Blogs

Simon special: an eclipsed price for a limited time

Much of the US will experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. To celebrate this historic event, I thought I'd eclipse the price of Simon till the end of August. (Okay, a flimsy excuse for a discount, but why not — it's been quite a long time since the last one, even if not as long as since the last eclipse over the US, in 1918.)

This discount is automatically applied if you buy via the online store. Don't delay! Like the eclipse, this special only lasts a short time.

DejalNews #70: Caboodle acquired, BlogAssist & Tweeps discontinued

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-05, issue #70

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.

Caboodle acquired

A very rare event occurred recently — one of my apps was acquired by another developer.

Caboodle, the app I first released over a decade ago to collect and manage snippets of text and attachments, now has a new owner.

As explained in the blog post announcing the acquisition, I haven't been able to devote enough time to this app for quite some time, so I finally decided that I had to find a better home for it; another developer that might have the ability to improve it further, and give it the attention it deserves.

By now all of the users of this app should have been contacted by the new owner, Before Dawn Solutions. Version 2 is a paid upgrade, but well worth it, including many great enhancements that I started and John completed.

Learn more about this acquisition.

BlogAssist and Tweeps discontinued

Another rare but big recent change was to discontinue a couple of my less popular apps.

This is something I don't like to do, and perhaps put off for years longer than I should... but sometimes apps just don't take off, or become redundant or less popular over time, and it becomes obvious that it isn't worth investing more time in them, when I could be working on apps that more people care about and use.

In this case, BlogAssist, my macOS app to help with HTML markup, and Tweeps, my iOS app to manage Twitter accounts, were the ones to fall to this fate.

BlogAssist is a handy app, that I still use myself (at least when writing blog posts), and although it has a small group of customers, it hasn't sold all that well, and has consequently been neglected. It is also pretty much feature-complete; there isn't really anything else I wanted to add to it. While I could have just made it free, I made the hard decision to stop work on it. I have kept the app available for download, though, so if you want to try it, you can do so. I'd be willing to provide a free license to anyone who requests one (so long as that doesn't become too burdensome).

Tweeps, on the other hand, was an idea to serve a brief need in Twitter's early days, but their site has improved over time, so it became less useful. I haven't really used the app for quite some time. And sales have been pretty much negligible. So it was a relatively easy decision to discontinue this app, even though I had put many hours into it in the past. Since the iOS App Store doesn't have a mechanism to hide away obsolete apps, I chose to remove it from sale, so it can't be downloaded anymore. The page on the Dejal site is still available, if you're curious about it.

It's always hard to stop work on apps, but it's better for the remaining apps, so I can spend my precious time working on them.

Time Out in Uneeqco bundle

Time Out, my popular break reminder tool (that is in no danger of discontinuation!) is included in a bundle at present.

For a short while, Time Out is available as part of a bundle from a relatively new organization, Uneeq Company. This is a "name your own price" bundle, so you can choose how much to pay for $643 worth of Mac apps.

Check out the bundle!

Yellow Cottage Homestead

I mentioned my hobby business in my last newsletter. I don't want to bring it up every time, but I thought I'd give a brief update. On the blog you can see many cute pictures of new baby chicks (just a week old now!), plus our new bee hives, and much progress on the new chicken coop, where those chicks will soon live.

Check out the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog.

- David

Before Dawn Solutions acquires Caboodle

Big news: Caboodle, the "lean, clean snippet machine", has been acquired by Before Dawn Solutions, another indie macOS & iOS developer.

I have felt bad for some time that I haven't been able to give Caboodle the attention it deserves. I first wrote it way back in 2003, though the 1.0 release was in 2006. It has long suffered infrequent updates, mainly due to my spending most of my time on Simon, Time Out, and consulting projects. I was planning a major upgrade for years, and last year finally did some work on it, but again I couldn't devote enough time to actually finish it.

So I finally realized that I had to find a better home for Caboodle. It's a great app, relied on by many customers, so I didn't want to just discontinue it. I've known John Martyniak of Before Dawn Solutions for several years, so when I mentioned that I was looking for a new home for Caboodle, and he expressed interest, we fairly quickly came to an agreement.

Since then, he has been diligently working on finishing off version 2, and has now released the app under his banner.

Learn about Before Dawn Caboodle.

BlogAssist & Tweeps discontinued

I've been thinking about focus a lot lately... perhaps not surprising from the author of a break reminder tool.

One result of that is a reluctant and long-considered decision to discontinue a couple of my apps that aren't very popular, so I can spend more time on apps that people actually use.

So, I am here to announce that BlogAssist, my macOS menubar utility to do HTML markup, and Tweeps, my iOS app to manage Twitter accounts, have now been discontinued.

BlogAssist was first released back in 2003, and reached version 2.4 in 2012, and was last updated to version 2.4.1 over a year ago. (Release notes.)

Tweeps was introduced in 2010, and reached version 3.3 in 2014. (Release notes.)

BlogAssist is still available for download, for anyone still using it, but is no longer supported and will not receive any updates. New users are welcome to use it if desired, too. It has a license requirement (with a free trial), but I'd be willing to provide a free license to anyone who requests one.

Tweeps is no longer available for download, since the App Store doesn't really have an area for legacy apps. You can see what it looked like on the product page, if you're curious.

Time Out in Uneeqco bundle

Uneeqco bundle

For a short while, Time Out is available as part of a bundle from a relatively new organization, Uneeq Company. This is a "name your own price" bundle, so you can choose how much to pay for $643 worth of Mac apps.

Check out the bundle!

Simon in BundleHunt

BundleHunt poster

I know I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to remind everyone of BundleHunt, a "choose your own bundle" collection of great apps, which includes Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures.

This bundle is coming to an end soon, so it's your last chance to get Simon and 6 other apps for just $19.99. Choose from 49 premium apps, including Typinator, MacJournal, WinZip, and more. You can get 7 apps for less than quarter the regular price of just Simon!

If you already have Simon, this is a great opportunity to get your friends or colleagues hooked on its benefits for a very low cost. I'd appreciate any help in spreading the word, and if you use this link they'll know you came from here.

DejalNews #69: Time Out 2.2, Simon 4.2.2, Yellow Cottage Homestead

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-03, issue #69

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 2.2.1 released

This month I released an update to Time Out, my popular break reminder tool for macOS.

Version 2.2 adds a major new feature: a new Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

It also adds some great user-contributed themes, and some other improvements.

A quick update to version 2.2.1 fixed a couple of scheduling issues.

Learn more about the changes in Time Out 2.2, and how to get it.

Time Out 2: a year later

This month marked the one year anniversary of Time Out 2! To celebrate, I wrote a blog post, complete with pie charts, providing information on how the downloads and supporter model have gone over the past year.

Read the blog post.

Simon 4.2.2 released

Another recent update was Simon 4.2.2. This update included updated Setapp support, in-app purchase options, and a number of other improvements.

Learn more about the changes in Simon 4.2.2.

Note that it is still available as part of BundleHunt too, for a limited time. Tell your friends!

Yellow Cottage Homestead

In addition to Dejal apps and Dejal consulting, my wife and I also have a hobby business called Yellow Cottage Homestead, LLC, where we raise chickens for eggs (as seen in my Chicken GIFs sticker pack!), make apple cider, grow lavender for various products, and soon will keep bees for honey, on our five acres.

About a month ago I started a blog for the homestead, where I'm posting every day or two about projects around the place. I recently had some posts about designing and building wooden potato planters, and there have been posts about snow and about chickens, but most of the posts have been about building a second chicken coop, which I've just started.

If that interests you, check out the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog.

Over the coming weeks you can expect many more posts about building progress, plus in May we'll be getting a dozen baby chicks (hopefully I'll have the coop ready by then!), plus will be setting up a couple of bee hives, and many other projects. Stay tuned!

Of course, there is a RSS feed, plus you can follow @YellowHomestead on Twitter, or the Facebook page.

- David

Time Out 2.2.1 released

I've just released a tiny update to Time Out, to fix a couple of issues.

Version 2.2.1 includes a fix for scheduling issue, where it was incorrectly adding the sleep duration to the due time after waking from sleep. It also includes a fix for breaks set to a frequency of daily (or longer) and with an Available time range set, where it was pushing the due time out by a day.

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, you can update via the App Store app once it has been approved (maybe later today or tomorrow).

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

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.2.1 now.

Time Out 2.2 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.2 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

The major new feature of version 2.2 is the new Activity page. It also includes new themes and theme features, a View menu for easier navigation, and several other improvements. Read on for details.

Optionally track breaks and/or app usage via a new Activity feature

  • Added an "Activity" item in the sidebar, that optionally shows a chart of activity, including breaks you've taken, apps you've used, and time away from the Mac.
  • Activity tracking is off by default, for privacy reasons. You can enable it via a button at the top of the Activity page, which displays a menu with options to Track Breaks, Track Apps, and clear the recorded activity.
  • On the right-hand side of the Activity page is a slider to zoom the scale; you can also pinch to zoom on a trackpad. The scale goes from 1 day to 1 minute, or even to individual activity items.
  • Each line of the activity chart shows the activity grouped together for the scale time period, arranged with breaks before apps, and the longest first. For example, if at a 15 minute scale, it might show 5 minutes of a break, 5 minutes of Safari usage, 3 minutes of Mail, 2 minutes of natural breaks (idle).
  • Hover over an activity in the chart to see a tooltip with the break or app name, how many times it occurred in this time period, and how long for.
  • Recorded activity lives on your Mac, and isn't shared with anyone else.
  • This feature 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. As with other supporter rewards, you can also try it for an hour at a time.

Activity page screenshot

More themes

  • Added a "Muscles" theme, contributed by "saltymouse", to show a random exercise (from a customizable list) with reps to do during breaks.
  • Added a "GiphyStretch" theme, contributed by Sean Carey of Giphy, to show a series of stretching GIFs.
  • Added a "GiphyPuppies" theme, also contributed by Sean Carey, to show a series of puppy GIFs.

Break theme improvements

  • Extended the break theme JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutConfig.postMessage('') message to get a JSON of the break configuration. It will call back to a timeOutConfig(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (the JSON format, initially 1), identifier (the break's unique identifier), name (the break's name), durationSeconds (the break duration expressed in seconds), durationString (e.g. "10 minutes"), frequencySeconds (the frequency in seconds), frequencyString (e.g. "1 hour"), beginningSeconds (the fade-in time), endingSeconds (the fade-out time).
  • Also extended the JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutState.postMessage('') message, to get a JSON of the break state information. It will call back to a timeOutState(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (e.g. 1), nextDue (e.g. an ISO date like "2016-09-29T23:27:51Z"), lastStarted, lastDone, lastDeferred (also dates), lastPhase (e.g. done, skipped, or postponed), and currentPhase (e.g. pending, starting, started, or finishing).
  • Let me know if you'd like any other properties for these to help drive your custom themes.
  • Fixed an issue where choosing None for the break theme would revert back to the default Icon theme, even for supporters (this is expected for non-supporters).

Break action improvements

  • On the Actions page, renamed After Finish to After Done, to be consistent with other uses ("finish" is when the break is expected to end, "done" is after it has actually successfully completed, as opposed to other ends of the break like "skip" or "postpone").

Added a View menu

  • Added a View menu to the menu bar, to enable easier navigation of the preference pages (the keyboard shortcuts can still be used when the menu bar is hidden).

Other improvements

  • Added an alert when turning on the option to automatically start Time Out, if the app isn't in the Applications folder.
  • When using a MacBook Pro with integrated and discrete GPUs, now attempts to remain using the integrated GPU, to save battery.
  • Now remembers the visibility state of the Preferences window. If you close it, it will remain closed when you next start the app, or if you leave it open, it will re-open. The window will always display when later switching to the app, when the Dock icon is shown.
  • Improved the scheduler's idle handling to cope with macOS calling the timer less frequently than requested (as a power-saving measure).
  • Added a separate Exclusions preference to skip breaks when the Mac display is asleep (in addition to the preference to skip during the screensaver).
  • Moved the Learn More button on the Support Time Out page, to make it more discoverable.

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 2.2 now.

Time Out 2: a year later

Today is the one-year anniversary of the general release of Time Out version 2.0.

One month after that release, I wrote a blog post that provided some stats on how the supporter model was going at the time.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to follow up on that.

A year after release, the supporter model is still working well. If you're not familiar, the basic idea is that someone can download Time Out and use it for free, but some features only work for an hour at a time, as often as they like. So they can try all of the functionality, at their own pace, and decide if the advanced features are useful to them. If so, they can become a supporter for three, six, or twelve months. This permanently unlocks all of the current features as a reward. Even when the supporter period expires, those features remain fully available. So they can choose to extend their supporter status, or just keep using the app without paying any more. Of course, I hope that people do renew, to help fund ongoing sustainable development.

At present, about 9% of people who download Time Out end up purchasing one of the supporter options... which is a reasonable "conversion rate", which can often average more like 5% for normal trial apps. I feel pretty comfortable with that. But I'm also happy that people who choose not to become a supporter can still use a great break reminder tool to help them get or stay healthy.

Looking at the edition of Time Out available on the Dejal website, over the past year almost half of people chose the 3-month supporter option, at 48%, while a good number, 35%, chose the 12-month option, with relatively few choosing the middle 6-month supporter option:

Compare that to the Mac App Store edition, almost two thirds chose the 3-month supporter option, but the 6-month one was almost the same, and only a quarter chose the 12-month option:

Looking at both editions combined, you can see that most of the purchases were through the Mac App Store, though the direct edition isn't too far behind:

That was the number of purchases (units). In terms of money, unsurprisingly the 12-month supporter option goes a lot further, at 61% for direct sales. The 3-month option still beats 6-month, due to the volume of purchases, but not by as big a margin:

For the Mac App Store, the picture is similar, but not quite so favorable for the 12-month option, at slightly less than half the income, and a bigger slice of the pie for 3-month:

Again, combining them into one chart, you can see that it's pretty much neck-and-neck for direct vs Mac App Store, due to the larger slice of the pie that Apple takes:

I hope this snapshot of one year of Time Out was interesting. Overall, I think the supporter model is going well. I'm pleased to see many people who purchased 3- or 6-month supporter options choosing to extend their support, just because they appreciate the help it provides them, or want to help support further development.

Time Out continues to improve; just today I released another beta of version 2.2, which includes a great new activity feature and more. The continuing support of people like you is what makes that possible.

Thank you.

Time Out 2.2b3 released

I've just released a third beta of version 2.2 of Time Out.

This update includes:

  • Added a View menu to the menu bar, to enable easier navigation of the preference pages (the keyboard shortcuts can still be used when the menu bar is hidden).
  • Added an alert when turning on the option to automatically start Time Out, if the app isn't in the Applications folder.
  • When using a MacBook Pro with integrated and discrete GPUs, now attempts to remain using the integrated GPU, to save battery.
  • Now remembers the visibility state of the Preferences window. If you close it, it will remain closed when you next start the app, or if you leave it open, it will re-open. The window will always display when later switching to the app, when the Dock icon is shown.

Again, the major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

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 2.2b3 now!

Simon 4.2.2 released

A minor update to Simon, my utility to monitor websites and servers, is now available.

Changes in this update include:

  • Updated support for Setapp. (Prefer a subscription to Simon and lots of other apps? Check out Setapp.)
  • Added an in-app purchase option, so you can purchase a license without leaving the app (direct edition only).
  • Fixed the Result label when editing a Number filter to correctly display the status icon and result message.
  • Changed the Script editor to prevent it from using smart quotes and dashes, which can interfere with correct script functioning.
  • Fixed an exception with the MySQL service.
  • A number of other minor fixes.
  • Built for Sierra (but still compatible back to Yosemite).

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

If you are using the Setapp edition, it should update automatically shortly.

Otherwise, download Simon 4.2.2 now!

DejalNews #68: Time Out 2.2 beta, Simon in BundleHunt, forums

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-02, issue #68

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 2.2 beta

Earlier this month I released the first couple of betas of an update to Time Out, my popular break reminder tool for macOS.

Version 2.2 adds a major new feature: a new Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

It also adds some great user-contributed themes, and some other improvements.

Learn more about the changes in version 2.2, and how to get it.

Simon in BundleHunt

After the success with Caboodle a few months ago, BundleHunt asked if I'd like to include Simon in their latest bundle, featured near the top, to which I agreed. This is a rare opportunity to get Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers, for a significant discount. Normally $99 for just the app, for a limited time you can get Simon and six other premium apps for only $19.99.

Learn more at BundleHunt!

Speaking of Simon, it has been having good success as part of Setapp too; the "Netflix of apps", lots of quality apps for a low monthly subscription. Check it out if you haven't already.

Dejal Forums now require moderation

I've had a bunch of problems with the Dejal Forums of late, first with account creation not working, then a lot of spam postings every day. To combat that, I added moderation of posts. So now, when you post something to a forum, it isn't publicly visible initially, but I will see it within hours and approve for publishing, then immediately reply if needed. One nice benefit of this is that you'll get an email when the post is published, which will let you know that a reply will likely be forthcoming shortly thereafter.

I've still had the flood of spam, but at least it hasn't been publicly visible anymore. And since I've been blocking the spammer accounts, the volume has dropped off, perhaps as they realized they were wasting their time. Hopefully that problem will go away.

Long-term, I'm debating whether or not the forums are worthwhile, since most people prefer to contact me privately, and some site changes I want to do one day would be easier if I didn't have the complication of user accounts. If you want them to continue, make use of them!

- David

Forum posts now require moderation

As mentioned recently, I had an issue with the Dejal server that prevented people from registering for accounts on the site, and thus new people were unable to create forum posts.

After addressing this issue, I was (unsurprisingly) buried under an avalanche of spammer account registrations and spam posts, some of which appeared on the site, and were manually deleted by me as soon as Simon told me they were there, and some were automatically unpublished.

For a day or two, I tried requiring approval when registering accounts, but that didn't really work, as I couldn't tell who was a legitimate customer, and who was a spammer, until they actually post something.

So I am now trying another option: forum post moderation. Now, every new forum post will go into a moderation queue, requiring my manual approval to be seen publicly. This isn't ideal, since that means others couldn't help the author before I see it, but I usually see posts very quickly (again, thanks to Simon), and reply promptly. So it shouldn't have any real effect.

We'll see how this goes. Hopefully this step should prevent any more spam. If it works out, I could extend things further to "white-list" people who have posted legitimate topics, so their subsequent posts bypass the queue.

Time Out 2.2b2 released

Wouldn't ya know it, I managed to slip in a bug in the first beta of Time Out 2.2, which caused it to crash on macOS versions before 10.12.

Sorry about that! I've just released a fixed version.

Again, the major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

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 2.2b2 now!

Time Out 2.2b1 released

I'm pleased to announce the first beta of an update to Time Out, my indispensable break reminder tool.

The major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

Here are the full release notes:

Optionally track breaks and/or app usage via a new Activity feature

  • Added an "Activity" item in the sidebar, that optionally shows a chart of activity, including breaks you've taken, apps you've used, and time away from the Mac.
  • Activity tracking is off by default, for privacy reasons. You can enable it via a button at the top of the Activity page, which displays a menu with options to Track Breaks, Track Apps, and clear the recorded activity.
  • On the right-hand side of the Activity page is a slider to zoom the scale; you can also pinch to zoom on a trackpad. The scale goes from 1 day to 1 minute, or even to individual activity items.
  • Each line of the activity chart shows the activity grouped together for the scale time period, arranged with breaks before apps, and the longest first. For example, if at a 15 minute scale, it might show 5 minutes of a break, 5 minutes of Safari usage, 3 minutes of Mail, 2 minutes of natural breaks (idle).
  • Hover over an activity in the chart to see a tooltip with the break or app name, how many times it occurred in this time period, and how long for.
  • Recorded activity lives on your Mac, and isn't shared with anyone else.
  • This feature 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.

More themes

  • Added a "Muscles" theme, contributed by "saltymouse", to show a random exercise (from a customizable list) with reps to do during breaks.
  • Added a "GiphyStretch" theme, contributed by Sean Carey of Giphy, to show a series of stretching GIFs.
  • Added a "GiphyPuppies" theme, also contributed by Sean Carey, to show a series of puppy GIFs.

Break theme improvements

  • Extended the break theme JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutConfig.postMessage('') message to get a JSON of the break configuration. It will call back to a timeOutConfig(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (the JSON format, initially 1), identifier (the break's unique identifier), name (the break's name), durationSeconds (the break duration expressed in seconds), durationString (e.g. "10 minutes"), frequencySeconds (the frequency in seconds), frequencyString (e.g. "1 hour"), beginningSeconds (the fade-in time), endingSeconds (the fade-out time).
  • Also extended the JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutState.postMessage('') message, to get a JSON of the break state information. It will call back to a timeOutState(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (e.g. 1), nextDue (e.g. an ISO date like "2016-09-29T23:27:51Z"), lastStarted, lastDone, lastDeferred (also dates), lastPhase (e.g. done, skipped, or postponed), and currentPhase (e.g. pending, starting, started, or finishing).
  • Let me know if you'd like any other properties for these to help drive your custom themes.

Break action improvements

  • On the Actions page, renamed After Finish to After Done, to be consistent with other uses ("finish" is when the break is expected to end, "done" is after it has actually successfully completed, as opposed to other ends of the break like "skip" or "postpone").

Other improvements

  • Improved the scheduler's idle handling to cope with macOS calling the timer less frequently than requested (as a power-saving measure).
  • Added a separate Exclusions preference to skip breaks when the Mac display is asleep (in addition to the preference to skip during the screensaver).
  • Moved the Learn More button on the Support Time Out page, to make it more discoverable.
  • Fixed an issue where choosing None for the break theme would revert back to the default Icon theme, even for supporters (this is expected for non-supporters).

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 2.2b1 now!

Dejal site accounts fixed

I've just fixed the issue that was causing an error when attempting to create an account on the Dejal site, which prevented people signing up to post in the forums.

Sorry about that!

I've had a few reports of issues for a while, but hadn't figured out what the problem was until just now — it turned out to be a problem with the third-party spam detection software, caused by the server clock being out of sync.

The forums have been rather quiet of late, in large part due to that issue. We'll see if it gets any busier.

It has been nice to have a break from the endless spammers on the site, though.

In fact, I have been wondering if I really need the forums, since few people have raised the issue, and even before that it didn't get much traffic. Most people seem to prefer to contact me privately, or via @dejal on Twitter (or an app-specific account like @DejalSimon or @DejalTimeOut).

But I like to provide many avenues for support, to make it as convenient as possible for you, plus the community aspect where you can read other people's questions and answers can be beneficial, so I'll keep it going for now.

Side note: I have thought about adding Slack to those options, for a more real-time chat. I enjoy participating in some Slack teams (like the Core Intuition Slack), but I'm not sure it's a great fit for software support. I'd welcome feedback on that if you have an opinion one way or another.

See you in the forums!

DejalNews #67: Chicken GIFs, Date Stamp, Simon in Setapp

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-01, issue #67

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.

Happy new year!

Welcome to 2017! I hope you had a pleasant and safe holiday season. You may or may not like what is going on in the world nowadays, but things are promising to be quite exciting for Dejal this year.

Speaking of which, I have an annual tradition of doing a couple of blog posts around the new year, and this time was no exception. Firstly was “Featured blog posts of 2016”, providing a bunch of links to interesting Dejal posts throughout the year, and secondly the “Dejal year in review: 2016” post, which gave a brief summary of what happened with the Dejal apps last year, and a look ahead at what's coming this year. Check them out if you haven't already, and you might notice some interesting hints!

Introducing Chicken GIFs

Who doesn't like chickens?! Okay, probably some people... but even if you don't want to get close to chickens, you can enjoy their antics.

I live on about five acres, and keep chickens for eggs (we don't have them for meat). I have a YouTube channel where I post videos of the chickens, and other things around the property.

So when Apple introduced the ability to create sticker packs for the iOS Messages app, one of my first ideas was to take funny bits from those videos and make them into animated GIFs. And that's what I did.

The Chicken GIFs sticker pack features a bunch of amusing GIFs that you can include in message conversations, either as standalone images, or stuck onto message bubbles.

Take a look at the Chicken GIFs website to see a video of it in action, or get it now from the iMessage Store!

Date Stamp 1.0.1 released

Speaking of stickers, I also released a small update to my first iMessage app, Date Stamp.

Version 1.0.1 has just one minor change: to fix an issue where tapping the Today button in the mini date picker would show "March" for the month instead of "January" (when it is January). This was due to a slight miscalculation when determining the row of the picker to select. The date picker is entirely custom, and actually contains thousands of rows to enable infinite scrolling (or spinning of the values), so it calculates the row near the middle of that range, to ensure lots of values above and below for scrolling. Anyway, oops; math is hard, yo.

Learn more about Date Stamp.

Simon in Setapp

I mentioned in the previous newsletter that my macOS app to monitor websites & servers, Simon, is included in the new Setapp service.

Well, yesterday was an exciting day: Setapp is now out of beta, and available to everyone!

This service offers a curated collection of dozens of Mac apps for one low monthly price, with no more paid upgrades or in-app purchases. A great way to discover useful new apps.

What's more, you can try Setapp for free for a month, so you've got nothing to lose.

If you're interested in Simon, but hesitate at the pro-level price-tag, this is an affordable new way to get it and many more apps, with more being added all the time for the same low price. But don't worry, the direct price won't be going away for those who prefer that.

Learn more about Setapp.

- David

Introducing Setapp

Today is an exciting day for me: the launch of a major new way to get Mac apps: Setapp.

Setapp is a service released by MacPaw, developers of several popular Mac apps, that promises to make it much easier for people to discover and try great apps for macOS.

Unlike traditional direct app purchases, or the Mac App Store, Setapp is a subscription service, offering a large and growing selection of apps for one low monthly price. And you can try it for free for the first month, so there's no risk.

One thing I really like about it is that it is so well integrated: the apps all appear in a folder within your Applications folder, and you can open any to learn more about the app in a small "teaser" window. If it sounds like a useful app, just click an Open button and it launches, ready to use.

Why am I excited for a third-party service? Because one of my apps is included. Dejal Simon is one of the foundation apps in Setapp. It's a bit of an experiment for me, but I hope that it'll help lots more people discover Simon, and get the benefits of using this app.

Want to learn more? Check out Setapp now!

Date Stamp 1.0.1 released

A quick update to Date Stamp, my new iMessage app to provide customizable date stamp stickers, is now available.

Version 1.0.1 has just one minor change: to fix an issue where tapping the Today button in the mini date picker would show "March" for the month instead of "January" (when it is January). This was due to a slight miscalculation when determining the row of the picker to select. The date picker is entirely custom, and actually contains thousands of rows to enable infinite scrolling (or spinning of the values), so it calculates the row near the middle of that range, to ensure lots of values above and below for scrolling. Anyway, oops; math is hard, yo.

Learn more about Date Stamp on the Dejal product page.

Or download from the App Store!

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