Does Time Out have a lifetime purchase option?

In ye olde days, software was sold once, for what would be considered nowadays to be a high price, and every year or so the developer would release a major paid upgrade, typically charging about half of the original price.

I still do this for Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures, since that model is still common for pro apps. Though it is also available on Setapp, as part of a subscription along with hundreds of other apps.

But for Time Out, my popular break reminder app, I wanted to try something different. I introduced a “supporter” model, where people can get the main features completely free, but be rewarded for supporting ongoing development with extra features.

Unlike old-school purchases, the supporter purchases are much cheaper, only a few bucks, and for a specific period of time, 3, 6, or 12 months. The extra features can be tried for an hour at a time, or are unlocked permanently with any supporter level. The “catch”, such as it is, is that when I update the app, I may add new features that are only available to current supporters, so if your support has expired, you won’t get those features unless you renew your support. Of course, you can try them, to help decide if you want to renew.

That seems really fair to me; you can have breaks for free, or get extra features cheaply, and if you like my improvements, you can help pay for their development. Or continue using the older features forever without paying more.

Win/win — you get a useful app that is regularly improved, and I get to eat. I also don’t have to hold back major features for a big paid upgrade; I can add things whenever desired.

Even so, I occasionally get people asking about a lifetime purchase option. I don’t currently offer that, since I feel it would be detrimental to the long-term survival of the app. However, you can effectively make your own lifetime option, by purchasing multiple 12-month supporter statuses. Each one you purchase will extend your supporter status by a year. So if you envision using Time Out for the next 5 years, purchasing 5 times will extend your support that long. Or whatever duration you want to use.

Of course, it’s worth reiterating that you don’t have to pay more than once if you don’t want to. You can become a supporter at whatever level you feel comfortable with, and not pay again unless you want to show your appreciation (kinda like a tip jar). After your supporter status expires, all of the advanced features that you had when you were a supporter will remain available permanently. You’d only need to renew if I add new features in the future that you want to use.

DejalNews #83: Time Out 2.9.2 and Simon 5.1.1 released

DejalNews header


This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

Has it been that long?!

Apparently the previous DejalNews newsletter was sent way back in June 2021! It doesn’t seem that long ago.

Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up on the Dejal site.

Time Out 2.9.2

Time Out version 2.9.2 was recently released, with several fixes and improvements.

Since it’s been so long, I should also mention version 2.9, which includes several great enhancements, including 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.

Read the blog post for more information on Time Out 2.9.2, and if you missed it, the details of version 2.9.

Simon 5.1.1

My pro site monitoring app also had a recent update, to version 5.1.1. It includes some important fixes.

And again, if you missed reading about version 5.1, it included 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.

Read the Simon 5.1.1 blog post for the latest update, or the version 5.1 post if you missed that.

New Dejal blog

Late last year I created a new blog for Dejal, powered by WordPress. Unfortunately that meant that the older posts are no longer on the site, but they are all available in the Internet Archive, and I have been working on updating and re-publishing the most interesting posts with tips for Time Out and Simon, on a weekly basis. So check back regularly. Or if you use an RSS reader or Apple News, you can subscribe to the blog to never miss a post.

Sinclair Trails

Back in June 2021 when the previous newsletter was published, my wife and I were living on a 5-acre homestead with ducks, chickens, feral cats, bees, etc. But just a few months later we decided to sell the homestead and most of our possessions, buy a 40-foot luxury Tiffin motorhome, and start traveling the country full-time.

If that sounds interesting, you can follow our adventures on my other blog, Sinclair Trails, where I post every weekday about a related topic, including additions and modifications to our coach, photos of our travels, timelapse videos of driving between locations on YouTube, reviews of RV parks, and photos of National Parks and other interesting places we visit.

(And if you’re only interested in the apps, that’s fine too.)


If you use Reddit, you may like to join the r/Dejal subreddit, as a community for Dejal customers, and another support channel.

I hope you found this newsletter interesting. Let me know in the Dejal subreddit. I will try to publish another one sooner than a year or so from now!

– David

Time Out 2.9.2 released

I’m pleased to announce an update of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

This update includes some nice fixes and tweaks:

  • Now uses more modern ways to start the break helper, the automatically start on login option, and access the System Settings.
  • Fixed app icons not appearing in the Activity log for apps with display names that don’t match their filename.
  • Fixed a break sometimes stopping too early when using the Ask When to Start option.
  • Fixed a break not being rescheduled past midnight when a natural break occurs.
  • Added themes for the Sinclair Trails blog and YouTube channel, and updated the Tropical Rain theme.
  • Fixed the Speak Time break action script.
  • Can now use a URL of timeout://settings to open the Time Out settings window, in addition to the existing timeout://preferences (useful for scripting and shortcuts).

Want to try it?

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, you can update via the App Store app.

Similarly, if you are using the Setapp edition, it will handle that update for you.

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

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.9.2 now!

How can I play a sound during a break in Time Out?

To play a sound or perform other actions before, during, or after a break, check out the Actions page of the break editor:

Actions page

Other actions include the ability to display a notification (with an optional sound), fade out the currently playing sound (useful at the end of the break), flash the screen, and speak some text with speech synthesis. Several scripts are provided, too.

To add an action, simply click the + button in the top-right corner of the window, to display a menu of available actions:

Add action menu

(When you first click this button, the scripts won’t be there, and there will just be “More…” item at the end; choose this to install the scripts.)

The first bunch are the various actions, followed by scripts, which are like customizable actions. At the end of the menu are items to open the Scripts folder in the Finder, so you can edit or add scripts, and go to the Time Out Extras page to download more scripts.

Once you add an action, you’ll see a header row with the name of the action and some other controls:

Action header

You can use the interval picker and pop-up menu to indicate when to use the action. The interval picker enables you to offset from the action stage by a number of seconds, minutes or even hours (click on the units to change them). Instead of just being able to play a sound at the start and/or end of a break, you can choose from many more times, including before due, after skipping, and more:

Action when menu

After those controls is a Preview (Preview) button, that will demonstrate the action. And a Remove (Remove) button to remove the action.

Here is a brief video to demo the feature: adding a Play Sound action to play a long music track, and a Fadeout Sound action to make it fade out when the break successfully finishes. (You might instead want to have it fade out for any end, otherwise it’d keep playing till done if you skip.)

This is a powerful and flexible feature of the app, especially when using custom scripts.

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

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.

What are the differences between the direct, Mac App Store, and Setapp editions of Time Out?

The direct edition (available from this site), the Mac App Store edition, and the Setapp edition are very similar, but there are a few minor differences:


The direct edition can be downloaded from this site.

The Mac App Store edition can be downloaded from the App Store app.

The Setapp edition can be downloaded from the Setapp app.


The direct edition will download to your Downloads folder, so simply drag it into your Applications folder to install.

The Mac App Store edition will be downloaded directly into the Applications folder.

The Setapp edition will be downloaded directly into the Setapp subfolder within the Applications folder.


The direct edition can be updated via an in-app updater.

The Mac App Store edition can be updated via the App Store app.

The Setapp edition can be updated via the Setapp app.

Beta releases

The direct edition supports beta releases to help test new updates.

The Mac App Store and Setapp editions are not updated until the general release.


The direct edition offers optional in-app purchases via FastSpring (or from this site).

The Mac App Store edition offers optional in-app purchases via your Apple ID (Apple iCloud account).

The Setapp edition doesn’t offer any purchase; all features are always available as part of your Setapp subscription.


The direct edition provides 91% of the purchase price to me, the developer (after FastSpring’s cut).

The Mac App Store edition provides 85% of the purchase price to the developer (after Apple’s cut).

The Setapp edition provides a portion of your Setapp subscription to the developer, based on the number of people using it each month.


The direct and Setapp editions are not sandboxed, to enable updating, though they act with the same limitations as a sandboxed app.

The Mac App Store edition is sandboxed, requiring extra steps to approve keyboard usage detection and install action scripts.

Data location

The direct edition stores its data in the path “~/Library/Group Containers/”, where “~” means your home folder.

The Mac App Store edition stores its data in the path “~/Library/Group Containers/”, where “~” means your home folder.

The Setapp edition stores its data in the path “~/Library/Group Containers/“, where “~” means your home folder.

Your choice

That’s about it. None of the differences are all that significant, so you are welcome to use whichever edition you prefer. Downloading and updating are about as easy for each, and purchasing the direct and Mac App Store editions are similar, it just depends on whether you want to buy with your credit card or PayPal account, or your Apple ID. Of course, purchasing is optional; you can use it for free if you don’t want to become a supporter. And if you have Setapp, it makes sense to use that edition, since it’s included in your Setapp subscription.

I get a warning of another copy of Time Out

Look in your Dock and menu bar; does Time Out appear more than once?

If it’s in the Dock more than once, you can long-click or right-click on the Dock icon to display the Dock menu for the app, then choose Options ▸ Show in Finder to reveal the app in the Finder. Do this for each to find the one that shouldn’t be there — it could be in your Downloads folder, or in a subfolder of Applications if you installed both from the Dejal site and the Mac App Store.

Once you find the duplicate, quit that app (by double-clicking the app icon to bring it to the front, then press ⌘Q), then move it to the Trash and empty the Trash.

Can I move the Time Out break controls, or change the buttons?

Yes, the control panel with the progress bar and buttons, that appears during breaks, can be freely moved anywhere on the screen. The position will be remembered for next time.

Having difficulty with self control, skipping breaks too often?

No problem: you can disable the buttons during the break. Simply go to the Break Appearance page, and you’ll find checkboxes to enable or disable each button, and change the number of minutes for the two postpone buttons.

There are also options to disable the buttons for a few seconds, to give you a chance to decide if you really want to skip the break. And to limit the number of times they can be used, if you need a little more help.

Break controls

No Time Out break appears when I try to start one

If no break appears when you manually start one, or as scheduled, there are a few possibilities.

  1. Firstly, look in the sidebar; it should indicate why a break didn’t occur.
  2. You should restart your Mac. That often fixes wackiness.
  3. If that doesn’t help, make sure you don’t have more than one copy of Time Out.
  4. If still no luck, there may be a permissions issue.

To fix a permissions issue, try this:

Make sure Time Out is in your Applications folder.

Paste the following command into Terminal:

xattr -d -r -s /Applications/Time\

If this gives a permissions error (e.g. “xattr: [Errno 13] Permission denied”), try it again with sudo before the command, to elevate the privileges. You’ll need to enter your Administrator password. This command is safe to use with sudo:

sudo xattr -d -r -s /Applications/Time\