timeout

DejalNews #80: Simon 5 beta, Time Out gifts, themes, and tips

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2020-10, issue #80

Welcome

This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

Very occasional, sometimes — the last one was back in April. That seems like an eternity ago now, doesn't it?

If you want to receive these newsletters in your email inbox, head over to the DejalNews subscribe page to sign up.

Simon 5 beta

The big news from Dejal is that I have introduced the first beta release of a major upgrade to Simon, my website and server monitoring tool. Version 5.0b1 includes a much-requested feature: syncing the Simon data between multiple Macs! Tests and other data can be viewed and edited on any of your Macs, and checked on a specific Mac, plus notifiers can be performed on any of the Macs, even a different one than did the check. For example, have a Mac in a data center do a check, and play a sound or speak some text on the Mac on your desk if it fails or changes.

Version 5 has lots of other improvements, including the ability to check if other synced copies of Simon are still working, a new Link Checker filter, to validate all links on a web page, a Server Result filter, to easily check result codes, an iMessage notifier, to send a message, and much more.

Note that Simon 5 will be a paid upgrade after the beta period. Pricing and release date to be determined. But anyone who buys now or since September 1, 2020 will be eligible for a free upgrade.

Read the blog post for screenshots and more information.

Time Out gifts

If you haven't already taken advantage of a free gift of Time Out, my break reminder tool, it's not too late.

Become a supporter at no cost. This permanently unlocks all of the current features.

Please share this link with your Mac-using family, friends, and colleagues, so they can enjoy the benefits of regular breaks too.

Time Out themes

A while ago I published a blog post with three new break themes, kindly contributed by a Time Out customer.

One shows a scenic picture for each break, another shows an inspirational quote, and the third has placeholder for your own photos or custom images.

Time Out tips

I also published a couple of tips for Time Out since the previous newsletter.

The first was particularly relevant in these Zoom-y times: how to automatically skip breaks when on a Zoom call.

The second was how to avoid a break starting while doing a screen recording.

Dejal subreddit

If you use Reddit, you may like to join the r/Dejal subreddit, as a community for Dejal customers, and another support channel. Learn more.

Vote!

If you're in the US, and haven't already voted, please make a plan to do so. It's important.

Stay safe

Stay safe everyone! Please enjoy the Time Out gifts, stay home, use masks, keep a safe distance from others, and hang in there. We'll get through this.

- David

Cash Cow Revisited

I was interested to read a post from the Agenda folks titled "Cash Cow Revisited", discussing how their "feature gating" sales model has gone. Spoiler: almost three years in, they're very happy with it.

That mirrors my own experience. My Time Out break reminder app has used basically the same model since version 2.0 was released in 2016, except I call it the "supporter" model.

It's a bit different than the model used by most other apps, so I welcome more apps using it. It's all upside for customers: you can download and use Time Out for free, as a useful app with all the basic functionality you need. Some extra features are available as rewards for supporters, but you can try them for an hour at a time, as often as you like, to decide if they are worth paying for. If you become a supporter, all of the current features are permanently unlocked, plus any that are added within the supporter period (3, 6, or 12 months). Once the supporter period expires, all those features remain available. If I add new supporter rewards after that, you can try them, and extend the supporter status if you like them.

I have been giving away the Time Out supporter status for free since the pandemic started, but people continue to become supporters, raving about the app, and sharing with others, for which I am grateful. Everybody wins!

While it's a bit more work to track supporters and features, I hope that more apps adopt this model. It may not work for all apps, but for those it does, it is much better for everyone than traditional models like paying up-front, paying for major upgrades, or subscriptions that stop working if they expire.

Three new Time Out themes

A benefit of Time Out is that it can improve even between updates, through the addition of themes and script actions.

Themes are different appearances during a break, and can be changed on the Break Appearance preferences page, while actions are things that can be done before, during, or after a break, which can be added on the Break Actions page.

The app comes with a bunch of themes and actions, plus you can download more from the Time Out Extras page, or even make your own — themes are just web page URLs or local HTML, and actions are AppleScripts or similar scripts, so anyone with experience with those can make new ones.

Note that changing the theme or adding more than one action are supporter rewards... but you can currently become a supporter for free, so everyone can benefit from these nice features.

If you do make new themes or actions, I encourage you to share them so others can benefit; I'll list them on the Time Out Extras page, and may bundle them with future versions of the app.

Time Out customer Bruno Bernardino recently made and contributed three great new themes, that I think many people will enjoy.

The first is called Pexels Nature, which you can download via that link. It shows a random image of nature for each break, from the Pexels image site, e.g.:

Pexels Nature theme

The second is called Inspirational Quotes, which shows a random inspirational quote for each break, e.g.:

Inspirational Quotes theme

The third is called Photo Slideshow, which is similar to the Pexels Nature one, except you can customize it to show one of 10 local photos for each break. It comes with placeholder images; replace them with your own — your kids, pets, dream vacations, personal goals, or anything else! The placeholder images have the instructions:

Photo Slideshow theme

What's more, Bruno made GitHub repos for each of these, that include additional content to help test these themes. If you want to customize them, or use them as a basis of new themes, you might find these useful:

Thank you Bruno for creating these!

Installing themes is easy:

  1. Go to the Break Appearance page within Time Out.
  2. Choose Reveal Themes from the Theme menu to open the Themes folder in the Finder.
  3. Drag the downloaded theme's folder into the revealed Themes folder.

Check out the Time Out Extras page for several more themes and actions, and please contribute if you make new ones!

Don't already have the app? Download Time Out now!

Time Out tip: how can I avoid a break starting while doing a screen recording?

Similar to the previous tip about skipping breaks during a Zoom call, you can also skip breaks during screen recordings, if that's something you do frequently.

Here's how:

  1. Go to Time Out's Exclusions page.
  2. Click the + button to display the choose panel.
  3. Navigate in the panel to select this path from your startup disk: System ▸ Library ▸ Core Services ▸ screencaptureui, and click Choose.
  4. Change the added exclusion to Skip When Open.

That will prevent a break from starting while recording the screen via QuickTime Player, or taking a screenshot or screen recording via ⌘⇧5.

Time Out tip: how can I automatically skip breaks when on a Zoom call?

Time Out has a handy feature to automatically skip breaks when specified apps are frontmost or running.

With a lot of people working from home now (and don't forget to get your free supporter status for Time Out), many people are using the Zoom teleconferencing app.

Some folks are finding that the app exclusions feature doesn't work reliably for Zoom, as it is using an internal helper tool during a call, e.g. for screen sharing.

There's a solution for this. Follow these steps to stop breaks occurring during meetings:

  1. Locate the Zoom.us app in the Finder.
  2. Right-click it and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. Navigate into the Contents ▸ Frameworks subfolder, and find the Transcode app.
  4. Go to Time Out's Exclusions page.
  5. Click the + button to display the choose panel.
  6. Drag the Transcode app into the panel, and click Choose.

You should add both the main app and the helper one, and will probably want to set both to Skip When Open.

DejalNews #79: Time Out gifts and tips, 25 years of consulting, Dejal Subreddit

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2020-04, issue #79

Welcome

This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

If you want to receive these newsletters in your email inbox, head over to the DejalNews subscribe page to sign up.

Time Out gifts

The past couple of months have been quite the decade, haven't they? It certainly seems that way. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world at present, many people are working from home for the first time. To help out in some small way, I decided to give away my popular Time Out app.

While Time Out is always free to download and use, the best features are only available as rewards for supporters. But in these trying times, everyone deserves a reward. So I have created a page where you can become a supporter at no cost. This permanently unlocks all of the current features.

This is available even if you previously purchased Time Out — the gift will extend your support.

And for those who do buy, I am now including a link enabling you to give Time Out supporter status to others. Please share Time Out far and wide, and give this gift with my compliments.

Time Out and Simon tips

I've published a couple of tips since the previous newsletter.

One was a tip for Time Out, on how to add breaks to the Calendar — a couple of break action scripts to add an event for each break, with the start and end times matching the time of the break.

Another was for Simon, my website monitoring tool, on how to use Simon to check for an expired website SSL certificate.

Chicken GIFs discontinued

I had a fun iMessage sticker pack featuring GIFs of my chickens. As part of Apple's routine cleanup of old content, they removed it from the store. Which is disappointing, since it still worked fine, but I understand their policy.

So now you'll have to visit my homestead blog if you want a dose of funny chickens (and ducks, feral cats, bees, and more).

25 years of consulting

A couple of months ago I celebrated a milestone: a quarter century of helping others create Mac (and later also iOS) apps. Read that post for an ancient screenshot of my first project, and more info.

Dejal subreddit

Since I'm slowly phasing out the Dejal forums due to lack of use and spam attacks, I thought I'd try another kind of forum: the popular Reddit site. So I created r/Dejal, a subreddit on that site. It hasn't seen much adoption yet, but you're welcome to join and post feature requests and such there. Learn more.

Traditional year-end posts

Every year I do a series of posts, including featured blog posts of 2019, and a review of how the previous year went, though this time I did a decade in review, 2010 to 2019. I also published a rather optimistic 2020 vision post, looking ahead to this year, though the pandemic has scratched any hope of attending conferences, and delayed my trip to New Zealand.

Stay safe

Stay safe everyone! It's a difficult time at present, affecting the whole world in dramatic fashion. Please enjoy the Time Out gifts, stay home, use masks, keep a safe distance from others, and hang in there. We'll get through this.

- David

Take a Break when Working from Home

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world at present, many people are working from home for the first time. To help people cope with that, some companies or individuals are offering assistance, e.g. the free Take Control of
Working from Home Temporarily ebook by Glenn Fleishman
.

I wanted to contribute something too, and thought that everyone using a Mac could benefit from making sure they take regular breaks... and I have an app for that: Time Out, my popular break reminder tool for macOS.

While Time Out is always free to download, the best features are only available as rewards for supporters. But in these trying times, everyone deserves a reward. So I have created a page where you can become a supporter at no cost. This permanently unlocks all of the current features.

Get your free Time Out supporter status now!

Time Out tip: add breaks to Calendar

I just had a customer wish that Time Out could track breaks taken in their Calendar app. That is definitely an interesting idea, so I was going to add it to my feature concepts list for consideration in a future version (and I still will), but it occurred to me that we could probably do that now with AppleScript actions.

As you may know, Time Out has the ability to perform various actions before, during, or after a break occurs. I made two AppleScripts based on Apple's sample code for the Calendar app, and added them to the Time Out Extras page.

Download the scripts now.

The "Add to Calendar Start" script creates a new "Time Out break" event in the first available calendar, at the current time, with a duration of an hour. To use this in Time Out, install it as normal (reveal the scripts folder via the + button on the Break Actions page, and add the two scripts there), then add an action set to be performed "After Start".

The "Add to Calendar End" script finds that event (assuming it is still within that hour), and updates the end time to the current time. So to use this, add an action set to be performed "After Any End" (i.e. when the break finishes, done or not).

Here's how it'll look in Time Out (with a couple of sound actions for good measure):

Break actions

If you want to add the events to a different calendar, you can edit the scripts (I included a commented out example). Just make sure you change both the same way.

I may add a more integrated calendar feature in the future, but in the meantime, it's great that such enhancements can be done immediately. I hope this is helpful to some people.

DejalNews #78: Time Out 2.6, Pack 2.1, other releases

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2019-10, issue #78

Welcome

This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

If you want to receive these newsletters in your email inbox, head over to the DejalNews subscribe page to sign up.

Time Out tips

I've published a couple of Time Out tips since the previous newsletter.

The most recent was to answer a frequently asked question: how can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac? If you've wondered that, read that post.

Earlier, I posted a tip on how to have custom fixed image and blog themes. Time Out's break themes are very flexible; read that to learn more.

Time Out 2.6 released

Speaking of Time Out, version 2.6, and a couple of bug fix updates, were recently released.

Version 2.6 includes several much-requested enhancements, including the ability to have breaks that occur at a fixed number of minutes past the hour, scheduling a smaller duration and frequency (great for "blink" breaks), a Random Word theme, Catalina support, and more.

Apple also wrote a feature story for the Mac App Store.

And Time Out is now included in Setapp, the popular subscription service for Mac apps. (But don't worry, it's also still available in the Mac App Store, and directly from my site.)

Release Notes conference

I recently attended the Release Notes conference in sunny Mexico. Check out all of my blog posts about the trip, if you can stand some decadence mixed with networking and discussions. That was a great trip, and excellent conference; I hope they do it again.

Pack 2.1 released

Time Out wasn't the only recent release. In preparation for my trip to Mexico, I updated my Pack iPhone packing list app to support iOS 13 and dark mode. Pack is completely free, and very simple, so try it for your next trip!

SheetPlanner 1.1 released

There were updates to some consulting apps, too. SheetPlanner 1.1 included dependency features, new progress and symbol column types, auto-enter options, and many more great enhancements. This is a powerful and very useful app, with a great roadmap of future enhancements. Highly recommended for anyone who needs an outliner or more powerful planning tools.

NewsBlur 9 released

Finally, NewsBlur 9 included full screen, autoscroll, customizable story titles, story change highlighter, and return to last read story, among other improvements. An excellent cross-platform RSS reader, always improving.

- David

Time Out tip: how can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac?

The Time Out preferences window always appears when opening the app from the Finder, but when you restart your Mac, the window should not appear, even if it is launched via the Automatically start Time Out… preference.

If it does unexpectedly appear after you restart your Mac, the most likely reason is it was launched either by Login Items or the Dock.

To check the Login Items, go to System Preferences ▸ Users & Groups ▸ Login Items, and see if Time Out is listed. If it is, remove it.

If that doesn't solve it, check the Dock: show the Time Out icon in the Dock if it isn't already (via the General preferences), then click-and-hold on its icon in the Dock to show the menu, and look at Options ▸ Open at Login. Uncheck that if checked.

To ensure you don't miss your breaks, make sure the app is launched by checking the Automatically start Time Out… preference on the General page. (Note that this will only work if the app is within your Applications folder.)

Time Out tip: fixed image and blog themes

I recently got a support request for Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, asking to display a fixed image during the break.

Time Out uses HTML pages as break themes, so it is possible to have a fixed image as a theme — in fact the default theme, Icon, does just that, with the app icon.

So one way to have a fixed image is to:

  1. Choose the Reveal Themes command at the end of the Theme pop-up menu to open the Themes folder in the Finder.
  2. Duplicate the Icon theme folder and give it a new name.
  3. Replace the icon.png file with your chosen image.
  4. Edit the index.html to adjust the name and size of the displayed image.
  5. Edit the Info.json file to give the new theme a unique identifier etc.

Pretty easy. You can edit those files in TextEdit or any other text editor.

If the image is available on some website, it's actually a little easier. I have created an example theme on the Time Out extras page:

Download the Ducks & Fish theme

You can edit a copy of this theme to use a different image:

  1. Choose the Reveal Themes command at the end of the Theme pop-up menu to open the Themes folder in the Finder.
  2. Add the Ducks & Fish theme, if not already.
  3. Duplicate that theme and give it a new name.
  4. Edit the Info.json file to give the new theme a unique identifier, and change the URL to the desired image.

(This got me thinking, and I spent the last hour or so writing up notes on ways to make adding image-based themes even easier in a future version. I'm always trying to improve the app.)

While I was at it, I also added three themes to display my three blogs:

  • Dejal Blog (download link): a theme that simply shows the Dejal blog, so you can read it during your break, to see the latest news about Time Out and other Dejal apps (doesn't update very often, though, so probably not that exciting for a regular break).
  • Dejus Blog (download link): a theme that shows my personal blog, where I post photos and comments every day. Could be good for a short break a once or twice a day.
  • Yellow Cottage Blog (download link): a theme to show the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog, about my chickens, ducks, feral cats, bees, and other homestead topics. Could be good for a lunchtime break.

If you try those, you might want to set the Opacity to 100% on the Break Appearance page.

Time Out isn't a web browser or feed reader, but since the themes are just web pages, these show some of the interesting things you can do.

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 feature story on Mac App Store

Apple now supports reading their feature stories on the web, so I can link to their story on my Time Out app.

(It may still open the Mac App Store, if viewed on a Mac, but the full story is also visible in the web page.)

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!

Time Out tip: Dock icon and status item

Time Out has several handy options, some of them only available to current or past supporters, as a reward for helping improve the app.

One such option is the ability to hide the app icon from the Dock. By default, the icon is shown there, for easy access, but if you want Time Out to operate more in the background, you can choose to remove the icon.

If you do so, the second option is automatically turned on: the checkbox to show a status item on the right-hand side of the menubar. This item has further options to choose what to include there.

General preferences

The status item can optionally include a variation of the app icon, the label color of the next break, or neither:

General preferences

It can also include a countdown to the next break, either in a compact form like "7m" for 7 minutes, or a wider form like "07:32", for 7 minutes and 32 seconds. In the compact form, it only shows seconds when less than a minute. That's my favorite form, to attract attention when getting close to a break.

Alternatively, the value can show the time when the next break is due, or will finish, or how long it is. Or no value, just an icon:

General preferences

There's a further checkbox to only show long breaks in the status item, i.e. don't show ones with a duration of less than a minute.

A further useful tip about the status item is that if you hover over it, a tooltip will appear that lists when the upcoming breaks are next due:

General preferences

When the Dock icon is shown, clicking the status item will bring Time Out to the front, to show the preferences window. When the Dock icon is hidden, clicking it will display a menu-like popover of the sidebar, for quick background access to the breaks and options. Clicking one will expand to the full window.

You may wonder what happens if you hide both the Dock icon and the status item. The window will display a warning message:

General preferences

As the message says, if you do this, you can still access the preferences window, though it's a bit harder. You would need to find Time Out in your Applications folder and double-click it to make it active. Since the Dock is hidden, it won't show a menu bar, so there isn't a visual indication that it is active, but you can press ⌘, (i.e. Command and Comma together), which is the keyboard shortcut for the Preferences window, to show it.

Some people like doing this, to discourage changing settings, but most people should show either the Dock icon or status item, or both.

Time Out tip: lifetime supporter?

In ye olde days, software was sold once, for what would be considered nowadays to be a high price, and every year or so the developer would release a major paid upgrade, typically charging about half of the original price.

I still do this for Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures, since that model is still common for pro apps. Though it is also available on Setapp, as part of a subscription along with hundreds of other apps.

But for Time Out, my popular break reminder app, I wanted to try something different. I introduced a "supporter" model, where people can get the main features completely free, but be rewarded for supporting ongoing development with extra features.

Unlike old-school purchases, the supporter purchases are much cheaper, only a few bucks, and for a specific period of time, 3, 6, or 12 months. The extra features can be tried for an hour at a time, or are unlocked permanently with any supporter level. The "catch", such as it is, is that when I update the app, I may add new features that are only available to current supporters, so if your support has expired, you won't get those features unless you renew your support. Of course, you can try them, to help decide if you want to renew.

That seems really fair to me; you can have breaks for free, or get extra features cheaply, and if you like my improvements, you can help pay for their development. Or continue using the older features forever without paying more.

Win/win — you get a useful app that is regularly improved, and I get to eat. I also don't have to hold back major features for a big paid upgrade; I can add things whenever desired.

Even so, I occasionally get people asking about a lifetime purchase option. I don't currently offer that, since I feel it would be detrimental to the long-term survival of the app. However, you can effectively make your own lifetime option, by purchasing multiple 12-month supporter statuses. Each one you purchase will extend your supporter status by a year. So if you envision using Time Out for the next 5 years, purchasing 5 times will extend your support that long. Or whatever duration you want to use.

Of course, it’s worth reiterating that you don't have to pay more than once if you don't want to. You can become a supporter at whatever level you feel comfortable with, and not pay again unless you want to show your appreciation (kinda like a tip jar). After your supporter status expires, all of the advanced features that you had when you were a supporter will remain available permanently. You’d only need to renew if I add new features in the future that you want to use.

Syndicate content