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Time Out 2.4 released

I'm pleased to announce the general release of version 2.4 of Time Out, my popular break reminder tool.

Version 2.4 further extends the enhancements to the postpone and skip options introduced in version 2.3, including a new option to disable those buttons for a few seconds at the start of each break. You may find this helpful if you are habitually clicking the Postpone or Skip buttons, without taking a moment to decide if you really need to defer the break. It's common to see the start of the break as an unwelcome interruption — but you installed the app in the first place because you recognized that you need to take regular breaks for your health and wellbeing. You can activate this option to give you a few seconds to make a more mindful decision.

Another much-requested change in this release is the ability to customize the time to detect natural breaks, i.e. how long the computer is idle.

Something that might help in deciding how you're doing in taking breaks is a new Statistics feature. This is within the Activity section, and includes the number of times you've postponed, skipped, or done breaks, and the total time spent in breaks. These amounts will start being calculated in version 2.4, so take a look after a few days. It also includes a fascinating line chart, for a graphical representation (see below).

There are of course a number of other enhancements and fixes. I recommend everyone update to this version.

Read on 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 summary of breaks, pop-up menus 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 the total duration of that break.
  • The menus also enable displaying those counts for all breaks, or just a specific one.
  • When showing All Breaks, the values for each break are stacked.
  • The chart will not be shown initially; come back after a couple of days to see it, once some history has been gathered.
  • Also includes a Share button to the right of the page buttons, to make it easy to tweet etc the stats.

Here's what the Statistics page looks like (obviously, your numbers will be different):

Statistics page screenshot

Option to disable buttons for a few seconds

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance page to disable the Postpone and Skip buttons for a few seconds.
  • The number of seconds can be changed; it includes the fade-in time.
  • This feature helps break a habitual clicking of the buttons; to encourage you to consider if you really need to skip a break.
  • This 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, or try for an hour at a time.

This new option is grouped with the option to show the number of times postponed/skipped/done:

Break Appearance page screenshot

Advanced option to change the idle detection threshold

  • Added an option to the Advanced preferences to change the amount of time the computer isn't being used to count as a natural break.
  • By default, it counts a natural break after 1 minute, pausing the countdown for the Pause Countdown and Count Backwards scheduler options, then if still idle after twice as long, it starts giving you credit for the time if Count Backwards is chosen (which is the default).
  • This is a change from before; it used to default to 30 seconds, but 1 minute seems better.
  • If this isn't long enough (e.g. you spend a lot of time reading rather than actively using your Mac), you can increase the threshold.

Take a look:

Advanced page screenshot

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, and has been updated for version 2.4.
  • Some tweaks to the supporter stuff, to fix an issue with previous supporter features incorrectly showing as unavailable.
  • Fixed typos in some Break Appearance tooltips.

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 2.4 now.

Time Out 2.4b4 released

Here's another beta of Time Out version 2.4.

Unless any problems turn up, this will be the last beta release for this version. I'd appreciate it if you could try it and let me know of any issues.

This update just has a couple of changes:

  • Some tweaks to the supporter stuff, to fix an issue with previous supporter features incorrectly showing as unavailable.
  • Updated the help book.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b4 now!

Time Out 2.4b3 released

Here's another beta of Time Out version 2.4.

This might be the last beta release for this version. I'd appreciate it if you could try it and let me know of any issues.

Here are the changes in this update:

Option to disable buttons for a few seconds

  • Added an option to the Break Appearance page to disable the Postpone and Skip buttons for a few seconds.
  • The number of seconds can be changed; it includes the fade-in time.
  • This feature helps break a habitual clicking of the buttons; to encourage you to consider if you really need to skip a break.
  • This 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, or try for an hour at a time.

Advanced option to change the idle detection threshold

  • Added an option to the Advanced preferences to change the amount of time the computer isn't being used to count as a natural break.
  • By default, it counts a natural break after 1 minute, pausing the countdown for the Pause Countdown and Count Backwards scheduler options, then if still idle after twice as long, it starts giving you credit for the time if Count Backwards is chosen (which is the default).
  • This is a change from before; it used to default to 30 seconds, but 1 minute seems better.
  • If this isn't long enough (e.g. you spend a lot of time reading rather than actively using your Mac), you can increase the threshold.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b3 now!

Time Out 2: two years on

Today is the two-year anniversary of the general release of Time Out version 2.0.

This time last year, I wrote a blog post celebrating the first anniversary with some pie charts breaking down the sales of each supporter duration by the direct and Mac App Store editions.

To mark the end of the second year, I thought I'd follow up with another chart; this time looking at the rate and type of repeat support.

The supporter model used by Time Out was a bit of an experiment — would it be feasible and sustainable to have relatively low priced purchase options for specific time periods? People could buy the lowest level (just $2.99), and never pay again. It'd only work if many people instead chose a higher level, and at least some people renewed their support after the initial period expired.

To help encourage that, I reward ongoing support with useful new features that are only available to supporters. New people becoming supporters, and existing people renewing their support, encourages and funds ongoing development. Everybody wins!

So how has it turned out?

Well, looking at a sample of about the last month, here's a table with the percentages for each supporter level, compared with the first purchase and subsequent renewals:

Purchase 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
3-month 49.7% 6.2% 1.3% 0.3% 57.4%
6-month 14.1% 3.1% 0.3% 0.0% 17.4%
12-month 20.0% 4.4% 0.8% 0.0% 25.1%
Total 83.8% 13.6% 2.3% 0.3% 100.0%

Here's a graphical representation of the same values:

As you can see, most people do purchase the cheapest option the first time (almost half), and most people only buy once (83.8%)... but a goodly number do renew (13.6%), with a higher proportion of them opting for 12 months than before. Relatively few have renewed again... but that may be due in part to version 2 of the app only being available for two years, so people who chose a 12-month supporter status for the first or second purchase won't be due yet.

Looking at the raw data does support this; I see many people who chose the 3-month option initially, then opted for 6- or 12-months when they renewed. Very few people purchased 12-month then renewed at a lower level. A noticeable number also chose 3-month each time; paying quarter-to-quarter (though sometimes with some gaps).

Overall, I'm happy with these results. A high proportion of minimal one-time purchasers may seem a little disappointing, but it's to be expected. A large influx of new customers is good for the app. I just need to keep improving it, and hopefully many of them will choose to renew, or at least recommend the app to others, who will also become supporters.

Time will tell how things go, but I consider this encouraging so far.

Time Out 2.4b2 released

Here's a second beta of Time Out version 2.4.

As with the first beta, this is still a work-in-progress; there are a couple more features I want to add for this update, though I might defer one or both.

Here are the changes in this update:

Statistics page improvements

  • Added some text stats above the chart.
  • Replaced the menu button with pop-up menus to choose the count/duration and break to display.
  • When showing All Breaks, the values for each break are now stacked.
  • Now uses the break label colors.
  • Added diamond markers for the data points on the chart.
  • Added tooltips when pointing at the markers to show the actual number.
  • The Duration now shows nicer labels in the vertical axis.
  • Removed the All Counts option, since it doesn't really make sense.
  • Added a Share button to the right of the page buttons, to make it easy to tweet etc the stats.

Other changes

  • Fixed typos in some Break Appearance tooltips.

Want to try it?

If you are using the direct edition, you can change your Updates preferences to include beta releases (if not already), then use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update.

Otherwise, download 2.4b2 now!

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!

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!

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.

Time Out 2: a year later

Today is the one-year anniversary of the general release of Time Out version 2.0.

One month after that release, I wrote a blog post that provided some stats on how the supporter model was going at the time.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to follow up on that.

A year after release, the supporter model is still working well. If you're not familiar, the basic idea is that someone can download Time Out and use it for free, but some features only work for an hour at a time, as often as they like. So they can try all of the functionality, at their own pace, and decide if the advanced features are useful to them. If so, they can become a supporter for three, six, or twelve months. This permanently unlocks all of the current features as a reward. Even when the supporter period expires, those features remain fully available. So they can choose to extend their supporter status, or just keep using the app without paying any more. Of course, I hope that people do renew, to help fund ongoing sustainable development.

At present, about 9% of people who download Time Out end up purchasing one of the supporter options... which is a reasonable "conversion rate", which can often average more like 5% for normal trial apps. I feel pretty comfortable with that. But I'm also happy that people who choose not to become a supporter can still use a great break reminder tool to help them get or stay healthy.

Looking at the edition of Time Out available on the Dejal website, over the past year almost half of people chose the 3-month supporter option, at 48%, while a good number, 35%, chose the 12-month option, with relatively few choosing the middle 6-month supporter option:

Compare that to the Mac App Store edition, almost two thirds chose the 3-month supporter option, but the 6-month one was almost the same, and only a quarter chose the 12-month option:

Looking at both editions combined, you can see that most of the purchases were through the Mac App Store, though the direct edition isn't too far behind:

That was the number of purchases (units). In terms of money, unsurprisingly the 12-month supporter option goes a lot further, at 61% for direct sales. The 3-month option still beats 6-month, due to the volume of purchases, but not by as big a margin:

For the Mac App Store, the picture is similar, but not quite so favorable for the 12-month option, at slightly less than half the income, and a bigger slice of the pie for 3-month:

Again, combining them into one chart, you can see that it's pretty much neck-and-neck for direct vs Mac App Store, due to the larger slice of the pie that Apple takes:

I hope this snapshot of one year of Time Out was interesting. Overall, I think the supporter model is going well. I'm pleased to see many people who purchased 3- or 6-month supporter options choosing to extend their support, just because they appreciate the help it provides them, or want to help support further development.

Time Out continues to improve; just today I released another beta of version 2.2, which includes a great new activity feature and more. The continuing support of people like you is what makes that possible.

Thank you.

Time Out 2.2b3 released

I've just released a third beta of version 2.2 of Time Out.

This update includes:

  • 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).
  • 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.

Again, the major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

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 2.2b3 now!

Time Out 2.2b2 released

Wouldn't ya know it, I managed to slip in a bug in the first beta of Time Out 2.2, which caused it to crash on macOS versions before 10.12.

Sorry about that! I've just released a fixed version.

Again, the major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

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 2.2b2 now!

Time Out 2.2b1 released

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

The major new feature in version 2.2 is the Activity page, where you can see what breaks you've taken (and for how long), and what apps you've used, if you wish.

Here are the full release notes:

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.

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.

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").

Other improvements

  • 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.
  • 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).

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 2.2b1 now!

Donations

I sometimes get asked if there's a way to pay more for Time Out or other apps. You might be surprised how many people think that $2.99 or even $9.99 is way too cheap for the benefits Time Out gives. That's always nice to hear!

If you want to donate more, to help contribute to development or just express your appreciation, you're certainly welcome to do so. You can purchase multiple 12-month supporter statuses for Time Out, which will extend your supporter status by a year for each one — there is no limit how long. Buy 20 years or more if you want!

Another way you can give back is to buy other Dejal apps. You might find one or more of them useful.

Contract work is available: if you want a custom feature enhancement to Simon, Time Out, or another app, or a whole new macOS or iOS app that you can sell, I can help you make it.

You could also just give a gift; take a look at my Amazon.com wish list and buy something nice.

Or buy Dejal merchandise for yourself, like T-shirts, mugs, bags, stickers, and more.

Finally, if you want to do something else, just get in touch!

There's no need to make an extra donation if you don't want to, but for those who do, it is very much appreciated. Thank you!

Time Out 2.1 released & Dejal 25th anniversary discount

Announcing the general release of Time Out version 2.1, an update to my popular break reminder tool.

Version 2.1 includes macOS Sierra compatibility, scheduling enhancements, status item improvements, new actions, and much more. Read below for details and screenshots.

Special discounts to celebrate Dejal 25th anniversary!

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of founding Dejal. Yes, I started the company way back on September 20, 1991, writing apps for classic Mac OS on my Mac Plus. (I've written a number of blog posts about the history if you want more details.)

To celebrate a quarter century of Mac development, and the release of Time Out 2.1 and macOS Sierra, I'm offering a special discount coupon code on all Mac apps sold directly from this site, or the supporter options within the direct edition of Time Out. Simply enter the coupon DEJAL25 at checkout to get half off! (Good until the end of this month.)

Already a supporter of Time Out? No problem; you can still use this coupon to extend your support by an additional 3, 6 or 12 months.

Here's my original Mac; if you look closely you can see some Dejal floppy disks to the left of the keyboard:

Better Schedule options

Time Out 2.1 includes many new features and enhancements, including:

  • Changed the way the scheduler handles the first break of the day, so the work time is now equal between each break. For example, a 10 minute break every hour will now start the break after 50 minutes of work time, and so on throughout the day.
  • Now displays the work time next to the frequency control.
  • Replaced the Reset After Duration natural break option with a checkbox to reset after a specified interval of idle, screensaver or sleep time, where you can choose the threshold interval. Off by default, and is a supporter reward, like the old option.
  • Added an option to reset the break after finishing a higher priority break. This is useful to keep lower priority breaks (e.g. Micro) aligned with higher priority ones (e.g. Normal). Off by default, and is also a supporter reward.

The Status item can now omit Micro breaks

  • Added an option on the General preferences page to only include long breaks in the status menu bar item. Off by default, so all breaks are included, but if you only want a countdown to the next lengthy break (of a minute or more), you can turn this on.

New menu commands to improve discoverability

  • Added an Edit Break command in the break Options menu, to make editing breaks more intuitive. This is equivalent to simply selecting the break in the sidebar, and will show an alert mentioning this.
  • Added a Start Next Break command in the File and action (cog) menus to manually begin the break that is next due. Especially useful as it can have a global keyboard shortcut assigned to it via the Shortcuts preferences.
  • Added a Reveal Data Folder command in those menus, to quickly and easily show the Time Out data folder in the Finder, as an easier way to add or edit sounds and themes, or send the data to Dejal for diagnostics.

Improved Play Sound action

  • Added a Reveal Sounds command to the sound pop-up menu in the Play Sound action, to show the Sounds folder in the Finder.
  • Added headings in the Play Sound menu, to indicate where each of the groups of sounds are located on disk.
  • Added some new built-in sounds: two different bells and a ticking clock. If you find any short public domain sound that others might like, let us know!

Added a Post Tweet action

  • Added a new Post Tweet action to post an update to Twitter. It is only available from macOS Sierra (10.12), due to a bug in previous OS versions that prevents authorizing accounts.
  • It includes an account popup to choose from which account to post. This could be fun for social peer pressure -- tweet when completing a break.

More actions

  • Added the Sleep Mac action (available via the Time Out Extras page) to the default set. This AppleScript simply puts the Mac to sleep. Useful if you want it to be asleep during a break or at the end of day.
  • Added the Start Screensaver action (also available there) to the default set. This AppleScript simply activates the screensaver. Useful if you want the screensaver on during a break.
  • Also added a new Stop Screensaver action. This AppleScript deactivates the screensaver if it's active. Useful as an action at the end of a break.

Setup Assistant assistance

  • Added a comment on the first page of the Setup Assistant to explain how to change the duration and frequency controls: "tab/arrow between components; arrow up/down or type to change values; click or spacebar to show a menu of options."
  • Updated the tooltips of those controls to give the same tips.
  • When returning to the Setup Assistant later in the app session, it now opens to the first page again, instead of whichever one was displayed when last closed.

Supporter improvements

  • After trying supporter rewards, the Support Time Out page is selected, to hopefully help clarify that the features reverting is not a bug.
  • For the Mac App Store edition, if a purchase hasn't been registered with the Dejal server, it will now ask you to do so when you next show the Support Time Out page, to avoid an issue that affects some people.

Other improvements

  • When launching the direct edition for the first time, if the Mac App Store edition has previously been used, the direct edtion will use the same data, to make migration easier.
  • Global shortcuts are now correctly removed after trying supporter rewards.
  • If not using the Event Monitor idle detector (as set on the Advanced preferences), no longer unnecessarily sets up the event monitors on launch.
  • Possible workaround for an Apple bug that causes the clipboard to stop working.
  • Fixed a crasher on macOS Sierra (10.12) when displaying the support info popovers.
  • Fixed a crasher when changing preference pages.
  • Updated the help book.

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 2.1 now.

And remember the coupon code DEJAL25 to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dejal!

Time Out 2.1b2 released

One last quick update before the general release. I'd appreciate it if you would try this update to make sure I didn't break anything. I want to do the general release on Monday, so it's available before the macOS Sierra release.

  • Fixed an issue with the previous beta where the status item could show an invalid countdown when the new Only include long breaks option is on and there are no long breaks.
  • Possible workaround for an Apple bug that causes the clipboard to stop working.
  • When launching the direct edition for the first time, if the Mac App Store edition has previously been used, the direct edtion will use the same data, to make migration easier.

If you are using the Mac App Store edition, an update will be available after the beta cycle, or you can download the beta via the link below.

If you are using the direct edition, you can use the Check for Updates feature in the app to update; if it doesn't offer the beta, change your Updates preferences to include beta releases.

Otherwise, download Time Out 2.1b2 now!

Time Out editions: direct vs Mac App Store differences

I just added a Time Out FAQ item on the differences between the direct and Mac App Store editions of Time Out, and thought it'd make a good blog post.

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

Download
Installation
  • 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.
Updates
  • The direct edition can be updated via an in-app updater.
  • The Mac App Store edition can be updated via the App Store app.
Beta releases
  • The direct edition supports beta releases to help test new updates.
  • The Mac App Store edition is not updated until the general release.
Purchase
  • 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 (iTunes account).
Proceeds
  • The direct edition provides 91% of the purchase price to the developer (after FastSpring's cut).
  • The Mac App Store edition provides 70% of the purchase price to the developer (after Apple's cut).
Sandbox
  • The direct edition is not sandboxed, to enable updating, though acts 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/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout/", where "~" means your home folder.
  • The Mac App Store edition stores its data in the path "~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.free/", where "~" means your home folder.

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 is 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.

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