more on subscriptions

This post is a follow-up to this morning’s post about subscription software and services. First, it turns out that I do have a 7-day trial subscription to Comixology Unlimited. I got an email today telling me that it would expire soon and that I could convert it to a full 30-day trial, if I wanted to. But it looks like it won’t auto-convert into a paid account, so that’s nice. (It would have been even nicer if Comixology was more straightforward about it to begin with, but close enough, I guess.)

On the O’Reilly item, there was a discussion about this on Hacker News today. (And one on Slashdot, though I don’t pay much attention to Slashdot these days. And another on Reddit.)

In the Hacker News discussion, a few people mentioned the Safari subscription that’s included with ACM membership. This has always been a limited subscription, with only a small subset of the full Safari library, and a limit of ten books on your “bookshelf” at a time. Well, it turns out that ACM now offers full access to Safari, starting yesterday. (See this FAQ for details.)

While I’m pretty happy to have found out about this, I’m a little confused. A full Safari subscription costs $400 a year. An ACM membership costs about $100 a year. I’m not sure why O’Reilly would give away full access to Safari like this. ACM is a professional society, but (as far as I know) they don’t enforce any real membership criteria. Most members probably have at least a BS in Comp Sci, but I don’t think it’s a requirement. So I don’t know, now, why anyone would pay $400 for Safari when they could just give $100 to ACM and get Safari, plus the other ACM benefits. Maybe I’m missing something. Either way, I guess I don’t need to worry about buying any computer books any time soon. (I’ve been an ACM member for many years.)

This all gets me thinking about Pluralsight again. I paid for a one-year subscription back at the end of last year. I got some good use out of it for a while, but I honestly haven’t done much with it over the last few months. Part of the reason for that is that I was using it to get up to speed on SharePoint programming; I’m not currently working on any SharePoint stuff, so I really don’t need to finish watching all the SharePoint content I had queued up. Another reason is that they’re cracking down on streaming video at work, due to concerns about bandwidth usage. While Pluralsight is probably OK, I don’t want to risk showing up on any management reports, so I just haven’t watched any videos at all at work recently.

I don’t have any particular area of technology that I need to learn for work right now. I should probably pick something new to work on in my spare time. I could get back to F#, but I’ve read several books on that, and I don’t see much value in getting back to it without having a real project to work on. Or I could get back to Ruby on Rails; I really didn’t get very far with that, the last time I started working on it. I picked up some TypeScript skills on my last SharePoint project, and I can see where there’s a lot I could work on with TypeScript and modern front-end development in general. (There’s a lot I don’t know.) Or I could try to learn more about .NET Core, which would be more in keeping with the career track I was trying to keep myself on before I got side-tracked into my current Dynamics AX position. Oh, and hey, Swift looks interesting!

So I should really pick a topic, then watch some Pluralsight videos and/or read a book or two on Safari, and see where that takes me.

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