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Change has come to
Authored by: donfarrar on Sep 10, '04 02:43:29AM

I haven't seen the obvious stated: Rob gets these hints, then turns them into profitable books. Not a knock, mind you, but a reminder about why this site exists. Yes, it "serves the community" -- whatever that ghastly socialist term means -- but it also serves a better god: profit. Now he gets to make a little money on two fronts out of this site. Good for him!

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Change has come to
Authored by: xavierbdm on Sep 10, '04 03:10:20AM

I sense a bit of cynicism there.
Rob "gets" these hints. Yes. But why? Because he organised a place for them to be hosted, because he sorts them out, because he rewrites them, because he comments or tries them.
And he re-distributes them, all in all, in an intelligent and tasteful and efficient manner.
That is why we send him the hint. Not to him, really, but to the other readers, through his relay.
So he doesn't "get them for free and profit from them". He is just one of the good places which deserve our hints and contributions, because they play a good role at sharing.
Making money from a book? Hey, good on him, it pays back for three years of voluntary work.
Making a living from the site? Hey, good on him. If you want ice-cream on a beach, you have to pay for the guy to bring it to you!
I am a big fan of that "community" you mention. And that is not a meaningless "socialist" term. It is a reality: there are people, they gather around information and exchange more, they appreciate and share talents, they recongnize the more talented and trust their advice, and the more talented get both a recognition reward and the right to make a better living out of their talent.
Rob has been very talented in setting up a place to host hints. He had the idea and the talent, he deserves credits and money back for his time.
By the way, Open source is about that: sharing the knowledge, and paying back the talented for their contribution. Open source might actually be the true liberal approach ;-) (not paying back only the bankers and the bosses)
A more humane "fittest survival": the best teach the lesser best, to help them grow!
Ok, I stop my rant.

iMac G4 17 800/512/80 + powerbook firewire G3 500/512/30

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Change has come to
Authored by: kirkmc on Sep 10, '04 03:21:26AM

I gotta react to this... Rob doesn't just "get these hints and turn them into profitable books". Sure, he's set up a site and has made one book (soon to be a second edition, with a, um, different title) using these hints, but don't think they just get poured into a book as-is. A lot of work goes into rewriting, editing and verifying these hints.

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Change has come to
Authored by: teomalchio on Sep 10, '04 06:18:34AM

---"serves the community" -- whatever that ghastly socialist term means---

you have problems, man...

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Change has come to
Authored by: heyotwell on Sep 10, '04 08:48:21AM
And if there are two less profitable sources of income than running a niche website for geeks and writing a technical book, I don't know of them. Rob is quite lucky if MOSXH and a part-time job pays the bills; most comparable sites probably don't.

(And isn't "serving the community", like, the entire value of the web? I for one probably spent 80% of my time online on sites where someone's written something basically cause they think it would help people to know it.)

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Change has come to
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 05:18:25PM
Just to clarify on the book thing a little bit ... as noted, Mac tech books (and websites) are not exactly the secret to retiring rich at an early age :). When Michael Crichton (a Mac user, hooray!) releases his latest thriller, it will sell literally millions of units. By comparison, I've been told that a successful Mac tech book has sales anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 units. My first book fell somewhere south of the midpoint of that range, so it did OK by Mac standards -- well enough that O'Reilly agreed to do another :).

So you can see that there really isn't a lot of revenue to go around, especially when you consider what it takes to make a book -- there are literally something like eleven people directly involved in the production of the current edition of the book.

One other point I'd like to make regarding the books ... anyone can do what I did. Really. The database here is freely searchable for the entire four-year history of the site. So to mimick what I did, just cull the hints for all four years, find the ones you like the best, rewrite them from scratch (other than code snippets, none of the text from the web is in the book), take about 400+ screenshots, layout the chapters and put the hints in some order within the chapters, put everything together, and find a publisher :). I did all of this at night and during weekends, as my mornings were consumed with the site updates and my day job sucked up the daylight hours. I can tell you it's not a lot of fun, and it's by no means easy. But it is rewarding when it's all done, and you know you've put together something good.

The only advantage I have over someone else is that the site and its name are mine, and cannot be used as the title of another book (and I can directly search the database, which is a bit quicker than using the site's search engine).

But there's nothing to prevent someone from taking the knowledge (you can't copyright or patent a concept like "press command-` to scroll backwards through open apps") stored in this database and rewriting it in their own language and including it in a book of their own -- and I wouldn't want to stop someone even if I could. I want people to learn about, use, and like OS X, so that we keep the Mac platform going strong for another 20+ years :).


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Change has come to
Authored by: KingDoom on Sep 10, '04 06:22:23PM

Well said Rob!

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sales figures from O'Reilly
Authored by: hayne on Sep 11, '04 09:24:41AM
As Rob and others have said, writing a technical book is not the road to riches. Unless you are careful, you can easily spend so much time writing the book that the money received amounts to less than minimum wage.

Here's an interesting page where O'Reilly discusses the sales figures of their books and the amount of money an author might expect:

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praise to Rob, and answer to angry guy...
Authored by: Gabroil on Sep 10, '04 10:33:07PM

I was very upset when I read this, as I feel it is horrendously unfair. I have been using this site for a long time and have found it to be an excellent source for information. I dare anybody to find a free website that provides this kind of information, presented in a good manner and, even more remarkable, updated daily.

I have sent hints and have interacted with Rob, he was polite (he took time to write me an email and make a suggestion!) even though he must have to work hard to weed out all the bad, repeated or uninteresting hints. I know that the information that we absorb in an hour or so must take many hours to be put together.

While I am all for free beer, the truth is that someone has paid for that beer somehow, either monetarily or with their hard work. I think it is very fair for someone to be compensated for their work. Unlike some readers, I am not bothered by the adds (I think they are insignificant, compared to other free sites). And I would like to know who, of all of the readers would be willing to work hard and get nothing material in return.

Rob, I am glad that you will finally be compensated for all the hard work that you have done and will continue to do. I hope it is even more successful than you hope. Thank you for making MOSXH such a good useful tool to learn new and interesting things.

PS: One final thought on the angry reader. He does not like socialism, but he scorns someone profiting from their hard work. ???

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