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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

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.

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!

Dejal site tweaks

The eagle-eyed may notice a few subtle changes when visiting the Dejal website.

Over the last few days I changed the website header to merge the old Mac, iPad, and iPhone header items into a single Apps one, which gave room to move the search field from the bottom of the page up to the top.

I've been wanting to merge the platform headers into one for a while, as they didn't really make much sense anymore. Sure, I still write apps for Mac, iPad and iPhone devices, but I also have an Apple Watch app for Pack (my handy packing list app), and I only have one app for iPad currently (Tweeps, a Twitter account manager), so it hardly needs its own list.

Moving the search field is something I've thought about for a while, too. It was at the bottom of the page (above the site map links) for many years, but many people didn't notice it there, so couldn't find what they were looking for. The Dejal site is quite extensive, with several apps, blog posts, forum discussions, FAQ answers, developer pages, and more, so finding something specific can sometimes be tricky, especially if its a forum post from years ago. So moving the search field to the top should make it much more discoverable and useful.

I actually had two different search fields before: some of the the Dejal site is powered by custom PHP (primarily the product pages), which used to use a Google-powered search, and some is powered by the Drupal CMS (the blog, forums, etc), which has its own search mechanism. But now they are unified: searching via the search field at the top of every page will use Google to search the entire site, and on the search results page there is a link to instead limit the search to the blog, forums and FAQ, which uses the Drupal-powered search (and offers an advanced search function).

Currently there are Google ads on the search results (that I don't get any money for; it's a cost of using their free site search). If the feature is used enough I'll pay the $100/year to remove them, but I'll wait to see if people actually use the search more, now that it's more prominent.

Out with the old:

Old website headers

In with the new:

Old website headers

While I was at it, I did some other changes, e.g. replacing "Dejal Mac Apps" with "Dejal macOS Apps", and a few minor style changes and tweaks.

In other news, Apple is working through its back-catalog of apps that haven't been updated for years, and asking developers to update or remove them (or they will remove them after 30 days). This is a very worthwhile project; too much of the App Store is ancient junk that no longer works, or looks ugly on modern iOS versions.

I was affected by this: a few years ago I had discontinued two of my apps (well, technically three, one having Pro and Lite editions): SmileDial and Valentines. They were still included on the App Store for anyone who had old devices or didn't mind that they weren't being updated anymore. But with Apple's clean-out, it was time to remove them. So they are no longer available. I'll keep their product pages around indefinitely, though, for historical reference.

PayPal is not my pal

After many years of using PayPal as my primary payment processor, I'm done with them.

As I discussed recently, I've been dealing with a fraud explosion with PayPal in recent months, with some nefarious person or persons using stolen credit cards (typically European) to buy Dejal apps. I'm not sure why; probably just to test that the transaction works, since as far as I can tell they aren't actually using the apps.

Inevitably, the owners of those cards query the transactions or replace their cards, and I get hit with both a reversed transaction and a $20 chargeback fee. And of course I feel bad for the card owner.

I tried restricting the PayPal store to only US addresses, which stopped the fraud... but then most of the world was unable to buy via that store. I later tried to restrict it to only verified PayPal accounts, but that filter doesn't seem to actually work. So I've had enough.

Now, I have changed to make the FastSpring-powered store the default, and I don't publish the PayPal-powered store anymore. It's still there, and will still work, but hopefully making it more obscure will eliminate the fraud usage. If you want to use it, feel free... but I'll look closely at all PayPal purchases to ensure they are legitimate, and may lock it down if the criminal keeps attacking it.

Although this isn't what I wanted, I'm not too broken up about it — I've been slowly moving more stuff to FastSpring anyway. The direct edition of Time Out 2 includes an in-app purchasing feature that is powered by FastSpring, and I will be rolling that out to my other Mac apps as I update them. And even for website purchases, FastSpring is a nicer service, supporting credit cards, checks, and yes even PayPal accounts. And it better handles international purchases, with local currencies and VAT etc.

I'll still use PayPal for the Simon Service Plan subscription, a $99/year subscription for Simon power users.

I'm sad to have to stop using PayPal as a primary store, but it's time. Removing it as a vector of attack for fraudsters, and simplifying the web store, is an improvement.

Fraud explosion

Recently I have suffered a spate of fraudulent purchases via the PayPal Store. I'm not sure why, but some scammer appears to have acquired credit card information for a number of people, all with non-US addresses so far, and is using it to buy some of my apps via PayPal.

This is of course really bad for those people; nobody likes having their credit cards compromised. But it's doubly bad for me, as the rightful owners inevitably query their credit card companies about the unexpected transactions, who in turn notify PayPal of a "chargeback", who then notify me. Since I ship virtual goods (a software license), PayPal doesn't guarantee the transactions, and thus not only does the payment get reversed, I have to eat the $20 chargeback fee, too. So each time this occurs, I lose money. That quickly adds up to hundreds of dollars.

This doesn't seem fair to me, since PayPal is supposed to be authenticating the customers via their shopping cart. But of course they don't want to accept the fee.

In an attempt to stem this hemorrhaging, I have now disabled PayPal purchases from non-US accounts, among other filters. I know that this will cause inconvenience for legitimate buyers too, for which I am sorry, though I support FastSpring and other payment options. If you attempt to buy a Dejal product and are unable to do so, please let me know.

Hopefully with these changes the scammer will give up and move on, and I'll be able to relax the restrictions a bit in due course. I want to be able to offer many ways to buy my apps, so people can use their preferred method. It's unfortunate when some criminal makes things worse for everybody.

Bitcoin

We Accept BitcoinBitcoin is a relatively new internet-based currency, that is slowly gaining traction around the world.

I'm wondering if the time is right to add support for it as a payment option on the Dejal site?

If you are interested in buying Dejal apps via Bitcoin, please contact me.

Dejal home page tweak

Something I've been meaning to do for a while: I've changed the Dejal home page to show graphics with links to my main apps.

Just for fun, it picks a random feature graphic to show at the top. (Though I could override that for featured new releases.)

For now, the latest blog post is still displayed below those. Mainly because I can't figure out how to convince Drupal, my content management software, to omit it. But it is useful.

I've also replaced the short URL service used with the Dejal site, for go.dejal.com links. I migrated over the most important ones, but if you use a go.dejal.com link and it doesn't work, let me know.

The war on spam

In recent months the amount of spam postings attempted on the Dejal Forums and Dejal Blog comments has reached an unmanageable level.

You may not have seen any spam here, as I've had to spend increasing amounts of time each day moderating posts and comments. It's gotten so bad that a couple of weeks ago I changed the filtering rules to effectively block all posts, so everything had to manually moderated.

However, today I've installed Mollom, thanks to a suggestion in the forums. It uses text analysis to determine whether a post or comment is spam or "ham" (good). If it's unsure, it will display a CAPTCHA (those things where you enter characters to prove you're human). Learn more about Mollom....

I have high hopes that Mollom will solve the spam battle on this site. Time will tell! If you have any issues with creating user accounts, or posting in the forums or comment, or you have any other feedback about it, please contact me.

Personal vs professional

As you know, I publish this blog on the Dejal website.  It has been around for many years, and has discussed all kinds of topics.  Dejal product news, of course, plus general Dejal topics, and posts for other developers with open source and code tips.

Sometimes I post on more general topics, like Mac commentary and WWDC visits.

And I sometimes post about things going on in my life, like my travels, videos I find interesting or entertaining, stuff I find amusing, or my cats.

I've been wondering if the more personal topics are really appropriate for a business blog, though.  Looking around at other indie Mac and iOS company blogs, some do post random topics, but most stick to app update announcements, tips, and other core topics.

What do you think of this diverse mix of blog posts?  Do you like getting to know your app developers a little better, or would you prefer developer blogs kept to discussing their products?

Should I create a separate blog for non-Dejal-related topics?

What about the Dejal Twitter and Facebook accounts?  Should they stick to Dejal news too, or is general life stuff okay?  I'm not all that verbose with tweets, with often only a few tweets per day, sometimes none.  But the vast majority of the tweets aren't about Dejal topics.  Should I use a different account for personal tweets?  (I do have a personal Twitter account, @dejus, but don't currently use it.)

I'd appreciate your thoughts in the comments, via Twitter (@dejal), or privately.

Plus, I have a poll!  Take a moment to vote.

TrialPay Store

A few weeks ago I added a new payment processor to my site: TrialPay, which I mentioned in a previous blog post.

It's a great deal for my customers, as they can get automatic discounts when buying more than one app at the same time, or by try a third-party product that they might have been interested in anyway. And it's a great deal for me, as the discount offers cover the cost of the payment processing, so I get 100% of the money my customers pay for my apps, instead of losing a few percent to the payment processor.

I've been very satisfied with the service. When I first set it up, my contact at the company was extraordinarily helpful, with prompt replies to my queries, and doing much of the setup work for me, or providing plenty of info on the steps I had to do. I was quite impressed.

So I'd like to recommend their service to other Mac developers. It's a great way to offer quick-and-easy payment processing that gives your customers a great deal.

Here's my referral link. If you use this to sign up as a TrialPay merchant, I'll get a $500 referral bonus, and you'll get a $250 Amazon gift card by way of thanks. More details on their site.

TrialPay Referral Program

Dejal site tweaks

Over the weekend I made a few changes to the Dejal website.

One was somewhat trivial on the surface, though required updating several pages: I increased the page width from 900 pixels to 980 pixels, which is the same width Apple and others use. 80 pixels doesn't sound like much, but it gives a little more room for page content. If things look wacky, try reloading; you may have a cached CSS file from a previous visit.

The wider page also gave room for a new tab in the page header: iPad. This new page lists my vast collection of iPad software... namely Tweeps. Though as I write this, the iPad edition of Tweeps isn't released yet, but this was in preparation for that momentous occasion.

I do plan on adding more iPad apps in the future: I want to do iPad editions of at least two of my Mac apps, Simon and Caboodle. I probably won't have time to implement either this year, but they'll come eventually.

Similarly, I added an iPad block to the sidebar, between the Mac and iPhone ones, to make it really easy to see what apps are available for each platform.

Another change was the introduction of a new TrialPay-powered Dejal Store, using their new e-commerce solution. I have made that the default store (for most Mac apps), as it has some advantages over the PayPal-based store. For customers, it has the ability to give automatic discounts when you buy more than one of my apps. Plus you can get a big discount by accepting a third-party offer — for something you might be wanting to buy anyway. And it benefits me, as there are no transaction fees — the discount offers pay for the service. Try it, and tell me what you think.

I already had an experimental TrialPay store before, which has now been expanded to the same set of Mac apps. This is now called the Get It Free store. This is similar to getting a discount when outright buying one of my apps, except that you get the app completely free! Here's how it works:

Take a look and get an app for free!

I have a few more changes planned. One is to add some smaller feature boxes to the home page. Currently, there's a single large feature graphic at the top of the page, highlighting the latest significant release, but I'd like to be able to highlight other recent updates of note, and make it easier to see what apps I offer. I've experimented with mockups of a few designs, but this is my current favorite:

What do you think?

I've also been debating on whether or not I should keep the latest blog post on the home page. I kinda like it, as it makes it easier for people to see, but some blog posts perhaps don't really belong in such a prominent position.

So, I posted my first poll last night, asking how people read the Dejal Blog — via the RSS feed, Twitter mentions, on the Blog page, on the home page, etc. Please take a moment to cast your voie in the poll. (If you saw it yesterday and weren't able to vote, try again; it is now open to anonymous voters.)

Developers should iPhone-optimize their sites

A while ago I wrote how the Dejal site is iPhone-optimized: when you view it on an iPhone or iPod touch, the website content is reformatted to fit neatly in the 320-pixel-wide display:

I would suggest that any developers who write iPhone software should do this too. So here's some technical info on what I did. This isn't necessarily the best solution, but it works for me, and isn't very difficult.

Firstly, of course, you need to be able to detect whether you're running on an iPhone or elsewhere. The standard way to do this is by looking at the "user agent" value of the HTTP session. In PHP, you can simply look at the $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'] global variable. I have the following function in a utility PHP file included on every page (via the header code):

    function getIsIPhonePlatform()
    {
        global $private_is_iphone_platform;
        
        if (isset($private_is_iphone_platform))
            return $private_is_iphone_platform;
        
        $user_agent = $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
        $private_is_iphone_platform = stristr($user_agent, 'iPhone') || 
            stristr($user_agent, 'iPod') ||
            stristr($_GET['platform'], 'iPhone');
        
        return $private_is_iphone_platform;
    }

This function returns whether or not the user agent is an iPhone or iPod touch, either by returning the state if already known, or determining it if not. It also allows testing the iPhone-optimized pages from your Mac by adding "platform=iphone" to a page's URL parameters (try it; it's fun!).

Not everyone would want the pages optimized, though: a great thing about the iPhone is MobileSafari does an excellent job of rendering "real" web pages. So I also added a checkbox at the bottom of every page to toggle iPhone-optimized mode off and on. The state is recorded in cookie. So I have another function to read that, on the iPhone platform:

    function getIsIPhoneOptimized()
    {
        global $private_is_iphone_optimized;
        
        if (isset($private_is_iphone_optimized))
            return $private_is_iphone_optimized;
        
        $private_is_iphone_optimized = getIsIPhonePlatform();
        
        if ($private_is_iphone_optimized && isset($_COOKIE['iphone_optimized']))
            $private_is_iphone_optimized = $_COOKIE['iphone_optimized'];
       
        return $private_is_iphone_optimized;
    }
Then the checkbox is actually output (in the footer's include file) via somewhat messy code that uses PHP to output the JavaScript to set the cookie and reload the page when the checkbox is toggled, and the checkbox itself:
    function outputIPhoneOptimizationCheckbox()
    {
        if (getIsIPhonePlatform())
        {
            $query_params = $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'];
            
            if ($query_params != '')
                $query_params = '?' . $query_params;
            
            echo('<script type="text/javascript">' . "\n");
            echo('<!--' . "\n\n");
            echo('function iphoneOptimizedToggled()' . "\n");
            echo('{' . "\n");
            echo('  document.cookie=\'iphone_optimized=' .
                !getIsIPhoneOptimized() . '; path=/\';' . "\n");
            echo('  window.location.reload(true);' . "\n");
            echo('}' . "\n\n");
            echo('-->' . "\n");
            echo('</script>' . "\n\n");
            
            echo('<p><input type="checkbox" id="iphone_optimized_checkbox"
                onclick="iphoneOptimizedToggled()"');
            
            if (getIsIPhoneOptimized())
                echo(' checked="checked"');
            
            echo(' /><span id="iphone_optimized_label"
                onclick="iphoneOptimizedToggled()">
                Display site optimized for iPhone</span></input>' . "\n");
            echo('</p>');
        }
    }
And finally, the getIsIPhoneOptimized() function is called in the header to use iPhone-optimized or normal style sheets. This is actually a simplification; it actually uses several style sheets, including some common ones and some platform-dependent ones. It also sets the viewport appropriately for each platform — that is a key aspect for iPhone optimization:
    if (getIsIPhoneOptimized())
    {
        echo('<link rel="stylesheet" href="/iphone/header.css"
            type="text/css" media="all" />' . "\n");
        echo('<meta name="viewport"
            content="width=device-width, user-scalable=no" />' . "\n");
    }
    else
    {
        echo('<link rel="stylesheet" href="/mac/header.css"
            type="text/css" media="all" />' . "\n");
        echo('<meta name="viewport" content="width=900" />' . "\n");
    }
Of course, configuring the CSS appropriately is another story, but not too difficult... and very site-specific. Feel free to explore my CSS files if desired: I hope this is helpful. There are a number of other aspects, like fitting images in the available space, supporting movies that can play on the iPhone, and more. If there's interest, I might write more about this in the future.

Dejal site now iPhone optimized

Yesterday I talked briefly about the updated Dejal website design, but I didn't mention the biggest change: the whole site is now displayed in an optimized state when viewed on an iPhone or iPod touch.

When viewed there, it will use a simplified header with just the Dejal logo, plus special menus similar to iPhone-native ones, and will display the sidebar content after the main body content. It also fits the text to the screen, adjusts image sizes if too large, and other optimizations:

So how do you access the other pages? Simply tap the Dejal logo to display a special menu page, that includes the items from the normal page header in an iPhone-friendly menu. The Mac and iPhone pages are also displayed more simply, too.

There is also a checkbox at the bottom of every page to toggle iPhone-optimized mode off and on (as you can see in the above picture). By default it is on, but if you turn it off the page will change to use the same layout as on your Mac or PC, where you can pinch to zoom etc as normal:

One thing worth mentioning: since the Forum etc tables are too wide to fit, they now scroll horizontally. There's no real need, but if you want to see obscured columns you can use two fingers to scroll horizontally:

I hope you enjoy the changes! Again, please let me know if you notice any issues with any aspect of the new website design.

Updated website design

Over the last couple of weeks I've been tweaking the Dejal website design. Nothing too radical, but some visible changes, and a number of behind-the-scenes changes too. The redesign is now live.

The most visible change is the page header: it no longer has the app icons. Instead, it has new Mac and iPhone items, which lead to pages of those products. The header also looks more modern than it did.

The reason for moving the product icons out of the header was simply that it was running out of space. I recently released my first iPhone app, SmileDial, and will be releasing more new apps this year.

The apps aren't gone completely, though: I've added them to two boxes in the sidebar, one for Mac apps and the other for iPhone apps. The Mac box includes an item for my free stuff, too.

On the product pages, I've made several more changes. The product icon, name and slogan are now displayed above the body content, and the submenu of product pages is drawn differently. Plus the buy/download links in the sidebar are drawn differently, with boxes for beta and older versions as well as the current general release, where appropriate.

I'm still tweaking a few aspects of the site design, but it's mostly done. If you notice any broken links, overlapping or incorrectly sized blocks, or other things that don't look right, please let me know.

Dejal year in review: 2008

The year 2008 was another interesting year for Dejal. Here are some highlights:

Simon: My flagship website and server monitoring tool had one significant update, version 2.4, with a couple of fix updates bringing it to 2.4.2. These versions added the Twitter and Calendar plug-ins, plus enhancements to several others, and lots of other improvements. What's next? Version 2.5 is currently in development, and will have the first beta release shortly. It includes a significant new SMS notifier, plus other enhancements.

Time Out: My handy break reminder tool was updated to version 1.5.2, plus some work was done on version 2. I had hoped to get version 2 released in 2008, but it got postponed due to some other projects. What's next? Version 2 is still coming, probably around May 2009.

Caboodle: This handy snippet-keeper app was updated to version 1.2. This release included several encryption enhancements and other improvements. What's next? I have a long list of ideas for Caboodle. It should see several significant enhancements in 2009.

Narrator: My fun speech synthesis app had a major upgrade and rewrite using Leopard technologies, plus some fix releases bringing it to version 2.0.3 currently. This major upgrade was much deserved, since the previous release was back in 2003! I also started experimenting with giving away Narrator licenses via TrialPay. What's next? Narrator 2.1 will be released before the end of the year, with fix releases before that.

BlogAssist: This useful HTML markup tool was updated to version 2.2, with 2.2.1 the latest release. It added much-requested repeating formatting, and other changes. What's next? I have several ideas for BlogAssist, too, with several updates planned.

Macfilink: My affiliate link cloaking app was updated to version 1.5 and released as freeware. This was a tricky decision, but I still feel that it was the right one. I don't currently plan on any further improvements to it, as it does it's one job very well, but will do bug-fix releases as needed.

SmileDial: I released my first apps for iPhone in 2008. SmileDial Lite and SmileDial Pro are innovative apps using a visual address book for your favorite people, to make it easy to text and call one or more people. What's next? A minor release will be done soon, with some feature enhancements planned.

What else will 2009 bring? I'm about to start a new Mac app with a companion iPhone app as a joint venture with another developer. I want to write at least one other new iPhone app, too. But I don't want to push back updates to my existing apps more than necessary. I'm also currently working on some updates to the website, including optimizations when viewing on an iPhone, which I'll roll out soon.

I'm looking forward to another great year. Thank you to all of my customers who have helped support Dejal.

Email back up

My email problem has been corrected. I'll catch up on the email backlog soon.

So you can email me (or use the feedback form) if desired. But the Dejal Forums is still the preferred way to get support, so my customers can help each other, and everyone can benefit from my and others answers. As I said, Simon notifies me when changes occur there, so I'm able to respond quickly.

My email is not working

Due to a technical problem at my web host, I can not currently receive incoming email. So feedback sent via either direct email or the Feedback form won't reach me until this is fixed.

In the meantime, please post support queries to the Dejal Forums. Simon will notify me when changes occur there, so I'll be able to respond quickly, as always. The forums are the preferred support channel anyway, so my customers can help each other, and everyone can benefit from my and others answers.

Purchases are not affected; they are handled fully automatically by my server.

Sorry for any inconvenience! Hopefully the issue will be resolved soon.

Added a Dejal products page

I've just added a Dejal Products page to the site.

This page serves as a quick summary of all current applications available from Dejal, plus links to the older applications and tools that I keep available for those who want them.

I imagine I'll use it for brief lists of my apps, as often appears on third-party promotion pages, e.g.:

Dejal produces Simon, a website/server monitoring tool, Time Out, a free break reminder, Caboodle, a snippet keeper, Narrator, to read stories in multiple voices, and more.

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