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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.

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