release

Simon 2.3.1 released

Simon version 2.3.1 is now available. This release is a bug-fix version, with just a few changes:

  • Rewrote the Port service plug-in to use a helper app to do the work, to avoid instability caused by multithreading and resource usage issues.
  • Added support for the Preview function for the Port service plug-in. It displays the session script at the top, and the actual transcript of the check at the bottom.
  • Changed editor windows to not reuse the window instances, to avoid issues with windows appears incorrectly in some circumstances.
  • Added German localization, thanks to Manfred Brandstater.
  • Updated French localization, thanks as always to Philippe Bonnaure.

I'd like to give special thanks to Manfred for his hard work in getting the German localization done, and also to the couple of German Simon customers who provided feedback on pre-release builds. If you have any feedback on the localization (issues, suggestions for improvements, compliments for Manfred, general comments), please let me know.

Also of note in this version is the rewrite of the Port service plug-in. I've had several reports of crashes and other issues with SImon, which on investigation all traced back to the Port services. There was definitely something NQR there. It's a complex plug-in, though not the most complex. I've tried patching it a couple of times in the past, without complete success, so the time had come to refactor it more significantly. I moved the checking work out into a separate helper app (aka an "agent"). The plug-in launches the background-only helper when starting the check, which does the work, then quits itself when done. This allows avoiding multithreading, which I believe was a factor in the problems, along with some other optimizations that will make it more reliable. And worst case, if it does crash, it won't take out Simon in the process. The crashes do seem to be a thing of the past, though, which is great. Thanks also to the customers who tested pre-release builds with this change.

Another benefit of this refactoring is that it has allowed adding Preview functionality. The Port plug-in did allow previewing in an older version, but I had to disable it when I changed the way the plug-ins worked (from keeping an instance around for the life of the app, to using a separate one for each check). But now I've re-enabled this functionality, and improved it. The Preview window for Port-based services now displays the session script at the top of the window, and the resulting transcript of the check at the bottom (much like for Scripts). This is very handy for ensuring that the test is doing the right thing, or seeing more detail about why it is failing - e.g. whether the session script is incorrect, or the server is misbehaving.

Download Simon now!

Time Out 1.5.1 released

Time Out version 1.5.1 is now available. This is a quick bug-fix release with just two changes:

  • Fixed a bug that caused the Pause Breaks and Reset Breaks commands to remain disabled.
  • Changed the Begin Micro Break command to work if you postponed a Normal break and the Normal break is due very soon; the overlap avoidance feature is inappropriate for manually started breaks.

It's only been a week since the 1.5 release, which I'd normally consider too soon for another release, but these issues seemed important enough to justify it. Not having the Pause and Reset commands available is a major inconvenience for some people, so I wanted to get a fix out quickly for them. If you don't care about these changes, you can skip this update if you wish - but certainly no harm in updating anyway.

Time Out 1.5 released

Time Out version 1.5 is now in general release. It includes an improved icon (as seen on the Dejal site for a few months), a rearranged break layout, and the ability to change the postpone button intervals, or hide either of them and/or the skip break button, if desired. Plus some other minor changes and fixes. See the release notes and the blog entry on the beta release for more information.

Time Out 1.5 is freeware; you are welcome to use it at no cost. However, donations to support development of version 2 are always appreciated... and since I've announced version 2, everyone who donates (any amount!) will be eligible for a Time Out 2 license at no further cost. This offer will expire when Time Out 2 is released (after Leopard).

Download Time Out 1.5 now!

Time Out 1.5b1 released

It's been a while since the previous version, but Time Out 1.5 is now in beta release.

As mentioned a couple of times recently, version 1.5 is an interim release for 10.3.9 and up, before the big 2.0 upgrade, coming later this year for Leopard.

I've been using the new Time Out icon on the Dejal site since January, but till now the Time Out application itself has still used the "aesthetically challenged" old icon, which consisted of a very badly Photoshopped rendering of my hands in a "T" shape. I've never liked that icon, and I've certainly got lots of feedback over the years that you don't either... so it was a priority when I got Emily Pfeifer to redesign some of my app icons (and the Dejal logo). I'm very happy with the new design, and I hope you are too.

A subtle change is the name of the application. It used to be "Time Out!", with an exclamation point at the end of the name, but I'd grown to dislike that too, what with the hassles and untidiness it caused when referring to the application. So I've dropped the exclamation point from the name.

Feature-wise, 1.5 has a rearranged break layout, with the progress bar and buttons within a box, a more elegant font and color for the "Time Out" text, and the new icon, of course. By popular request, it also includes options to remove any or all of the buttons, and to change the postpone amounts. So if you find the temptation to skip a break too strong, you can get rid of the button to encourage you to take the break. Check out the release notes for more changes.

Here's a feature graphic for Time Out 1.5b1, as seen in rotation (with ones for Simon and Caboodle currently) on the Dejal home page:

Version 1.5 may be the last version of Time Out for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later. Version 2 and beyond will require a minimum of Mac OS X 10.5, as they will leverage several of the great technologies introduced in Leopard. I'll keep 1.5 around for the foreseeable future, for people who haven't upgraded to Leopard.

And yes, 1.5 is still completely free! While version 2 will be shareware, I am currently planning to also offer a free Lite version, which will have the same features as 1.5, plus some extras.

Simon 2.3 released

Simon version 2.3 is now in general release!

As previously discussed, this release includes a new Mount plug-in, that works both as a service and notifier, and allows mounting and unmounting local, AFP, and SMB volumes. It also extends the Script plug-in to act as a notifier too, allowing great flexibility in notifications. Plus many other enhancements and fixes. See the release notes for more information, or download now!

Simon 2.3b1 released

I'm pleased to announce a beta release of Simon version 2.3. This update adds a useful new Mount service and notifier, that allows you to check if a local, AFP or SMB volume is mounted, and optionally unmount it. The notifier can be used to mount or unmount a volume as a result of a check.

It also extends the Script plug-in to act as a notifier as well as service. This means that you can now write AppleScripts, shell scripts, Perl, Python, Ruby, etc scripts to do some custom action when a test fails, recovers, or changes. This is a very exciting feature, that expands Simon's already extensive flexibility by an order of magnitude. Not to belabor the hyperbole, but with the new Script notifier, the notification options are now limitless!

This release also includes some new test options, to allow customizing the timeout interval and offline checking, some handy new variables, a number of bug fixes, and compatibility with the current Leopard beta.

There are lots of other nifty enhancements in this release; see the release notes for the full list, or download now!

This is a free update for licensed Simon users.

Caboodle 1.1.2 released

Caboodle has now been updated to version 1.1.2. Similar to yesterday's updates of Macfilink and BlogAssist, this update includes minor tweaks to ensure compatibility with Leopard. It also includes some fixes for ruler handling within entries, to make the preference and menu item work better - existing entries now save the ruler visibility state properly, and new root-level entries now use the preference.

Enjoy!

Macfilink 1.4.1 & BlogAssist 2.1.1 released

Macfilink has now been updated to version 1.4.1, and BlogAssist has been updated to version 2.1.1.

These updates just include some minor changes and fixes that other apps have already received, plus some minor tweaks to ensure compatibility with Leopard, aka Mac OS X 10.5, for those running the developer beta (as I am) or to make the transition smoother when you eventually upgrade.

They are recommended updates for all Macfilink and BlogAssist users... and of course recommended apps for everyone else, too. :)

Caboodle 1.1.1 released

Caboodle version 1.1.1 is now available. It includes several fixes and improvements:

  • Now automatically saves the entry when leaving the Subject field (via tab or click) or modifying the icon, so the entries list is immediately updated, to avoid confusion.
  • The entries list now remains the same size when the window resizes, rather that being resized proportionally.
  • Changed the default icon to a larger green ball, to avoid alignment issues that the smaller one had (it was 16x16 instead of 20x20).
  • Fixed a longstanding bug where encrypting an entry that contains a table would lose the table formatting when it is decrypted. Note: entries encrypted with this version can not be decrypted by previous versions (but this version can decrypt previously encrypted entries).
  • Fixed a crasher when exporting as PDF.
  • Added French localization.

This is a recommended update for all Caboodle users.

Download now!

Simon 2.2.2 released

A second bug-fix release of Simon 2.2, this version includes the following tweaks:

  • Updated the Specific DNS service plug-in to work with the version of the dig unix tool that ships with the latest Macs.
  • Added a little more exception logging, to help with diagnosing any future issues.
  • Worked around a known bug in the OS, where resources aren't freed properly if there are no user events (e.g. while Simon is working for a long time without human interaction).
  • Fixed a possible cause of instability when closing the Preview window.

This is a recommended update for all Simon users. Download now.

Caboodle 1.1 released

Caboodle version 1.1 is now in general release.

It adds support for import and export in several formats - a much-requested feature. Plus an enhanced print function, several user interface improvements, and more. Read the release notes for details, or download now.

For today only, you can get it at a low low price via the MacUpdate Promo page!

Caboodle 1.1b2 released

Caboodle version 1.1b2 has now been released.

It includes much requested import and export features (by far the most popular requests), improved entry printing, New Sibling & New Child functions, an enabled window close button (which hides Caboodle), UI improvements, bug fixes, and more.

What do you think of the new fabric background for the custom fields area? Too busy? Let me know in the comments or Caboodle forum.

Simon 2.2.1 released

Simon version 2.2.1 is now in general release.

As discussed in previous blog entries, it fixes some important issues, as follows. It is a recommended update for all Simon users.

  • Fixed an issue that affected some people, particularly those who use Apple Remote Desktop or similar remote control products, where Simon would erroneously display "offline", some icons would disappear, and sometimes other cosmetic issues.
  • Improved the reliability of the Script service plug-in, so it doesn't terminate the script before all output has been received.
  • Changed the Web (HTTP) service's plug-in to not record session-only cookies, to avoid issues with servers that get confused with such cookies in a different check (session).
  • Fixed an issue with the Growl notifier plug-in that prevented it from working properly under Mac OS X 10.3.9.
  • Fixed an issue with the Specific DNS service plug-in, where it didn't report a failure for some machine configurations.
  • Added test check overlap prevention.
  • And more....

Read the release notes for details, or download now.

Simon 2.2.1b2 released

Another beta release of Simon, to version 2.2.1b2.

This release fixes two minor bugs raised in the Simon forum:

  • Changed the Web (HTTP) service's plug-in to not record session-only cookies, to avoid issues with servers that get confused with such cookies in a different check (session).
  • Fixed an issue with the Growl notifier plug-in that prevented it from working properly under Mac OS X 10.3.9.

Enjoy!

Released Simon 2.2.1b1

I have just released Simon version 2.2.1b1, which includes a number of fixes; click that link for the release notes.

Of particular note, it fixes a rather vexing issue that only affected a few people (particularly those accessing their Simon machine via Apple Remote Desktop, it seems), where Simon would eventually go into an "offline" state, with icons disappearing and other strange behavior.

I was unable to recreate this myself, but fortunately one of my customers was kind and patient enough to help me by running a series of special builds with debug logging added, which allowed me to narrow down the cause. It finally turned out to be due to a known bug in the OS, where allocated objects aren't being automatically released as they should if there is no user interaction on the machine. So I solved that by managing their release myself in all the key areas.

Everyone who experienced this issue, please download this version. If anyone still experiences this issue, please let me know ASAP. Thanks to those who helped trace it, and for everyone's patience.

Macfilink 2.4 and BlogAssist 2.1 general releases

Just a quick note to say that the general releases of Macfilink version 2.4 and BlogAssist version 2.1 are now available. Click the links to read the release notes to see what has changed.

BlogAssist 2.1b2 released

ImageBlogAssist version 2.1b2 has now been released.

As discussed in my previous blog entry, this version adds a handy new Services menu option, allowing pressing < to quickly access BlogAssist, using the selected text, and have the marked-up text drop back into your document (or web form field).

For example, to add those links above, I went to the BlogAssist release notes page to find the URL, copied it, typed "released" back here in my blog entry page (which I create in a form like for forum posts) and selected that word, then hit < to display the BlogAssist Services panel. The Web Link operation was already selected, with the selected text and URL already in place, so I just clicked OK and the selected text was replaced with the marked-up HTML, and I'm done. Took about two seconds.

This is a great usability improvement, often easier to use than the other available options, of copying, selecting from the BlogAssist system menu, and pasting... or dragging to the floating BlogAssist window and back. Those other methods are still available, since they are also useful depending on the situation and personal preferences.

If you're still typing HTML (or forum codes) manually, you owe it to yourself to give BlogAssist a try!

Simon 2.2 released

It gives me great pleasure to announce (again) that Simon version 2.2 is now in general release!

It's been about a year since the previous version, 2.1.1, though version 2.2 has been in development and testing for much of that time, along with my various other projects. That's too long... I want version 2.3 to be much sooner than another year away!

This version does add lots of good stuff, though, as mentioned in the press release. I'm most proud of the new Script service plug-in, but there are several other new service and notifier plug-ins, many written by Daniel Ellis. Plus the Simon Monitor now has a more modern window appearance, and is a Universal Binary.


Enjoy!

Caboodle 1.1b1, BlogAssist 2.1b1, Macfilink 1.4b1 released

I've just released beta updates of Caboodle, BlogAssist and Macfilink. These releases are mainly part of rolling out the new Dejal logo, though they include some other tweaks too. See the release notes for details.

Simon 2.2c7 released

I've just released Simon version 2.2c7, which hopefully will be the last general candidate release, and the last release of 2006.

I currently plan to do the general release next week, after finishing migrating my custom PHP-driven web pages to the new host, launching my new logo, and releasing beta versions of Caboodle 1.1, BlogAssist 2.1, and Macfilink 1.4. I'll also continue work on Time Out 2. It'll be a busy week.

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