release

SheetPlanner 1.2 beta available

In between working on my Dejal apps and other projects, I've been hard at work on a big update to one of my consulting projects, SheetPlanner. Version 1.2 is now being beta tested.

SheetPlanner is a powerful macOS app that combines an outliner, todo, project timeline, calendar, notes, links, and more. This update includes a new picture column type, multi-selection in list cells, cell-specific styles and improved style controls, notifications for date cells, a timeline info popover, a date stamp option, and many more great enhancements.

If you're interested in helping test this update, please request the beta via the SheetPlanner contact form.

Pack 2.1 released

I'm pleased to announce version 2.1 of Pack, my simple trip packing app for iPhone.

If you missed version 2.0, you may be interested to learn that Pack is now totally free for everyone! It no longer has an in-app purchase to unlock features; everything is available. Read the 2.0 blog post if you're curious why.

Want to get it right now? Download Pack from the App Store. Read on for details.

Version 2.1 includes support for iOS 13, including dark mode. (Don't worry, it still works on iOS 12 too.)

Here's the packing view, where you cross off items as you put them in your suitcase:

Pack screenshot

Flip over to the Choose Items view to pick what to pack:

Pack screenshot

And editing items:

Pack screenshot

You get the idea. Of course, the light mode is also still available. But I know a lot of people prefer dark mode, myself included.

Version 2.1 also includes some improvements to tags, one of the new features of version 2.0, where items can have any number of tags assigned to them, e.g. "Clothing" and "Cold" to enable further categorizing items to guide choosing what to pack for a trip.

Notice in the screenshots above that some items, e.g. "Sweatshirt", appear twice, once under "Clothing", and once under "Cold". Toggling one will toggle the other, since they are just two tags for the same item. You can also arrange the items by name or by person, if that makes more sense to you. (Personally I usually use by person.)

Want to try it?

Again, Pack 2 is completely free! So download it from the App Store and try it before your next trip.

Please rate & review

If you do try it, please do me a favor and write a review for it. The old version had some 1-star reviews due to old issues, but I'd like to get some more positive ones there, to encourage people to give it a try. Pack has long been an indispensable app for me, and I'm sure others will find it useful too.

Thank you,
David

Time Out is now in Setapp!

I'm pleased to announce that my popular break reminder tool, Time Out, is now available via Setapp!

Setapp logo

As you may know, Setapp is a third-party solution kind of like the Mac App Store, but instead of selling apps individually, they offer a hand-picked collection of the best apps for one low monthly price. Like Netflix for apps.

And now Time Out is amongst that elite set of apps.

All apps in Setapp are fully-featured, with no up-front purchases, in-app purchases, or ads. And fully supported by the developers. Time Out is no different: the Setapp edition includes all supporter rewards, past, present, and future.

If you're already a Setapp subscriber, I'd appreciate it if you switched over to the Setapp edition, since the more people who use it, the more money I earn from Setapp. Then you'll get future supporter rewards at no cost. But if you prefer to stick with the Mac App Store or direct editions, that's fine too. Whichever you prefer.

If you aren't yet a Setapp subscriber, now is a great time to try it. I'm confident that you'll find several apps that you'll find useful, easily justifying the cost. Try it free for a week! To get started, click the following link (and that'll help me too; if you sign up via this link, I'll get a referral bonus for the lifetime of your account; much appreciated!):

Check out Setapp!

Time Out 2.6.1 released

Here's a little update of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, with just a few tweaks:

  • Fixed some situations where the new Fixed Time option didn't calculate the best time.
  • When the Break Appearance page was selected then you choose a break with a duration of zero, the Actions page is now selected instead.
  • Now automatically shows the Learn More information when first displaying the Support Time Out page, to help answer common questions.
  • Improved the auto-start option to avoid showing the Preferences window when starting up the Mac.

Want to try it?

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 now!

Time Out 2.6.1b1 released

Here's a beta of a little update to Time Out, to fix a few things.

Only a few changes in this beta:

  • Fixed some situations where the new Fixed Time option didn't calculate the best time.
  • When the Break Appearance page was selected then you choose a break with a duration of zero, the Actions page is now selected instead.
  • Now automatically shows the Learn More information when first displaying the Support Time Out page, to help answer common questions.
  • Improved the auto-start option to avoid showing the Preferences window when starting up the Mac.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

Time Out 2.6 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.6 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Fixed time breaks

A significant enhancement in this update is the ability to have breaks that occur at a fixed number of minutes past the hour. What's more, you can now also have a break offset from the completion time instead of the start time.

These new options are available via a new From pop-up menu on the Break Schedule page, that includes options for Last Due, Last Done, and Fixed Time. Last Due is what previously happened, and the default.

Last Done is a new option, that will reset the break after it is completed, so the next break will occur the frequency interval after that. For example, a 10 minute break every 30 minutes will next occur 30 minutes after the break finishes, instead of 30 minutes after it starts (as with the Last Due option).

Fixed Time is another new option, which will display a field to enter the number of minutes past the hour (0 - 59), and will start the break at that time, or some multiple if the frequency is less than an hour. For example, setting it to 50 for an hourly break will start the break at 09:50, 10:50, 11:50, etc. Or setting it to 15 for a break every 30 minutes will start it at 09:15, 09:45, 10:15, 10:45, etc (you may need to also use the Available option to set a start time in this situation).

The latter two are new rewards for current or future supporters; others can try them for an hour at a time.

Schedule page

Break Schedule now supports smaller duration and frequency

But wait, there's more! By popular request, you can now configure a break to last zero seconds, to avoid showing the control panel at all. When the duration is zero, the Appearance page is disabled, since it doesn't apply. Use Actions like Flash Screen or Display Notification instead.

You can also now use seconds as a frequency unit, i.e. have the break occur as often as once per second, if desired (though not recommended!).

Both options can be useful for a 10 second blink reminder that just flashes the screen.

Random Word theme

Version 2.6 also bundles the Random Word theme, contributed by Michelle Lim. This theme displays a different word and its definition each time it is displayed — entertaining and informative.

Random Word theme

Catalina

Time Out has been updated to be compatible with Catalina (macOS 10.15). The direct edition now uses the hardened runtime and is notarized by Apple, as required for Catalina.

And various other fixes and tweaks

Including proper sorting of the Activity dates, fixed row heights in the status popover, counting postponing and skipping a break via the Options pop-up menu, always showing the Preferences window, several improvements to in-app purchases, and help updates.

See the release notes for details.

Want to try it?

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 now!

Time Out 2.6b2 released

Here's a second beta of Time Out 2.6.

Only a few changes in this beta:

  • Postponing and skipping a break via the Options pop-up menu are now counted with the postpone/skip/done counts.
  • Opening Time Out will now always show the Preferences window, unless it's within five minutes of restarting (to avoid showing it when automatically launched on startup).
  • Improved handling of in-app purchases that require approval.
  • Improved handling of restoring purchases for names with Cyrillic characters.
  • Now uses the hardened runtime, in anticipation of notarization.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

Time Out 2.6b1 released

Another release this week: this time a beta of my handy break reminder Mac app, Time Out.

Version 2.6b1 adds a much-requested option for fixed-time breaks, plus better support for blink reminders by enabling zero-length breaks, and having breaks that occur every few seconds. Plus other enhancements and fixes.

Here are the deets:

Fixed-time breaks

  • Added a From pop-up menu to the Break Schedule page. It includes options for Last Due, Last Done, and Fixed Time.
  • Last Due is what previously happened, and the default.
  • Last Done will reset the break after it is completed, so the next break will occur the frequency interval after that. For example, a 10 minute break every 30 minutes will next occur 30 minutes after the break finishes, instead of 30 minutes after it starts (as with the Last Due option).
  • Fixed Time will display a field to enter the number of minutes past the hour (0 - 59), and will start the break at that time, or some multiple if the frequency is less than an hour. For example, setting it to 50 for an hourly break will start the break at 09:50, 10:50, 11:50, etc. Or setting it to 15 for a break every 30 minutes will start it at 09:15, 09:45, 10:15, 10:45, etc (you may need to also use the Available option to set a start time in this situation).
  • The latter two are new rewards for current or future supporters; others can try them for an hour at a time.

Break Schedule now supports smaller duration and frequency

  • Can now configure a break to last zero seconds, to avoid showing the control panel at all.
  • When the duration is zero, the Appearance page is disabled, since it doesn't apply. Use Actions like Flash Screen or Display Notification instead.
  • Can also now use seconds as a frequency unit, i.e. have the break occur as often as once per second, if desired (though not recommended!).
  • Both options can be useful for a 10 second blink reminder that just flashes the screen.

Other changes

  • Added the Random Word theme, contributed by Michelle Lim.
  • The Activity dates are now in the correct order, instead of sometimes jumbled up.
  • Fixed row heights sometimes being wrong in the status popover.
  • Improved the error message when purchasing is unavailable.
  • Updated the help.

Catalina

  • The app hasn't been tested on Catalina betas yet, but will be before general release; please let me know of any issues you notice.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download the beta now!

SheetPlanner 1.1 released

Another of my consulting projects, SheetPlanner, has also recently had a big update, to version 1.1.

SheetPlanner is a powerful macOS app that combines an outliner, todo, project timeline, calendar, notes, links, and more. This update includes dependency features, new progress and symbol column types, auto-enter options, and many more great enhancements.

SheetPlanner window

Get the app and start a free trial via the Mac App Store.

SheetPlanner is now also available via Setapp.

Or learn more about the changes in this update.

NewsBlur 9 released

NewsBlur for iOS version 9 is now available on the App Store.

NewsBlur is a popular RSS service, and the iOS app enables reading stories from the convenience of your iPhone or iPad.

This update includes full screen, autoscroll, customizable story titles, story change highlighter, and return to last read story, among other improvements.

Go to the App Store to get the app, or read the official NewsBlur blog post for more information on this update.

(NewsBlur for iOS is a Dejal consulting project.)

Pack 2.0 released

I'm pleased to announce version 2.0 of Pack, my simple trip packing app for iPhone.

And best of all, Pack is now totally free for everyone! It no longer has an in-app purchase to unlock features; everything is available.

Want to get it right now? Download Pack from the App Store. Read on for details.

The app has been completely rewritten from the ground up, using the latest Swift development tools, to provide a solid foundation for future enhancements. But if you used version 1, don't worry, it still loads your existing list.

The basic design philosophy is unchanged: a single list of all things you might want to take on a trip, from which you choose what to take, then flip over to cross things off as you pack. No need to make new trip lists, add extraneous information like weights or quantities, or ugly graphics. Just what you need.

You'll start with the choosing view, but are probably more interested in the packing view. Here it is:

Pack screenshot

I've enhanced crossing items off, including a subtle haptic feedback. And improved the sharing feature to work better with more apps, and include the packed state as a leading checkmark, or unpacked as a dash, among other changes.

Tap the eye icon to reveal new Packing Options, to control how to display the packing list, including by item name, by tag, or by person, and whether to show all items, only unpacked ones, or put the packed ones at the end, after the unpacked ones:

Pack screenshot

Flip over to the Choose Items view to pick what to pack:

Pack screenshot

You can add or edit items:

Pack screenshot

Other than a modernized UI, including support for the X-style iPhones, a big enhancement is to replace categories with tags, so you can now assign items to multiple tags, e.g. "Cold" and "Clothing":

Pack screenshot

As before, you can assign items to multiple people, so they show up separately for each person. This used to be a paid feature, but can now be enjoyed for free:

Pack screenshot

Like with the Packing view, the Choosing view also has some Choosing Options, with the same arrangement options, the ability to show only packed or unpacked, or all items, and buttons to select or deselect all items, and mark the items as packed or unpacked:

Pack screenshot

Why free?

So why did I spend all that time rewriting the app, only to release it for free?

My wife and I travel a few times each year, and use Pack before each trip to ensure we don't leave anything we need behind. But I use an iPhone XS Max currently, and the old version wasn't optimized for that. I could have updated it, but the code was rather old and crusty, using old technologies that I don't prefer nowadays. It was also a little unstable in some situations. I prefer writing apps in Swift now, and Pack is a fairly small app, so I decided to rewrite it to address those issues and make it much more modern.

So why free? I am primarily a Mac developer, though certainly have iOS apps, and do consulting on iOS apps (e.g. NewsBlur), but Pack has never been a big earner for me. I originally wrote it for my own use, and actually used it for quite some time before releasing it. I released version 1 for free, with an in-app purchase to unlock premium features, but most people were satisfied with the free features, if they stuck with the app. That was fine with me. I definitely wanted to continue supporting the app, if only for my own use, but didn't think it was worthwhile to continue trying to monetize it.

It's actually quite nice releasing it for free; it takes some of the pressure off me. And of course now more people can enjoy it, too, without having to worry about paying for it.

I will of course continue to use it for every trip, and have plans for several enhancements I want to make in future versions, while keeping the overall design simple and easy to use.

And now the watch has ended

It's not all improvements. One casualty of the rewrite is that I didn't re-implement the Apple Watch app. The old one was built for an early version of watchOS, before it was called watchOS, when it was just a remote view of the iPhone app. It would have had to be rewritten from scratch, and since I didn't tend to use it myself, I decided not to take that time. Sorry if you did use it; please let me know if so. I might re-implement it in a future version, if there's demand, though no promises.

Want to try it?

Again, Pack 2 is completely free! So download it from the App Store and try it before your next trip.

Please rate & review

If you do try it, please do me a favor and write a review for it. The old version had some 1-star reviews due to old issues, but I'd like to get some more positive ones there, to encourage people to give it a try. Pack has long been an indispensable app for me, and I'm sure others will find it useful too.

Thank you,
David

Pack 2 TestFlight

Pack, my simple packing list iPhone app, has (finally) been updated for the latest iPhone models. It has been rewritten from the ground up to modernize the UI and the code.

Here's what's changed:

  • Pack is now totally free for everyone!
  • A complete rewrite of the app in the latest Swift tools, and including a solid foundation for future enhancements.
  • Still loads the version 1 data.
  • Replaced the categories with tags, so you can now assign items to multiple tags, e.g. "Cold" and "Clothing".
  • New View Options to control how to display the Choosing and Packing lists.
  • Now doesn't show tags and people when arranging by those, since that's redundant.
  • Enhanced crossing items off the Packing list, including haptic feedback.
  • Improved the sharing feature to work better with more apps, and include the packed state as a leading checkmark, or unpacked as a dash.
  • Removed the Apple Watch app. Sorry if you used it; it was built for an early version of watchOS, and would have to be rewritten from scratch.

Want to help test it?

Join the TestFlight!

Time Out 2.5 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.5 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

The most obvious change in version 2.5 is dark mode support on Mojave (macOS 10.14):

Mojave dark mode schedule screenshot

Isn't that pretty?

In addition to Mojave compatibility, this update also includes a new option on the Break Schedule page of the preferences to choose which days of the week a break is available. Eagle-eyed people may have noticed it in the above screenshot:

Mojave dark mode schedule screenshot

Using this option, you could indicate that breaks should only occur on weekdays, as above, or only Fridays, or any other combination. The days of the week can combine with a time range, or apply all day on the indicated days. This new feature is available as a reward for current supporters, or you can try it as often as you like, for an hour at a time.

(Don't worry, the first day of the week will respect your System Preferences; if you consider that the week starts on Sunday, for example, that'll be first in the control.)

Another new supporter option is on the Advanced preferences page: the ability to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break:

Mojave dark mode advanced screenshot

Most people probably don't need this, but if you need a little extra encouragement to avoid skipping breaks, this might be helpful, when combined with existing options to disable the postpone and skip buttons.

There are of course a number of other enhancements and fixes. I recommend everyone update to this version.

Here are the full release notes:

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • All of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).

New option to choose which days of the week a break is available

  • Renamed the Break Schedule Available options to "Every Day" and "Between", and added a new "All Day" option.
  • The latter two now include buttons for the days of the week, enabling days to be toggled off or on, to indicate on which days to use the break.
  • The difference between them is that "All Day" doesn't have the time fields, and "Between" does.
  • This new feature could be useful to have breaks that are only used on weekends, or working days, or Wednesdays and Fridays, or any other combination.
  • This new option 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.

New option to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break

  • Added a checkbox on the Advanced page to disable the panels that appear when switching apps via Cmd-Tab, force quit via Cmd-Option-Escape, and sleep, restart, or shut down via Ctrl-Eject (or Ctrl-Power). Defaults off.
  • This new option is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Other changes

  • Can now manually postpone a break for longer than the frequency interval.
  • Fixed playing a sound for the Display Notification break action.
  • Fixed a scheduler issue where a lower priority break may be skipped if a higher priority break has never been done.
  • Removed the Fabric crash reporter, to avoid sending unnecessary data to a third party.

Want to try it?

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 2.5 now!

Time Out 2.5b2 released

What's this? Another Time Out beta already? Yep!

This second beta of version 2.5 includes a couple much-requested new features for supporters, improvements for Mojave, and a fix for prior OS versions, among other changes.

Read on for details:

New option to choose which days of the week a break is available

  • Renamed the Break Schedule Available options to "Every Day" and "Between", and added a new "All Day" option.
  • The latter two now include buttons for the days of the week, enabling days to be toggled off or on, to indicate on which days to use the break.
  • The difference between them is that "All Day" doesn't have the time fields, and "Between" does.
  • This new feature could be useful to have breaks that are only used on weekends, or working days, or Wednesdays and Fridays, or any other combination.
  • This new option 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.

New option to disable the app switcher, force quit, and shut down panels during a break

  • Added a checkbox on the Advanced page to disable the panels that appear when switching apps via Cmd-Tab, force quit via Cmd-Option-Escape, and sleep, restart, or shut down via Ctrl-Eject (or Ctrl-Power). Defaults off.
  • This new option is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • Fixed a crash of the previous beta on macOS versions before Mojave, when displaying the status popover. Sorry about that!
  • Fixed some cosmetic visual issues from the previous beta.

Other changes

  • Can now manually postpone a break for longer than the frequency interval.
  • Fixed playing a sound for the Display Notification break action.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.5b2 now!

Simon 4.3.1 released

Simon version 4.3.1 is now available. This bug-fix update just has a couple of tweaks:

  • Fixed a crash when generating a remote report.
  • Further tweaks for dark mode on Mojave.

Remember, Simon's price has been temporarily reduced (for the full license and upgrade license), to celebrate version 4.3 (and 4.3.1). Get it while it lasts!

Changes in 4.3 included:

  • Mojave dark mode and compatibility
  • Added the ability to follow or not follow a meta refresh for each test
  • Several improvements to the pause and auto-pause functions
  • A number of refinements of services and filters
  • Updated the default data
  • Plus many other improvements
  • Get it now!

    If you are using the direct edition, you can use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

    If you are using the Setapp edition, the app will automatically update shortly.

    Otherwise, download Simon 4.3.1 now.

Time Out 2.5b1 released

Hey Time Out fans! Been wondering where Mojave dark mode support is? Wonder no more; it's here!

Version 2.5 is still very much a work-in-progress, but I wanted to get out a beta especially for anyone using it on Mojave (macOS 10.14) and wanting to use dark mode. I plan to make a number of additional changes before the general release, but everyone is welcome to use the beta; it should be safe.

Mojave dark mode screenshot

Only a few changes in this first beta:

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • All of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).

Other changes

  • Fixed a scheduler issue where a lower priority break may be skipped if a higher priority break has never been done.
  • Removed the Fabric crash reporter, to avoid sending unnecessary data to a third party.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.5b1 now!

Simon 4.3 released

I'm pleased to announce that Simon version 4.3 is now available. An important update to my pro utility app to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures.

If you will be installing Mojave (macOS 10.14) on Monday, or any time soon, this update is essential, to address some compatibility issues. But it is still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10), and has some nice improvements even if you won't be updating yet.

I've also temporarily reduced the price (for the full license and upgrade license), to celebrate this update. Get it while it lasts!

Changes in this release include:

Mojave dark mode and compatibility

  • All of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14.
  • Updated the Script Preferences to use separate foreground and background colors when in light or dark mode on Mojave.
  • Fixed the mode buttons briefly appearing when not editing, and other appearance issues on Mojave.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).

Mojave dark mode screenshot

Added the ability to follow or not follow a meta refresh for each test

  • Added a Follow any meta refresh header to another page option in the Other section of the Web (HTTP) Service editor.
  • Meta refreshes are sometimes used to redirect to another page, e.g. <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=https://www.dejal.com/">. Meta refreshes to reload the same page are ignored.
  • This option is on by default. It replaces a hidden preference, and makes it test-specific.

Follow meta option screenshot

Several improvements to the pause and auto-pause functions

  • Improved the Auto-Pause logic so it'll work for a full day (e.g. to pause all weekend, choose Weekends from 00:00 to 00:00).
  • When a test should be auto-paused when the app is launched, it is now.
  • When editing the Auto-Pause settings, the next due label is updated live (and says "now" if the days and time encompasses the current time).
  • If a test is paused when the Preview is shown, then the app quit, it now remains paused on launch (instead of the Preview forcing it to resume).
  • After pausing or resuming a test with the Preview shown, it is now updated to reflect the new state.

A number of refinements of services and filters

  • Changed the Script feature to support a script only outputting as an error, but still succeeding, e.g. curl.
  • Fixed a crasher when editing a test on the Filters page, for data upgraded from version 2 or earlier.
  • Fixed the Password field remembering its value in Port-based tests.
  • Prevented adding multiple Service sections to the Port-based Preview.
  • Fixed the Exclude Block filter, that timed out when trying to extract the output after the end text.
  • Improved the layout of the Context filter.

Test filters screenshot

Updated the default data

  • Replaced the default "Apple hot news" test with "Apple newsroom", using their current news URL, and updated filters.
  • Updated the default data to use https for Dejal links.
  • Removed the default "FTP Directory Listing" service, since macOS no longer includes the ftp command-line tool.

Plus many other improvements

  • Fixed the Preview item in the View menu not having a checkmark when selected.
  • There was hardcoded logic to ignore a failure if more than 3 minutes from starting, to cope with the Mac sleeping during a check. Now uses a minute past the timeout interval, so it works better with long test timeouts.
  • Removed the Fabric crash reporter, to avoid sending unnecessary data to a third party.
  • Updated support for Setapp. (Prefer a subscription to Simon and lots of other apps? Check out Setapp.)
  • Removed the help book within the app, since it didn't work reliably. The help is still available online.
  • To celebrate version 4.3, the prices have been temporarily reduced!

Get it now!

If you are using the direct edition, you can use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

If you are using the Setapp edition, the app will automatically update shortly.

Otherwise, download Simon 4.3 now.

Simon 4.3b1 released

It's been a while, but I'm pleased to announce the first beta of an update to Simon, my pro utility app to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures.

Version 4.3 is still a work-in-progress, but I wanted to get out a beta especially for anyone using it on Mojave (macOS 10.14), and also to address some issues that have been reported.

I've also temporarily reduced the price (for the full license and upgrade license), to celebrate this update. Get it while it lasts!

Changes in this first beta include:

  • Mojave dark mode support: all of the app content has been updated to support dark mode on macOS 10.14. (If you find anything that doesn't look right, please let me know!)
  • Updated the Script Preferences to use separate foreground and background colors when in light or dark mode on Mojave.
  • Changed the Script feature to support a script only outputting as an error, but still succeeding, e.g. curl.
  • Fixed a crasher when editing a test on the Filters page, for data upgraded from version 2 or earlier.
  • Fixed the mode buttons briefly appearing when not editing.
  • Fixed the Preview item in the View menu not having a checkmark when selected.
  • Added a Follow any meta refresh header to another page option in the Other section of the Web (HTTP) Service editor. Meta refreshes are sometimes used to redirect to another page, e.g. <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=https://www.dejal.com/">. Meta refreshes to reload the same page are ignored. This option is on by default. It replaces a hidden preference, and makes it test-specific.
  • Fixed the Password field remembering its value in Port-based tests.
  • Prevented adding multiple Service sections to the Port-based Preview.
  • Fixed the Exclude Block filter, that timed out when trying to extract the output after the end text.
  • Improved the layout of the Context filter.
  • Improved the Auto-Pause logic so it'll work for a full day (e.g. to pause all weekend, choose Weekends from 00:00 to 00:00).
  • When a test should be auto-paused when the app is launched, it is now.
  • When editing the Auto-Pause settings, the next due label is updated live (and says "now" if the days and time encompasses the current time).
  • If a test is paused when the Preview is shown, then the app quit, it now remains paused on launch (instead of the Preview forcing it to resume).
  • After pausing or resuming a test with the Preview shown, it is now updated to reflect the new state.
  • There was hardcoded logic to ignore a failure if more than 3 minutes from starting, to cope with the Mac sleeping during a check. Now uses a minute past the timeout interval, so it works better with long test timeouts.
  • Replaced the default "Apple hot news" test with "Apple newsroom", using their current news URL, and updated filters.
  • Updated the default data to use https for Dejal links.
  • Removed the default "FTP Directory Listing" service, since macOS no longer includes the ftp command-line tool.
  • Built for Mojave (macOS 10.14), but still compatible back to Yosemite (10.10).
  • To celebrate version 4.3, the prices have been temporarily reduced!

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 4.3b1 now!

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.

Time Out 2.4b4 released

Here's another beta of Time Out version 2.4.

Unless any problems turn up, this will be the last beta release for this version. I'd appreciate it if you could try it and let me know of any issues.

This update just has a couple of changes:

  • Some tweaks to the supporter stuff, to fix an issue with previous supporter features incorrectly showing as unavailable.
  • Updated the help book.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b4 now!

Syndicate content