Blogs

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.)

Released Simon 2.2.1b1

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

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

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

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

Anonymous comments changed again

Fighting spam in site comments and forum postings is an ongoing battle. I could eliminate it all simply by limiting posting to only people with accounts on the site, but I don't want to do that if I can avoid it, since I recognize that some people prefer to remain anonymous, or don't want to take the few seconds to create an account.

So I have now added a simple captcha feature for anonymous site users (i.e. everyone who isn't logged in via an account). You'll be asked to answer a simple math question as proof that you're a real human, instead of a spam robot.

I've also allowed anonymous comment posting without moderation again, since the captcha should prevent the spam comments. Unfortunately this feature doesn't seem to work with forum posts, so I'll have to continue manually deleting the spam posts that keep appearing there.

If you have an account (which is free and easy to create!), you won't be asked for this extra validation. I recommend that everyone create an account; it'll let you post followup messages and comments much more easily, and allow you to track answers to your posts, etc.

Macfilink 2.4 and BlogAssist 2.1 general releases

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

BlogAssist 2.1b2 released

ImageBlogAssist version 2.1b2 has now been released.

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

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

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

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

Cocoa topics: the case of the modal WebView

I want to include the occasional programming topic in the Dejal blog, when I encounter something that may be of interest to other Mac developers. Here's my first one.

A while back, I added a Check for Updates... window that displays a WebView of release notes, much like on my site. It works rather well. However, if a beta release has expired, I wanted it to display it modally. But for some strange reason the WebView didn't load when the window was run modally. I couldn't find a solution at the time, so I just had it redirect to the website.

I came across this issue again tonight, while adding Services support to BlogAssist. I'm introducing a handy new feature where you can just hit < in any app to display a modal panel like the existing floating window. It includes a WebView to preview how the marked-up HTML will appear. I really didn't want to have to sacrifice that.

So I found a solution: tickle the runloop! It turns out that the WebView will only work on the main loop. So rather than just call -runModalForWindow:, I use the more verbose -beginModalSessionForWindow: / -runModalSession: / -endModalSession: loop. And the key to keeping the WebView happy: call -limitDateForMode: each time around the loop, so the main loop keeps on truckin'.

Here's the code:

    NSModalSession session = [NSApp beginModalSessionForWindow:[self window]];
    int result = NSRunContinuesResponse;
   
    // Loop until some result other than continues:
    while (result == NSRunContinuesResponse)
    {
        // Run the window modally until there are no events to process:
        result = [NSApp runModalSession:session];
       
        // Give the main loop some time:
        [[NSRunLoop currentRunLoop] limitDateForMode:NSDefaultRunLoopMode];
    }
   
    [NSApp endModalSession:session];

I hope this helps others with this dilemma.

MacUpdate Promo finished!

The one-day MacUpdate Promo for Dejal Simon is over. Thank you to everyone who took advantage of this great deal. Welcome! I hope you enjoy Simon. Remember to check out the User Guide, FAQ and Simon Forum if you have any questions.

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