David Sinclair's blog

2020 vision

Last week I published my annual Dejal year in review post for 2019. This week, let's look ahead for what's in store for 2020. And yes, I couldn't resist using the "2020 vision" pun. Sorry not sorry.

I am currently working on a big update to Simon, my pro macOS app to monitor websites and servers. I'm not ready to provide details, but I think people will enjoy the improvements. Due to my various projects, it probably won't be out for a few months.

Once that is done, I will start on an update to Time Out, probably version 2.7, though I might go to 3.0. I have a long list of feature ideas, some of which are earmarked for 3.0, some could be done sooner or later; I'll refine the plan closer to the time. As always, feel free to get in touch if you have suggestions.

Over the holiday period, I whipped up a quick prototype of a new macOS app to scratch my own itch, and as a fun learning experience for using SwiftUI, Combine, and other new technologies. The basic functionality is working, but I still need to do the preferences and other features. But that's on hold until I finish Simon. I'm actually thinking about outsourcing this, as another experiment. I do consulting development work for others, but it could be interesting to be on the client side for a change.

As always I have various other app ideas in various stages of planning or prototyping. I hope to spend some time on those at some point, but realistically probably won't have time for a while; my existing projects, including consulting work, accounts for all the time I have, and then some.

Speaking of consulting, I'm continuing to work on SheetPlanner, with some really nice enhancements underway, plus ongoing improvements to NewsBlur and Turn Touch. And maybe other projects later.

In terms of conferences, last year I attended AltConf in San Jose (see my photos) and Release Notes in Cancun, Mexico (see my photos). This year I plan to attend AltConf again, but beyond that don't have any conference plans; I'll definitely go to Release Notes again if they have one this year, and may go to another one depending on what is announced, though I won't be surprised if WWDC week is it for this year.

On the personal side, my wife and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with a big trip to my home country of New Zealand, plus the usual homestead projects and daily photos and such. Follow those two blogs if you're interested in me as a person.

It's going to be another busy year!

Dejal decade in review: 2010-2019

Happy New Decade!

(Yes, I know some pedants would say the decade doesn't start till next year, but that doesn't make intuitive sense.)

As we start a new decade, let's review what happened with the Dejal apps in the last one, January 2010 to December 2019:

My popular break reminder tool, Time Out, was first released way back in 2003, and started the 2010's with an update to version 1.5.6. It has been regularly updated, including a massive 2.0 upgrade in 2016. But that wasn't the end; it has had many updates since then, adding many useful features, and is currently at version 2.6.2. It is available directly from the Dejal site, via the Mac App Store, and via Setapp. It has been featured several times in the App Store, and regularly ranked #1 in the Health & Fitness category.
My pro app to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, Simon, is a year older, having started back in 2002. It begin the decade at version 2.5.6, with a major upgrade to version 3.0 later in 2010, and another to version 4.0 in 2014, and is currently at version 4.3.1. It continues to be sold both directly and as one of the foundation apps in Setapp.
Pack, a simple iPhone app to make it easy to pack for trips, was introduced in 2014, and rewritten from the ground up as 2.0 in 2019. It is currently up to version 2.1.
Date Stamp, an iMessage app to provide customizable date stamp stickers, was introduced in 2016, and updated to version 1.0.1 in 2017. It may or may not be updated again, but works really well as-is. The iMessage store didn't have a very good start, but is more visible in recent iOS releases. Tell your friends if you like this.
Chicken GIFs is a sticker pack featuring many fun animated GIFs of my chickens, which can be used as reactions in messages. It was introduced in 2017. It probably won't ever be updated, but is fun as-is.
Caboodle, a "lean clean snippet machine", was one of my older apps, created in 2006, and updated to version 1.5 in 2013. I worked on a big 2.0 update for a few years, and sold it to Before Dawn Solutions in 2017, where they released the 2.0.
BlogAssist, another older app to do HTML markup, was created in 2003, updated to version 2.4.1 in 2015, then discontinued in 2017. I don't like to discontinue apps, but sometimes it is the best option.
Tweeps, an iOS app to manage Twitter accounts, was created in 2010, updated to version 3.3 in 2014, then discontinued in 2017. It had a short life, suffering the fate of many third-party Twitter tools.
Narrator was my first app for Mac OS X; an app to read out stories in multiple voices. It was created in 2002, updated to version 2.0.7 in 2010, then sold to Mariner Software later in 2010.

It's been a busy decade!

Consulting

Dejal also produces macOS and iOS apps for other companies, under the banner of Dejal Consulting, since 1995.

The 2010's decade saw a significant change for Dejal Consulting, moving from having one big, long-term client (with the occasional smaller jobs) to a more diverse portfolio. While having a big client was comfortable, it was fairly disruptive when it ended. I enjoy having long-term projects, but I would prefer to avoid that disruption in the future, so now like to maintain at least a couple of bigger projects, and a sprinkling of smaller ones for variety.

I can't write about all consulting projects, but some publicly available ones in the past decade have included:

SheetPlanner, a pro-level outliner, planner, todo, calendar, and more. Written entirely by Dejal. Started in 2017, it recently reached version 1.2, with many great enhancements coming in future updates.
The iOS client for NewsBlur, a popular RSS reader. Contributions by Dejal, starting in 2015 and also ongoing.
The iOS and macOS apps for the Turn Touch remote, a beautiful wooden remote for your smart home. Contributions by Dejal, starting in 2019 and continuing.
Client Folder Maker, a macOS tool to make custom hierarchies of folders. Contributions by Dejal, starting in 2018.
Keynote Extractor, a better HTML export for Apple Keynote on macOS. Written by Dejal from 2016 to 2017.
zCloud, a menubar utility for macOS to easily share screenshots and other files. Written by Dejal from 2015 to 2016.
Profile, a large server/client medical practice management system for iOS and macOS. Dejal contributions to the macOS server/client apps from 1995 to 2014 (yes, 19 years!), and the iOS app written by Dejal from 2011 to 2014.

I am currently fully booked up for the next several months at least, but am always interested in talking with potential new clients. If you have a macOS or iOS project you'd like help with (or a custom Simon enhancement), check out my consulting page for more information.

Thank you

Thank you and welcome to my new customers, and many thanks to the long-term customers who are still enjoying my apps, and my continuing consulting clients. I really appreciate your support.

Featured blog posts of 2019

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2019 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

SheetPlanner 1.2 beta available

In between working on my Dejal apps and other projects, I've been hard at work on a big update to one of my consulting projects, SheetPlanner. Version 1.2 is now being beta tested.

SheetPlanner is a powerful macOS app that combines an outliner, todo, project timeline, calendar, notes, links, and more. This update includes a new picture column type, multi-selection in list cells, cell-specific styles and improved style controls, notifications for date cells, a timeline info popover, a date stamp option, and many more great enhancements.

If you're interested in helping test this update, please request the beta via the SheetPlanner contact form.

Time Out tip: add breaks to Calendar

I just had a customer wish that Time Out could track breaks taken in their Calendar app. That is definitely an interesting idea, so I was going to add it to my feature concepts list for consideration in a future version (and I still will), but it occurred to me that we could probably do that now with AppleScript actions.

As you may know, Time Out has the ability to perform various actions before, during, or after a break occurs. I made two AppleScripts based on Apple's sample code for the Calendar app, and added them to the Time Out Extras page.

Download the scripts now.

The "Add to Calendar Start" script creates a new "Time Out break" event in the first available calendar, at the current time, with a duration of an hour. To use this in Time Out, install it as normal (reveal the scripts folder via the + button on the Break Actions page, and add the two scripts there), then add an action set to be performed "After Start".

The "Add to Calendar End" script finds that event (assuming it is still within that hour), and updates the end time to the current time. So to use this, add an action set to be performed "After Any End" (i.e. when the break finishes, done or not).

Here's how it'll look in Time Out (with a couple of sound actions for good measure):

Break actions

If you want to add the events to a different calendar, you can edit the scripts (I included a commented out example). Just make sure you change both the same way.

I may add a more integrated calendar feature in the future, but in the meantime, it's great that such enhancements can be done immediately. I hope this is helpful to some people.

DejalNews #78: Time Out 2.6, Pack 2.1, other releases

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2019-10, issue #78

Welcome

This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

If you want to receive these newsletters in your email inbox, head over to the DejalNews subscribe page to sign up.

Time Out tips

I've published a couple of Time Out tips since the previous newsletter.

The most recent was to answer a frequently asked question: how can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac? If you've wondered that, read that post.

Earlier, I posted a tip on how to have custom fixed image and blog themes. Time Out's break themes are very flexible; read that to learn more.

Time Out 2.6 released

Speaking of Time Out, version 2.6, and a couple of bug fix updates, were recently released.

Version 2.6 includes several much-requested enhancements, including the ability to have breaks that occur at a fixed number of minutes past the hour, scheduling a smaller duration and frequency (great for "blink" breaks), a Random Word theme, Catalina support, and more.

Apple also wrote a feature story for the Mac App Store.

And Time Out is now included in Setapp, the popular subscription service for Mac apps. (But don't worry, it's also still available in the Mac App Store, and directly from my site.)

Release Notes conference

I recently attended the Release Notes conference in sunny Mexico. Check out all of my blog posts about the trip, if you can stand some decadence mixed with networking and discussions. That was a great trip, and excellent conference; I hope they do it again.

Pack 2.1 released

Time Out wasn't the only recent release. In preparation for my trip to Mexico, I updated my Pack iPhone packing list app to support iOS 13 and dark mode. Pack is completely free, and very simple, so try it for your next trip!

SheetPlanner 1.1 released

There were updates to some consulting apps, too. SheetPlanner 1.1 included dependency features, new progress and symbol column types, auto-enter options, and many more great enhancements. This is a powerful and very useful app, with a great roadmap of future enhancements. Highly recommended for anyone who needs an outliner or more powerful planning tools.

NewsBlur 9 released

Finally, NewsBlur 9 included full screen, autoscroll, customizable story titles, story change highlighter, and return to last read story, among other improvements. An excellent cross-platform RSS reader, always improving.

- David

Time Out tip: how can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac?

The Time Out preferences window always appears when opening the app from the Finder, but when you restart your Mac, the window should not appear, even if it is launched via the Automatically start Time Out… preference.

If it does unexpectedly appear after you restart your Mac, the most likely reason is it was launched either by Login Items or the Dock.

To check the Login Items, go to System Preferences ▸ Users & Groups ▸ Login Items, and see if Time Out is listed. If it is, remove it.

If that doesn't solve it, check the Dock: show the Time Out icon in the Dock if it isn't already (via the General preferences), then click-and-hold on its icon in the Dock to show the menu, and look at Options ▸ Open at Login. Uncheck that if checked.

To ensure you don't miss your breaks, make sure the app is launched by checking the Automatically start Time Out… preference on the General page. (Note that this will only work if the app is within your Applications folder.)

Pack 2.1 released

I'm pleased to announce version 2.1 of Pack, my simple trip packing app for iPhone.

If you missed version 2.0, you may be interested to learn that Pack is now totally free for everyone! It no longer has an in-app purchase to unlock features; everything is available. Read the 2.0 blog post if you're curious why.

Want to get it right now? Download Pack from the App Store. Read on for details.

Version 2.1 includes support for iOS 13, including dark mode. (Don't worry, it still works on iOS 12 too.)

Here's the packing view, where you cross off items as you put them in your suitcase:

Pack screenshot

Flip over to the Choose Items view to pick what to pack:

Pack screenshot

And editing items:

Pack screenshot

You get the idea. Of course, the light mode is also still available. But I know a lot of people prefer dark mode, myself included.

Version 2.1 also includes some improvements to tags, one of the new features of version 2.0, where items can have any number of tags assigned to them, e.g. "Clothing" and "Cold" to enable further categorizing items to guide choosing what to pack for a trip.

Notice in the screenshots above that some items, e.g. "Sweatshirt", appear twice, once under "Clothing", and once under "Cold". Toggling one will toggle the other, since they are just two tags for the same item. You can also arrange the items by name or by person, if that makes more sense to you. (Personally I usually use by person.)

Want to try it?

Again, Pack 2 is completely free! So download it from the App Store and try it before your next trip.

Please rate & review

If you do try it, please do me a favor and write a review for it. The old version had some 1-star reviews due to old issues, but I'd like to get some more positive ones there, to encourage people to give it a try. Pack has long been an indispensable app for me, and I'm sure others will find it useful too.

Thank you,
David

Attending the Release Notes conference

In a couple of days Jenn and I will be in sunny Playa Mujeres, Mexico, about 45 minutes north of Cancún, to attend the Release Notes conference; an indie software business focused conference put on by the guys behind the excellent Release Notes podcast. We'll be there a day either side of the conference, too, so we can enjoy some extra relaxation.

If you'll attend too, please feel most welcome to say hi. And if you want to attend, it isn't too late — I believe there are still a few tickets left.

I'll probably replace my usual Dejal shirts with more casual Hawaiian shirts, but may still have a Dejal badge or something. And my long beard is fairly distinctive:

David wearing Dejal shirt & cap

I will have business cards with my contact details and apps, plus Dejal and Time Out stickers:

Dejal business cards and stickers

And if you'll be there too, perhaps try using my free packing app, Dejal Pack, to make sure you don't miss anything when packing your suitcase. Recently rewritten as version 2! Did I mention that it's free? (Version 2.1 is currently waiting for review, too, with dark mode support.)

Looking forward to it!

Time Out tip: fixed image and blog themes

I recently got a support request for Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, asking to display a fixed image during the break.

Time Out uses HTML pages as break themes, so it is possible to have a fixed image as a theme — in fact the default theme, Icon, does just that, with the app icon.

So one way to have a fixed image is to:

  1. Choose the Reveal Themes command at the end of the Theme pop-up menu to open the Themes folder in the Finder.
  2. Duplicate the Icon theme folder and give it a new name.
  3. Replace the icon.png file with your chosen image.
  4. Edit the index.html to adjust the name and size of the displayed image.
  5. Edit the Info.json file to give the new theme a unique identifier etc.

Pretty easy. You can edit those files in TextEdit or any other text editor.

If the image is available on some website, it's actually a little easier. I have created an example theme on the Time Out extras page:

Download the Ducks & Fish theme

You can edit a copy of this theme to use a different image:

  1. Choose the Reveal Themes command at the end of the Theme pop-up menu to open the Themes folder in the Finder.
  2. Add the Ducks & Fish theme, if not already.
  3. Duplicate that theme and give it a new name.
  4. Edit the Info.json file to give the new theme a unique identifier, and change the URL to the desired image.

(This got me thinking, and I spent the last hour or so writing up notes on ways to make adding image-based themes even easier in a future version. I'm always trying to improve the app.)

While I was at it, I also added three themes to display my three blogs:

  • Dejal Blog (download link): a theme that simply shows the Dejal blog, so you can read it during your break, to see the latest news about Time Out and other Dejal apps (doesn't update very often, though, so probably not that exciting for a regular break).
  • Dejus Blog (download link): a theme that shows my personal blog, where I post photos and comments every day. Could be good for a short break a once or twice a day.
  • Yellow Cottage Blog (download link): a theme to show the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog, about my chickens, ducks, feral cats, bees, and other homestead topics. Could be good for a lunchtime break.

If you try those, you might want to set the Opacity to 100% on the Break Appearance page.

Time Out isn't a web browser or feed reader, but since the themes are just web pages, these show some of the interesting things you can do.

Time Out is now in Setapp!

I'm pleased to announce that my popular break reminder tool, Time Out, is now available via Setapp!

Setapp logo

As you may know, Setapp is a third-party solution kind of like the Mac App Store, but instead of selling apps individually, they offer a hand-picked collection of the best apps for one low monthly price. Like Netflix for apps.

And now Time Out is amongst that elite set of apps.

All apps in Setapp are fully-featured, with no up-front purchases, in-app purchases, or ads. And fully supported by the developers. Time Out is no different: the Setapp edition includes all supporter rewards, past, present, and future.

If you're already a Setapp subscriber, I'd appreciate it if you switched over to the Setapp edition, since the more people who use it, the more money I earn from Setapp. Then you'll get future supporter rewards at no cost. But if you prefer to stick with the Mac App Store or direct editions, that's fine too. Whichever you prefer.

If you aren't yet a Setapp subscriber, now is a great time to try it. I'm confident that you'll find several apps that you'll find useful, easily justifying the cost. Try it free for a week! To get started, click the following link (and that'll help me too; if you sign up via this link, I'll get a referral bonus for the lifetime of your account; much appreciated!):

Check out Setapp!

Time Out 2.6.1 released

Here's a little update of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, with just a few tweaks:

  • Fixed some situations where the new Fixed Time option didn't calculate the best time.
  • When the Break Appearance page was selected then you choose a break with a duration of zero, the Actions page is now selected instead.
  • Now automatically shows the Learn More information when first displaying the Support Time Out page, to help answer common questions.
  • Improved the auto-start option to avoid showing the Preferences window when starting up the Mac.

Want to try it?

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, you can update via the App Store app.

If you are using the direct edition, you can use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download Time Out now!

Time Out 2.6.1b1 released

Here's a beta of a little update to Time Out, to fix a few things.

Only a few changes in this beta:

  • Fixed some situations where the new Fixed Time option didn't calculate the best time.
  • When the Break Appearance page was selected then you choose a break with a duration of zero, the Actions page is now selected instead.
  • Now automatically shows the Learn More information when first displaying the Support Time Out page, to help answer common questions.
  • Improved the auto-start option to avoid showing the Preferences window when starting up the Mac.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

Time Out feature story on Mac App Store

Apple now supports reading their feature stories on the web, so I can link to their story on my Time Out app.

(It may still open the Mac App Store, if viewed on a Mac, but the full story is also visible in the web page.)

Time Out 2.6 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.6 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Fixed time breaks

A significant enhancement in this update is the ability to have breaks that occur at a fixed number of minutes past the hour. What's more, you can now also have a break offset from the completion time instead of the start time.

These new options are available via a new From pop-up menu on the Break Schedule page, that includes options for Last Due, Last Done, and Fixed Time. Last Due is what previously happened, and the default.

Last Done is a new option, that will reset the break after it is completed, so the next break will occur the frequency interval after that. For example, a 10 minute break every 30 minutes will next occur 30 minutes after the break finishes, instead of 30 minutes after it starts (as with the Last Due option).

Fixed Time is another new option, which will display a field to enter the number of minutes past the hour (0 - 59), and will start the break at that time, or some multiple if the frequency is less than an hour. For example, setting it to 50 for an hourly break will start the break at 09:50, 10:50, 11:50, etc. Or setting it to 15 for a break every 30 minutes will start it at 09:15, 09:45, 10:15, 10:45, etc (you may need to also use the Available option to set a start time in this situation).

The latter two are new rewards for current or future supporters; others can try them for an hour at a time.

Schedule page

Break Schedule now supports smaller duration and frequency

But wait, there's more! By popular request, you can now configure a break to last zero seconds, to avoid showing the control panel at all. When the duration is zero, the Appearance page is disabled, since it doesn't apply. Use Actions like Flash Screen or Display Notification instead.

You can also now use seconds as a frequency unit, i.e. have the break occur as often as once per second, if desired (though not recommended!).

Both options can be useful for a 10 second blink reminder that just flashes the screen.

Random Word theme

Version 2.6 also bundles the Random Word theme, contributed by Michelle Lim. This theme displays a different word and its definition each time it is displayed — entertaining and informative.

Random Word theme

Catalina

Time Out has been updated to be compatible with Catalina (macOS 10.15). The direct edition now uses the hardened runtime and is notarized by Apple, as required for Catalina.

And various other fixes and tweaks

Including proper sorting of the Activity dates, fixed row heights in the status popover, counting postponing and skipping a break via the Options pop-up menu, always showing the Preferences window, several improvements to in-app purchases, and help updates.

See the release notes for details.

Want to try it?

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, you can update via the App Store app.

If you are using the direct edition, you can use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download Time Out now!

Time Out 2.6b2 released

Here's a second beta of Time Out 2.6.

Only a few changes in this beta:

  • Postponing and skipping a break via the Options pop-up menu are now counted with the postpone/skip/done counts.
  • Opening Time Out will now always show the Preferences window, unless it's within five minutes of restarting (to avoid showing it when automatically launched on startup).
  • Improved handling of in-app purchases that require approval.
  • Improved handling of restoring purchases for names with Cyrillic characters.
  • Now uses the hardened runtime, in anticipation of notarization.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

Time Out 2.6b1 released

Another release this week: this time a beta of my handy break reminder Mac app, Time Out.

Version 2.6b1 adds a much-requested option for fixed-time breaks, plus better support for blink reminders by enabling zero-length breaks, and having breaks that occur every few seconds. Plus other enhancements and fixes.

Here are the deets:

Fixed-time breaks

  • Added a From pop-up menu to the Break Schedule page. It includes options for Last Due, Last Done, and Fixed Time.
  • Last Due is what previously happened, and the default.
  • Last Done will reset the break after it is completed, so the next break will occur the frequency interval after that. For example, a 10 minute break every 30 minutes will next occur 30 minutes after the break finishes, instead of 30 minutes after it starts (as with the Last Due option).
  • Fixed Time will display a field to enter the number of minutes past the hour (0 - 59), and will start the break at that time, or some multiple if the frequency is less than an hour. For example, setting it to 50 for an hourly break will start the break at 09:50, 10:50, 11:50, etc. Or setting it to 15 for a break every 30 minutes will start it at 09:15, 09:45, 10:15, 10:45, etc (you may need to also use the Available option to set a start time in this situation).
  • The latter two are new rewards for current or future supporters; others can try them for an hour at a time.

Break Schedule now supports smaller duration and frequency

  • Can now configure a break to last zero seconds, to avoid showing the control panel at all.
  • When the duration is zero, the Appearance page is disabled, since it doesn't apply. Use Actions like Flash Screen or Display Notification instead.
  • Can also now use seconds as a frequency unit, i.e. have the break occur as often as once per second, if desired (though not recommended!).
  • Both options can be useful for a 10 second blink reminder that just flashes the screen.

Other changes

  • Added the Random Word theme, contributed by Michelle Lim.
  • The Activity dates are now in the correct order, instead of sometimes jumbled up.
  • Fixed row heights sometimes being wrong in the status popover.
  • Improved the error message when purchasing is unavailable.
  • Updated the help.

Catalina

  • The app hasn't been tested on Catalina betas yet, but will be before general release; please let me know of any issues you notice.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

SheetPlanner 1.1 released

Another of my consulting projects, SheetPlanner, has also recently had a big update, to version 1.1.

SheetPlanner is a powerful macOS app that combines an outliner, todo, project timeline, calendar, notes, links, and more. This update includes dependency features, new progress and symbol column types, auto-enter options, and many more great enhancements.

SheetPlanner window

Get the app and start a free trial via the Mac App Store.

SheetPlanner is now also available via Setapp.

Or learn more about the changes in this update.

NewsBlur 9 released

NewsBlur for iOS version 9 is now available on the App Store.

NewsBlur is a popular RSS service, and the iOS app enables reading stories from the convenience of your iPhone or iPad.

This update includes full screen, autoscroll, customizable story titles, story change highlighter, and return to last read story, among other improvements.

Go to the App Store to get the app, or read the official NewsBlur blog post for more information on this update.

(NewsBlur for iOS is a Dejal consulting project.)

DejalNews #77: Pack 2, WWDC, forums phasing out

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2019-06, issue #77

Welcome

This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

If you want to receive these newsletters in your email inbox, head over to the DejalNews subscribe page to sign up.

Pack 2.0

I announced a month ago the release of Pack 2.0, my handy trip packing tool for iPhone. I also mentioned that it is now available completely free; there isn't any up-front or in-app purchase. So there's no reason not to try it! Read the announcement for details.

WWDC19

I'm back from San Jose, where I attended AltConf to watch the WWDC keynotes, and went to a bunch of meetups and evening live podcast shows. It was great to see many other developers, Time Out customers, and others.

Like many people, I'm excited by several of the announcements. SwiftUI was perhaps the most exciting thing, since it'll likely be the future of Apple's platforms, though still needs a bunch of work before a lot of people will be able to adopt it. I certainly will embrace it when I can.

The tools to bring iOS apps to the Mac, known as "Project Catalyst", formerly called "Marzipan", is also interesting. While it won't affect my Mac apps, it could be useful if I wanted to bring Pack to the Mac (for some reason), or other projects.

As a user, macOS Catalina, iOS 13, and other updates include many welcome changes. I haven't installed an iOS beta yet (and probably won't for a while, unless needed for development), but have Catalina on my laptop (not my primary Mac), and while it's very buggy, it does have some good stuff.

I'm also still recovering from WWDC-crud, coughing up a storm. Sometimes no matter how careful I am, just can't avoid it.

Dejal forums are being phased out

I locked down Dejal site account signups several months ago, due to spam abuse, and offered to manually add people. But the forums are on their way out; my suggestion is now to search the site, and if you don't find an answer, contact me directly if you need assistance. I'm sorry if this is inconvenient.

The forums were a good idea at the time, but have never had very high volumes, as almost everyone prefers to receive private and personal help. And the attacks from spammers trying to post on the site makes it untenable to continue offering them. I will leave the forum content there for now, but in due course when I next overhaul the site, I'll remove them. I also want to improve the FAQs and support pages to offset that.

Thanks for reading!

- David

Syndicate content