DejalNews #78: Time Out 2.6, Pack 2.1, other releases

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DejalNews 2019-10, issue #78


This is DejalNews, an occasional newsletter from Dejal.

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Time Out tips

I've published a couple of Time Out tips since the previous newsletter.

The most recent was to answer a frequently asked question: how can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac? If you've wondered that, read that post.

Earlier, I posted a tip on how to have custom fixed image and blog themes. Time Out's break themes are very flexible; read that to learn more.

Time Out 2.6 released

Speaking of Time Out, version 2.6, and a couple of bug fix updates, were recently released.

Version 2.6 includes several much-requested enhancements, including the ability to have breaks that occur at a fixed number of minutes past the hour, scheduling a smaller duration and frequency (great for "blink" breaks), a Random Word theme, Catalina support, and more.

Apple also wrote a feature story for the Mac App Store.

And Time Out is now included in Setapp, the popular subscription service for Mac apps. (But don't worry, it's also still available in the Mac App Store, and directly from my site.)

Release Notes conference

I recently attended the Release Notes conference in sunny Mexico. Check out all of my blog posts about the trip, if you can stand some decadence mixed with networking and discussions. That was a great trip, and excellent conference; I hope they do it again.

Pack 2.1 released

Time Out wasn't the only recent release. In preparation for my trip to Mexico, I updated my Pack iPhone packing list app to support iOS 13 and dark mode. Pack is completely free, and very simple, so try it for your next trip!

SheetPlanner 1.1 released

There were updates to some consulting apps, too. SheetPlanner 1.1 included dependency features, new progress and symbol column types, auto-enter options, and many more great enhancements. This is a powerful and very useful app, with a great roadmap of future enhancements. Highly recommended for anyone who needs an outliner or more powerful planning tools.

NewsBlur 9 released

Finally, NewsBlur 9 included full screen, autoscroll, customizable story titles, story change highlighter, and return to last read story, among other improvements. An excellent cross-platform RSS reader, always improving.

- David

Attending the Release Notes conference

In a couple of days Jenn and I will be in sunny Playa Mujeres, Mexico, about 45 minutes north of Cancún, to attend the Release Notes conference; an indie software business focused conference put on by the guys behind the excellent Release Notes podcast. We'll be there a day either side of the conference, too, so we can enjoy some extra relaxation.

If you'll attend too, please feel most welcome to say hi. And if you want to attend, it isn't too late — I believe there are still a few tickets left.

I'll probably replace my usual Dejal shirts with more casual Hawaiian shirts, but may still have a Dejal badge or something. And my long beard is fairly distinctive:

David wearing Dejal shirt & cap

I will have business cards with my contact details and apps, plus Dejal and Time Out stickers:

Dejal business cards and stickers

And if you'll be there too, perhaps try using my free packing app, Dejal Pack, to make sure you don't miss anything when packing your suitcase. Recently rewritten as version 2! Did I mention that it's free? (Version 2.1 is currently waiting for review, too, with dark mode support.)

Looking forward to it!

Attending Swift by Northwest conference in Portland

I will be attending the Swift by Northwest conference in Portland on October 18-20. This is a sold-out conference for macOS and iOS developers, with a focus on the Swift programming language, and related topics.

I've written a blog post on my personal blog to introduce myself to attendees. Others may also be interested.

Check it out!

CocoaConf PDX

At the end of last week I attended my first conference since WWDC07. That's quite the hiatus!

This time it was a much smaller conference: CocoaConf PDX, a small two-day touring conference organized by the Klein family, which visits a number of cities each year.

Now that I'm doing new contract work (in addition to my own apps), I thought it'd be good to stretch myself a little outside my comfort zone with some networking. What better way to start than a small conference in my home town?

Despite being in Portland, I stayed at the conference hotel — mainly because I live about an hour away, and wanted to avoid that commute. The hotel is quite nice, for one by the airport — a nice foyer with ponds and streams, and all rooms are two-room suites. I put in for an upgrade to a "premium" room, and got that, so enjoyed additional benefits like free snacks.

One bit of pre-conference excitement (and hassle for some attendees) was the arrival of President Obama in Portland. I happened to catch Air Force One coming in for a landing, and the motorcade as he and his entourage headed downtown.

The conference provided some nice swag, including a helpful booklet with information about the sessions. Unfortunately, many of the sessions were rescheduled at the last minute, but I still got to attend all of the ones I most wanted to see. Perhaps in the future they'll use an app, so the information can be updated dynamically?

Some conferences are single-track, meaning that everyone attends the same sessions. Others (like WWDC) are multi-track, with a number of simultaneous sessions to choose from. There are certainly pros and cons of each — a single track means more opportunities to meet other people, but could mean having to sit through (or skip) sessions that aren't interesting... while multi-track gives more choice at the cost of fewer personal interactions.

I liked the balance that CocoaConf had: some single-track sessions, and some in three tracks. Plus 15 minute breaks between sessions, and catered lunches and dinner. So there were plenty of opportunities to meet new people, catch up with old friends, and of course learn about the topics that are most interesting (while also expanding one's horizons with new topics).

The circular tables helped with meeting new people — better than the rows of chairs at WWDC, where the only interaction is in the hallways or queues.

Another fun event at the end of the first day was a performance of James Dempsey and the (Conditional) Breakpoints, the biggest group in Cocoa rock.

I recorded a bootleg of their final song of the evening, The Liki Song:

Overall, it was an excellent experience. I'm very glad I attended, and definitely plan to go again next year. I'm also thinking about other conferences that I could participate in... probably not WWDC this year (even the alt conf stuff), but I'm considering the new Release Notes conference in October, as a more business-focused one, though there are many other excellent options.

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