timeout

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.

Product positioning ponderings

As as been mentioned before, I'm working on Time Out version 2 (in between other projects), to be released once Leopard is publicly available.

At present Time Out is freeware. It probably shouldn't be, as it's a great, very popular product, but it started that way and has remained so thus far. That will change with version 2, which will include pretty much all of the most popular features people have been asking for over the last few years, many of which I've been keen to do but couldn't justify in a free version.

So version 2 and beyond will be shareware, and require a minimum of Leopard. However, I plan to keep version 1.5 (to be released soon) around for people who haven't yet upgraded to Leopard. Version 1.5 will remain free, and for 10.3.9 and later. That could also serve as an alternative for people who don't want the improvements in version 2 (or don't want to pay for Time Out)... but I'm also considering other options.

The latest such option to ponder is having a "Lite" edition of version 2. So there would be the standard Time Out 2, a shareware product, plus Time Out Lite 2, a freeware product. The Lite edition would have basically the same feature set as version 1.5, plus a few enhancements. The standard edition would have lots more new features. If the basic features were enough for you, you could use Time Out Lite at no cost, like you can use current versions. If you want the extra features, you install the standard Time Out and buy a license. Like my other products, you could install Time Out and try the full features for a while before deciding to buy.

A previous option that I thought of was to have just one Time Out 2 app, but two or three license levels, like for Simon. Under this approach, there would be a cheap Basic license with limited features, a Standard license with advanced features, and perhaps an Enterprise or Site license with the same features but allowing company-wide installation. This is different than the above approach in that there is no separate free edition; the differentiation is all in license levels. I do like the idea of keeping a free edition, though.

Another idea was similar to that one, having more of a "seat"-based approach. One license, the same features for everyone, but quantity discounts for multiple users. This is more like the Individual/Household/Site license model that I use for Caboodle and other apps. A seat-based approach could perhaps be combined with the latest approach (of standard and Lite editions).

What do you all think? Any preferences, or other ideas? Feedback would be appreciated, via the comments, the Time Out forum, or privately.

Time Out featured on Lifehacker

Time Out is a featured download on Lifehacker today. They seem to like it, which is always nice. Lifehacker is a great productivity blog, that I read every day, and recommend to others.

I appreciate the publicity, though I kinda wish it had come in a couple of weeks time, as (by popular request) I am planning to release Time Out version 1.5 with the new icon, and a few other improvements, around that time.

If you've come here from Lifehacker or elsewhere to get Time Out, go ahead; the current version is very good... but the icon is somewhat aesthetically challenged. So come back in a couple of weeks to get 1.5 - Time Out will tell you when it's available.

Version 1.5 will remain freeware, for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later.

As for Time Out 2, it is still in development, but will require Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) as a minimum, so version 1.5 will tide people over till Leopard is out (and for people who don't upgrade).

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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