David Sinclair's blog

About the author

As you may know, Dejal is an indie macOS and iOS app development company, owned by me, David Sinclair, offering apps and consulting services.

You can follow Dejal on Twitter, Facebook, Google+Micro.blog, or via RSS.

If you're curious about the man behind the apps, I recently started a personal blog, where I post random comments on life, the universe, and everything, plus photos of pizzas and other food, my pet cats and dog, and other things.

I'm currently posting a photo every day under the hashtag #dejus365.

You can follow the Dejus site on Twitter, FacebookMicro.blog, or via RSS.

My wife and I also have another company called Yellow Cottage Homestead, with chickens, bees, lavender, and more.  You can follow the homestead on Twitter, FacebookMicro.blog, or via RSS.

Time Out 2.4b1 released

I'm pleased to announce the first beta of an update to Time Out, my indispensable break reminder tool.

Version 2.4 is still a work-in-progress; I have added some new features, and fixed some issues, but will do further enhancements in subsequent betas. I'd appreciate it if you'd join me on this journey, to help ensure that the changes work well.

Read the full release notes for details:

Added a Statistics page under Activity

  • Added page buttons to the Activity page of the preferences, with Activity and Statistics pages.
  • The Activity page is the same as before.
  • The new Statistics page includes a pop-up menu to choose the kind of counter and break(s) to display, and a line chart of count values.
  • The count options include the number of times a break was postponed, skipped, or done in a day, or all three, or the total duration of that break.
  • The menu also enables displaying those counts for all breaks, or just a specific one.
  • The chart will not be shown initially; come back after a couple of days to see it, once some history has been gathered.
  • This feature will be further extended in a subsequent beta release.

Refined the break scheduler

  • The break frequency now can't be less than the duration; it doesn't make sense to work for negative time.
  • The break should no longer be due further away than the frequency, unless you manually skip it multiple times.
  • If a break would be due in the past after rescheduling it, it is now reset. This should fix the issue where a break could sometimes start soon after waking from sleep.
  • Fixed an issue where manually starting a break soon after another one could leave the actions in an unexpected state.

Enhanced postpone and skip limits

  • When a postpone/skip limit is set and has been reached, postponing or skipping via the File menu, action menu, or global keyboard shortcut is now disabled, so the limit can't be bypassed.
  • Fixed the postpone/skip left display when a limit is turned on when already postponed/skipped more than that today.

Preferences window tweaks

  • The Time Out item is now always in the Window menu, to make it easier to re-display the preferences window if closed.
  • When the Dock icon is hidden, and the status item is shown, the status popover will now appear on clicking the mouse, instead of releasing it; a subtle improvement.
  • Can now use the up and down arrow keys and type selection to navigate in the sidebar, e.g. show the preferences window or status popover and press "G" to go to the General options.

Other changes

  • Updated the Start Screensaver and Stop Screensaver script actions, to work more reliably on recent macOS versions. Thanks to Johan Kaving.
  • Removed the help book, since it didn't work properly in recent OS versions. The help is still available on the web.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b1 now!

Dejal year in review: 2017

Happy New Year!

As we start a new year, let's review what happened with the Dejal apps in 2017:

My pro app to monitor websites and servers for changes and failures, Simon, had a couple of minor updates in 2017, to version 4.2.2. It was also one of the foundation apps in the Setapp subscription service, offering a new option for people who prefer getting lots of apps for one low monthly price.
My handy break reminder tool, Time Out, followed up the huge version 2 release in the previous year with a bunch more updates in 2017, including version 2.2, adding a useful activity feature, more themes, and other improvements, and version 2.3, which included much-requested options to limit postpones and skips, show mini pie charts for break labels, and lots of other improvements.
Caboodle, the lean clean snippet machine, finally reached version 2... but not as a Dejal product; it was acquired by Before Dawn Solutions.
BlogAssist, my tool to help with HTML markup, hadn't been updated for a couple of years, and was never all that popular, so with some regret I said goodbye to it in 2017, so I could focus on my more successful apps.
Similarly, I also discontinued Tweeps, an app for iOS to manage Twitter accounts, which was no longer needed with modern Twitter clients.
Pack, a simple iPhone app to make it easy to pack for trips, didn't have any updates in 2017, but I am working on a big update (more below). I use it for every trip, and have a number of improvements planned. Try it for your next trip!
Date Stamp, an iMessage app to provide customizable date stamp stickers, was updated to version 1.0.1. It may or may not be updated again, but works really well as-is. The iMessage store didn't have a very good start, but is more visible in iOS 11. Tell your friends if you like this.
I released a second iMessage app... though this was a pure sticker pack, instead of customizable stickers. Chicken GIFs is a sticker pack featuring many fun animated GIFs of my chickens, which can be used as reactions in messages (chicken butt!).
Chicken butt!

Consulting

On the consulting side, I've done updates for several of my existing clients, but spent most of the year working on an exciting new macOS app, which should see the light of day in the first half of 2018. I can't wait for people to try it.

I am currently fully booked up for the next few 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.

Looking ahead

2017 has been an interesting year for Dejal, and 2018 should be quite eventful too.

I am currently working on Time Out version 2.4. I also already have version 2.5 and beyond planned out; too many ideas for enhancements! If you have any requests for 2.4 or later, now would be a great time to get in touch (fun fact: I'm more likely to sneak in a request when actively working on the app, though no promises).

Next up I'll probably resume work on a complete rewrite of Pack, my simple packing list app. It was originally written in Objective-C, using some legacy techniques and technologies, but I decided to rewrite it from scratch using Swift and modern approaches. It's usually not a good idea to rewrite working code, but this app is small enough, and the code crusty enough, that I deemed it worthwhile. I use this app every time I travel, so I'm keen to keep it fresh and current, and add some great new features... hopefully including iCloud syncing, though we'll see how that goes.

I also have another new iOS app in the works, which I hope to finish off in early 2018, and another new macOS app I want to get to sometime. So much for focus! But I find it useful and enjoyable to explore new ideas and technologies every so often.

And let's not forget Simon; I have some big enhancements planned for its next release, too.

Finally, as mentioned I'm working on a new app for the consulting side, which will be exciting to get released.

It's going to be another busy year!

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

Featured blog posts of 2017

My blog posts often just cover new releases, but sometimes I post general-interest or developer-interest topics. Some highlights from 2017 included:

I hope you enjoyed these posts.

DejalNews #73: Discounts for the holidays, AppStories

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-12, issue #73

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.

Holiday discount

'Tis the season for celebrations and reflection... and discounts! As I often do, I am marking the occasion with a discount on my Mac apps, Dejal Simon and Time Out.

From now until the end of the year, you can get Simon, my handy website & server monitoring tool, for just $49.50 — half the regular price. (The upgrade from version 3 is also half price.)

You can also become a supporter of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool, for half the normal amount; just $1.49, $2.49, or $4.99, depending on the supporter duration. (Remember, any level will permanently unlock all of the current supporter rewards.)

The Mac App Store edition of Time Out is also discounted, though with slightly different prices.

This discount is automatically applied if you buy via the online store, or in the Mac App Store edition. Or you can enter the code "JOYTOALL" in the coupon field when purchasing in the direct edition. Don't delay!

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

AppStories sponsorship

Last week I sponsored an episode of AppStories, a podcast discussing apps on macOS and iOS, brought to you by the fine folks at MacStories.

It was great to hear John talking about Dejal Time Out on the show.

Happy holidays!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and a very happy New Year.

- David

DejalNews #72: Time Out 2.3, 512 Pixels, Setapp 100

DejalNews header

DejalNews 2017-10, issue #72

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 2.3 released

I mentioned in the previous newsletter that I was about to start work on Time Out version 2.3. As you may know by now, that did in fact eventuate, and it was recently released.

Version 2.3 focuses on enhancements to the postpone and skip options, including the ability to show the number of times each break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done (finished) today... and a much-requested feature, the ability to set daily limits on postponing and skipping. There's also a fun mini-pie-chart option.

Importantly, this update also includes a number of fixes for High Sierra compatibility, including a significant issue where the label and break background colors can unexpectedly become white.

I recommend updating to this version if you'll be installing High Sierra.

Read the blog post for details of the improvements.

512 Pixels sponsorship

I don't do much advertising, but I occasionally like to do something to support people and sites that I like. One such is 512 Pixels, written by Stephen Hackett, who you may also know as one of the founders of the Relay FM podcast network.

This week I am sponsoring the 512 Pixels site, as a way to help support Stephen, and promote the new release of Dejal Time Out.

Read the sponsorship post on 512 Pixels.

Setapp reaches 100 apps

It seems I'm often writing about Setapp in these newsletters... but it's such a great service, making it easy for people to find lots of high-quality and useful apps, including Dejal Simon.

Setapp has just announced that they have reached 100 apps on the service; an exciting milestone. There's something for everyone!

- David

Time Out 2.3 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.3 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Version 2.3 focuses on enhancements to the postpone and skip options, including the ability to show the number of times each break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done (finished) today... and a much-requested feature, the ability to set daily limits on postponing and skipping. There's also a fun mini-pie-chart option.

Importantly, this update also includes a number of fixes for High Sierra compatibility, including a significant issue where the label and break background colors can unexpectedly become white.

I recommend updating to this version if you'll be installing High Sierra.

Read on for details.

Optional postpone and skip display and limits

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance preferences page to enable displaying the number of times a break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done each day, so you know how "good" you're being today.
  • Also added options to enable limiting the number of times it can be postponed and/or skipped each day. Useful if you find those buttons too hard to resist, but still want them there sometimes.
  • These features are available as rewards for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use these features, or try for an hour at a time.
  • If both Postpone buttons and the Skip button are hidden, the control panel is now smaller.

Break Appearance page screenshot

Here's what the "Show number of times..." option looks like during a break; notice the line of text below the buttons in the control panel. Also notice one of the new themes:

Break screenshot

Option to show break labels as mini pie chart

  • Added an option to the Break Name preferences page to show the break label as a miniature pie chart of today's postponed/skipped/done counts.
  • The pie has an outline of the label color, with the postpones wedge as a lighter label color, skips as gray, and the wedge for done is shown as the label color.
  • Added a tooltip on the label icon that displays the same text as above.
  • This feature is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Break Name page screenshot

Here's the sidebar, with a pie option enabled for the Micro break, and the tooltip displayed:

Break pie label & tooltip screenshot

Theme changes

  • Added a new Tropical Rain break theme, kindly contributed by Nick Kaijaks.
  • Added a Cosmic Symbolism theme, as a bookmark to the Cosmic Symbolism website, similar to the other zooming ones. Kindly contributed by Justin Hall.
  • Added an Away From Desk theme (as seen in the screenshot above), that simply displays a message about being away from the desk for a RSI break. Kindly contributed by John Braine.
  • Updated the Muscles theme.
  • Removed the Emoji Zone theme, as the website that hosted it is no longer available.

Other improvements

  • Improved the accessibility prompt when starting the app for the first time, to not show the permissions alert until after the Setup Assistant has been closed, and only if the the suggestion of authorizing it wasn't done.
  • Removed the Post Tweet break action, as High Sierra unfortunately no longer includes built-in support for posting to Twitter.
  • Fixed the View menu items becoming disabled when the sidebar isn't active.
  • If a laptop lid is closed during a break, then re-opened before the break would have been finished, the break will now continue.
  • Restoring a purchase now re-displays the message of thanks in the sidebar; you can dismiss it via the (X) button next to the message if desired.
  • Fixed an issue with High Sierra, where the label and theme background colors could be unexpectedly changed to white. If affected, the colors will be reverted back to the defaults.
  • Fixed some display issues with the the Break Actions page on High Sierra.

Get it now!

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

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

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.3 now.

Time Out 2.3b3 released

Here's another beta of Time Out, version 2.3b3.

Hopefully this will be the last beta before the general release. I'd really appreciate it if everyone could try this and let me know as soon as possible of any issues, especially on High Sierra.

Changes include:

  • A few more High Sierra tweaks.
  • Removed the Post Tweet break action, as High Sierra unfortunately no longer includes built-in support for posting to Twitter.
  • Fixed the View menu items becoming disabled when the sidebar isn't active.
  • If a laptop lid is closed during a break, then re-opened before the break would have been finished, the break will now continue.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.3b3 now!

Time Out 2.3b2 released

Here's a second beta of Time Out 2.3.

Changes include:

  • Added a Cosmic Symbolism theme, as a bookmark to the Cosmic Symbolism -> http://www.cosmic-symbolism.com/ website, similar to the other zooming ones. Kindly contributed by Justin Hall.
  • Added an Away From Desk theme, that simply displays a message about being away from the desk for a RSI break. Kindly contributed by John Braine.
  • Some fixes for the new break label features.
  • Restoring a purchase now re-displays the message of thanks in the sidebar; you can dismiss it via the (X) button next to the message if desired.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.3b2 now!

Time Out 2.3b1 released

I'm pleased to announce the first beta of an update to Time Out, my indispensable break reminder tool.

Version 2.3 focuses on enhancements to the postpone and skip options, including the ability to show the number of times each break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done (finished) today... and a much-requested feature, the ability to set daily limits on postponing and skipping. There's also a fun mini-pie-chart option.

Importantly, this update also includes a fix for an issue on High Sierra, where the label and break background colors can unexpectedly become white. I haven't noticed any other issues on macOS 10.13, but please let me know if you do find anything.

I recommend updating to this version if you'll be installing High Sierra.

Read the full release notes for details:

Optional postpone and skip display and limits

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance preferences page to enable displaying the number of times a break has been postponed, skipped, and/or done each day, so you know how "good" you're being today.
  • Also added options to enable limiting the number of times it can be postponed and/or skipped each day. Useful if you find those buttons too hard to resist, but still want them there sometimes.
  • These features are available as rewards for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use these features, or try for an hour at a time.
  • If both Postpone buttons and the Skip button are hidden, the control panel is now smaller.

Option to show break labels as mini pie chart

  • Added an option to the Break Name preferences page to show the break label as a miniture pie chart of today's postponed/skipped/done counts.
  • The pie has an outline of the label color, with the postpones wedge as a lighter label color, skips as gray, and the wedge for done is shown as the label color.
  • Added a tooltip on the label icon that displays the same text as above.
  • This feature is also available as a reward for current supporters.

Theme changes

  • Added a new Tropical Rain break theme, kindly contributed by Nick Kaijaks.
  • Updated the Muscles theme.
  • Removed the Emoji Zone theme, as the website that hosted it is no longer available.

Other improvements

  • Improved the accessibility prompt when starting the app for the first time, to not show the permissions alert until after the Setup Assistant has been closed, and only if the the suggestion of authorizing it wasn't done.
  • Fixed an issue with High Sierra, where the label and theme background colors could be unexpectedly changed to white. If affected, the colors will be reverted back to the defaults.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases, then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.3b1 now!

DejalNews #71: Simon discount

DejalNews header

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

Simon special: an eclipsed price for a limited time

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.

DejalNews #70: Caboodle acquired, BlogAssist & Tweeps discontinued

DejalNews header

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

Before Dawn Solutions acquires Caboodle

Big news: Caboodle, the "lean, clean snippet machine", has been acquired by Before Dawn Solutions, another indie macOS & iOS developer.

I have felt bad for some time that I haven't been able to give Caboodle the attention it deserves. I first wrote it way back in 2003, though the 1.0 release was in 2006. It has long suffered infrequent updates, mainly due to my spending most of my time on Simon, Time Out, and consulting projects. I was planning a major upgrade for years, and last year finally did some work on it, but again I couldn't devote enough time to actually finish it.

So I finally realized that I had to find a better home for Caboodle. It's a great app, relied on by many customers, so I didn't want to just discontinue it. I've known John Martyniak of Before Dawn Solutions for several years, so when I mentioned that I was looking for a new home for Caboodle, and he expressed interest, we fairly quickly came to an agreement.

Since then, he has been diligently working on finishing off version 2, and has now released the app under his banner.

Learn about Before Dawn Caboodle.

BlogAssist & Tweeps discontinued

I've been thinking about focus a lot lately... perhaps not surprising from the author of a break reminder tool.

One result of that is a reluctant and long-considered decision to discontinue a couple of my apps that aren't very popular, so I can spend more time on apps that people actually use.

So, I am here to announce that BlogAssist, my macOS menubar utility to do HTML markup, and Tweeps, my iOS app to manage Twitter accounts, have now been discontinued.

BlogAssist was first released back in 2003, and reached version 2.4 in 2012, and was last updated to version 2.4.1 over a year ago. (Release notes.)

Tweeps was introduced in 2010, and reached version 3.3 in 2014. (Release notes.)

BlogAssist is still available for download, for anyone still using it, but is no longer supported and will not receive any updates. New users are welcome to use it if desired, too. It has a license requirement (with a free trial), but I'd be willing to provide a free license to anyone who requests one.

Tweeps is no longer available for download, since the App Store doesn't really have an area for legacy apps. You can see what it looked like on the product page, if you're curious.

Time Out in Uneeqco bundle

Uneeqco bundle

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!

Simon in BundleHunt

BundleHunt poster

I know I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to remind everyone of BundleHunt, a "choose your own bundle" collection of great apps, which includes Simon, my pro tool to monitor websites and servers for changes or failures.

This bundle is coming to an end soon, so it's your last chance to get Simon and 6 other apps for just $19.99. Choose from 49 premium apps, including Typinator, MacJournal, WinZip, and more. You can get 7 apps for less than quarter the regular price of just Simon!

If you already have Simon, this is a great opportunity to get your friends or colleagues hooked on its benefits for a very low cost. I'd appreciate any help in spreading the word, and if you use this link they'll know you came from here.

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

DejalNews header

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

Time Out 2.2.1 released

I've just released a tiny update to Time Out, to fix a couple of issues.

Version 2.2.1 includes a fix for scheduling issue, where it was incorrectly adding the sleep duration to the due time after waking from sleep. It also includes a fix for breaks set to a frequency of daily (or longer) and with an Available time range set, where it was pushing the due time out by a day.

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, you can update via the App Store app once it has been approved (maybe later today or tomorrow).

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

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.2.1 now.

Time Out 2.2 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.2 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

The major new feature of version 2.2 is the new Activity page. It also includes new themes and theme features, a View menu for easier navigation, and several other improvements. Read on for details.

Optionally track breaks and/or app usage via a new Activity feature

  • Added an "Activity" item in the sidebar, that optionally shows a chart of activity, including breaks you've taken, apps you've used, and time away from the Mac.
  • Activity tracking is off by default, for privacy reasons. You can enable it via a button at the top of the Activity page, which displays a menu with options to Track Breaks, Track Apps, and clear the recorded activity.
  • On the right-hand side of the Activity page is a slider to zoom the scale; you can also pinch to zoom on a trackpad. The scale goes from 1 day to 1 minute, or even to individual activity items.
  • Each line of the activity chart shows the activity grouped together for the scale time period, arranged with breaks before apps, and the longest first. For example, if at a 15 minute scale, it might show 5 minutes of a break, 5 minutes of Safari usage, 3 minutes of Mail, 2 minutes of natural breaks (idle).
  • Hover over an activity in the chart to see a tooltip with the break or app name, how many times it occurred in this time period, and how long for.
  • Recorded activity lives on your Mac, and isn't shared with anyone else.
  • This feature is available as a reward for current supporters. If you were a supporter in the past, but it has expired, you can extend your supporter status to use this feature. As with other supporter rewards, you can also try it for an hour at a time.

Activity page screenshot

More themes

  • Added a "Muscles" theme, contributed by "saltymouse", to show a random exercise (from a customizable list) with reps to do during breaks.
  • Added a "GiphyStretch" theme, contributed by Sean Carey of Giphy, to show a series of stretching GIFs.
  • Added a "GiphyPuppies" theme, also contributed by Sean Carey, to show a series of puppy GIFs.

Break theme improvements

  • Extended the break theme JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutConfig.postMessage('') message to get a JSON of the break configuration. It will call back to a timeOutConfig(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (the JSON format, initially 1), identifier (the break's unique identifier), name (the break's name), durationSeconds (the break duration expressed in seconds), durationString (e.g. "10 minutes"), frequencySeconds (the frequency in seconds), frequencyString (e.g. "1 hour"), beginningSeconds (the fade-in time), endingSeconds (the fade-out time).
  • Also extended the JavaScript to support a window.webkit.messageHandlers.getTimeOutState.postMessage('') message, to get a JSON of the break state information. It will call back to a timeOutState(json) function, passing the JSON. Properties include format (e.g. 1), nextDue (e.g. an ISO date like "2016-09-29T23:27:51Z"), lastStarted, lastDone, lastDeferred (also dates), lastPhase (e.g. done, skipped, or postponed), and currentPhase (e.g. pending, starting, started, or finishing).
  • Let me know if you'd like any other properties for these to help drive your custom themes.
  • Fixed an issue where choosing None for the break theme would revert back to the default Icon theme, even for supporters (this is expected for non-supporters).

Break action improvements

  • On the Actions page, renamed After Finish to After Done, to be consistent with other uses ("finish" is when the break is expected to end, "done" is after it has actually successfully completed, as opposed to other ends of the break like "skip" or "postpone").

Added a View menu

  • Added a View menu to the menu bar, to enable easier navigation of the preference pages (the keyboard shortcuts can still be used when the menu bar is hidden).

Other improvements

  • Added an alert when turning on the option to automatically start Time Out, if the app isn't in the Applications folder.
  • When using a MacBook Pro with integrated and discrete GPUs, now attempts to remain using the integrated GPU, to save battery.
  • Now remembers the visibility state of the Preferences window. If you close it, it will remain closed when you next start the app, or if you leave it open, it will re-open. The window will always display when later switching to the app, when the Dock icon is shown.
  • Improved the scheduler's idle handling to cope with macOS calling the timer less frequently than requested (as a power-saving measure).
  • Added a separate Exclusions preference to skip breaks when the Mac display is asleep (in addition to the preference to skip during the screensaver).
  • Moved the Learn More button on the Support Time Out page, to make it more discoverable.

Get it now!

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

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

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.2 now.

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