Why are my Simon tests timing out on my Apple Silicon Mac?

If you install Simon on an Apple Silicon (M1, M2, etc) based Mac, you may notice Web Page tests timing out.

That is because the Web Page service uses an embedded helper tool to load the HTML in a separate process, to improve performance and reduce the risk of crashing Simon. But currently this helper is Intel-only. Some other helpers, e.g. to send emails or upload reports to a remote server, are also Intel-only.

This is fine, but it means that you need to install Rosetta, Apple’s emulation layer to enable running Intel apps on Apple Silicon.

The main Simon app is universal, so launching it won’t prompt to install Rosetta, but you can override that by checking the “Open using Rosetta” option in the Finder’s Get Info window:

Open using Rosetta

Just remember to uncheck that option after you’ve opened Simon, so subsequent launches use the universal code.

Using Simon to watch YouTube subscriber counts

A customer sent a query, asking how to use Simon to monitor the subscriber counts on YouTube channels.

This is easy for Simon to do, by having Web Page tests for each YouTube channel, each with a filter to extract the subscriber count, and whatever notifier you wish.

The first step is to add a Web Page test for a YouTube channel, and look at the HTML output in the Preview pane, to find how the subscriber count appears.


For example, for my Sinclair Trails channel, the HTML includes:

    "subscriberCountText":{"accessibility":{"accessibilityData":{"label":"30 subscribers"}},"simpleText":"30 subscribers”},

Yes, I currently only have 30 subscribers… rather sad. Please subscribe to help me reach a more respectable number!

A sensible default choice for a filter is the Block one, though in this case a better choice would be the Find Regular Expression filter. But if you want to have several tests with the same notifier configuration, an even better choice is to create a new custom notifier, so you don’t have to configure the notifier for each test.

A regular expression to extract the subscriber count from that HTML could be:


This will look for text starting with “subscriberCountText”, some more text, then “simpleText”:"” , then capture the desired text up until “”\}” .

In my case, that will result in:

    30 subscribers

To make a new filter for this, you can go to the Filters page in Simon, and add a new filter named “YouTube subscribers” (or whatever you prefer).

Then choose Find for the Filter Kind, and Regular Expression from the find options menu:

Find options

Then enter the expression as the find text, and choose Capture 1 as the output:

Custom filter

Click Done, then go back to your YouTube test, and choose this new filter on the Filters page:

Test filters

This will output just the subscriber count:

Filter output

You can see this output in the Activity log:

Activity log

Or you can add a new Email notifier to email the filter output using the {FilterOutputText} variable:

Email notifier

And of course use that notifier in your test, along with whatever other notifiers you wish:

Test notifiers

Then you can add more tests for other YouTube channels you want to monitor, specifying your YouTube subscribers filter for each. For example, CGP Grey has a few more subscribers than me:

CGP Grey test

I hope this helps!

New and updated Time Out themes: Sinclair Trails and Tropical Rain

As you know, Time Out dims the screen and by default shows its icon during a break, but has the ability to show other content via themes, as a reward for supporters of the app. Just dimming the screen is enough for a break, fine for people who want the basics, but avid users of the app can keep things interesting with other themes.

The theme can be changed on the Break Appearance settings page; click the blue Info button next to the pop-up menu to learn about the theme, and try it via the Preview button:

Appearance settings

One of the built-in themes is called Tropical Rain; it was kindly contributed by Time Out customer Nick Kaijaks. It play a HD YouTube video of a tropical rain forest, with the gentle sound of rainfall, starting from a random offset in the video, so it’s different for every break.

On macOS Ventura the theme stopped working, so it has been updated to fix that. I also increased the volume of the rainfall to 50%, since some people mentioned that they couldn’t hear it. You can adjust the volume by editing the index.html file within the theme; look for the follow line; the value can be anything from 0 to 100:

    var VOLUME = 50;

The corrected theme will be bundled in the next update of Time Out, but in the meantime you can download the update here. To install it, choose the Reveal Themes command from the end of the themes pop-up menu, and drag the uncompressed theme folder into the revealed Themes folder in the Finder, replacing the existing one.

Tropical rain theme

I have a YouTube channel called Sinclair Trails where I post timelapse videos of our motorhome travels around the US. I recently posted a video that combines the timelapse videos from 2022 into one faster video. So having just updated the Tropical Rain theme, it occurred to me that I could make a copy of that to play random parts of my timelapse video. And so the Sinclair Trails 2022 Timelapses theme was created; you can download it here.

Sinclair Trails 2022 timelapses theme

This theme plays the video without any sound. Again, you can adjust that by editing the theme source. Or use a Break Action to play your own music if you prefer.

I also have a similar timelapse video from 2021, which is available as the Sinclair Trails 2021 timelapses theme; you can download it here.

Sinclair Trails 2021 timelapses theme

Finally, I also added a theme that just shows the Sinclair Trails blog, which has new posts every day. You can follow along on my adventures exploring the country while you take your breaks. You can download this theme here.

Sinclair Trails blog theme

Why haven’t I received an email from Dejal?

If you send an email to Dejal asking for support, you should expect a reply within 24 hours. If you don’t get one, chances are your email service has mis-flagged it as spam. So check your spam folder.

If you use the contact form, and request a reply, you will get an automated reply email from the Dejal server within minutes, acknowledging receipt. And will get a personal reply within 24 hours, if needed. So if you don’t get that automatic reply, again check your spam folder.

I know it’s frustrating to write to a company and not get a reply. As an indie developer, I strive to provide excellent customer support. But it’s just as frustrating for me when I write a lengthy reply and it bounces due to a mail server being full, or thinking its spam, or other issues. So please check that you don’t have overly aggressive spam filtering if you’d like to receive a reply.

Another alternative to email, if you want to bypass those possible hassles, is to post in the Dejal community on Reddit, r/Dejal. I check that every day (well, most of the time), plus other members may be able to help you too.

And of course check the Frequently Asked Questions list, in case your issue is a commonly asked one.

Dejal year in review: 2022

As we start a new year, let’s review what happened with the Dejal apps in 2022:

Time Out icon Time Out

My popular break reminder tool, Time Out, had a significant update in 2022, to version 2.9, adding a status message in the sidebar to indicate why a break was skipped etc, the ability to schedule and exclude breaks using calendar events, support for Monterey focus, an option to hide the Pause function, new break options to pause or reset an individual break, and much more. It finished the year at version 2.9.1.

Simon icon Simon

My pro app to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, Simon, had a feature update, to version 5.1. This added the ability to disable rendering a Web Page test, the addition of an automatic data backup, support for macOS Ventura, updated example tests, and several other improvements and fixes.

Pack icon Pack

Pack, a simple iPhone app to make it easy to pack for trips, didn’t have any updates in 2022. Now that I take my home with me when I travel, I rarely need to pack suitcases anymore. So I’m unlikely to update it, though I hope Apple leaves it available. If they eventually decide to remove it due to lack of updates, I’ll have a tough decision on whether to do an update, or discontinue it.

Date Stamp icon Date Stamp

Date Stamp, an iMessage app to provide customizable date stamp stickers, also didn’t have any changes. Since few people seem to use iMessage stickers anymore, I’m unlikely to update this, though I still think it was a fun concept, and turned out really well.

Date Stamp icon New Apps

I also have another couple of new apps in various stages of development. More about those below.


Dejal also produces macOS and iOS apps for other companies, under the banner of Dejal Consulting.

SheetPlanner icon SheetPlanner

SheetPlanner is a pro-level outliner, planner, todo, calendar, and more. I spent 2022 working on an iPad edition of the app, plus work on a new kanban board view in version 4.0, both still in development.

NewsBlur icon NewsBlur

I have also continued to work on the iOS client for NewsBlur, a popular RSS reader. It recently had a big update with a new design and lots of other improvements.

I am currently fully booked up for the next several months at least, but am always interested in talking with potential new clients. 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.

So how’d 2022 go?

The expected update of Time Out to version 2.9 (and 2.9.1) was completed, as was the update of Simon to version 5.1. And I made great progress on my consulting projects, too.

I mentioned a couple of new projects I was noodling on. One is on the back burner, but the other has had significant progress, and I’m using it every day.

What’s next for 2023?

What’s in store for 2023? As mentioned, I’m working on a new app; when not working on my consulting projects, I am concentrating on this new app. It’ll be a few more months before I’ve polished it up for release, but I’m confident that it’ll be this year. I’ve recently updated both Time Out and Simon, so don’t feel too much urgency for their next updates, though I have a lot of stuff planned for Time Out 3.0, so that’ll probably be next. Or I might opt to work on the other new app, since I’m keen to bring that into existence; another app I’d use daily. Scratching one’s own itch is a great motivation for developing an app (that’s how Time Out, Simon, and Pack all came about; Date Stamp was more of a fun idea to catch what could have been a popular new feature on iOS… but sticker apps never really caught on).

I also want to tweak the Dejal website a bit; it still doesn’t support dark mode or responsive design. And I want the new WordPress-based blog to match the style of the rest of the site. Though I’m tempted to farm those out to a web developer; I don’t have time to do it all, or much interest in web technologies.

And on the personal side, my wife and I will continue to explore the country in our motorhome, and blog about it at Sinclair Trails, and post travel timelapses on the YouTube channel (please subscribe!). I hope you’ll follow along there.

Thank you

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