David Sinclair's blog

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!

Introducing Chicken GIFs

Hot on the heels of my first iMessage app, Date Stamp, I'm pleased to introduce something else for iMessage: Chicken GIFs.

Chicken GIFs is an iMessage sticker pack, featuring a collection of animated GIFs of chickens.

Everyone loves chickens! React to messages with goofy antics, flapping wings, cute baby chicks, head popping up, running in circles, and more.

Download Chicken GIFs from the iMessage Store, or read on to learn more....


These are my own chickens (Rhode Island Reds and Single Comb Brown Leghorns). They can be lots of fun to watch. For these stickers, I chose excerpts from videos of them that could be fun reaction GIFs.

If you enjoy these GIFs, you can see more of the chickens on the Dejus YouTube Channel.

Chicken GIFs is a standalone sticker pack; it won't clutter up your home screen, but will only appear in Apple's Messages app on iOS. Tap the stickers/apps button to the left of the text field to display the stickers and iMessage apps.

Tap a sticker to insert it in a message, or tap and hold to peel it, and drag it to stick on any message bubble, optionally using two fingers to rotate or resize it as desired.

Sound fun?

Download Chicken GIFs from the iMessage Store!

Anniversary of the iPhone launch

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone, I thought I'd repost this from a year ago. Happy birthday, iPhone!



I just listened to episode 18 of the Upgrade podcast, where Jason Snell reminisced about first seeing and touching the iPhone. (Yes, I'm about a week behind on my podcast listening.)

That sent me down a memory lane of my experience at that event. I haven't attended many conferences over the years, but Macworld Expo in 2007 was one of them. In fact, that was the only Macworld I ever attended. But yes, I was also in the audience for the historic occasion of Steve Jobs introducing the first iPhone.

My seat was rather far back, but I was there (that's a repeater screen on top, and the live stage at the bottom):

Unlike Jason, I didn't get to touch one, but I did get to see it up close, behind well-guarded glass:

After the show, I wrote a followup blog post with my initial impressions of the iPhone and other news at the event (introduction of the Apple TV, and Apple changing its name). Reading over that post now is somewhat amusing, with concerns over the keyboard and developer access.

I had a bunch of other photos from the show, showing various events and presentations, the show floor, iPhone demos, etc. Ah, memories.

Dejal year in review: 2016

Happy New Year!

As we start a new year, let's review what happened with the Dejal apps in 2016:

My flagship pro app to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, Simon, continued to improve in 2016, with a big update to version 4.2, which included several new filters, email and preview improvements, and more. It is also one of the foundation apps in the new Setapp subscription service, offering a new option for people who prefer getting lots of apps for one low monthly price.
My handy break reminder tool, Time Out, had a huge year, finally reaching the general release of version 2, after several years work. Version 2 is a huge upgrade, with a completely redesigned preferences window, an option to hide the Dock icon, an optional status item, global shortcuts, more breaks, customizable break themes, many new actions, and so much more. Version 2.0 was released in March, followed by some bug-fix updates, and version 2.1 in the latter half of the year.
Caboodle, my lean clean snippet machine, had a couple of beta releases of version 2, a major upgrade that supports multiple Caboodle documents, significantly improved custom fields, refined text area, and more.
BlogAssist, my tool to help with HTML markup, didn't have any updates in 2016. It's a minor product, but one I still use regularly.
It's not often that I introduce a brand-new app, but 2016 had such an occasion: I released the first version of Date Stamp, an iMessage app to provide customizable date stamp stickers. This app can be used in Apple's Messages chat app on iOS to provide fun and useful stickers for your conversations, that can be tweaked to any date, in multiple formats, and various colors.
Pack, a simple iPhone app to make it easy to pack for trips, didn't have any updates in 2016, but I use it for every trip, and have a number of improvements planned. Try it for your next trip!
Tweeps, an app for iOS to easily manage Twitter accounts, also didn't get any updates. It doesn't sell very well, so I can't really justify spending time on it, but it does what it needs to.

Consulting

On the consulting side, I've worked on a number of projects in the last year, including Keynote Extractor, a new macOS app to do a better HTML export from Apple Keynote; the iOS NewsBlur app, a popular RSS news reader; zCloud, a handy macOS menu bar utility to quickly and easily upload screenshots and other files to Dropbox; MBTableGrid and private components for Tap Forms for Mac; and others that aren't publicly available.

I have availability for contract work currently. If you have a macOS or iOS project you'd like help with (or a custom Simon enhancement), check out my consulting page for more information.

Looking ahead

So what's coming up in 2017? First thing (maybe even this week), I have a new iMessage sticker pack that I'm trying to get Apple to approve... but they're being a bit chicken, so to speak. (Could that be a hint?)

I am also currently working on a big update to Time Out, which adds a much-requested feature, and some other improvements. You can expect a beta of that later this month.

Then I will probably do some last fixes to Caboodle 2, and get that out. There remains some questions to answer about this update, but I want to resolve them one way or another early this year.

After that, I have an update to Simon planned. I'm actually very excited about one of the features planned for the next release; I think it will be very popular, particularly for big installations. But that's enough of a hint for now. :)

I will also continue contract work, of course, since I enjoy eating and paying bills. I'd appreciate any referrals or contacts for potential new projects.

Thank you and welcome to my new customers, and many thanks to my long-term customers who are still enjoying my apps. I really appreciate your support.

Featured blog posts of 2016

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2016 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

DejalNews: Date Stamp, Setapp, BundleHunt, happy holidays!

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2016-12, issue #66

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.

Introducing Date Stamp

A few days ago I released a new app: Date Stamp, an iOS app to provide customizable stickers for iMessage.

iMessage apps are a new feature of iOS 10, and a little obscure. You find them via the apps button to the left of the entry field in Apple's Messages app on iOS. They have their own store, which is full of sticker packs — collections of static or animated images that you can peel and stick onto your conversation bubbles, to make chatting more fun.

My Date Stamp app is similar, in that it provides stickers you can peel and stick onto messages, but it isn't just a collection of static images — they can be changed to include any date you choose, plus the format of the date can be changed, and the color of the date or surrounding text/frame can also be altered.

It's fun and useful, so you can tell someone you received something, or paid a bill, or to save the date, and much more.

Learn more about Date Stamp.

Date Stamp

Simon in Setapp

In other news, my friends at MacPaw recently started an invite-only beta of their new service, Setapp.

This service offers a curated collection of dozens of Mac apps for one low monthly price.

Imagine no more paid upgrades or in-app purchases; you can use any or all of the apps without paying more. A great way to discover useful new apps.

I'm really excited about this new service, and pleased to include Simon as one of the apps. One of the things I like the most is how well it is integrated into the Mac — the apps appear right in a special folder in the Finder, and opening one shows a handy description and screenshots so you can learn more or start using it without having to leave the Finder. It's very nice.

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.

They are now letting a limited number of people into their invite-only beta, to try it for free for a couple of months. If you're interested in getting a sneak peek of Setapp, contact me to get an invite.

Last chance for BundleHunt

As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, Caboodle is currently included in the BundleHunt holiday bundle, featuring an assortment of Mac apps to choose from. If you haven't yet taken advantage of this great deal, don't delay; it ends soon!

Happy holidays!

As we approach the end of the year, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday tradition you follow. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

- David

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