DejalNews

DejalNews #71: Simon discount

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DejalNews 2017-07, issue #71

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.

Simon price eclipsed

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.

Already have Simon? Tell your friends and colleagues about it! I really appreciate any help spreading the word.

Setapp at 5 months

Recently TidBITS featured an article about Setapp, marking the five month period of Setapp's existence. I was quoted a number of times in this article, discussing my impressions of Simon in Setapp. Spoiler: I'm quite pleased with it so far. If you want lots of great apps (including Simon) for one low price, check out Setapp.

Time Out 2.3 coming soonish

I've been busy with consulting work of late, so work on Dejal apps has been rather slow. But I'll soon be getting back to it, as time allows, with several app updates and even new apps planned for the rest of the year.

The future plans are always subject to change, of course, but my current thought is to first work on an update to Time Out, to version 2.3. I have several planned enhancements, and some issues to fix... but if you have any requests, now would be a great time to let me know. Maybe your feature idea could make it into the next update!

- David

DejalNews #70: Caboodle acquired, BlogAssist & Tweeps discontinued

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

DejalNews: Caboodle in BundleHunt and more

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DejalNews 2016-11, issue #65

Welcome

This is the second issue of DejalNews since resuming it after a many-year hiatus. It is also the first issue being sent via the third-party MailChimp service. So hopefully it works out alright!

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

Caboodle featured in BundleHunt

I occasionally include one of my apps in a bundle or promotion, as a way to get extra exposure. At present Caboodle is included in the BundleHunt holiday bundle, featuring an assortment of Mac apps to choose from.

This is a "choose your own bundle" style promotion, where you pick 10 apps out of the 54 on offer, and get them for one low price.

As it happens, the bundle price is just $19.99, which is about the same as the price of Caboodle alone. So by including Caboodle you're effectively getting 9 other apps for free. What a deal.

Check it out!

Caboodle 2 preview

Speaking of Caboodle, version 2.0b2 was recently released. Version 2 includes many much-requested enhancements, including:

  • Multiple documents, so you can have one for work, one for personal, or organize by project, etc.
  • Save on Dropbox or iCloud Drive to share (yes, supports editing on multiple Macs!).
  • The data is now stored in a much improved format, as a package containing standard rich text documents.
  • Much better performance with large documents!
  • Custom fields can now be dragged to reorder them.
  • Improved text area, with a new text format bar, inline find bar, and support for inline markup of images.
  • Spotlight searching.
  • Modernized appearance.
  • And much more!

Want to try it? Check out the What's New page to sign up for the beta or learn more.

Caboodle 2 will be a paid upgrade, but anyone who buys it now will receive a version 2 license at no extra cost, which also works in version 1.

RIP Padmé

On a personal note, I'm saddened by the loss of one of our cats, Padmé. She was just nine years old, suffering from congestive heart failure. She was a sweet girl, and will be missed.

She even had (or I suppose still has) a Twitter account, @princess_padme, where "she" would tweet in haiku. Though that hasn't been updated in a few years.

Padmé

Thanks for reading!

I hope this new newsletter format works well. I hope to do more newsletters in the future, perhaps every month or two, when I have something to mention. (And I do have some exciting news coming up next month!)

Please let me know what you think of this format, or any other feedback. I'm always interested to hear from my customers.

- David

DejalNews: welcome (back)!

DejalNews 2016-09, issue #64.

Welcome (back)

Many years ago I published a monthly email newsletter on Dejal-related news, imaginatively titled "DejalNews". Over time, the issues became less frequent, culminating in the final issue, number 63, published in January 2007. It was phased out in large part due to the up-and-coming fad of weblogs, aka blogging.

Almost a decade later, I've decided to dust off the newsletter concept, since I know that while email is often full of spam, notifications, and such, many people still prefer it as a fairly reliable means of communication.

I would appreciate feedback on this issue — what do you like or dislike about it; is it too long or too short, should it only consist of links to blog posts or fully inline content, more corporate or more personal tone, etc. Any thoughts are most welcome. I'll use that feedback to help decide on the frequency and content of future newsletters.

Action required!

Since it's been years since the last newsletter, I have reset the newsletter subscribers. So if you'd like to receive future DejalNews issues in your email inbox, you need to take action:

Go to the Newsletter Subscription page and subscribe.

(You can also indicate which apps you're interested in there, which will help guide future topics.)

If you'd like to read the newsletters but don't want to get the emails, you can instead follow @dejal on Twitter to see tweets of blog posts (and app releases), including DejalNews issues, which will be published on the Dejal Blog. There is also a RSS feed of the blog for those who prefer that.

Wait, you discarded the subscribers list?!

Yes, I felt it was better to err on the side of my customers, as usual. I'd rather lose a bunch of subscribers than risk annoying people with unwanted email subscriptions or bounced mail. I've been accumulating newsletter subscribers for years, but haven't sent anything out for nearly a decade, so it's likely many of them are no longer interested in my apps, or have changed email addresses. Better to start fresh.

Anyway, enough preamble. On with the topics!

Dejal 25th anniversary

Last week I celebrated the 25th anniversary of founding Dejal. Yes, I started the company way back on September 20, 1991, writing apps for classic Mac OS on my Mac Plus.

To celebrate a quarter century of Mac development, and the release of Time Out 2.1 and macOS Sierra, I'm offering a special discount coupon code on all Mac apps sold directly from the Dejal site, or the supporter options within the direct edition of Time Out. Simply enter the coupon DEJAL25 at checkout to get half off! (Good until the end of this month.)

Time Out 2.1 released

I also recently released version 2.1 of Time Out, my popular break reminder app.

Version 2.1 includes:

  • Better Schedule options
  • The Status item can now omit Micro breaks
  • New menu commands to improve discoverability
  • Improved Play Sound action
  • Added a Post Tweet action
  • Plus Sleep Mac, Start Screensaver and Stop Screensaver actions
  • Setup Assistant assistance
  • Supporter improvements
  • macOS Sierra compatibility and other improvements

Read the blog post for details, including screenshots and download options.

Oh, and Mac App Store customers, I'd really appreciate it if you could review the app, or update your existing review. Every time a new version is released, the App Store clears the reviews that are displayed.

Simon 4.3 coming soon

Work on Simon 4.3 will begin soon. I have a bunch of enhancements planned, but now is a great time to get your feature requests in. Let me know what you'd like to see in the next release!

Available for contract work

In addition to updating the Dejal apps, I do remote contract macOS and iOS development work, to help pay the bills. If you or anyone you know needs an expert iOS or macOS developer, check out the consulting page and get in touch.

Also, as it happens my wife is looking for a new job at this time. She's a Senior Technical Writer, available for full-time employment or contract work around Portland, Oregon or remote. Please get in touch if you can help.

Thanks for reading!

Like this issue? Subscribe to the newsletter! Don't like it? You don't need to do anything; nobody is subscribed initially. Either way, please tell me what you think!

DejalNews #64; ISSN: 1547-948X.

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