TIL 1.9: Design, Insight, and the Future

With the release of the newest set of updates to @TIL, I am happy to say that the unofficial companion to Micro.blog has entered the next phase of its development.

Let’s take a look at the release notes for those TL:DR fans out there:

TIL 1.9:

Unofficial

One of the updates is for the edits made to include the word unofficial in the TIL tagline. This better reflects the reality of the endeavour; yes I do get help from the team but this is not an official part of Micro.blog at all. It’s all just me, making it happen, and as such it’s better to make this as obvious as possible.

One of the reasons this is important is cost. As time passes and TIL grows, and as my standards improve – albeit unsteadily for the past 18 months – I have reached an inflection point. The project can not remain stable or grow further without money, and whilst I wish I could tell you my recent big home move resulted in an immediate and entirely surprising increase in our income… I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised that is very much not the case.

As such I have closed the Buy Me A Coffee page and now invite you to take a look at the first membership offering for Today I Learned: The Insight Program. Right now it is entirely donation-based, with no rewards on offer. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is not the plan for the long term; in fact, the very reason I have moved to Memberful is due to the numerous ways in which their platform is so much better made for offering a variety of memberships. This is a start… I am looking forward to doing more.

You’ll notice on the Memberful site that I have detailed the costs of TIL, including my fundraising goal for this version of the membership. I am doing everything I can to work around costs; using free trials, renting, finding free versions of software, carefully managing my computer… just as much as I can think of. I hope my intention here is as transparent as possible; every single penny that is put towards a plan in The Insight Program will be put directly into running Today I Learned.

Here is a quick example of the current situation regarding costs:

  • Setapp has expired. Having finished the 7-day trial of the rental service, I had quickly made use of a few apps for TIL.
    • Although, to be honest, the ongoing cost of the subscription is likely not the best choice even if in the short term it could be helpful.
  • NounPro Unlimited will expire in 3 weeks. The premium subscription for The Noun Project has already been put to use in a number of the design updates you can now see on the site and external profiles.
  • Sketch trial will expire in 3 weeks. Similar to Noun, only in this instance practically all of the new graphics in use for TIL were made in Sketch.
    • Much like with Setapp, I am unsure if this subscription makes sense in the long run. Though I have a back-up plan, which you can see listed on the Memberful site.

… and so I will continued to do my best in this way. Please let me know if you’re aware of any comparable free alternatives (MBP High Sierra 13.6), including that which is listed on the Memberful site.

Speaking of costs being covered and the overwhelming generosity of the community, I would like to give a wholehearted thank you to the multiple donors to the Buy Me A Coffee page. You’re all just fantastic and have left me flabbergasted, having literally helped my family move and thus massively improve our standard of living. On top of that, just 3 days ago Matt Cassem (@sarcassem) donated enough to cover email hosting for the next 12 months with money to spare that will be put to use in another part of TIL.

Seriously… overwhelming ☺️

Yes, so, you can help out with either a single donation or a monthly payment. The links to these can be found on the newly updated About page as well as the Memberful site itself.

Realign

Last week I changed the posting schedule for the site, introducing later posts as a result of an unexpected shift in my personal schedule. This may become a permanent change but I can’t say for sure. Either way I’ll continue to work to make publishing as reliable and consistent as possible.

Post Haste is currently on hold. Between uncertainty regarding email hosting costs and a switch to Fastmail that has been a little complicated regarding Buttondown hosting, there was suddenly something of a hurdle between writing the issues of the newsletter and publishing them. Thanks to the aforementioned good news regarding email hosting and the teaser screenshot posted by Manton last month, I don’t think it’ll be much longer before ICYMI is back.

Major design updates are now finished for at least the next few months. Version 1.9 means what it implies; the next change for the site, and likely the various extensions that make up TIL, will be 2.0 and all that entails. I have been working on ideas for this and look forward to getting my hands dirty with Hugo in particular. In the meantime I’ll make fixes and minor tweaks for smaller updates but as has once been said before: no new features.


It was both a lot of fun and quite stressful to put together these changes. In the end it has been the most satisfying update to make, and I hope you’ll join me in making this feel like just the beginning.

I am looking forward to building 2.0 but mostly, next, I can already feel the excitement for some new features that will hopefully be out very soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be back with regular activity throughout the week and will see you at the next big announcement.

Thanks for reading.

⏀ Simon

Simon Woods @issimonwoods