Blogs

VT Memorial Fund results

I'm pleased to be able to report that the independent Mac developers that participated in the recent Virginia Tech Memorial Fund Charity Sale raised a total of $2,433.00.

Thanks to everyone who helped achieve this by buying Dejal and other participants' products on May 2.

Simon tip: detect unacceptable changes

Simon's Smart Change Detection feature looks for the text in the Start text box, then the End text, then compares the text between those two against what it had the last time it checked.

This is useful to detect changes in a portion of the page, but can also be used to detect unacceptable changes.

The usual way to do that is to just provide a Start text block, and not an End one. Then if the Start text isn't found, that is a failure.

So for example, if you do a telnet Script-based check, you'd want it to be considered a success only if this is output:

Escape character is '^]'

So you'd put that in the Start text block, and leave the End block empty.

Then if that text isn't found (as would occur if telnet couldn't connect to the server), Simon will log a failure.

Virginia Tech Memorial Fund - Charity Sale

All proceeds from sales of all Dejal products on May 2 will be donated to the Virginia Tech Memorial Fund.

Several independent Mac developers are participating in this event, doing what we can for this great cause.

So if you're planning on purchasing a Dejal product soon, or one of the other excellent products from participating developers, you might like to do so this Wednesday.

Dejal Developer pages: free Cocoa code

I've been developing for the Mac since about 1988, initially in Pascal, and since 2002 in ObjC/Cocoa. I've benefited from advice and comments on mailing lists like CocoaDev, and like to give back to the community. In the past I released some of my Classic Pascal code, and now I'm doing the same for some of my Cocoa code.

I am a chronic generic code writer, which I know many people frown on, but with six applications to maintain, shared code is very useful and efficient. An important part of this shared code is my Cocoa categories, that extend Apple's classes with convenience methods and new functionality.

These categories are now available to other Cocoa developers to use in your own products, if desired. The code was written over the last several years, so some of it could be replaced with more modern techniques, but hopefully a lot of it will remain useful. They are certainly used a lot in my products.

The main Developer page is at www.dejal.com/developer. The categories are organized by Foundation and AppKit, plus some utilities. You can view the code online and copy select snippets if you wish, or download .zip archives for each, or a single archive with all.

This code is generously licensed; you are welcome to use it in your own products, including commercial; all I ask is a mention in your credits or website, and that you tell me you're using it. Use as little or as much as you wish.

If you find any bugs or have some suggestions, or want to roll in improvements, please let me know. The code should all be pretty bug-free, though, being in active use. And depending on feedback, I'll probably add more code over time; I have several subclasses and new classes that are shared by all my apps that (with a little tidying up) could also be made available in the future.

I hope it's helpful for you!

More site improvements

I've made a number of further website improvements over the last week:

  • I've replaced the front page with a custom one. It now shows a large feature graphic (like Apple's site does), followed by the latest blog entry, and a link to the blog page. There's also a sidebar listing the recent blog posts for quick access.
  • Improved the page layout by eliminating the rounded corners on the boxes. Rounded corners look a little nicer, but the :before and :after metatags I was using didn't work reliably, and other approaches are too complex. I think the square corners has a certain elegance.
  • Improved the icons for the Blog and Forums header buttons.
  • Header button selection highlighting is now working for Drupal-based pages.
  • The Navigation menu (for site members) now uses DHTML to expand and collapse sub-menus without having to reload the page.
  • The Navigation menu now isn't available for guests, since all of the relevant functions are available via the header (though the menu does make accessing individual forums etc faster - a benefit of becoming a free site member!).
  • Added a Blog tags page and sidebar block (that only appears when viewing the blog) that lists blog tags, allowing filtering the blog for just those topics.
  • Added graphic captcha for guest comments, instead of the math question - it seems tidier and more reliable.
  • Changed the product screenshot slideshows to use JavaScript, again to avoid untidy page reloads.
  • Added new Developer pages, providing source code to other Cocoa developers (more on this tomorrow).

Note: due to the CSS changes, if the page header looks weird, try reloading the page to fix it.

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!

Leopard delayed till October

I guess I spoke too soon. Apple shocked everyone today by announcing that Leopard is being pushed back from June to October.

Well, maybe "shocked" is too strong a word... I don't think any developers are too surprised, but some developers are more concerned than others... particularly ones with apps requiring Leopard waiting for release.

Personally, I'm not concerned. I applaud Apple for taking the extra time to get it right. And although I have plans for Leopard updates of Dejal apps, the next versions will still be Tiger-compatible. Time Out 2, which I'm working on now, will require Tiger, and Simon 2.3 will remain for Panther (10.3.9) and later, as will the other apps for now.

Looking forward to WWDC 2007

I've just purchased the conference ticket, and booked the hotel and airfare for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, coming in June.

Last year was my first attendance, though I'd been meaning to go for years. I enjoyed it, met a bunch of interesting people, and learned useful things about Leopard etc at the sessions, so I wanted to go again this year.

This year's conference should be very interesting again, with Leopard likely being released either shortly before or (more likely) at the Stevenote.

I look forward to meeting more Mac developers at WWDC this year. I'll probably wear Dejal logo shirts, so if you're there and see me, come up and say hi!

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.

A few more site improvements

I've just tweaked the Dejal site a little more. Improvements include:

  • Subscriptions: You can elect to be notified via email when someone (e.g. me) replies to your forum posts, or subscribe to the blog. This is in addition to the RSS feeds.
  • Improved URLs: All posts to the site now automatically have a fairly intuitive URL, instead of "node/number" as before.
  • Code Formatting: You can now type <code>...</code> tags in posts and comments, and they'll be formatted correctly.
  • Automatic translation: You can now get blog postings, forum discussions, FAQs, and some other pages on the site automatically translated into one of several languages: see the Change Language box in the sidebar. Doesn't work with the product pages.

Fun with domain names

I just added a bunch more domain names for my website.

Firstly, some app-specific variations, which all point to their respective product pages. I may use these in various places in the future, though they will probably always point to the same pages. They may help people find my apps when guessing the URL, too. Feel free to use these when linking to the products, if you want a shorter URL:

I also added some misspellings of Dejal, to help people guessing the spelling find the site:

It's a little surprising that such short domain names are still available... but they are unusual names.

Added Simon web badges

[Badge2]

These are a couple of web badges for Simon that I've just added. You are welcome to add one of these to websites that you monitor with Simon, to reassure your readers that you're watching your site for failures or comments, and help spread the good word about Simon.

[Badge1]

To use these, drag the desired image to your Desktop to download it, then upload to a suitable location on your website (please don't just link to the images on my site). Then copy the HTML code below to the part of your page where you want the badge to appear, and change the image name and/or path if necessary:

<a href="http://www.dejal.com/simon/"><img src="simon-monitor2.png" title="Learn about Dejal Simon, the essential website and server monitor for Mac OS X" /></a>

If anyone wants to create more badges, or has any suggestions for other designs, please get in touch.

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 product page updated

I just rewrote the Caboodle product page to be more like the Simon one, with better descriptions of the various features and benefits of Caboodle. I hope it all makes sense - feedback welcome in the comments, Caboodle forum, or the feedback form.

Anyway, I now have a bunch of space in the sidebar, a perfect place for customer testimonials (again, like on the Simon page). Of course, I could go through my mail archives, or pull some from VersionTracker or MacUpdate, but I'd since I'm about to release version 1.1 of Caboodle, I though some tasty fresh quotes would be better.

So, if you use Caboodle and want to encourage others to give it a try, how about sending me a brief quote that I can use, along with your name and such. The feedback form has fields in the sidebar with the info needed. You can say whatever you like; I don't edit quotes, other than to make it short enough for the space. What do you like about Caboodle? What do you use it for? How has it helped you?

I'll select a bunch from the quotes I receive and post them on the site.

Thanks!

Simon reviewed on mac.pocket.at

Simon has just been reviewed at mac.pocket.at (in German). Read the review, or the automatic English translation.

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.

Creating forum topics now requires an account

In the ongoing saga of fighting spam, the captcha (math question) for comments seems to protect the site's comments from spammers, but it doesn't work for forum posts. So until it does, I have reluctantly disabled anonymous forum posting.

So, if you don't have an account, you can still comment on an existing forum topic, but you can only create a new topic if you first log in or create an account. Which is really easy to do!

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!

A great multi-touch video

As I've previously discussed, I really believe that multi-touch is the way of the future. Here's another great video like Jeff Han's previous one, but on a bigger scale:

(Via MacRumors.)

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