My free break reminder app, Time Out Free, is today's feature on Tekzilla Daily. Check out their video! (Sorry, the embed code doesn't seem to work, at least without Flash, so you'll need to go to their site to view it.)
Here's the first beta release of Simon version 3.3:
Just a small update of Time Out, my free break tool. A few people had difficulty with the idle detection, so this version attempts to address that. If the idle interval returned by the OS seems invalid, it tries a similar but different approach to get a more sensible value.
I hope that this fixes the issue, but didn't get any feedback from the beta posted in that thread, so we'll see. If you don't get breaks due to Time Out still resetting them with this version, please contact me so I can work with you to figure this out.
If Time Out is working fine for you, you can skip this update if you wish.
Today marks a milestone that is perhaps only significant to me, but I feel worth noting anyway. Twenty years ago today, I started work on my first shareware product, SndPlayer. Yes, you read that right, 20 years... makes me feel old. :)
Dejal as a company was actually founded on September 20, 1991 — but I was away on vacation without internet access when that anniversary rolled around this year, so I'm celebrating my first paid product instead.
SndPlayer was first created on October 24, 1991, though wasn't in beta release until November 25, and general release on February 24, 1992. It had many updates over the years, with the last release on January 29, 2001. It was officially discontinued a couple of years later, since it could no longer be updated.
Check out the classy icon design, above... a construction crane seems a weird choice for a batch sound player, but the idea was that it could lift sounds out of any kind of file. And check out the About window: the icon was even animated (crudely)! Also of note in that window, other than hideous color choices, are the original Dejal logo, the "accelerated for Power Macintosh" (it was a "fat" app, running on 68K and PPC machines), and for the old-timers in the audience, ancient mentions like "Sound Mover", SoundEdit" and "HyperCard stack" may bring back memories.
Because SndPlayer was written for Mac OS 7 to 9, before Mac OS X was introduced, it doesn't run on modern machines and OS versions. If you have an old machine that supports those OS versions, or can run the Classic compatibility environment on Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier, you can run SndPlayer. It is still available on the Dejal site, and along with all other discontinued classic software, is completely free.
As a celebration of this event, I'm offering discounts on all of my Mac apps from today till
the end of the month November 14. No special codes or coupons required, but you need to use the online store, not the in-app purchasing tool or Mac App Store, to take advantage of these low prices.
Be quick — these specials expire at
the end ofOctober — UPDATE: extended till November 14!
Note also that Simon Bronze is not discounted via the above link (Simon Silver and above are, though), but is available discounted
as a weekly special from TheMacBundles — UPDATE: it's still available as part of their "Build Your Own Bundle".
This is a shaky picture, taken by me at the 2007 Macworld, just before Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. It shows Steve on the stage talking about the history of Apple's innovations, and captures a fade between the original Mac and his image on the projection screen. The ghostly image of him really seems appropriate now — his spirit lives on through the Mac, iPhone, and numerous other hardware and software that he played a big part in bringing to the world.
Steve Jobs died yesterday, and it shook the world. We had all been expecting and dreading this day, but from all the comments I've read online, it has affected everyone most profoundly, myself definitely included.
Pretty much my entire life has been shaped by Steve. I never met him, though did get to see him from a distance at WWDC and Macworld. But more than that, his work has had a huge influence on me.
I first used an Apple ][e at age 13, in the computer lab at school. It was a great machine, and helped confirm my love of computers and programming that had kindled a few years earlier. Then in 1984 I was one of the privileged few to get to use the school's only Mac, the then brand-new 128K original model. I used it as much as I could, and was so inspired by the innovative windows and mouse interface that I tried to write my own graphical interface for my home computer at the time.
As soon as I could afford it, which wasn't until a few years later, I bought my own Macintosh, a Mac Plus. And I taught myself Pascal so I could write my own software for it... and never looked back. Ever since I first touched a Mac back in school, I've been a dedicated Mac guy.
Steve's work and philosophy has inspired me throughout the years — his striving for perfection has encouraged me to do the same in my own work. Not always with success, but I've tried. As he encouraged, I've worked for years to follow my dreams, make my living doing what I love: creating fun and useful apps for the Mac, and later the iPhone and iPad. I'm still working on that; there's always more I can do, further refinements and goals. Steve is famous for always looking forward, and I try to do that too.
The world has lost a great man, one of the best that ever lived... and all too soon. Thank you, Steve, for all you've done. We will miss you, but your legacy lives on. You made the world a better place, and that's the best thing anyone can do.
A quick update for Simon, to version 3.2.1:
(Note also that Time Out Free 1.6.2 is now available in the Mac App Store.)
Here's another update of Time Out, to version 1.6.2.
This update includes some improvements to the way Time Out handles the timers when the Mac is briefly idle, plus some script tweaks:
This is a recommended update for everyone. And it's completely free!
Simon Express and Simon Free are streamlined editions of the flagship Simon application. They only have a few of the plug-ins that provide the services, filters and notifiers. They also don't include editor windows for services, filters and notifiers, and don't include the reports feature.
Simon Express has no limitation on the number of test configurations. So it is ideal for webmasters and others who want to monitor hundreds of websites.
Simon Free is the same as Simon Express, except that it is limited to 5 active test configurations. It is ideal for people who just want to monitor their own site and a few others.
Changes in version 3.2 include:
Unfortunately, bugs do creep in sometimes, and I somehow managed to introduce one in the few minor tweaks between the Time Out 1.6b1 beta release and the 1.6 general release. How embarrassing.
Anyway, I got concerned when I got a couple of people saying that Time Out's breaks stopped working after upgrading to version 1.6. One person may be a mistake, but more than one is a big red flag. So I investigated, and found a bug that could prevent breaks from running, and also prevent some of the break menu items from being active. This didn't affect everyone, but it is potentially widespread, so an urgent fix was needed.
Thus, version 1.6.1, a day after 1.6. For those affected, I am very sorry for the inconvenience!
Everyone, please download Time Out 1.6.1 now!
I'm pleased to announce the general release of Time Out 1.6, my free break reminder tool.
This release is much the same as the previous beta release, though has some minor fixes. It is a recommended update for everyone, except those still on Tiger (which is no longer supported). It remains completely free, too!
Here are the full release notes:
Time Out Free on the Mac App Store will be updated once Apple has reviewed it.
I'm pleased to announce the general release of Simon 3.2, my app to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures.
This update includes Lion compatibility and many other fixes and improvements:
Hey look, a Time Out update!
Not the long-awaited version 2 yet, sorry... but a 1.6 beta. It adds some much-requested enhancements, though, and (importantly) fixes support for breaks during full-screen apps on Lion.
That was a tricky fix; displaying overlay windows on full-screen apps is something that has stumped several developers in the dev forums, but I discovered that using an agent (separate helper app) made it work. Which almost led me to wait for version 2 to solve this, since that does use an agent for the break (and for the scheduler, so the app doesn't have to be running in the Dock). But I wanted to get a solution out there as quickly as possible, so decided to do an interim 1.6 release, and bring forward a couple of 2.0 features as a bonus.
So, since Time Out is now split into two app processes, there is some risk of misbehavior. But it all looks fine to me... now over to you brave beta testers! (If you're not feeling brave, you can wait for the general release, probably in a week or so, depending on whether anyone finds any problems... but if you don't mind running beta software, please help test this update!)
Almost ready for the Simon 3.2 general release!
Here's probably the last beta release before that, with just a couple of quick changes:
I just released a quick update to Caboodle, to bring it to version 1.4.1.
It appears that I accidentally set the minimum OS requirement at 10.6 in the 1.4 release, so it refused to run on 10.5. Which is rather ironic, since 1.4 also included a note that the 1.4.x releases would be the last to support 10.5. I could've just declared that 10.6 is the minimum after all, but I wanted to support 10.5 as stated, so here's 1.4.1 to correct that.
This release also includes updated French localizations, which weren't done in time for the 1.4 release. All localizations are now up-to-date.
If you already have version 1.4 and don't use Leopard or the French language, you can safely skip this update. For those affected, sorry for any inconvenience!
I'm pleased to announce the general release of Caboodle version 1.4, my lean clean snippet machine.
It has a number of great improvements:
This release has just a couple of date-related changes. Thanks to beta tester Bruce for reporting the Lion bug:
Mac OS X 10.7, more commonly known as Lion, was released last week, and has been very popular. Dejal customers have been very quick to upgrade.
So, I thought I'd report on the current OS usage stats, and the status of each of my apps.
Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" was released over six years ago on April 29, 2005.
Simon: Version 2.5.7 was the last to support Tiger; with the major 3.0 upgrade I made Leopard the minimum OS version. Despite that, there are less people using Simon 2 on Tiger than those who are eligible to upgrade to Simon 3 but haven't gotten around to it yet. About 4% of the user base are on Simon 2 on Tiger.
Time Out: The current release of this app still supports Tiger, but only about 2% of users are still on Tiger.
Caboodle: Version 1.3.7, the current release version as I write this, still supports Tiger, but the next release, 1.4, which is currently in beta, raises the minimum to Leopard. But only 3% of users will have to stick with 1.3.7.
BlogAssist: The current release, 2.2.6, still supports Tiger. Only 2% still need that, though.
Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" was released almost four years ago, on October 26, 2007.
Simon: Current releases of Simon require this OS as a minimum. 15% of Simon users are on Leopard.
Time Out: If I do another version 1 release, it'll require Leopard as minimum. 16% are on the spotty cat.
Caboodle: As mentioned, the 1.4 release requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5. 13% are on Leopard.
BlogAssist: The next version of BlogAssist will require Leopard. 7% are still on this OS release.
Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" was released almost two years ago, on August 28, 2009.
Simon: Most Simon users are on Snow Leopard currently, at 61%... though people are quickly moving on to Lion.
Time Out: Again, a majority of customers: 66%.
Caboodle: Interestingly, more people have moved to Lion than are still on Snowy for Caboodle: 16%. Version 1.5 will require Snowy.
BlogAssist: But back to the majority here: 65%.
Another implication of Snow Leopard was that the PowerPC (PPC) processor started to get phased out; Snowy no longer supports it. How many people are still using PPC machines?
Simon: Still supports PPC, and will for at least the rest of this year, perhaps longer. Currently 11% of Simon users need it, so I want to maintain PPC support for a while yet.
Time Out: Still supports PPC, but version 2 will no longer support it. Only 2% would be affected by that.
Caboodle: Still supports PPC, for just 3% of customers, but version 1.5 will no longer support it.
BlogAssist: Still supports PPC for now, for just 2%.
Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" was released about a week ago, on July 20, 2011.
Simon: In just a week, 24% of Simon users have moved on up to the latest big cat. The current general release (3.1.1) mostly works fine on Lion, but version 3.2, currently in beta, adds full screen support and has some fixes for Lion compatibility. Please help test version 3.2!
Time Out: This app appeals to a wide range of people, including those typically not early adopters, so it's not too surprising that Lion adoption is lagging behind the other apps, at only 16%. Still, that's not bad for a week. Time Out does have a known issue with Lion: breaks don't currently appear over full screen apps. I'm not sure why that is yet, but will see if I can fix it. I am working on Time Out 2 (with lots of interruptions for other work), but if I can solve the full screen issue for version 1, I'll release version 1.6 with that fix and some other enhancements. If I do that, version 1.6 will require a minimum of Leopard or maybe Snow Leopard.
Caboodle: This has the fastest Lion adoption of all my apps, at 32% in just one week. The current release version, 1.3.7, works fine on Lion, but version 1.4 is in beta testing, and includes full screen support on Lion and some other improvements.
BlogAssist: I haven't noticed any problems with Lion for BlogAssist. Currently 25% of users are on Lion, which is a pretty decent adoption rate. I'll probably do a 2.3 release in a month or two with some minor tweaks for Lion, but otherwise it's all good.
If you find any issues with any of my apps on Lion, please let me know. Or if you have any questions or concerns about dropping support for older OS versions or PPC, I'd certainly like to hear from you. You can reply to this blog post, post in the forums, or contact me privately (via web form or email).
Of course, it should go without saying, but the current versions of all apps will continue to run on your current OS versions and Macs, and you will not be forced to upgrade to newer versions.
I don't plan on any further changes to Simon 3.2, so you can expect a general release in a week or so, once my trusty localizers have worked their magic.
In the meantime, I'd appreciate it if you'd give this beta a try, and let me know if you experience any issues, either with Lion or usage in general. Thanks!
second third beta release of Caboodle 1.4.
This release includes fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
Update: Added full screen support on Lion as well!
It also restores PPC support, which was accidentally omitted from the first beta. It's an ongoing struggle to maintain PPC support in my apps; Apple is trying hard to eliminate it. Which brings me to an important point: I've decided that to be able to move to the new Xcode 4 development tools, and leverage some of the great new stuff in Lion, this version (and any 1.4.x bug fix releases) will be the last to support PowerPC (PPC) and Mac OS X 10.5. Version 1.5 will require an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later.
Considering only about 3% of the Caboodle userbase are still on PPC machines (and most of them on Tiger), hopefully this won't be too inconvenient; those people can continue to use version 1.4 until they're ready to upgrade (or 1.3.7 if they are still on Tiger). As for Leopard, that's currently about 12% of the Caboodle userbase currently, but I expect it'll decline by the time 1.5 is out.
It's always difficult to drop support for old OS versions or machines, but it's a necessary part of software development, especially when Apple keeps pushing things forward and dropping support for older technologies in their development tools. Time marches on!