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Featured blog posts of 2011

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2011 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

Dejal year in review: 2011

The year 2011 was a fairly quiet one for Dejal. I spent much of the year working on big contract projects, which cut into the time for Dejal updates — but that'll be changing in 2012.

2011 saw a major milestone for Dejal: it was the 20 year anniversary of the founding of the company. It was founded on September 20, 1991. Yes, I've been writing and selling Mac apps for two decades! Amazing.

My flagship product to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, Simon, had several updates in 2011, to version 3.3.1. Editions for the Mac App Store were also introduced: Simon Express, streamlined to only include the most popular services, filters and notifiers, but has an unlimited number of tests, and Simon Free, limited to 5 active test configurations. (See the Simon Feature Comparison for details.)

My handy break reminder tool, Time Out, remains one of my most popular apps, and it saw a number of updates in 2011, to version 1.6.3. It also had a Mac App Store edition introduced: Time Out Free. Version 2.0 has been in the works for a few years now, and saw a few weeks of work in 2011, but again got sidelined by other projects. It remains an important and exciting update, though, so I'm really looking forward to it. 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.

Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine, had some updates in 2011, to version 1.4.1, with Lion support and many other improvements. It also got introduced on the Mac App Store, with a Caboodle Express edition that is basically the same as the standard one.

BlogAssist, my tool to help with HTML markup, only had one release (to version 2.2.6) in 2011. This update added support for BlogAssist Express for the Mac App Store; this edition is also basically the same as the standard one.

I didn't do any updates of Tweeps, an app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to easily manage Twitter accounts. It still works fine, and I didn't have time to work on it, though I have some ideas for enhancements.

So what's coming up in 2012? I will be spending more time on Dejal updates this year. My top priority will be Time Out 2. After that, I have big plans for Simon, Caboodle and BlogAssist updates, and may introduce a new app or two as well. It's going to be an exciting year for Dejal!

Featured blog posts of 2010

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2010 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

Dejal year in review: 2010

The year 2010 saw some big changes at Dejal, including the release of Tweeps for iPhone and iPad, sale of my first app to another company, and a major upgrade of my flagship Mac app:

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.

An interesting thing that occurred in 2010 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.

Once I released a few bug-fix updates of my various Mac apps, I got to work on a major upgrade of Simon, my flagship product to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures. After five months of development, version 3.0 was released in November. The first major upgrade in five years, it included many great enhancements, especially powerful new filter features.

Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine, only got a couple of bug fix releases (to version 1.3.6) in 2010. I had been hoping to do the 1.4 release at the end of 2010, but ran out of time. That may come in early 2011, or I may push it out till later in the year.

Similarly, BlogAssist, my tool to help with HTML markup, also only had two bug fix releases (to version 2.2.5) in 2010. It is a lower priority than my other Mac apps, since it is basically feature-complete now, though I do have a number of ideas for improvements, so hope to get an update out later in 2011.

My handy break reminder tool, Time Out, remains one of my most popular products, and it saw an update to version 1.5.6 in 2010. Version 2.0 has been in the works for a few years now, 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. It is my top priority for 2011. 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 what's coming up in 2011? As indicated, the main focus will be Time Out 2. I also plan to do smaller, more frequent updates to Simon 3. The initial Simon updates will concentrate on features that will also be leveraged by Time Out 2 — it may not seem it, but they have a lot in common (e.g. scheduling, plugin usage, and behind-the-scenes things like app structure and data organization).

2011 also marks the 20 year anniversary of Dejal (in September). I'm looking forward to celebrating that remarkable milestone!

Featured blog posts of 2009

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2009 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

Dejal decade in review: 2000 to 2009

Dejal has been around since 1991, but has gone through a number of changes over the years. In the first decade, from 1991 to 2001, I wrote applications and system extensions (FKEYs etc) for Mac OS 9 and earlier. These are still available on the Classic Products pages.

In 2001 my wife and I moved from New Zealand to the US, and of course my business moved with us.

In 2002 I formally set up the company as "Dejal Systems, LLC", and started writing applications for the then-new Mac OS X operating system. The first such app was Narrator, a fun app to read stories in multiple voices. Later in 2002, the first version of Simon was released: my server and website monitoring tool. (News from 2002.)

In 2003 I started a Mac OS X version of QuickEncrypt, an encryption tool that had been fairly popular under Mac OS 9, though as it turned out it got sidelined by other projects, mainly due to lack of customer interest. I also released the first version of Time Out, a useful (and free) break reminder tool, and BlogAssist, a HTML markup tool... which was also free initially. And finally, I introduced Caboodle, my handy snippet keeper app, also as freeware initially. A busy year for new apps! (News from 2003.)

In 2004 a third-party product that I was working on as a contract programmer was released: MindFortress. The client saw Caboodle and wanted something similar with their spin on it. It was a popular inspiration: the makers of iData wanted help with rewriting their product, so I did that as a contractor, too. I also decided to give away the old Classic products this year, and introduced yet another new app, Macfilink, an affiliate link cloaking tool, written as a joint venture with an Australian friend. My various existing apps were also updated. (News from 2004.)

In 2005 I rolled out a major website redesign, including adding a RSS feed for news. Several apps were updated, including Time Out to version 1.3.2, Caboodle to 1.0b3 (still not in general release!), and most notably a major upgrade of Simon to version 2.0 then 2.1. (News from 2005.)

In 2006 I started sponsoring the great Joy of Tech web comic, which has been renewed each year since. Various apps were updated, most notably a major upgrade of BlogAssist to version 2.0, where it became a paid product, and Caboodle finally reached a 1.0 general release. I also introduced the Dejal Blog and Dejal Forums, and redesigned the Dejal logo to its current form. (News from 2006.)

In 2007 I made a number of website improvements, including an improved design and nicer Dejal Store pages. I also started tweeting (@dejal), posted lots of blog posts, and of course did a number of app updates.

In 2008 I rewrote Narrator from scratch to use the latest technologies, and released as version 2.0, along with the usual batch of app updates and blog posts. I also branched out into iPhone app development with my first app for that platform, SmileDial, a handy and fun app to text or call people by touching their face: touch their eyes to have them read a text message, or touch their mouth to speak to them.

In 2009 I continued the blog posts and app updates, as usual. I also introduced two new apps: a free Mac app called FinderFront to bring all Finder windows to the front when you click the desktop, and an iPhone app called Valentines to celebrate Valentine's Day with heart-shaped photos and messages. I also added iPhone optimization to the website. Plus I spent a few months working on a secret new iPhone app, which I've hinted at on Twitter as [DEJALDACTED].

So what's in store for 2010 and the next decade? Firstly, the aforementioned new iPhone app. That'll be an exciting release. After that, I'll work on version 2.6 of Simon, and Time Out version 2, which was designed and started quite a while ago, but has been pushed back... but no more. After that, I have big plans for updates to my other apps.

Other than the [DEJALDACTED] iPhone app release, I see 2010 as returning my focus to my Mac apps. 2011 and beyond... who knows. Maybe I'll work on apps for Apple's rumored tablet, or more iPhone apps, or new Mac apps... or more likely a combination of all those (and updates to the existing apps, of course). The focus will depend in large part on feedback from customers like you.

Regardless, it'll certainly be fun to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Dejal in 2011!

Featured blog posts of 2008

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2008 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

Dejal year in review: 2008

The year 2008 was another interesting year for Dejal. Here are some highlights:

Simon: My flagship website and server monitoring tool had one significant update, version 2.4, with a couple of fix updates bringing it to 2.4.2. These versions added the Twitter and Calendar plug-ins, plus enhancements to several others, and lots of other improvements. What's next? Version 2.5 is currently in development, and will have the first beta release shortly. It includes a significant new SMS notifier, plus other enhancements.

Time Out: My handy break reminder tool was updated to version 1.5.2, plus some work was done on version 2. I had hoped to get version 2 released in 2008, but it got postponed due to some other projects. What's next? Version 2 is still coming, probably around May 2009.

Caboodle: This handy snippet-keeper app was updated to version 1.2. This release included several encryption enhancements and other improvements. What's next? I have a long list of ideas for Caboodle. It should see several significant enhancements in 2009.

Narrator: My fun speech synthesis app had a major upgrade and rewrite using Leopard technologies, plus some fix releases bringing it to version 2.0.3 currently. This major upgrade was much deserved, since the previous release was back in 2003! I also started experimenting with giving away Narrator licenses via TrialPay. What's next? Narrator 2.1 will be released before the end of the year, with fix releases before that.

BlogAssist: This useful HTML markup tool was updated to version 2.2, with 2.2.1 the latest release. It added much-requested repeating formatting, and other changes. What's next? I have several ideas for BlogAssist, too, with several updates planned.

Macfilink: My affiliate link cloaking app was updated to version 1.5 and released as freeware. This was a tricky decision, but I still feel that it was the right one. I don't currently plan on any further improvements to it, as it does it's one job very well, but will do bug-fix releases as needed.

SmileDial: I released my first apps for iPhone in 2008. SmileDial Lite and SmileDial Pro are innovative apps using a visual address book for your favorite people, to make it easy to text and call one or more people. What's next? A minor release will be done soon, with some feature enhancements planned.

What else will 2009 bring? I'm about to start a new Mac app with a companion iPhone app as a joint venture with another developer. I want to write at least one other new iPhone app, too. But I don't want to push back updates to my existing apps more than necessary. I'm also currently working on some updates to the website, including optimizations when viewing on an iPhone, which I'll roll out soon.

I'm looking forward to another great year. Thank you to all of my customers who have helped support Dejal.

Featured blog posts of 2007

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2007 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

Dejal year in review: 2007

The year 2007 was a good one for Dejal, with lots of releases, nicely growing revenue, and other goodness. Here are some highlights from the year:

LeopardApple released Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" in October. It is an excellent upgrade, with hundreds of enhancements, both at the UI level and in terms of frameworks and tools for developers.

Simon: My flagship website and server monitoring tool had two significant updates, versions 2.2 and 2.3, with several fix updates bringing it to 2.3.5. These versions added the versatile Script service and notifier, plus several other plug-ins and lots of other improvements.

Time Out: Version 1.5 of this popular freeware break reminder app was released, with 1.5.1 as the latest release as of this writing. This version added a much improved icon, layout tweaks, and other changes.

Caboodle: This handy snippet-keeper app was updated to version 1.1, with the current release being 1.1.3. These releases added import and export functions, enhanced printing, and many other improvements.

Narrator: My fun speech synthesis app hasn't been updated for a number of years, but I've been working on a rewrite of it using Leopard technologies, which is currently in private alpha testing, and will be available publicly soon.

BlogAssist: This useful HTML markup tool was updated to version 2.1, with 2.1.2 the latest release. It added a very useful Services menu command, allowing inline replacement of text -- something I use daily. Plus other changes.

Macfilink: My affiliate link cloaking app was updated to version 1.4, with 1.4.2 the latest currently. It didn't have many changes, since it is a very simple app that does one job well, but it had some tweaks.

Dejal site: The Dejal web site also had a number of improvements in 2007. Back in January, the entire site was migrated to a new server, driven by a hybrid of custom PHP code and the Drupal CMS. It uses my custom code for the product and store pages, among others, and Drupal for the remainder -- basically any page with a navigation menu or login fields in the sidebar is a Drupal-powered page. Using Drupal allows easy blog posting, forums, FAQs, plus combined account management and commenting. I also added a Developer section, where I share some of my Cocoa code for other Mac developers. The screenshot slideshows were also improved, using JavaScript instead of reloading the page each time, and I added JavaScript to the Store pages to make them prettier. Speaking of the Store, I also implemented PayPal's Instant Payment Notification service, allowing purchases to be processed promptly and automatically.

2007 was also an interesting year in terms of Mac events. I attended Macworld for the first time (as an attendee only, not an exhibitor), which was quite interesting. I also attended my second WWDC.

What will 2008 bring? I don't want to pre-announce too much, but you can expect updates to all of my current apps, some of them major upgrades with significant new looks. One such is Time Out version 2, which I'm really excited about. Another is Narrator 2, which will be going into public beta testing very soon.

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