– a Functional Replacement for Yahoo!Groups

Earlier this month Yahoo announced the imminent end of Yahoo!Groups. If you’re an old fart like me, that’s bad news. Either you don’t want to join data krakens like Google and Facebook or you don’t want everybody in your book club, dog fancying association or society for creative role-playing to get your social media handle. Yahoo!Groups was a simple service that did what you needed if all you wanted was pass around important messages and organise some meetings – or even share the occasional photo. Yes, it got progressively worse like the rest of Yahoo, but it wasn’t quite so bad yet.

Now it’ll be gone by December and ther are a lot of lists of possible alternatives going round. Google Groups and Facebook lead the list and very restricted freemium options like GaggleMail, or share the rest of the list with completely public options like and extreme nerdery like running your own Listserv or implementing a forum you don’t want or need.

I needed to send e-mails to a group without disclosing its members, but still let everybody who wants reply. And I felt I was stuck to restrict myself to 20 members (not an option), pay through the nose for an over-engineered system even though I only need to send a couple of e-mails a month or delve deep enough into webhosting that the Balrog would certainly come and get me.

I was ready to give up and pay $7 / month for my seventy-member mailing list. Thankfully I found an underappreciated post on that offered another alternative: is freemium too, but instead of restricting its free option to twenty members, it just offers more features for its premium versions – things like 20 GB storage space instead of 1 GB, calendar, polls, wiki etc. In short things a small business might consider paying $20 / month for, but nothing like the essentials other sites want you to pay for.

Administration is a tiny bit more complicated than Yahoo!Groups, but not much – definitely not on the level of setting up your own forum. You get a couple more options, but the only important ones are how to moderate new users and how to set up your privacy. I suggest setting messages to private for practically all groups and either moderate new user posts or restrict membership to moderator approval. If you’re a semi-public group, you might want to be listed in the directory, but it’s probably better to just put a button on your website.

If you’re interested, but want to know more, check out the Lifehacker article linked above. I just got to say kudos to the team for providing such a hands-on, no-nonsense tool for free. That’s something you don’t see often enough anymore.

Irregular Webcomic Needs You!

David Morgan-Mar of GURPS and Pyramid fame is running a kickstarter for the very first print edition of his Irregular Webcomic. The book will contain the first 500 strips from the fantasy theme – basically the whole thing until the first end of the comic.

Problem is: there aren’t enough backers, at the moment. So, if you got a couple of bucks to help out, press the button and pledge for a digital or in-print copy at least. The price is in Australian Dollars, so you’re paying roughly three thirds of what you see in US Dollars

A Short Note Concerning Reviews

I have just updated my review calculations to better reflect the actual usefulness of the books. Final value before price now consists of 50% meat or cheese depending on the book’s focus, 15% of the other ingredient, 20% sauce and 15% generic nutritional substance. This led to slightly higher values across the board for all existing reviews, but nothing extraordinary. I just wanted to avoid situations where a book is dragged down by too little rules or flavour, when there’s nothing to justify that.

I might use a combined category in the future if something presents itself. The upcoming GURPS Discworld looks like a likely candidate.