timeout

Developer: NSButton drawing issue

A post for developers, though also related to Time Out 2.

One of the features of Time Out 2 is a sidebar listing the breaks and options, as you could see (blurred somewhat) in my previous post . The sidebar includes a couple of buttons that appear when you hover the pointer over a row, enabling you to manually start or pause that break.

A vexing issue I had, though, was that the button didn't draw correctly. If you look closely at this screenshot, you may notice that the background of the text and the remainder of the button content don't match — there's a visible outline around the text:

That is rather ugly. I'm not sure exactly what causes it, but presumably it's related to being in a sidebar list, and perhaps an issue with title-less windows (I've seen some other issues, too).

Regardless, I wanted to fix it. After a bit of experimentation, I found a simple solution: a subclass of NSButtonCell to override the -drawTitle:withFrameinView: method, which as you might imagine is responsible for drawing the title text. The override simply invokes the superclass, and returns the full button rect instead of the rect of the text itself:


@interface DejalButtonCell : NSButtonCell

@end

@implementation DejalButtonCell

- (NSRect)drawTitle:(NSAttributedString *)title withFrame:(NSRect)frame inView:(NSView *)controlView;
{
    [super drawTitle:title withFrame:frame inView:controlView];
    return frame;
}

@end

That seems to do the trick:

Filed Radar #22491410.

Time Out 2 teaser

As you may know, I'm working on a major upgrade of my popular break reminder tool, Time Out. Version 2 has been in the works for quite some time, in between working on contract work and updates of Simon, Pack, and other apps.

I've recently made some significant progress, and although there remains much to do, I think it's time to start teasing a little about the new version.

So without further ado, I present your first glimpse of the app (other than the icon, which I showed previously). A heavily blurred screenshot, admittedly... but you may be able to glean something about it.

Want to see more? How about actually try the current version? No need to wait: licensed users can apply to become alpha testers, and actually use the latest builds now (version 2.0a13 was released a few days ago). If you've made a donation, and are using Yosemite or later, you can contact me to request to join the alpha team, or to get more information.

Otherwise, stay tuned for more screenshots and information about the upgrade over the coming months. (Yes, I fully expect it'll be a few months before it's finished, though who knows; it'll be done when it's done.)

Mac App Store

There have been a lot of discussions recently about the Mac App Store, and how many Mac developers are abandoning it. Here's an excerpt from one example, which includes links to many others:

The Mac App Store was released in January 2011 and it marked the beginning of a great new distribution channel. Even though it lacked some bells and whistles, the developer community was hopeful the problems would be addressed in due course. Unfortunately, it has been years and there’s no evidence that the core issues would be addressed in the future, at all. When notable developers are abandoning your platform, cannot do the right thing for their customers and are delaying their MAS submission, something is very, very broken. I believe that the inaction is harmful to the whole Mac community, affecting consumers and developers alike.

Mac App Store: The Subtle Exodus by Milen Dzhumerov

This has been a concern for me and my Dejal apps, too.

As I work on an update to my Simon app, I'm once again faced with this issue. Simon currently has two editions in the Mac App Store, Simon Express and Simon Free. Those are already cut-down editions of the full Simon app available on this website, but they also haven't been updated since Apple introduced the sandbox requirements. Simon is a large and powerful app, and really isn't able to be sandboxed without cutting out even more functionality, which I don't want to do.

So, I am forced to announce that Simon Express and Simon Free will be removed from the Mac App Store when the next update of Simon is released. I've thought about removing them immediately, but decided that it'd be better to leave them until the more natural point of the next update. I would really recommend that everyone use the full version of Simon instead of the App Store editions, though.

What about my other apps?

The current version of my free break reminder tool Time Out, 1.7.1, can not be sandboxed either, so the latest version on the Mac App Store, Time Out Free, is stuck at 1.6.5. Again, I recommend people use the version from this site instead. However, I am working on version 2 (currently in alpha testing), which is sandboxed. Supporting sandboxing has complicated the design, and added a lot of work, but I felt it was worth it for such a generally popular and widely-used app. So Time Out 2 will be available both on the Dejal site and the Mac App Store.

My snippet manager app, Caboodle, is up to version 1.5 currently, but again the Mac App Store edition, Caboodle Express, is a bit behind at version 1.4. As with Time Out, this is a widely-used app, so I want to be able to update the App Store edition. So I'm also working on an update that will support this (and may even support iCloud and Dropbox syncing). Work on this is on hold currently; I'll resume after the next updates of Simon and Time Out are done.

Finally, BlogAssist, my menubar utility to help with HTML markup (which I used extensively writing this blog post) is already fully sandboxed and up-to-date on the App Store. Both the standard edition and BlogAssist Express on the App Store are on version 2.4.

So, as you can see, I still believe in the Mac App Store and want to support it for my consumer apps. Although it has technical challenges, and definitely has many problems as others have discussed, I think it is a useful service for my customers, and a valuable way of getting my apps in front of more people.

However, for a more niche, powerful and professional app like Simon, the limitations of the App Store outweigh its benefits, so I can't justify the compromises required to support it. I do hope that changes in the future — there are lots of things Apple could do to make the App Store a better fit for such apps — but I don't think they have much interest in such changes. I'm just glad that they recognize that there are apps that don't fit the App Store, and continue to support apps outside the store via mechanisms like Developer ID.

Time Out 2 icon

Yes, the rumors are true... Time Out 2 is coming! This major upgrade has been much delayed, redesigned, partial implementations discarded and restarted, and delayed again... but it is well underway now, and is in fact in private alpha testing at present.

What does it include? The major enhancements are not coincidentally the most requested changes: the ability to run Time Out without it being in the Dock, a countdown status menu, and customizable break themes. There are many other improvements, too.

Don't get too excited just yet, though, as it'll probably be another few months before it is available as a public beta. Although version 2 is fully functional now, I've still got lots I want to add and polish, including support for more than two breaks, more kinds of notifications, and an overhaul of the UI.

One other big change is the app icon. The icon for version 1 is nice enough, and many people like it, but others are put off by the meditating figure. So I've taken the opportunity of version 2 to have a fresh new icon professionally designed... and here it is:

I hope you like it, and agree that it's a huge improvement. The theme is relaxation — take a break. A hammock under palm trees seems pretty relaxing to me. And from a certain perspective, it looks a little like a smiley face. Hopefully taking rest breaks will make you smile, too.

This great icon was designed by Aaron Mahnke of Wet Frog Studios. It was a pleasure working with such a professional and skilled designer. He was easy to work with, clearly understanding my ideas and quickly created a draft design that was very close to what we ended up with. He was also responsive to my suggestions for tweaks, so it only took a few iterations before we had the final design.

So, when will version 2 be available publicly? I don't know. It'll be done when it's done. But I will post more about it over the coming weeks, so you can get a feel for the enhancements.

Can't wait? Want to try the current alpha releases? I always welcome fresh perspectives, so you could be eligible to join the elite alpha group. It is only open to licensed users, so if you've made a donation, and you're using Mavericks, you can contact me to request to join the alpha team, or to get more information.

Time Out 1.7.1 released

Yesterday I was alerted to an issue with Time Out 1.7, where the breaks wouldn't occur for some people. It turned out that if you choose to reopen apps on login via the new option in Mountain Lion, Time Out wasn't fully starting until you brought the app to the front. So here's a fix for that, and plus a couple of other tweaks:

  • Fixed issue that prevented the timers from starting when auto-launched until Time Out is brought to the front the first time.
  • Now sets the state of the auto-launch preference checkbox from whether or not it'll actually be launched, rather than just what was previously chosen (a subtle difference).
  • Fixed the minimum OS requirement, so trying to launch it on an OS version before 10.7 will give an alert instead of unexpected behavior.

Download Time Out 1.7.1 now!

Time Out 1.7 released

Time Out 1.7 adds a couple of nice enhancements to the Sound break preferences, to change the volume and loop the start sound.

But the main reason for this update is to enhance Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) support: to sign the app with an Apple-issued Developer ID for Gatekeeper support, move to the modern runtime, and related changes.

As with the recent BlogAssist release, Time Out 1.7 now requires Lion (OS X 10.7) or later and a 64-bit Intel machine. However Time Out is not sandboxed yet (and thus I can't update the Mac App Store edition); that will come in version 2.

Speaking of which, for those wondering about that great vaporware known as Time Out 2, it's still in the works — and the changes in this release are a great step towards that. I don't want to guess at when it'll be available, since various other projects keep getting in the way. It'll be ready when it's ready, but it's moving forward as time allows.

Here are the full release notes for version 1.7:

  • Added a Volume slider to the Sound break preferences, enabling sounds to be played quieter if desired.
  • Added a checkbox to enable repeating the start sound until the end of the break; useful to loop short sounds as an audio cue of the break.
  • Reimplemented the auto-launch preference to work with Mountain Lion and sandboxing.
  • Removed the quit confirmation preference.
  • Removed the in-app purchase options, since not compatible with 64-bit, and rarely used. (Standard edition only)
  • Fixed display of license entry date in the Licenses editor. (Standard edition only)
  • Fixed drafting an email if a license couldn't be found. (Standard edition only)
  • The standard edition of the app is now signed with a Developer ID to support Gatekeeper on Mountain Lion. (Standard edition only)
  • Time Out now requires a 64-bit Mac and a minimum of OS X 10.7 (Lion).
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping older OS versions, PowerPC and 32-bit support.

Download Time Out 1.7 now!

Time Out 1.7b2 released

Time Out 1.7 adds a couple of nice enhancements to the Sound break preferences, to change the volume and loop the start sound.

But the main reason for this update is to enhance Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) support: to sign the app with an Apple-issued Developer ID for Gatekeeper support, move to the modern runtime, and related changes.

As with the recent BlogAssist release, Time Out 1.7 now requires Lion (OS X 10.7) or later and a 64-bit Intel machine. However Time Out is not sandboxed yet (and thus I can't update the Mac App Store edition); that will come in version 2.

Speaking of which, for those wondering about that great vaporware known as Time Out 2, it's still in the works — and the changes in this release are a great step towards that. I don't want to guess at when it'll be available, since various other projects keep getting in the way. It'll be ready when it's ready, but it's moving forward as time allows.

Here are the full release notes for version 1.7b1:

  • Added a Volume slider to the Sound break preferences, enabling sounds to be played quieter if desired.
  • Added a checkbox to enable repeating the start sound until the end of the break; useful to loop short sounds as an audio cue of the break.
  • Reimplemented the auto-launch preference to work with Mountain Lion and sandboxing.
  • Removed the quit confirmation preference.
  • Removed the in-app purchase options, since not compatible with 64-bit, and rarely used. (Standard edition only)
  • Fixed display of license entry date in the Licenses editor. (Standard edition only)
  • Fixed drafting an email if a license couldn't be found. (Standard edition only)
  • The standard edition of the app is now signed with a Developer ID to support Gatekeeper on Mountain Lion. (Standard edition only)
  • Time Out now requires a 64-bit Mac and a minimum of OS X 10.7 (Lion).
  • Many other behind-the-scenes improvements made possible by dropping older OS versions, PowerPC and 32-bit support.

UPDATE: I've just released 1.7b2, which fixes a bug with resetting the timers in the first beta. Sorry about that!

Download Time Out 1.7b2 now!

CNET: how to reduce computer-related eyestrain

Thanks to Sharon Vaknin for the mention of Time Out in this video, that gives helpful tips on reducing eyestrain:

Watch on YouTube.

Time Out 1.6.5 released

Here's a quick update of Time Out 1.6.5, to fix the incorrect display of when the next normal break is due.

This was caused by what I think is a bug in Lion — the way a date id described (to convert from a date to a string) no longer matches the documented format, and so it fails to be converted back from a string to a date.

Anyway, all better now. Sorry for any inconvenience!

I'm currently spending weekdays working on Profile version 2, and weekends on Time Out version 2. I got the agent communication working this weekend (the stuff that will let Time Out run in the background without having to be in the Dock). Next weekend I'll be working on the main configuration window. Hopefully I'll have the first alpha release available in a few weeks time (only for a small team of testers, yet to be selected from a list of volunteers).

Download Time Out 1.6.5 now!

Time Out 1.6.4 released

A quick update of Time Out, my free break tool, to version 1.6.4.

  • Improved compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7.3.
  • The donation button in the Preferences window now shows the Licenses window instead of going to the Dejal Store web page. (Standard edition only)

Version 2 is still in the works — it has had some delays due to client work and other projects, but I've been working on prototypes and prerequisite projects to keep Time Out 2 moving forward.

And as always, if you donate now, you'll get a Time Out 2 license, that you can add to the current releases. Set your own price! (This offer expires when version 2 is released.)

Download Time Out 1.6.4 now!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

Time Out 1.5.7 and Caboodle 1.3.7 releases

I'm pleased to announce that both Time Out and Caboodle will be in the Mac App Store when it launches tomorrow.

To keep the versions in sync, here are updates to the non-App Store editions: Time Out 1.5.7 and Caboodle 1.3.7.

The Mac App Store editions require Mac OS X 10.6 or later, but the standalone editions still support 10.4 and later, for now. The next non-bug-fix updates will increase the minimum OS requirement to 10.6, so these might be the last releases that support Tiger and Leopard.

The edition of Time Out in the Mac App Store is called "Time Out Free". It is completely free, and always will be. Later, once version 2 is released, I'll rename the standalone edition as "Time Out Pro", and introduce a paid "Time Out Express" edition in the App Store. Currently, both the standalone and App Store editions have the same features, except the App Store one of course uses the App Store to update instead of the built-in mechanism. Once version 2 is out, Time Out Free will continue to have about the same features as now, and Time Out Express and Pro will gain many new features.

Similarly, Caboodle on the Mac App Store is called "Caboodle Express", but is basically the same as the non-App Store edition. Other than removing the update mechanism, the only notable difference in Caboodle Express is that it doesn't offer to install the PDF workflow, since Apple objected to that in the approval process. This feature is still available, you just have to alias the application to your "~/Library/PDF Services" folder.

I probably won't have a "Caboodle Free", since I can't think of any way to limit the functionality sufficiently while remaining useful. People can try Caboodle for free via the Dejal site, then buy either from here or from the App Store, as desired.

For existing customers, please note that Apple doesn't currently offer any way to migrate users from the existing app to the App Store edition. So I recommend sticking with the standalone editions. They will always have the same or more features than the App Store editions, and get updates faster, since they don't have to wait for Apple's review process.

In case you're wondering about BlogAssist, I haven't gotten around to building a Mac App Store edition of that yet. I'm not sure I will for a while; it's fine as-is.

As for Simon, that's a tricky case, since it is a very complex app, with lots of plug-ins and complex features. I don't think that Apple would even approve it, without eliminating a lot of functionality... perhaps too much. So for now, I don't plan to submit Simon to the App Store.

Download Time Out 1.5.7 now! and/or download Caboodle 1.3.7 now!

Where things are at

I've have been rather quiet of late, haven't I? I thought I'd post a status update, as preview of my traditional end-of-year summary.

I spent the first half of 2010 working on Tweeps, a free app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to easily manage Twitter accounts. It was an interesting experience; I had written two previous apps for iPhones (SmileDial and Valentines), but Tweeps was a much bigger project, and my first iPad app. It includes a lot of handy technology that I'll put to use in future iOS apps.

After releasing a few bug-fix updates of my various Mac apps, I got to work on version 2.6 of Simon, my flagship product to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures. This is a significant update, and I've blogged about it a number of times recently, showing sneak peeks of some of the new features. Work on it progresses nicely. Recently Daniel was able to update the Twitter plugin to work with the new OAuth authentication scheme required with Twitter. I'm hoping to have Simon 2.6 ready for beta testing around mid-October, with a general release around mid-November. (And in the meantime, contact me if you want to try a sneak peek release — available to licensed users only.)

An interesting thing that occurred a little while ago was the sale of my first Mac OS X app. Narrator, my app to read out stories in multiple voices, was acquired by Mariner Software. That was quite an interesting experience; I'd never sold off an app before. But I still feel it was the best thing for everybody: I wasn't giving Narrator the love it deserved, and it's a great fit with Mariner's other apps. Based on that experience, I'll definitely consider offers on other of my apps, when appropriate.

After Simon 2.6 is out, assuming I have time, I'm going to close out the year with version 1.4 of Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine. This update will include some much-requested new features, like a default font preference, encryption of child entries with the parent, and more. If Simon takes longer than anticipated, this might get pushed to next year, but I'm hoping I can get it done this year.

Next year I want my top priority to be finishing off version 2.0 of Time Out, my very handy break reminder tool. I had wanted to finish it last year, but it got postponed by Tweeps and Simon updates. It remains an important and exciting update, though, so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait. And as previously mentioned, everyone who makes a donation for Time Out now will be automatically eligible for the full-featured paid edition at no additional cost — so you can set your own price for it now! This offer expires when version 2 is released. Thank you to everyone who has already donated; the volume of donations is really encouraging.

So that's where things stand now, and for the next few months. I have big plans for several of my apps after that, but I don't want to talk about future plans too much, since everything is always subject to change. What's important to me is that everything I release is of the best quality, not that I meet arbitrary deadlines. That's just the way I roll.

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