David Sinclair's blog

Time Out Free featured on Tekzilla Daily

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.)

Learn more about Time Out! It is available both via the Dejal site and via the Mac App Store.

Simon 3.3b1 released

Here's the first beta release of Simon version 3.3:

  • Enhanced the Ping service plug-in to enable specifying the number of bytes to send.
  • Updated the Growl notifier plug-in to support the latest version of Growl. It no longer offers to install Growl, as that is not supported by Growl anymore.
  • Where available, the Username and Password field values are now used in New/Edit Test when using the in-window Show Source and Preview buttons.
  • Fixed issues where the minimum size of editor windows could keep growing, and some incorrect display behavior.
  • Improved the handling of the "(Success)" value in the custom results table for the Script plug-in.
  • Added helpful text to the Licenses window to assist with a common support query, adding an Upgrade license without the original one. Standard edition only

Download Simon 3.3b1 now!

Time Out 1.6.3 released

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.

Download Time Out 1.6.3 now!

20 years of Dejal shareware

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.

Dejal anniversary

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.

Buy now with the anniversary discounts!

Be quick — these specials expire at the end ofOctoberUPDATE: 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 TheMacBundlesUPDATE: it's still available as part of their "Build Your Own Bundle".

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

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.

Simon 3.2.1 released

A quick update for Simon, to version 3.2.1:

  • Fixes for improved Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • Fixed test limit in the Express edition.

Download Simon 3.2.1 now!

(Note also that Time Out Free 1.6.2 is now available in the Mac App Store.)

Time Out 1.6.2 released

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:

  • The break timers are now reset when idle for the specified interval, even while still idle (it used to only reset when no longer idle).
  • Breaks can now occur when idle, to avoid missing breaks when the computer is left alone for a few minutes, but less than the reset interval.
  • Updated the Start Speech Automator workflow, and added a Speak Time script that does just that.

This is a recommended update for everyone. And it's completely free!

Download Time Out 1.6.2 now!

Time Out Free 1.6.1 available on Mac App Store

Time Out Free, the Mac App Store edition of my popular break tool, has been approved by Apple and is now available!

Changes include:

  • Added a new Exclusions preference page, which is only available on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). It enables you to automatically skip breaks if specified applications are frontmost, e.g. DVD Player, FaceTime, or similar.
  • Added a sub-menu on the Pause Breaks command in the Break menu, to enable pausing for a specified interval. When that interval has elapsed, breaks will automatically resume. Useful when you don't want to be interrupted for a while.
  • On first launch (or first in a while), Time Out now displays the Preferences window, to make it more obvious how to configure the breaks.
  • Moved the break display into a helper agent, so it works for Lion's full-screen apps.
  • Plus other fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.

Get TIme Out Free at no cost from the Mac App Store.

Simon Express and Simon Free 3.2 available on Mac App Store

The Mac App Store editions of Simon 3.2 are now available!

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:

  • Added full screen support on Lion.
  • Fixes for improved Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • By popular request, added the Growl notifier to the Express and Free editions.
  • Altered the Web plug-in to eliminate the shared cache of loaded HTML, since it hasn't really been used for several years, and could cause issues.
  • Now saves the legacy-format frequency values, so if you run Simon 2 it will have the correct values, instead of zeroes (and thus will remain correct when going back to Simon 3).
  • Fixed the logic for using a filter based on Any/Success/Unchanged/Changed/Failure status.
  • Significantly increased the maximum width of the log Details columns, and doubled the length of text logged there, so they aren't unnecessarily truncated on modern large displays.
  • After deleting one or more tests, services, etc, the table selection is removed, rather than just selecting whatever happened to be after the deleted item(s).
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Escape key from closing some editor windows in some situations.
  • Dates in the tests table and logs now use your preferred date and time format (as set in System Preferences).
  • Fixed log dates appearing as GMT/UTC instead of local time on Lion.

Buy Simon Express from the Mac App Store.

Get Simon Free at no cost from the Mac App Store.

Time Out 1.6.1 released

Don't you just hate it when you spend lots of time polishing something, and finally push it out to the world... then inevitably an issue appears once it's in wide circulation? I sure do!

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!

Time Out 1.6 released

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:

  • Added a new Exclusions preference page, which is only available on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). It enables you to automatically skip breaks if specified applications are frontmost, e.g. DVD Player, FaceTime, or similar.
  • Added a sub-menu on the Pause Breaks command in the Break menu, to enable pausing for a specified interval. When that interval has elapsed, breaks will automatically resume. Useful when you don't want to be interrupted for a while.
  • On first launch (or first in a while), Time Out now displays the Preferences window, to make it more obvious how to configure the breaks.
  • Added a Licenses window in the standard edition, so people who have donated for version 2 can enter their license now. Time Out 1 remains freeware; you're welcome to continue using it forever at no cost.
  • Moved the break display into a helper agent, so it works for Lion's full-screen apps.
  • Plus other fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • The standard edition of Time Out now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping Tiger support.
  • Note: this version (and any 1.6.x bug fix releases) will be the last to support PowerPC (PPC) and Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 (Leopard and Snow Leopard). Version 2.0 will require a 64-bit Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later.

Download Time Out 1.6 now!

Time Out Free on the Mac App Store will be updated once Apple has reviewed it.

Simon 3.2 released

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:

  • Added full screen support on Lion.
  • Fixes for improved Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • Altered the Web plug-in to eliminate the shared cache of loaded HTML, since it hasn't really been used for several years, and could cause issues.
  • Now saves the legacy-format frequency values, so if you run Simon 2 it will have the correct values, instead of zeroes (and thus will remain correct when going back to Simon 3).
  • Fixed a bug with the Number filter plug-in that caused it to always look for changes, instead of supporting resulting in a failure.
  • Fixed some filter variables, which were incorrectly output with a doubled "Filter" prefix.
  • Added FilterForUnchanged, FilterForChanged and FilterForSuccess variables.
  • Fixed the logic for using a filter based on Any/Success/Unchanged/Changed/Failure status.
  • Fixed Kind labels on the Summary pages of the Edit Notifier and Edit Report windows, plus made them go to the correct pages when clicked.
  • When creating a new service, filter, notifier or report, the editor window now opens to the Summary page, like New Test does. (Standard edition only)
  • Significantly increased the maximum width of the log Details columns, and doubled the length of text logged there, so they aren't unnecessarily truncated on modern large displays.
  • After deleting one or more tests, services, etc, the table selection is removed, rather than just selecting whatever happened to be after the deleted item(s).
  • Removed the "Remote File Attributes" service from the default ones, since it was an experimental one that wasn't supposed to be there (and didn't work). (Standard edition only)
  • Altered the "FTP Directory Listing" and "Samba SMB" service scripts to use Username and Password custom variables instead of the TestUsername and TestPassword ones, which aren't available to scripts now. If you use either of these services, you may need to edit your tests accordingly.
  • Implemented a data upgrade mechanism so existing data will get the above service script changes.
  • The Script plug-in now omits the TestUsername and TestPassword standard variables from its Insert variable drop-down menu, since it doesn't use them.
  • Renamed the UserName variable (that outputs the name of the user logged in to the computer) to UserFullName, to avoid a clash with the Username variable (since variables are not case-sensitive).
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Escape key from closing some editor windows in some situations.
  • Dates in the tests table and logs now use your preferred date and time format (as set in System Preferences).
  • Fixed log dates appearing as GMT/UTC instead of local time on Lion.
  • Updated the localizations.

Download Simon 3.2 now!

Time Out 1.6b1 released

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!)

  • Added a new Exclusions preference page, which is only available on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). It enables you to automatically skip breaks if specified applications are frontmost, e.g. DVD Player, FaceTime, or similar.
  • Added a sub-menu on the Pause Breaks command in the Break menu, to enable pausing for a specified interval. When that interval has elapsed, breaks will automatically resume. Useful when you don't want to be interrupted for a while.
  • On first launch (or first in a while), Time Out now displays the Preferences window, to make it more obvious how to configure the breaks.
  • Added a Licenses window in the standard edition, so people who have donated for version 2 can enter their license now. Time Out 1 remains freeware; you're welcome to continue using it forever at no cost.
  • Moved the break display into a helper agent, so it works for Lion's full-screen apps.
  • Plus other fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • The standard edition of Time Out now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping Tiger support.
  • Note: this version (and any 1.6.x bug fix releases) will be the last to support PowerPC (PPC) and Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6. Version 2.0 will require a 64-bit Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later.

Download Time Out 1.6b1 now!

Simon 3.2b5 released

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:

  • Restored the help book, which was omitted from previous beta releases.
  • Updated the localizations.

Download Simon 3.2b5 now!

Caboodle 1.4.1 released

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!

Download Caboodle 1.4.1 now!

Caboodle 1.4 released

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:

  • Added full screen support on Lion.
  • Fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) compatibility.
  • Added a default font option to the General Preferences. By default it is used when there is no selected entry when adding as a sibling or child (i.e. creating a top-level entry), but there's a checkbox to use it for all new entries. If that checkbox is off, new entries inherit the previously selected entry's font attributes (as Caboodle has always done).
  • Added an automatic save one minute after changing an entry. Caboodle already auto-saves when selecting a different entry or on quit (if you made changes).
  • Removed the File > Save command, since a manual save is no longer useful, and it could cause confusion.
  • Swapped the View and Decrypt buttons in the decryption sheet, so View is now the default, since it is the most commonly used. The Decrypt button can still be activated via the keyboard via Cmd-D.
  • Replaced the password validation logic, since it broke when building for Mac OS X 10.5 and later. Note that this means that entries encrypted in version 1.4 and later can't be decrypted in earlier versions.
  • Deleting an entry will now leave no selection, rather than selecting whatever happened to be after the deleted entry.
  • Removed the license agreement window. The license agreement can be viewed online.
  • The standard edition of Caboodle now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping Tiger support.
  • Note: 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.

Download Caboodle 1.4 now!

Simon 3.2b4 released

Here's another beta release of Simon 3.2.

This release has just a couple of date-related changes. Thanks to beta tester Bruce for reporting the Lion bug:

  • Dates in the tests table and logs now use your preferred date and time format (as set in System Preferences).
  • Fixed log dates appearing as GMT/UTC instead of local time on Lion.

Download Simon 3.2b4 now!

Visiting big cats

Lion, leopard & tigerMac 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.

Tiger

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.

Leopard

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.

Snow Leopard

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%.

PowerPC

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%.

Lion

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.

Concerns or Questions?

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.

Simon 3.2b3 released

Similar to the recent Caboodle 1.4b3 release, here's another beta release of Simon, to add full screen support when running on Lion, and improve some other aspects of Lion compatibility.

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!

Download Simon 3.2b3 now!

Caboodle 1.4b3 released

Here's a 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!

Download Caboodle 1.4b3 now!

Syndicate content