TidBITS Marks Its 29th Anniversary... and Earth Day!

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2019/04/22/tidbits-marks-its-29th-anniversary-and-earth-day/

We held off on celebrating our 29th anniversary for a few days so we could publish this article to coincide with Earth Day. In honor of that, we’re calculating just how many trees we’ve saved over the past 29 years by publishing solely online, rather than in print. Yes, it’s silly. And there’s a picture of cheese!

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Fair play, @ace and @tonya, heck of an achievement.

I would give you a hard time about electricity required for servers, but given TidBITS’ always modest number of servers over the years, starting with shared access, then moving to consumer models, then to an Xserve, and then to virtualization, I expect that only subtracts a handful of trees’ equivalent from the total.

The amount of computational resources required (and the lack of tracking IDs, icky ad techniques, and your commitment to privacy) should also be commended as being ahead of its time relative to the value delivered!

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And thank you for all the help over the years. I can’t imagine TidBITS and other way than electronic.

Glenn’s comment is relevant, and a needed reminder. Everything we do on this earth has some kind of impact. Even the simple act of walking can have man-made impacts - someone had to make the shoes, or the sidewalk - as well as natural impacts - walking through grass or native vegetation crushes something and can compact the earth.

The goal is to at least minimize every single impact you make. In short, to think about every action, every decision, every choice, in the clear light of its impact on the world. Impacts are inevitable - unnecessary damage is not.

Remember, the famous triangle shown on plastic, paper and elsewhere, has three points. Most people know about re-use and recycle, the two bottom points. But the top and starting point is - Reduce.


Yeah, I was thinking about our power usage too, but as you say, we’ve always kept a pretty low profile in terms of hardware as well. I think it’s safe to say that our energy impact could be estimated at being the equivalent of one medium-powered server. It’s likely that we use more power for our personal Macs.

Absolutely! The logical extreme is a dangerous road to follow, but I believe that at least pondering the impact of one’s actions at all times is the first and most important step.

You’re very welcome! TidBITS started in part because it always bothered us when we saw people having trouble with technology in ways that we knew we could just solve, if only we had a chance. There was no way to help everyone individually, but with a well-placed article, we have the opportunity to help a whole lot of people encountering the same issue.

Congrats, @ace, @tonya, and team!

I get all nostalgic when I think back to the times of the mailing list and when you guys started (and thanks, Glenn, for reminding me of the Xserve times). Turns out, TidBITS is almost the same age as the the Mac IIci. A Mac I always held dearly. And still do, just like TidBITS. :slight_smile:

Hope you guys will keep TidBITS up for many more great years to come! :slight_smile: :+1:

Thanks, @Simon!

I liked the IIci but never had one—I was an SE/30 user for a long time in that era. I think my next Mac after that might have been the Centris 660/AV.

We periodically think about how long TidBITS will keep going, and the answer always comes down to “As long as we’re having fun and can make a living at it.” :slight_smile:

The SE/30 was another great Mac. Got mine as an upgrade for our SE. In those days Apple had a program where they took your old SE and returned it upgraded and reboxed as an SE/30. It was an awesome experience! :slight_smile:

Congratulations, Adam, Tonya, and to all the TidBits staff!

Even though much of my life, around 29 years ago, is now a TechniColor blur… I suspect I was one of your early readers.

I’ve met you, Adam, at MacWorlds and have thanked you then… but I can never thank you all enough for the great service you’ve done for Mac users for 29 years.

And Happy Earth Day too!

I’ve had the same thought about CES, and the answer always comes down to “until it kills me.” :slight_smile:

Adam, I echo others’ thank for all the hard work you, Tonya, and the TidBITS team have put in over the years. You are amongst only a handful of constants through my Mac experience, and the only publication that has stayed around, and maintained the quality, in-depth reporting, and relevance that I love. This article inspired me to go back and check the earliest issue that I have in my email archive. I found to my horror, that while I had it archived from the Unix mail system I used at the time, for some reason the early issues had never been imported into Mail (some years ago I went through a grand conversion exercise to get all my email from Unix mail, Emailer, Eudora, etc all into Mail). Luckily that was trivial to rectify, and I can confirm that the earliest issue I have is 15 October 1996. It’s highly likely I started reading some months earlier, but this is when my regular subscription started (though I’ve found some gaps in my archive since then :cry:):


And for a trip down memory lane, here’s the contents (in original Setext formatting):

The first MailBITS item was for the System 7.5 Update 2.0 Custom Install! Thanks for all the great articles over the years, I look forward to many more. :grinning:

I do miss Macworld, if only for the chance to meet TidBITS readers. It was always so much fun to be wandering the aisles and having people come up to introduce themselves and say hello. Made for very slow walking though— @jeffc and @tonya always commented that we’d walk for 5 minutes, talk for 20. :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for the kind words! And it was a hoot seeing your old mailbox and that screenshot of issue #349. Of our sponsors then, APS is gone, Northwest Nexus is gone, Power Computing is gone (both it and APS were hit when Jobs killed the clone program), AOL still exists but is a shadow of its former self, EarthLink is also still around but much less of a player, and Aladdin is long gone (remember StuffIt?).

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Congratulations to you, Tonya and the rest of the crew! I know I’ve said this before, but if it wasn’t for your Internet Starter Kit, we might never have gotten online. I signed up for TidBITS within a few weeks of the book’s release, and I’ve been Talking away since this list was started. Thanks for just about three decades of excellent advice, insight and analysis; and for community as well.

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And I also miss the TidBITS Talker Ice Cream Socials during the NYC Macworlds!

Those printed magazines used an incalculable amount more electricity that TidBITS humble servers. However, comparisons of energy use are impractical, to say the least, unless you have access to, say, MacWorld’s electric bills. I’d guess, though, that here, too, TidBITS would come out many football fields ahead.

That’s not to say that I didn’t learn a lot about using a Mac from MacWorld, back in the day. I started my MacWorld subscription before I found TidBITS. But I dropped it sometime before it went out of circulation. My online sources, including TidBITS and the late lamented MacFixIt, began to fill my information needs, at a lower cost and with fewer adds. There are, of course, many other online Mac web sites that have survived the death of printed magazines. And as Adam suggests, they all owe a debt of gratitude to the readers who have kept them in business.

Stuffit is still around, though not published by Aladdin. Smith Micro took it over. They offer a multi-featured Stuffit suite for $30, though Expander is still available for free; it hasn’t been update since 2016. I keep it around just in case. Though I use Pacifist for most of my esoteric expansion tasks.

Yeah, those were such a nice way to meet TidBITS readers in NYC!

And look, here some of them are:

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