Happy New Year!
So… The last new post on Tech for Luddites (since removed) was a weekly headlines roundup published on February 2, 2018. (!) I never expected to go this long without posting anything new, but there have been several reasons for having gone missing in action.
It’s hard to believe that this month marks T4L’s tenth anniversary. (!) Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of posts on a wide variety of topics. A lot of those posts no longer exist, but I did find this archive page on the Wayback Machine that lists posts from its launch on January 2, 2009 to May 2013.
I’m not surprised to see large gaps between postings during that time as well—for one thing, there was a two-year period when I took a full-time job. And while a lot of these posts don’t even exist anymore on the current site, surprisingly some still do although they’ve been updated multiple times over the last decade (including new titles in some cases). A few examples:
Password Control in 3 Easy Steps (The very first how-to!)
The latter was the post that changed everything. It was when I looked at my web stats in early 2013 that I discovered it was getting more than 1,000 visits a day, which made me think, “Hmm… maybe there’s something here.”
At that point I decided to focus on T4L as an actual business, which I’d been doing ever since… until last February.
Nothing! 🙂 At least there was no one event that made me say, “Wow… I need to take an 11-month break starting now!” Instead it was the culmination of a number of things that had been happening over the previous two years that made me hit the pause button and keep it paused until now.
For every Twitter hashtag post that attracted more than a million visitors over the years, there were at least a dozen that received almost no traffic. Most of my how-to posts take a lot of time to write and create screenshots, etc. and the low return on the time and effort I had invested was disappointing.
There have been other posts that have done really well, but they were more of a fluke than anything else. For example, when I wrote about ways to get back to Google’s Classic Maps because I couldn’t stand the new ones, I had no idea how that within a few months that post would replace the hashtag one as my top-visited post until Google finally broke all the workarounds for accessing the original maps. *sigh*
And when I did find categories of posts that were popular—there was actually a period where I became somewhat of an expert on the Thesis theme for WordPress (!)—I would come to realize that I could never keep up with all the changes that were happening. (It also didn’t help when companies changed their technologies so dramatically that all my previous posts were no longer relevant—again, see Thesis theme for WordPress…)
When I first started T4L, the very few comments that came in were usually from personal friends. Over the last couple of years, however, the volume increased dramatically both in the comment section on individual posts and in emails I’ve received from readers and most of these were questions about the posts. While some of these questions I could address quickly, a lot of them would be very specific situations that would require a lot of research on my part to try to figure out the problem. And don’t get me started on all the comment spam!
It got to the point where I would see that I have dozens of comments waiting to be answered and that itself would become a barrier to even starting on them (and then of course I would feel guilty for not answering them, which would make them seem even more overwhelming…).
When I started focusing on building a business out of T4L, I made a point of following a lot of other people who make their livings through their online businesses such as Pat Flynn and Amy Porterfield. I added newsletters and how-to videos and a podcast and experimented with various social media options like creating a Facebook group and posting to Pinterest, achieving various levels of success. And if this had all happened ten years earlier, I probably would have been a lot more motivated to put in the effort needed to try to take my business to the next level.
But the reality is that I’m at the point in my life where I’m looking forward to at least partial retirement and I frankly don’t want to work that hard anymore. On top of that, I’ve experienced some major life changes over the last couple of years, including moving back to Canada, and Tech for Luddites really fell down my list of priorities.
Well, I don’t want to just abandon the site. I’m proud that I have been able to help a lot of people solve some of their most frustrating technical problems. And I still do make some money from it. But I do have to rethink the way I manage T4L, so here’s what I’m planning for the immediate future. I’ll decide if I need to make more tweaks after I’ve seen the response to these changes.
This will be the biggest change. Instead of trying to write a couple of posts a week, I’m going to write just one a month on the first Friday of the next month. (Hello, January 2019!) It will include various news and tips that I hope readers will find useful and if are any topics that seem to spark a more-than-average level of interest or that need a more detailed explanation, I may write a separate post to increase its visibility.
I’m also going to be reviewing existing posts to update the most viewed ones.
The most recent monthly update will appear at the top of the T4L home page and it will be followed by links to key posts related to streaming media, since that’s one of the most visited areas of the site now. Other existing posts will remain available for people to find via search engines, although there will also be links to each of the top-ten most popular ones in the sidebar.
This is a tough one but for the time being I’m going to turn off the ability to add new comments to posts. Instead there will a link to send an email with any feedback, including questions. I’ll do my best to respond to those, but that response may be “I don’t know.” If appropriate, I’ll add some of the questions and comments to that month’s post.
There won’t be a separate email newsletter anymore. Instead, if you’re currently signed up for the monthly newsletter or weekly digest, you’ll now receive an email every month with links to all posts that have been published that month. If you’ve previously selected to be notified of individual posts, you’ll receive the monthly update as well as any other posts as they become available (this will be rare). All emails contain a link to change your preferences or unsubscribe altogether. You can also choose to receive subscriber-exclusive emails for news and promotions that won’t be published on the site.
If you don’t want to receive an email but do want to be notified of the posts, you can follow Tech for Luddites on Facebook or Twitter, the only social media channels I’ll be posting to. Note that for Facebook, you have to deliberately choose to follow the page and select whether you want to receive notifications or not.
The Luddite Lounge podcast will not be returning at this point.
So that’s what to expect going forward. Here’s to a 2019 that brings you all health, happiness, and minimal tech troubles!
For this first post in the new format, here are a few iPhone-related how-tos that are less-than-intuitive. Enjoy!
While moving the cursor into the middle of a word to correct a typo on an Android phone can be a bit tricky, it seemed impossible on an iPhone until I learned this trick.
When your cursor is in a text field, press and hold on the field and the text will be magnified. Without lifting your finger, drag the cursor to the left or right to place it exactly where you want.
Find Text in Safari Page
If you’re looking for a word when you’re using Safari, tap the Share button and scroll to the right to the Find on Page button. If you think you’ll use this option a lot, you can press and hold the icon to move it ahead of others that you don’t use as often.
Delete All Emails
You’d think there’d be a Delete All option right there on the screen, but nope. And the steps to do this make no sense at all, so you simply have to memorize them.
You’ll now go a screen that prompts you to move all the emails to another folder, including Trash.
Once they’re in the Trash folder, you can go to that one and click Edit and a Delete All link will appear at the bottom.
Easy-peasy, right? 🙄
See you in February!