are entirely different. Paper is not a radiant light source, and the reflected light on the page means that a white (or mostly white) page is much better for contrast. the opposite is the case with a luminous surface like a screen.

There’s a reason that all screen used to be dark with bright letters.

In fact, I have a javascript droplet for daring fireball the makes the background DARKER.

The reason for alt-tags on images is for accessibility, anything else is just gravy.

I have remote loading turned off in all my email clients to control which companies can track the emails I look at (since images can be used to track when someone opens an email). It’s no real hassle to tap/click the ‘load images’ button for emails (like TidBITS) that I want to see the images in.

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You might not be aware, but there is a dark theme for this forum. Go to your settings (cog icon under you avatar in the top right) and choose Interface from the left-hand sidebar. Top option is the Theme.

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I get this, and understand why it’s useful to you. Just a shame that they can’t figure out a way to do this without breaking the loveliness of hyperlinks. :wink: I wish they could pass the URL as some sort of parameter (e.g. sendgrid.net/[trackingstring]?tidbits.com/my-great-article or something) so that it was still possible to see the destination URL and that it would maybe work with QuickLook. I realise this could be impossible/out of your control, but thanks for checking. :+1:

Took five tries to reset my password; the reset link(s) you sent returned ‘invalid token’.

You’ve also broken Safari passwords, as far as setting a new one; yes it’s helpful you suggested one; yes, I know you like 1Password better; but Safari is just fine for most everyone and presents zero barriers (or cost) in syncing across all macOS and iOS devices; I had to jump through hoops to generate my own and install it in Safari.

The new website is gawdawful slow; I’m getting a 10-15 second delay on every click, before it even attempts to load a new page, then another few to several seconds to complete.

Text replacement also appears to be broken in this comments field; common text replacements I’ve set are not working.

I, too, will be unsubscribing from the email and hoping RSS works well enough (assuming you get your speed issues resolved).

I’ve loved the content and service since shortly after you launched way back when; I’m all for updating to keep up with the times, but sometimes a step forward for forward’s sake can be backwards if you’re just adding complexity to what was (infamously) great for its simplicity.

Complaints notwithstanding, congrats on your efforts; I hope they deliver the benefits you’re expecting.

What version of MacOS are you running? I’ve not had any of these issues on the new website running MacOS 10.12 Sierra on a 2013 MacBook Air. Site is snappy and responsive, text fields worked as normal, and Safari saved my password as expected. Could it be a software issue on your end?

Yes, I’m sure it’s all my fault; invalid tokens sent by links I didn’t generate are always the fault of the user. I must have ‘clicked them wrong.’

Further, every site in the world generates strong passwords for you, and don’t activate/allow Safari’s own password generator; they all also recommend you use 1Password instead. Your experience may have been different, I don’t know; but I was presented a page that seemed to have no method to use Safari’s Password features.

And I’m certain it must be me, again, who did something to break text replacement in Discourse, even though I just used Discourse over on the KM forum, and it worked in at least eight instances.

And in spite of everything else loading from essentially instantly to just a couple-few seconds for image/ad/script heavy pages, I’m sure it’s my dual 3.2Ghz Mac Pro with 52GB of RAM and a fully up to date Safari 11 with just a few extensions installed, that otherwise works fine on pretty much every other website, is the problem.

Crazy to think a brand new website design, requiring its entire membership to reset their passwords, could be under stress or have design flaws. (; I just like to jump to conclusions without testing and comparing before reporting, and assume that the website I’m experiencing troubles on is to blame.

But thanks for suggesting possible issues; no doubt the TidBits audience is indeed running some seriously old hardware and could well be running Snow Leopard. I know a few, to be sure. They are not going to be happy with the email changes, for sure.

Kind Regards

Happy Tuesday


Reddit has a black skin for gold members. It’s the website of the world in which more hours spend reading their users. One thing does not exclude the other. It also rumored years ago a black skin for entire MacOS. And I would like to say something about the use of electricity from the screens and make our use of computers a little more ecological, but surely you all know it :slight_smile:

I don’t know what’s going on with that. It works fine in our testing and for most people, but a non-trivial number of people are having issues. We are having some serious performance issues at the moment, and I’m wondering if those may be related.

We haven’t broken anything intentionally — can you provide steps for what didn’t work and what you expected to happen?

I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Is there a Discourse setting you’re aware of that we may have set wrong?

Yeah, there’s something going on right now. Eli is out picking up his kid at school, but hopefully he can figure it out soon. The caching has been killing us — everything that’s supposed to make the site faster has been problematic.

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Hi Adam, once I finally got a password reset link that worked, I was presented a page that had already filled out a “strong” password, but, as I wanted to be sure I had it stored in Safari, I entered the field and expected to be presented with a typical Safari popdown menu, offering to autofill (and record) a new password, or at least offer to autofill from storage. Realizing it might not recognize the domain due to new cookies, I tried clearing the field, reloading the page (took about 40 seconds), etc., and a right-click only offered 1Password, of course. I had to generate a new password of my own, hit the reset, then open Safari prefs and paste in the new password; logout/login to be certain it was recorded. As I said, hoops.

I don’t know how to configure Discourse on the server side; I just know that macostext (the prior should have auto-replaced to macOS Text Replacement) isn’t functioning in this comments entry field as we speak; whereas it works perfectly well over at KM. If there’s a user setting to make that happen, I’ve never found it, but I’ll look again. I no longer use TextExpander, so I’m unable to test that.

Sorry your server is getting destroyed; thankfully for most of your audience, it’s not mission critical and we can patiently await things to smooth out. You, not so much.

I have to agree with you, the new layout and appearance is vastly improved; I’ve had you locked in Reader mode for a long time because my tired old eyes didn’t agree with the dark border bocks, either. In any case, it truly was looking quite dated (sorry, Glenn). I’ll probably still use Reader mode for longer articles, although I do most of my reading on ios (again, should have replaced as iOS) using RSS/FeedlerPro/Fiery.


fff (should have replaced as Frederico)

I’m using El Capitan 10.11.6

So there is. It’s pretty awful though.

No need for all the sarcasm! Was just offering a suggestion to try and figure out why you were having problems. I didn’t know anything about your setup. Don’t worry, though, happy to leave you to it.

That seems very odd. I just tested and the macOS text replacement isn’t working in Chrome, but it is working in Safari. Not sure why it wouldn’t work for you.

Yeah, seriously. In the early days of a new server, every little hiccup is a red alert. Either Eli fixed it silently last night, or it got better, since the server is snappy again like it’s supposed to be.

I’m reminded of a story from back when we lived in Seattle and knew a lot of Microsoft folks. I think it may have been the introduction of Windows XP where Gates or Ballmer got up on stage at an internal function and said something to the effect of “We’re releasing Windows XP today, so now we can finally say that Windows 98 sucked.”

cheers… -Adam

“SendGrid service now, which we hope will result in fewer issues being marked as spam by overactive spam filters.” – This was the first issue of TidBits ever that landed in Spam … ;-/.

But it was Apple Mail’s own filter which usually only makes errors judging the few remaining messages passing by the GSuite filter. (Apple has never understood much about e-mail … .)

This was the first time to login to the new TidBits site and at the two first pages I followed to login and reset password on the WP pages I had to reload the page to make it show anything other than a blank page in Safari … . (WP is standard, but guess I am not much of a fan … but Safari often have problems showing blank pages elsewhere too.) Other than that – all fine so far.

Cheers, Jerry