The Life And Legacy Of TextMechanic
TextMechanic is dead. Long live TextMechanic.
My favorite website for text-related tools just went paywall. You can't perform more than four actions - no matter how small - per hour, as a free user.
I understand that hosting's not free, and though I finance my own sites out of my own pocket - and know many others who do the same, as this guy did before - I realize not everyone has this luxury. Or they have a better sense for business.
I'm hoping it's the lack of luxury in the case of TextMechanic, as the latter implies an array of more negative concatenations of traits, of which the first that comes to mind is: greed.
I never figured Larry for that kind of guy though (pardon if I recall the name wrong - all references thereof have since been removed from the website). In 2016 he lost his regular job, redesigned his Text Mechanic site and seemed intent on pouring all his energy into this old hobby-project instead. He started a Patreon, he added ads (not sure if this was before or after), and he posted one blog post regarding the change, and all that was to come. I started looking forward to the upgrades.
Since then nothing. No more blogs. No Patreon updates. No tiers. Suddenly it seems he wasn't so interested after all.
A few users signed up and are currently throwing in ca $28 per month, but his activity apparently seized after those initial posts, and the promised tools were never released. I sent in some feedback on the new design when it first launched, happy that the site I'd been using for the past decade or so suddenly had a public face to go with it; a name behind all those awesome tools... but never received a response. I wish I'd saved my message, because i didn't get a copy of it either, nor a confirmation via email. And since then things have only gone downhill.
I wasn't very fond of the new design in the first place - it seemed rushed and inconsistent; adhering to modern standards more than functional practice, but I think I focused on the good more than the bad in my email. This time however... I'm not hanging around. The alternatives are, fortunately for me but not so much for Larry, in surplus. Most of them are free, most of them are equally easy to use - if not easier, and better-looking, and the one I'm testing right now doesn't have as obtrusive ads either. Some, company-sponsored ones, don't even have ads.
They don't require you to log in, they don't limit your uses, and they don't cost a thing. Some don't even need you to reload the page between actions. The ones that do have pro versions seem to at least allow you a few minutes of work before forcing you to take a break.
Maybe I wouldn't have minded this drastic change if the wait time wasn't so excessive (one hour), or the four-try limit so meager (if you're not proficient with advanced reg-ex just replacing commas, periods, spaces and line breaks in one paragraph takes all those four tries at once).
It's a bit strange how loyal I've been to this one service since I first found it, and that it had to come to this for it to hit a breaking point. Even after it started changing and growing all the more complex and difficult to navigate I stuck with it, even when I knew there were other tools out there. Old habits die hard huh. Or is it ample nostalgia?
Even now that I've found better sites I wouldn't mind going back to the original, if only it went back to how it used to be. Or better yet: better. It's sad to see a good site decay and lose visitors, and purpose, and especially so when it seemed to be going towards greener pastures just moments before. I guess with time I'll get settled in to the alternatives instead.
I'm including the letter I sent to Larry this time as reference, and if it happens to fall into his spam folder maybe he'll stumble upon it here: