大胆的东西

“我为我感到高兴,但为了钱而出版。”
- - - - - -弗拉基米尔纳博科夫

One could argue that this web site is disingenuously named: that there’s nothing “daring” about 万博manbetx贴吧 whatsoeverThat the entire thing is rigged by my having constrained it to the handful of topics about which I am certain I know my shitThat when I put forth an opinion, I know in advance that I am right.

这就是我的本性I tend only to play games which I’m already good at, and only to undertake endeavors which I feel certain will be successful.

Well, here goes something that’s actually daring, and which I have no idea how it’s going to turn out.

Starting today and running through the end of June, I’m asking you to support 万博manbetx贴吧 in one of two ways:

  1. 买万博manbetx贴吧T恤。Available for $30.72 (USD) Price includes shippingEveryone who buys a shirt also gets a 1-year membership.

  2. 做捐献。Contributions of any amount are both accepted and much appreciatedHowever, any contribution of $20.48 (USD) or more qualifies you for a one-year membership.

It is essential to note that 万博manbetx贴吧 is and will remain a free web siteNew articles and the complete archive are available to everyone, free of chargeThis is a good thing — it’s the way of the webWriters who wish to charge everyone who reads their work would do well to consider other media.

但那么什么是“会员”呢?

The idea is that while the articles and main content of Daring Fireball are free for everyone, paying supporters will have access to a few members-only featuresThe first of these is a full-content RSS feedThe way it works is that after your payment is complete, you’ll receive an automated email containing a unique “key”, which can be used to subscribe to the feed using a URL like this:

http://www.gazogooz.com/feeds/rss/yourkeyhere

But please, I implore you, do not think of this as paying $20 just to get a full-content RSS feedThink of it as a small token of my gratitude for supporting my writing at this siteIt’s like when you pledge $100 to PBS and they send you a tote bag; no one does it to get the tote bag.

我为什么要这么做

The straight truth is that writing 万博manbetx贴吧 consumes an immoderate amount of my time, but generates what can at best be considered a hobbyist-level incomeGoogle’s搏击俱乐部-esque terms and conditions preclude me from disclosing details (“The first rule of AdSense is, you do not talk about how much money you make from AdSense…”), but suffice it to say that I made as much money writing a single three-page篇文章Macworldas I’ll make in an entire year of writing 万博manbetx贴吧.

When I’m grinding away on 万博manbetx贴吧, am I working, or am I “working”? Am I starting a career as a writer, or am I just dicking around?

万博manbetx贴吧 has effectively been running deep in the red ever since it debutedNot because of the hosting costs, which have been covered several-fold by the AdSense revenue, but because of the opportunity cost of the time I spend writing this siteThose who know that I make a living as a self-employed web developer/designer/etcoften ask why I don’t advertise my services here我真的没有一个好的答案。

The best I can say is that I don’t want this site to act as a calling card for my “real” (read: “paid”) writing, or for my “real” work as a web nerd.

我想要万博manbetx贴吧是我的实际工作没有air-quotes。

I’ve been treating it as such as best I can, to the detriment of my income and career, and that course is simply no longer sustainable.

Asking for voluntary contributions from readers was my original vaguely-hashed-out plan for expanding 万博manbetx贴吧 into a career as a writerWhich, as far as qualifying as a legitimate business plan, bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the classic南方公园gnomes-stealing-underware商业计划

  1. 偷内裤。
  2. ...
  3. 利润!

It’s only funny because it’s true; “Step 3: Profit!” is effectively a nutshell description of the plans for hundreds of bankrupt dot-coms.

The difference with 万博manbetx贴吧 is that I sort of actually have a step 2: build a reasonably-sized base of loyal readers who thoroughly appreciate what it is I’m trying to do here.

Plus, what I mean by “reasonably-sized” is many orders of magnitude smaller than the goals of a late ’90s dot-comI’m not looking to get rich; I’m just trying to make a living.

The debut of AdSense last year gave me another option, which I took not so much because I honestly expected it to generate serious revenue, but because it allowed me to put off trying this (“this” being asking you, loyal reader, to support me directly.) As a hint as to how long I’ve delayed launching this endeavor, here’s a passage from “独立日”, the article I wrote a year ago when I first started displaying Google ads:

所以这是我的计划Next month will mark Daring Fireball’s one-year anniversaryAt that time I’ll commence a brief fund-raising drive, asking for voluntary donations. Perhaps there will be T-shirts and other Daring-Fireball-logo’d tchotchkes.

与此同时,谷歌广告将继续。

神奇的轻松一个月如何变成11。

深度

我的猜测是读者的反应会有三条线:

  • A small number of you will jump at the chance to support Daring Fireball也许这是你最喜欢的网站Perhaps you’re simply loose with money不管是什么原因,我向你致敬。

  • The large majority of you will neither buy a shirt nor make a donation例如,也许你只是一个随意的读者Perhaps you’re the sort of person who can’t stand the thought of paying for something that many others are getting for freeThat’s OK. When I say that 万博manbetx贴吧 will remain free, I mean itYou owe me nothing我很高兴有你作为读者。

  • 剩下的是栅栏保持者,那些正在考虑它的人。

I suspect the third group, the fence-sitters, far outnumber the first group, and the success of this endeavor largely hinges on how many of you end up jumping off on the membership side of the fence. The pressure I feel writing this, in the hopes of convincing you, is close to overwhelming.

Part of what makes me so anxious here is that the future of Daring Fireball is now largely out of my handsThis is not a threat — i.ethat if this funding drive falls short that I’ll pack up the site and turn off the lightsNo, one way or another, Daring Fireball will continueBut if the income I derive here remains at the hobbyist level, I’m only going to be able to devote a hobbyist amount of time to it, which is significantly less time than what I’ve poured into it to dateIn short, a hobby-level 万博manbetx贴吧 will resemble much more a typical weblog — blurb-length posts, often only to link to articles elsewhereNo cat pictures, but still.

There’s a flip side, however: if this funding drive is successful enough that I can legitimately call this a career, 万博manbetx贴吧 could get a whole lot betterTwo of my favorite things to write are software reviews and developer interviewsBut even though I’ve been writing this for nearly two years and have published over 200,000 words, I’ve only published a handful of reviews, and even fewer interviews.

When 万博manbetx贴吧 debuted, I had planned for it to be chock full of bothBut reviews and interviews — at least Daring Fireball-style ones — simply take much more time than I’d anticipated.

As an example of the type of review I’d to write on a regular basis, please recall my look at theOmniWeb 5的公开测试版

我最喜欢的采访的例子:布伦特西蒙斯迈克尔·蔡

I wrote the OmniWeb review over the course of four consecutive days, morning to nightIt’s not so much that the writing took long — but the research didMy goal with a review isn’t just to launch the app, click around, and describe the gist of itThe point is to live with it, not just to try it but to使用它To understand it, and then to describe it to youThat takes time — especially for anything other than the apps I already use on a daily basis.

I’ve been criticized occasionally for devoting too much of my critical attention to software from Apple, as opposed to from small independent developers有罪的指控,没有争论But it’s not because I don’t want to write about indie apps, it’s that writing about indie apps takes so much more timeWhen I write about Safari, for example, I can safely assume that you’re already very much familiar with it, and I can cut to the chase and write only about a few specific featuresWhereas with OmniWeb 5, the reason it’s so interesting is that it’s a very different browser than anything else I’ve ever seen.

At least once per month, some new app strikes me as being worth a detailed reviewMore often than not, such software is from independent developersI simply haven’t had the time to write about them但是我想。

Same for the interviews — which to date have been exclusively with individual independent developersThese interviews consume at least a full week of my time, probably more(They also consume an awful lot of the subjects’ time, for which I’m quite appreciative.) First, they’re just plain longBut what also consumes time is the back-and-forth万博manbetx贴吧 interviews aren’t conducted with an up-front list of predetermined questionsI start with a few openers, but subsequent questions are follow-ups to the initial answers.

I’ve been using a Mac for almost 15 years, and but I’ve never seen anyone write about the people who make the Mac world spin — the developersImagine if Rolling Stone only wrote about the music, but never the musiciansThat’s what the nerd press does with software: you can read about the apps, but never the developersNo matter how lovely the ones and zeroes are, they’re never as interesting as people.

The implicit immodesty of the sentence to follow pains me, but here goes: I don’t think there’s anything else quite like Daring Fireball.

The OmniWeb 5 review was about 9 printed pages long; the interview with Tsai 14 pages, and with Simmons, 21Page counts are not a good metric of quality, of courseWhat I strive for isn’t length, per se, but深度

独立新闻

If you look at this fund raising drive as my asking you to send me $20 bucks so I can dick around on the Internet, well, I’ve already lost you.

But if you’re on the fence, there are all sorts of ways I can justify 万博manbetx贴吧 being worth a $20 donation例如that it works out to around $0.40 per weekOr that it’s less than the cost of a typical book.

这本书的比喻并不坏万博manbetx贴吧 has averaged out to around 100,000 words per year thus far, which is roughly the word count of a several-hundred-page bookBut perhaps this raises the question as to why I don’t just write a book instead, if I want to make a career out of writingAnd that’s really where the analogy falls apart — because while it’s not inconceivable that I’ll someday publish a book, what I really want to write is thisThis site火球Which aren’t the sort of pieces that would work in a book at all.

And so perhaps a better analogy is to independent Mac developers. I.eto think of me as an independent Mac journalist, and to think of your donation to support my writing as loosely equivalent to the registration fees you pay to support independent developers.

This feels right to me, but like any analogy, it’s not completely watertightFor one thing, very little professional software these days is actually truly “shareware”, meaning “please pay if you like it”Professional software, even from the smallest independent developers, is licensed such that you必须pay for it if you continue to use it past the demo.

That’s because the voluntary shareware model just doesn’t work as a means to generate a livelihoodWhat works are things like demo periods (“30天的完整应用程序”) or feature-limitations (“use the light version for free, pay to get the pro version with more features”)The idea is not to nag, but rather to provide an impetus to act.

万博manbetx贴吧 is a web site, not an app, so the idea of a “demo period” is not applicable(Perhaps the members-only full-content RSS feed could be considered a “pro” feature, however.)

因此,有限的融资期限两周This is not the sort of thing where I’ll be incessantly asking for donations year-roundJust these last two weeks of June, the money raised during which will determine where 万博manbetx贴吧 goes from here.

最后一句话

不要将“新闻”与“客观性”混为一谈Striving for objectivity — taking no sides, casting no opinions — has taken all the life out of modern corporate journalism万博manbetx贴吧 is unabashedly subjective, but, I hope, never at the expense of accuracy or genuine insightAbove all else, what I’m going for here isn’t so much to be entertaining, or even informative, but to be引人入胜的

我试图写出这些东西。

Asking you to take notice of what it is I’m trying for, what it is that I hope makes 万博manbetx贴吧 different, seems rather uncouth. That asking你觉得吗?危险地接近询问Do you like me?That by even alluding to it, it breaks the implicit author/reader contract.

But I need to impress upon you just how serious I am about this, and I see no other way to do so than to step out from behind the curtain just this once to address you directly, author to reader, with nothing but 100 percent honesty.

没有演出技术没有技巧Just me, your humble author, hat in hand, heart in throat, asking for your support.