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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:

Read on...







Check it out! It's a well-working, embeddable, JS-based, minimalistic, P2P communication contraption (AKA CHAT) with no frills, just everything you really need to initiate a quick convo with strangers all around the globe. First one to join becomes the host, via which all communication is relayed, and if they leave you can just refresh the page to take over. It's pretty cool.

It's also not mine, but it seemed handy and worth promoting, and the author's OK with it being here as well. For the record SHIT CHAT is the official name, and although I think something like ASTOUNDING CHAT would've been a better sounding name for it since it's not shit (nor is shit frequently chatted about there... as far as I know), it is a chat, and this has a nice ring to it too don't you think? Short. Simple. Memorable.

And not a name that raises bars or expectations all too high either.

I'll probably not be on much, but who knows, some dark and silent nights when spare time allows... who knows. Hopefully others will when I'm not.

Also keep in mind that the userbase here is not limited to CDB. This thing can be embedded anywhere, and will have the same users in every place. You never know who you might run into! Have fun.

My Old Twitters

Browsed through my old Twitter messages today. 606 of them. It's interesting how back in the day you just said what you were doing, right then and there, and ten years later (it's been almost ten years since my last post at least) it's evolved into more of a chatroom than a list of status updates. So much more dynamic. And so much less about status updates than points of interest - a mesh of news, dues and random inspiration.

Almost like a lightweight version of Tumblr.

Also I miss Ananova. Quirkies... remember? There's so much nostalgia in those tweets, short and pointless as they may be. Some places are gone, but some sites never die! City Creator's still there, for one. Still fun. It's not in Flash either so maybe it'll live past 2020 too.

I don't remember playing Dragon Fable at all. But the site. Hmm. Seems very Time Hunter-like...

No time to go Google now, but just thought I'd post a note. If you want to check my twitters, new and old - inexistent and archived - they're here and here. Maybe some day that second one will actually come to life... maybe. Some day.

Blank YT Pages

Blank YT Page

Ever stumbled upon one of these? Blank YT pages. Usually they show an error to let you know what's up (or down), but sometimes...

Those Mysterious Cookies

Those Mysterious Cookies

I wonder if this one notice really complies with the GDPR...

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