timeout

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!

Time Out tip: Dock icon and status item

Time Out has several handy options, some of them only available to current or past supporters, as a reward for helping improve the app.

One such option is the ability to hide the app icon from the Dock. By default, the icon is shown there, for easy access, but if you want Time Out to operate more in the background, you can choose to remove the icon.

If you do so, the second option is automatically turned on: the checkbox to show a status item on the right-hand side of the menubar. This item has further options to choose what to include there.

General preferences

The status item can optionally include a variation of the app icon, the label color of the next break, or neither:

General preferences

It can also include a countdown to the next break, either in a compact form like "7m" for 7 minutes, or a wider form like "07:32", for 7 minutes and 32 seconds. In the compact form, it only shows seconds when less than a minute. That's my favorite form, to attract attention when getting close to a break.

Alternatively, the value can show the time when the next break is due, or will finish, or how long it is. Or no value, just an icon:

General preferences

There's a further checkbox to only show long breaks in the status item, i.e. don't show ones with a duration of less than a minute.

A further useful tip about the status item is that if you hover over it, a tooltip will appear that lists when the upcoming breaks are next due:

General preferences

When the Dock icon is shown, clicking the status item will bring Time Out to the front, to show the preferences window. When the Dock icon is hidden, clicking it will display a menu-like popover of the sidebar, for quick background access to the breaks and options. Clicking one will expand to the full window.

You may wonder what happens if you hide both the Dock icon and the status item. The window will display a warning message:

General preferences

As the message says, if you do this, you can still access the preferences window, though it's a bit harder. You would need to find Time Out in your Applications folder and double-click it to make it active. Since the Dock is hidden, it won't show a menu bar, so there isn't a visual indication that it is active, but you can press ⌘, (i.e. Command and Comma together), which is the keyboard shortcut for the Preferences window, to show it.

Some people like doing this, to discourage changing settings, but most people should show either the Dock icon or status item, or both.

Time Out tip: lifetime supporter?

In ye olde days, software was sold once, for what would be considered nowadays to be a high price, and every year or so the developer would release a major paid upgrade, typically charging about half of the original price.

I still do this for Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures, since that model is still common for pro apps. Though it is also available on Setapp, as part of a subscription along with hundreds of other apps.

But for Time Out, my popular break reminder app, I wanted to try something different. I introduced a "supporter" model, where people can get the main features completely free, but be rewarded for supporting ongoing development with extra features.

Unlike old-school purchases, the supporter purchases are much cheaper, only a few bucks, and for a specific period of time, 3, 6, or 12 months. The extra features can be tried for an hour at a time, or are unlocked permanently with any supporter level. The "catch", such as it is, is that when I update the app, I may add new features that are only available to current supporters, so if your support has expired, you won't get those features unless you renew your support. Of course, you can try them, to help decide if you want to renew.

That seems really fair to me; you can have breaks for free, or get extra features cheaply, and if you like my improvements, you can help pay for their development. Or continue using the older features forever without paying more.

Win/win — you get a useful app that is regularly improved, and I get to eat. I also don't have to hold back major features for a big paid upgrade; I can add things whenever desired.

Even so, I occasionally get people asking about a lifetime purchase option. I don't currently offer that, since I feel it would be detrimental to the long-term survival of the app. However, you can effectively make your own lifetime option, by purchasing multiple 12-month supporter statuses. Each one you purchase will extend your supporter status by a year. So if you envision using Time Out for the next 5 years, purchasing 5 times will extend your support that long. Or whatever duration you want to use.

Of course, it’s worth reiterating that you don't have to pay more than once if you don't want to. You can become a supporter at whatever level you feel comfortable with, and not pay again unless you want to show your appreciation (kinda like a tip jar). After your supporter status expires, all of the advanced features that you had when you were a supporter will remain available permanently. You’d only need to renew if I add new features in the future that you want to use.

Time Out tip: dry eye blink reminders

People use Time Out for lots of reasons; to avoid RSI, to get regular exercise, to avoid sore eyes, to remember to eat regularly, to stop work at the end of the day, and more. But one use case that I've seen several people mentioning recently is to help with dry eyes.

A nice comment from one example:

"...my eyes are freakishly dry, way over-the-top compared to the average dry eye patient, and your app has allowed me to use my computer longer without killing my eyes. I can't thank you enough for making it!!"

People who experience dry eyes can sometimes find that blinking more frequently can help keep the eyes lubricated. That can be hard to remember when focused on work, though. Time Out's default Micro break can help with that, but some people prefer even more frequent reminders.

Time Out breaks can currently be configured to occur as much as once per minute, which is a lot for a typical break, but by making the break only last one second, and configuring the other Schedule settings to avoid skipping or delaying it, the break can be a very brief reminder without being too disruptive:

Time Out schedule page

In the next version of Time Out, I am considering enabling using frequency units of seconds, instead of minutes (and hours, etc). It is currently limited to a minimum of 1 minute, as that seemed like a reasonable minimum, but a very quick break like this every few seconds does have merit. But read on for a way this can be achieved even now.

The Appearance options can be set to avoid fading the screen via the None theme, with zero fade-in and fade-out times (set the fade times before changing the theme):

Time Out appearance page

A great way to very quickly remind yourself to blink is to flash the screen. This can be done via the Flash Screen action. The color and duration of the flash can be tweaked as desired.

And if once per minute isn't enough, you can add as many as you want on the Actions page, spaced out by setting the offset After Start, like this to have it flash every 10 seconds:

Time Out actions page

I hope this is helpful to people suffering from dry eye, or anyone wanting more frequent reminders.

#10YearChallenge: Time Out

There's a recent meme going around called #10YearChallenge, where people post pictures (often of themselves) from 2009 and 2019.

While I usually don't bother with memes, I thought it'd be fun to look at Time Out from 2009 vs 2019.

Here's what a Time Out break looked like back in 2009, plus you can see the old app icon during the break (no other themes!):

Time Out 2009 break screenshot

Vs 2019:

Time Out 2019 break screenshot

The Timer preferences in 2009:

Time Out 2009 timer screenshot

Vs the Schedule prefs in 2019:

Time Out 2019 schedule screenshot

The Appearance prefs in 2009:

Time Out 2009 appearance screenshot

Vs 2019:

Time Out 2009 appearance screenshot

Things can certainly change quite a bit in a decade!

Time Out tips: lunchtime & night breaks

On Twitter, Abbey Jackson asked:

Sure! Here's the Schedule page for my Time Out preferences, showing my Lunchtime break configuration:

Lunchtime schedule screenshot

There are two important steps to do this: firstly, set the frequency to Every 1 day, and secondly, use the Available options to set a fixed start time of noon. In my example, I have this break only occur on weekdays. I also have the natural break option set to Continue Countdown, since I want the break to start immediately, not get pushed back due to idle time.

Didn't realize that you can set daily breaks? Yep! Click, arrow, or tab to the units of the duration ("Break for") and frequency ("Every") fields to change between various units: seconds, minutes, hours for the duration, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years for the frequency.

As a bonus, here's my Night break, that tells me to go to bed:

Night schedule screenshot

This is similar, but a longer duration. And yes, I go to bed rather early, as I usually get up at 05:30 (but don't get to my Mac till after breakfast).

Hope this helps!

Time Out 2.5 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.5 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

The most obvious change in version 2.5 is dark mode support on Mojave (macOS 10.14):

Mojave dark mode schedule screenshot

Isn't that pretty?

In addition to Mojave compatibility, this update also includes a new option on the Break Schedule page of the preferences to choose which days of the week a break is available. Eagle-eyed people may have noticed it in the above screenshot:

Mojave dark mode schedule screenshot

Using this option, you could indicate that breaks should only occur on weekdays, as above, or only Fridays, or any other combination. The days of the week can combine with a time range, or apply all day on the indicated days. This new feature is available as a reward for current supporters, or you can try it as often as you like, for an hour at a time.

(Don't worry, the first day of the week will respect your System Preferences; if you consider that the week starts on Sunday, for example, that'll be first in the control.)

Another new supporter option is on the Advanced preferences page: the ability to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break:

Mojave dark mode advanced screenshot

Most people probably don't need this, but if you need a little extra encouragement to avoid skipping breaks, this might be helpful, when combined with existing options to disable the postpone and skip buttons.

There are of course a number of other enhancements and fixes. I recommend everyone update to this version.

Here are the full release notes:

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • All of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).

New option to choose which days of the week a break is available

  • Renamed the Break Schedule Available options to "Every Day" and "Between", and added a new "All Day" option.
  • The latter two now include buttons for the days of the week, enabling days to be toggled off or on, to indicate on which days to use the break.
  • The difference between them is that "All Day" doesn't have the time fields, and "Between" does.
  • This new feature could be useful to have breaks that are only used on weekends, or working days, or Wednesdays and Fridays, or any other combination.
  • This new option is available as a reward for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use this feature, or try for an hour at a time.

New option to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break

  • Added a checkbox on the Advanced page to disable the panels that appear when switching apps via Cmd-Tab, force quit via Cmd-Option-Escape, and sleep, restart, or shut down via Ctrl-Eject (or Ctrl-Power). Defaults off.
  • This new option is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Other changes

  • Can now manually postpone a break for longer than the frequency interval.
  • Fixed playing a sound for the Display Notification break action.
  • Fixed a scheduler issue where a lower priority break may be skipped if a higher priority break has never been done.
  • Removed the Fabric crash reporter, to avoid sending unnecessary data to a third party.

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 2.5 now!

Time Out 2.5b2 released

What's this? Another Time Out beta already? Yep!

This second beta of version 2.5 includes a couple much-requested new features for supporters, improvements for Mojave, and a fix for prior OS versions, among other changes.

Read on for details:

New option to choose which days of the week a break is available

  • Renamed the Break Schedule Available options to "Every Day" and "Between", and added a new "All Day" option.
  • The latter two now include buttons for the days of the week, enabling days to be toggled off or on, to indicate on which days to use the break.
  • The difference between them is that "All Day" doesn't have the time fields, and "Between" does.
  • This new feature could be useful to have breaks that are only used on weekends, or working days, or Wednesdays and Fridays, or any other combination.
  • This new option is available as a reward for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use this feature, or try for an hour at a time.

New option to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break

  • Added a checkbox on the Advanced page to disable the panels that appear when switching apps via Cmd-Tab, force quit via Cmd-Option-Escape, and sleep, restart, or shut down via Ctrl-Eject (or Ctrl-Power). Defaults off.
  • This new option is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • Fixed a crash of the previous beta on macOS versions before Mojave, when displaying the status popover. Sorry about that!
  • Fixed some cosmetic visual issues from the previous beta.

Other changes

  • Can now manually postpone a break for longer than the frequency interval.
  • Fixed playing a sound for the Display Notification break action.

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 2.5b2 now!

Time Out 2.5b1 released

Hey Time Out fans! Been wondering where Mojave dark mode support is? Wonder no more; it's here!

Version 2.5 is still very much a work-in-progress, but I wanted to get out a beta especially for anyone using it on Mojave (macOS 10.14) and wanting to use dark mode. I plan to make a number of additional changes before the general release, but everyone is welcome to use the beta; it should be safe.

Mojave dark mode screenshot

Only a few changes in this first beta:

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • All of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).

Other changes

  • Fixed a scheduler issue where a lower priority break may be skipped if a higher priority break has never been done.
  • Removed the Fabric crash reporter, to avoid sending unnecessary data to a third party.

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 2.5b1 now!

Time Out 2.4 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.4 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Version 2.4 further extends the enhancements to the postpone and skip options introduced in version 2.3, including a new option to disable those buttons for a few seconds at the start of each break. You may find this helpful if you are habitually clicking the Postpone or Skip buttons, without taking a moment to decide if you really need to defer the break. It's common to see the start of the break as an unwelcome interruption — but you installed the app in the first place because you recognized that you need to take regular breaks for your health and wellbeing. You can activate this option to give you a few seconds to make a more mindful decision.

Another much-requested change in this release is the ability to customize the time to detect natural breaks, i.e. how long the computer is idle.

Something that might help in deciding how you're doing in taking breaks is a new Statistics feature. This is within the Activity section, and includes the number of times you've postponed, skipped, or done breaks, and the total time spent in breaks. These amounts will start being calculated in version 2.4, so take a look after a few days. It also includes a fascinating line chart, for a graphical representation (see below).

There are of course a number of other enhancements and fixes. I recommend everyone update to this version.

Read on for details.

Added a Statistics page under Activity

  • Added page buttons to the Activity page of the preferences, with Activity and Statistics pages.
  • The Activity page is the same as before.
  • The new Statistics page includes a summary of breaks, pop-up menus to choose the kind of counter and break(s) to display, and a line chart of count values.
  • The count options include the number of times a break was postponed, skipped, or done in a day, or the total duration of that break.
  • The menus also enable displaying those counts for all breaks, or just a specific one.
  • When showing All Breaks, the values for each break are stacked.
  • The chart will not be shown initially; come back after a couple of days to see it, once some history has been gathered.
  • Also includes a Share button to the right of the page buttons, to make it easy to tweet etc the stats.

Here's what the Statistics page looks like (obviously, your numbers will be different):

Statistics page screenshot

Option to disable buttons for a few seconds

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance page to disable the Postpone and Skip buttons for a few seconds.
  • The number of seconds can be changed; it includes the fade-in time.
  • This feature helps break a habitual clicking of the buttons; to encourage you to consider if you really need to skip a break.
  • This is available as a reward for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use this feature, or try for an hour at a time.

This new option is grouped with the option to show the number of times postponed/skipped/done:

Break Appearance page screenshot

Advanced option to change the idle detection threshold

  • Added an option to the Advanced preferences to change the amount of time the computer isn't being used to count as a natural break.
  • By default, it counts a natural break after 1 minute, pausing the countdown for the Pause Countdown and Count Backwards scheduler options, then if still idle after twice as long, it starts giving you credit for the time if Count Backwards is chosen (which is the default).
  • This is a change from before; it used to default to 30 seconds, but 1 minute seems better.
  • If this isn't long enough (e.g. you spend a lot of time reading rather than actively using your Mac), you can increase the threshold.

Take a look:

Advanced page screenshot

Refined the break scheduler

  • The break frequency now can't be less than the duration; it doesn't make sense to work for negative time.
  • The break should no longer be due further away than the frequency, unless you manually skip it multiple times.
  • If a break would be due in the past after rescheduling it, it is now reset. This should fix the issue where a break could sometimes start soon after waking from sleep.
  • Fixed an issue where manually starting a break soon after another one could leave the actions in an unexpected state.

Enhanced postpone and skip limits

  • When a postpone/skip limit is set and has been reached, postponing or skipping via the File menu, action menu, or global keyboard shortcut is now disabled, so the limit can't be bypassed.
  • Fixed the postpone/skip left display when a limit is turned on when already postponed/skipped more than that today.

Preferences window tweaks

  • The Time Out item is now always in the Window menu, to make it easier to re-display the preferences window if closed.
  • When the Dock icon is hidden, and the status item is shown, the status popover will now appear on clicking the mouse, instead of releasing it; a subtle improvement.
  • Can now use the up and down arrow keys and type selection to navigate in the sidebar, e.g. show the preferences window or status popover and press "G" to go to the General options.

Other changes

  • Updated the Start Screensaver and Stop Screensaver script actions, to work more reliably on recent macOS versions. Thanks to Johan Kaving.
  • Removed the help book, since it didn't work properly in recent OS versions. The help is still available on the web, and has been updated for version 2.4.
  • Some tweaks to the supporter stuff, to fix an issue with previous supporter features incorrectly showing as unavailable.
  • Fixed typos in some Break Appearance tooltips.

Get it now!

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 2.4 now.

Time Out 2.4b4 released

Here's another beta of Time Out version 2.4.

Unless any problems turn up, this will be the last beta release for this version. I'd appreciate it if you could try it and let me know of any issues.

This update just has a couple of changes:

  • Some tweaks to the supporter stuff, to fix an issue with previous supporter features incorrectly showing as unavailable.
  • Updated the help book.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b4 now!

Time Out 2.4b3 released

Here's another beta of Time Out version 2.4.

This might be the last beta release for this version. I'd appreciate it if you could try it and let me know of any issues.

Here are the changes in this update:

Option to disable buttons for a few seconds

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance page to disable the Postpone and Skip buttons for a few seconds.
  • The number of seconds can be changed; it includes the fade-in time.
  • This feature helps break a habitual clicking of the buttons; to encourage you to consider if you really need to skip a break.
  • This is available as a reward for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use this feature, or try for an hour at a time.

Advanced option to change the idle detection threshold

  • Added an option to the Advanced preferences to change the amount of time the computer isn't being used to count as a natural break.
  • By default, it counts a natural break after 1 minute, pausing the countdown for the Pause Countdown and Count Backwards scheduler options, then if still idle after twice as long, it starts giving you credit for the time if Count Backwards is chosen (which is the default).
  • This is a change from before; it used to default to 30 seconds, but 1 minute seems better.
  • If this isn't long enough (e.g. you spend a lot of time reading rather than actively using your Mac), you can increase the threshold.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b3 now!

Time Out 2: two years on

Today is the two-year anniversary of the general release of Time Out version 2.0.

This time last year, I wrote a blog post celebrating the first anniversary with some pie charts breaking down the sales of each supporter duration by the direct and Mac App Store editions.

To mark the end of the second year, I thought I'd follow up with another chart; this time looking at the rate and type of repeat support.

The supporter model used by Time Out was a bit of an experiment — would it be feasible and sustainable to have relatively low priced purchase options for specific time periods? People could buy the lowest level (just $2.99), and never pay again. It'd only work if many people instead chose a higher level, and at least some people renewed their support after the initial period expired.

To help encourage that, I reward ongoing support with useful new features that are only available to supporters. New people becoming supporters, and existing people renewing their support, encourages and funds ongoing development. Everybody wins!

So how has it turned out?

Well, looking at a sample of about the last month, here's a table with the percentages for each supporter level, compared with the first purchase and subsequent renewals:

Purchase 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
3-month 49.7% 6.2% 1.3% 0.3% 57.4%
6-month 14.1% 3.1% 0.3% 0.0% 17.4%
12-month 20.0% 4.4% 0.8% 0.0% 25.1%
Total 83.8% 13.6% 2.3% 0.3% 100.0%

Here's a graphical representation of the same values:

As you can see, most people do purchase the cheapest option the first time (almost half), and most people only buy once (83.8%)... but a goodly number do renew (13.6%), with a higher proportion of them opting for 12 months than before. Relatively few have renewed again... but that may be due in part to version 2 of the app only being available for two years, so people who chose a 12-month supporter status for the first or second purchase won't be due yet.

Looking at the raw data does support this; I see many people who chose the 3-month option initially, then opted for 6- or 12-months when they renewed. Very few people purchased 12-month then renewed at a lower level. A noticeable number also chose 3-month each time; paying quarter-to-quarter (though sometimes with some gaps).

Overall, I'm happy with these results. A high proportion of minimal one-time purchasers may seem a little disappointing, but it's to be expected. A large influx of new customers is good for the app. I just need to keep improving it, and hopefully many of them will choose to renew, or at least recommend the app to others, who will also become supporters.

Time will tell how things go, but I consider this encouraging so far.

Time Out 2.4b2 released

Here's a second beta of Time Out version 2.4.

As with the first beta, this is still a work-in-progress; there are a couple more features I want to add for this update, though I might defer one or both.

Here are the changes in this update:

Statistics page improvements

  • Added some text stats above the chart.
  • Replaced the menu button with pop-up menus to choose the count/duration and break to display.
  • When showing All Breaks, the values for each break are now stacked.
  • Now uses the break label colors.
  • Added diamond markers for the data points on the chart.
  • Added tooltips when pointing at the markers to show the actual number.
  • The Duration now shows nicer labels in the vertical axis.
  • Removed the All Counts option, since it doesn't really make sense.
  • Added a Share button to the right of the page buttons, to make it easy to tweet etc the stats.

Other changes

  • Fixed typos in some Break Appearance tooltips.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b2 now!

Time Out 2.4b1 released

I'm pleased to announce the first beta of an update to Time Out, my indispensable break reminder tool.

Version 2.4 is still a work-in-progress; I have added some new features, and fixed some issues, but will do further enhancements in subsequent betas. I'd appreciate it if you'd join me on this journey, to help ensure that the changes work well.

Read the full release notes for details:

Added a Statistics page under Activity

  • Added page buttons to the Activity page of the preferences, with Activity and Statistics pages.
  • The Activity page is the same as before.
  • The new Statistics page includes a pop-up menu to choose the kind of counter and break(s) to display, and a line chart of count values.
  • The count options include the number of times a break was postponed, skipped, or done in a day, or all three, or the total duration of that break.
  • The menu also enables displaying those counts for all breaks, or just a specific one.
  • The chart will not be shown initially; come back after a couple of days to see it, once some history has been gathered.
  • This feature will be further extended in a subsequent beta release.

Refined the break scheduler

  • The break frequency now can't be less than the duration; it doesn't make sense to work for negative time.
  • The break should no longer be due further away than the frequency, unless you manually skip it multiple times.
  • If a break would be due in the past after rescheduling it, it is now reset. This should fix the issue where a break could sometimes start soon after waking from sleep.
  • Fixed an issue where manually starting a break soon after another one could leave the actions in an unexpected state.

Enhanced postpone and skip limits

  • When a postpone/skip limit is set and has been reached, postponing or skipping via the File menu, action menu, or global keyboard shortcut is now disabled, so the limit can't be bypassed.
  • Fixed the postpone/skip left display when a limit is turned on when already postponed/skipped more than that today.

Preferences window tweaks

  • The Time Out item is now always in the Window menu, to make it easier to re-display the preferences window if closed.
  • When the Dock icon is hidden, and the status item is shown, the status popover will now appear on clicking the mouse, instead of releasing it; a subtle improvement.
  • Can now use the up and down arrow keys and type selection to navigate in the sidebar, e.g. show the preferences window or status popover and press "G" to go to the General options.

Other changes

  • Updated the Start Screensaver and Stop Screensaver script actions, to work more reliably on recent macOS versions. Thanks to Johan Kaving.
  • Removed the help book, since it didn't work properly in recent OS versions. The help is still available on the web.

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 2.4b1 now!

DejalNews #73: Discounts for the holidays, AppStories

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-12, issue #73

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.

Holiday discount

'Tis the season for celebrations and reflection... and discounts! As I often do, I am marking the occasion with a discount on my Mac apps, Dejal Simon and Time Out.

From now until the end of the year, you can get Simon, my handy website & server monitoring tool, for just $49.50 — half the regular price. (The upgrade from version 3 is also half price.)

You can also become a supporter of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, for half the normal amount; just $1.49, $2.49, or $4.99, depending on the supporter duration. (Remember, any level will permanently unlock all of the current supporter rewards.)

The Mac App Store edition of Time Out is also discounted, though with slightly different prices.

This discount is automatically applied if you buy via the online store, or in the Mac App Store edition. Or you can enter the code "JOYTOALL" in the coupon field when purchasing in the direct edition. Don't delay!

Already have Simon and Time Out? Tell your friends and colleagues about it! I really appreciate any help spreading the word.

AppStories sponsorship

Last week I sponsored an episode of AppStories, a podcast discussing apps on macOS and iOS, brought to you by the fine folks at MacStories.

It was great to hear John talking about Dejal Time Out on the show.

Happy holidays!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy New Year.

- David

DejalNews #72: Time Out 2.3, 512 Pixels, Setapp 100

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-10, issue #72

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 2.3 released

I mentioned in the previous newsletter that I was about to start work on Time Out version 2.3. As you may know by now, that did in fact eventuate, and it was recently released.

Version 2.3 focuses on enhancements to the postpone and skip options, including the ability to show the number of times each break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done (finished) today... and a much-requested feature, the ability to set daily limits on postponing and skipping. There's also a fun mini-pie-chart option.

Importantly, this update also includes a number of fixes for High Sierra compatibility, including a significant issue where the label and break background colors can unexpectedly become white.

I recommend updating to this version if you'll be installing High Sierra.

Read the blog post for details of the improvements.

512 Pixels sponsorship

I don't do much advertising, but I occasionally like to do something to support people and sites that I like. One such is 512 Pixels, written by Stephen Hackett, who you may also know as one of the founders of the Relay FM podcast network.

This week I am sponsoring the 512 Pixels site, as a way to help support Stephen, and promote the new release of Dejal Time Out.

Read the sponsorship post on 512 Pixels.

Setapp reaches 100 apps

It seems I'm often writing about Setapp in these newsletters... but it's such a great service, making it easy for people to find lots of high-quality and useful apps, including Dejal Simon.

Setapp has just announced that they have reached 100 apps on the service; an exciting milestone. There's something for everyone!

- David

Time Out 2.3 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.3 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Version 2.3 focuses on enhancements to the postpone and skip options, including the ability to show the number of times each break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done (finished) today... and a much-requested feature, the ability to set daily limits on postponing and skipping. There's also a fun mini-pie-chart option.

Importantly, this update also includes a number of fixes for High Sierra compatibility, including a significant issue where the label and break background colors can unexpectedly become white.

I recommend updating to this version if you'll be installing High Sierra.

Read on for details.

Optional postpone and skip display and limits

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance preferences page to enable displaying the number of times a break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done each day, so you know how "good" you're being today.
  • Also added options to enable limiting the number of times it can be postponed and/or skipped each day. Useful if you find those buttons too hard to resist, but still want them there sometimes.
  • These features are available as rewards for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use these features, or try for an hour at a time.
  • If both Postpone buttons and the Skip button are hidden, the control panel is now smaller.

Break Appearance page screenshot

Here's what the "Show number of times..." option looks like during a break; notice the line of text below the buttons in the control panel. Also notice one of the new themes:

Break screenshot

Option to show break labels as mini pie chart

  • Added an option to the Break Name preferences page to show the break label as a miniature pie chart of today's postponed/skipped/done counts.
  • The pie has an outline of the label color, with the postpones wedge as a lighter label color, skips as gray, and the wedge for done is shown as the label color.
  • Added a tooltip on the label icon that displays the same text as above.
  • This feature is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Break Name page screenshot

Here's the sidebar, with a pie option enabled for the Micro break, and the tooltip displayed:

Break pie label & tooltip screenshot

Theme changes

  • Added a new Tropical Rain break theme, kindly contributed by Nick Kaijaks.
  • Added a Cosmic Symbolism theme, as a bookmark to the Cosmic Symbolism website, similar to the other zooming ones. Kindly contributed by Justin Hall.
  • Added an Away From Desk theme (as seen in the screenshot above), that simply displays a message about being away from the desk for a RSI break. Kindly contributed by John Braine.
  • Updated the Muscles theme.
  • Removed the Emoji Zone theme, as the website that hosted it is no longer available.

Other improvements

  • Improved the accessibility prompt when starting the app for the first time, to not show the permissions alert until after the Setup Assistant has been closed, and only if the the suggestion of authorizing it wasn't done.
  • Removed the Post Tweet break action, as High Sierra unfortunately no longer includes built-in support for posting to Twitter.
  • Fixed the View menu items becoming disabled when the sidebar isn't active.
  • If a laptop lid is closed during a break, then re-opened before the break would have been finished, the break will now continue.
  • Restoring a purchase now re-displays the message of thanks in the sidebar; you can dismiss it via the (X) button next to the message if desired.
  • Fixed an issue with High Sierra, where the label and theme background colors could be unexpectedly changed to white. If affected, the colors will be reverted back to the defaults.
  • Fixed some display issues with the the Break Actions page on High Sierra.

Get it now!

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 2.3 now.

Time Out 2.3b3 released

Here's another beta of Time Out, version 2.3b3.

Hopefully this will be the last beta before the general release. I'd really appreciate it if everyone could try this and let me know as soon as possible of any issues, especially on High Sierra.

Changes include:

  • A few more High Sierra tweaks.
  • Removed the Post Tweet break action, as High Sierra unfortunately no longer includes built-in support for posting to Twitter.
  • Fixed the View menu items becoming disabled when the sidebar isn't active.
  • If a laptop lid is closed during a break, then re-opened before the break would have been finished, the break will now continue.

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 2.3b3 now!

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