Something different: The Many Tricks holiday sale

December 15th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

As promised, today we’re announcing both something new and something different … and the something different is our holiday sale. We’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible:



From now through end-of-day (USA Pacific time) on December 31st, 2014, all of our applications are 50% off—whether you buy them from us or from the App Store.



Note: App Store prices are 50% off, except in cases where the price would wind up on a $.50 split (because the App Store forces all prices to end in $.99). So for those “fifty cent split” apps, the App Store versions of each app will be $0.49 more expensive than buying directly from us.

Also note: Upgrades are not on sale. If you’re an existing user of an old version of one of our apps, just buy the full version at the sale price. It will be cheaper than the upgrade!

Finally note: If you want to save even more, just buy four or more of our apps, and you’ll save another 20%. This deal only works on purchases from our site; the App Store doesn’t allow us to create multi-item discounts.

No coupon code, no secret handshake, no treasure hunt … everything’s just half off for the next couple of weeks.

Gift purchases: If you’d like to give one or more apps as a gift, here’s how to do it:

  1. Load the Gift Our Apps web page.
  2. Select which product you’d like to gift, enter the recipient’s name and email address, then click Add to Cart.
  3. Buy whatever else you want for yourself, or proceed to checkout if it’s just a gift. (To give more than one gift, click Continue Shopping on the pop-up cart window, then change the information on the gift page and click Add to Cart again.)

When you complete your purchase transaction, you’ll receive the usual confirmation about payment, but you’ll also receive license files for the gift recipients. The email will read “Hello [your name]: Here is your license file for [product], made out to:,” followed by the recipient’s name and email address and the rest of the license email (and attached license file, of course).

You can then copy and paste the license file email (make sure you include the attachment, and probably exclude the first line with your name in it) in a new email to the recipient, and they’ll get the gifted app directly from you.

Something new: Resolutionator

December 15th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

resolutionator_iconThe “something new” portion of today’s promised “something different, something new” is a public beta of Resolutionator. And what is Resolutionator? As noted in our teaser last week, it’s a tool to help you with your resolutions in the new year.

resolutions1No, not those resolutions, but resolutions like those seen at right. That’s right; Resolutionator brings back the menu bar resolution switching feature that Apple saw fit to remove at some point in the past.

But as with all our apps, Resolutionator is capable of many additional tricks. You can…

  • Use more resolutions than those available in the Displays System Preferences panel.
  • Switch resolutions via an onscreen menu, accessed via a user-defined hot key.
  • On some Macs, use resolutions greater than the available pixels. For instance, you can set a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro to display at 2880×1800 pixels, greater than its 2560×1600 true resolution. It sounds like magic, but it’s real, and it works.
  • Set resolutions for any attached displays via either the menu bar or floating resolution switcher.

Who might find Resolutionator useful? Owners of Retina Macs who find themselves switching between “OMG it’s stunning!” retina mode and “I need to see more data” more space modes. Users with multiple displays who change resolutions on one or more of the connected displays. Users of Macs with smaller screens (11″ MacBook Air, anyone?) who occasionally wished they could see more data on their screen. And probably many other people who have usage scenarios we haven’t even thought of yet.

We’ve been using Resolutionator internally for a few months, and we think it’s nearly ready to go. But before we release version 1.0, we’d like to get some feedback from the real world…and that’s where you come in: If you’d like to help beta test Resolutionator, drop us a line and we’ll provide a download link and some “getting started” instructions.

Note: Resolutionator is just an app that uses APIs provided by OS X to get and set display resolutions; it can’t harm your display by putting it into a mode it can’t support (because the monitor tells OS X what it can do, and Resolutionator uses those values for its list of available resolutions).

So if you’d like to help us test, drop us a line and we’ll get you set up.

Coming Monday: Something new, something different

December 12th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

The holiday season is in full swing, and come Monday (December 15th), we’ll be joining the festivities. How, exactly? Tune in Monday for the full details!

For now, let’s just say that the “something new” will help you with your resolutions in the new year, and the “something different” will directly affect your wallet this holiday season.

In other words, if you’re thinking of buying something from us soon, you may want to wait until Monday to see what we’ve got to say!

Witch switching glitch ditched—help us test the fix!

November 16th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

Our apologies for the lyrical headline, but after fighting OS X’s Spaces feature for a few months, we couldn’t resist a bit of humor…

Excellent news, multi-display Witch users: we believe we have worked around the most-annoying Witch issue in OS X 10.9.5 and Yosemite (OS X 10.10): The inability to activate a window on another display when switching via Witch. The window would pop to the front, but not activate.

Apple changed something in OS X 10.9.5, and left it changed in OS X 10.10…and whatever it was they changed, it broke Witch’s ability to properly switch windows across displays. You’d only see this problem if you had “Displays have separate Spaces” enabled in System Preferences > Mission Control. But as this is the default setting, most users were experiencing the problem.

If you’d like to help us confirm the fix, read on for the instructions.

We can’t make a beta of the App Store version of Witch, so the testing must be done with the direct sales version. The direct version is a System Preferences panel; App Store users should be able to download and use it as licensed users, assuming they’ve run the App Store version at least once (per this tip).

So if you’d like to test, here’s what to do:

  1. Disable Witch. App Store users, launch the Witch application an uncheck the “Enable Witch” box, then quit the app. Direct users, open System Preferences > Witch, uncheck Enable Witch, then quit System Preferences.
  2. Download Witch 3.9.5 beta and mount the disk image.
  3. Double-click on the Witch.prefpane icon, as seen at right, on the disk image. This will open System Preferences and either install Witch (if you were running the App Store version) or pop up a cancel/replace dialog (if you were already running the direct version of Witch). If you get the dialog, choose Replace to install the new beta.
  4. It should be already done, but make sure “Enable Witch” is checked, and you should be good to go.

Now go ahead and try switching between windows on multiple displays, and things should pretty much just work. You’ll notice one visual oddity if you switch to a window of an app that has windows open on more than one display: we have to first bring up the window on the current display before switching to the proper window on the other display. This was the only way we could make this work at all; we felt the trade-off was worth it, given the alternative of no functionality.

So please, put this beta version of Witch to the test, and let us know if it resolves your switching issues. Once we’ve had people testing it for a bit, we’ll roll the changes into a minor update for both App Store and direct buyers.

Change Moom’s keyboard/grid bezel timeout delay

October 30th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

One of Moom’s tricks is the ability to move and zoom windows via an onscreen bezel—this feature is enabled in Moom’s Keyboard preferences; assign a hot key to display the keyboard controller, and optionally show a cheat sheet (to help remember the commands you’ve assigned). You can also optionally repeat the same keystroke to have Moom display an onscreen grid.

As an example, here’s the onscreen grid with cheat sheet:

Moom's onscreen grid

Moom’s onscreen bezels automatically disappear after either three seconds (no cheat sheet visible) or nine seconds (cheat sheet visible)—either after taking an action (if you haven’t marked any of the “auto-dismiss” boxes in the Keyboard section of Moom’s prefs) or after doing nothing.

If you’d like to change this, you can. Open Terminal—in Applications > Utilities—then paste the following into Terminal. (Note that if you’re on OS X 10.8 or earlier, you need to quit Moom first.)

defaults write com.manytricks.Moom "Auto-Deactivate Interval" -float 1.0

The 1.0 is the default timeout in seconds; replace that with whatever time interval you’d like to use, then press Return. You won’t see any output, but relaunch Moom, and the bezels should follow your chosen auto-dismiss interval. If you ever want to reverse this, quit Moom, paste the following in Terminal, and press Return:

defaults delete com.manytricks.Moom "Auto-Deactivate Interval"

Moom should now be back to its default timeout settings.

Our apps and OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) compatibility

October 19th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

Now that OS X 10.10 (aka Yosemite) is officially out, here’s a status report on our apps. The short version: they all work fine, with some minor visual oddities here and there.

Primary applications

Our primary apps—Butler, Desktop Curtain, Keymo, Leech, Moom, Name Mangler, Time Sink, Usher, and Witch—are all compatible with Yosemite.

Some of these apps have some cosmetic issues we’ll be addressing via updates in the near future, but they’re relatively minor adjustments. We’re also working on finding a solution for a Yosemite issue that’s affecting some Witch users.

Baubleries and Safari extensions

The following run without any issues: Key Codes, as well as our two Safari extension (⌘-Click Avenger and Unread→Tabs).

We do not recommend the use of Open-With Manager, Safari Guardian, or Service Scrubber on Yosemite (or more generally, any release newer than Mac OS X 10.5).

Displaperture and Menu Bar Tint: Both of these apps need to be re-signed for Yosemite, and we will do so in a future update. Until then, to run them you’ll need to manually allow each to run in the Security & Privacy System Preferences panel—on the General tab.

You can either change the “Allow apps downloaded from” pop-up to Anywhere, or click the button you’ll see that asks you if it’s OK to run the apps, even though they’re from unidentified developers. (You’ll see this button after trying to run the app once.)

Overall, the upgrade to Yosemite should be a fairly painless one for users of any of our applications.

A workaround for a Yosemite/Witch issue

October 16th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

Over the course of the Yosemite beta, we’ve had a few reports of users not being able to make Witch work properly. If you’ve got this problem, you’ll know, because you’ll see this dialog every time you try to call up the Witch switcher panel:

For the sake of search engines, the text reads:

“witchdaemon” would like to control this computer using accessibility features

Grant access to this application in Security & Privacy preferences, located in System Preferences.

You’ll see that even after you think you’ve done what it asks you to do, and then you’ll get frustrated and upset and angry and blame us and send me nasty emails. And I completely feel your pain. And I wish I could tell you that it’s a bug in our code that’s causing the problem, so that we could fix it. But it’s not.

Instead, it’s an issue with Yosemite and how it handles (or rather, doesn’t handle) granting Accessibility access to helper apps that are included within another app’s bundle. So as much as I’d love to tell you we’re working on a fix, this isn’t something we can fix. (We may be able to work around the OS X issue, which is what we’re trying to do now. But that’s not fixing the problem, it’s avoiding the problem.)

The good news is that you can get Witch functioning again, even before Apple fixes the issue (or we manage to work around it). Here’s how…

The problem is caused by OS X not adding Witch’s helper application—named witchdaemon—to the Privacy tab of the Security & Privacy System Preferences panel. At least, it doesn’t appear it’s being added. We believe it is being added, but it’s invisible—which is just as bad as not adding it, because you can’t put a check mark in an invisible check box next to an invisible item.

The workaround is to add the helper app to the panel yourself. This won’t solve the invisibility problem—it’s still not going to show up, even after you add it—but it will get Witch working again. That’s because when you add an app to the panel yourself, OS X adds it with the (invisible) check box already (invisibly) checked.

A video walkthrough

If you prefer visual guides, watch the video below; it walks through the entire process for the App Store version of Witch. (If you’d prefer, you can watch the 1280×800 version instead.)

Direct customers: The direct version of Witch is a System Preferences panel; it won’t be found in Applications, but in either your user’s Library > PreferencePanes folder, or the top-level Library > PreferencePanes folder. One of the two will contain a file named Witch.prefPane.
 
Open the proper folder, then follow along in the video ignoring the bits about the Applications folder. Also note that you’ll only have to open the pref pane’s app bundle to find witchdaemon, unlike App Store buyers who have to open two app bundles. See the written instructions below for more help if needed.

And now, on to the written instructions…

App Store customers

  1. Open System Preferences, and go to Security & Privacy, then click on the Privacy tab. Click on Accessibility in the sidebar. Leave this window open somewhere onscreen.
  2. In Finder, go to the Applications folder, and right-click (or Control-click) on Witch. In the contextual menu that appears, select Show Package Contents. This may or may not open in a new window.
  3. In the new window (or the same window, if a new one didn’t open), double-click Contents, and then PlugIns within contents. This will reveal a Witch.prefPane entry as the only contents of that folder.
  4. Right-click (or Control-click) on Witch.prefPane and choose Show Package Contents. Again, this may or may not open in a new window.
  5. Double-click Contents, then Helpers, and you’ll see witchdaemon as the only item in that folder. Leave this window open.
  6. Switch back to the System Preferences app, as opened in step one.
  7. Click the lock icon and enter your admin password, so you can make changes.
  8. Click the plus sign at the bottom of the “Allow the apps below to control your computer” area of the window. (You could also simply drag the file into the “well” area without going through the “open file dialog.)
  9. This will present the standard “open file” dialog; click and drag witchdaemon from the open window in step five into the open file dialog, then click Open.

That’s it, you’re done.

Direct customers

  1. Open System Preferences, and go to Security & Privacy, then click on the Privacy tab. Click on Accessibility in the sidebar. Leave this window open somewhere onscreen.
  2. In Finder, hold down the Option key and select Go > Library. In the Library folder, double-click on PreferencePanes. If you see Witch.prefPane, you’re in the right spot—skip to step four.
  3. If you don’t see Witch.prefPane here, you must have installed it for all users. Select Go > Go to Folder, and enter /Library/PreferencePanes. This is the system-level Library, and you should see Witch.prefPane here. (If you don’t, it means you either don’t have Witch installed, or you have the App Store version installed.
  4. Right-click (or Control-click) on Witch.prefPane and choose Show Package Contents. This may or may not open in a new window.
  5. Double-click Contents, then Helpers, and you’ll see witchdaemon as the only item in that folder. Leave this window open.
  6. Switch back to the System Preferences app, as opened in step one.
  7. Click the lock icon and enter your admin password, so you can make changes.
  8. Click the plus sign at the bottom of the “Allow the apps below to control your computer” area of the window. (You could also simply drag the file into the “well” area without going through the “open file dialog.)
  9. This will present the standard “open file” dialog; click and drag witchdaemon from the open window in step five into the open file dialog, then click Open.

That’s it, you’re done.

But nothing changed!

You may think this failed, because nothing will look different about the Privacy panel (as witchdaemon is still invisible). But because you added the app yourself, the invisible checkbox has already been checked for you. Invoke Witch now, and it should just work. (Assuming you have already added Witch.app (App Store buyers) or System Preferences (direct buyers) to that panel. This happens the first time you launch the app/pref pane, and the entry is not invisible.)

We are trying to put together a repeatable use case for Apple (because they pretty much require those for their bug reports), but it’s tricky—this bug is only hitting a small number of our users at present, and we’re not sure why. Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out a workaround and issue an app update to resolve the problem, but at least you can still get Witch working in the interim.

You want updates? We got updates!

August 6th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

Today, we’re releasing updates to nearly every app in our collection: Butler, Desktop Curtain, Key Codes, Keymo, Leech, Moom, Name Mangler, Time Sink, Usher, and Witch.

Why the massive update day? First off, a few of the apps have some Yosemite appearance changes (any of the apps that have a menu bar icon, for instance)—and we know at least some of you are using the Yosemite preview. So that’s one cause for the massive number of updates. But not the main cause.

The main cause is that Apple is changing the rules for Gatekeeper in the upcoming OS X 10.9.5 (and obviously in Yosemite as well). This change, as discussed on The Mac Observer, could cause many apps (including ours) to warn users about running insecure software. (Our apps are not insecure, but the change in Gatekeper would make it look like they are.)

Because of the unknown release date for 10.9.5, we’ve taken the unusual step of releasing our direct version updates today, before the App Store versions are ready to go. We’ve submitted the App Store updates to Apple, but given the Gatekeeper change and the huge number of apps that need to be reapproved, we don’t know how long approvals will take.

If you’re a direct customer, you can get updates via in-app updating, or by downloading a new version from our web site. Our App Store updates are marked to release automatically, as soon as Apple approves them. As each is approved, we’ll do our best to note it on Twitter, so that you can get the updates as soon as possible.

For full details on any app’s update, go to that app’s page, then click on Release Notes (e.g., Moom’s release notes).

How to: Discover the magic of the sequence identifier

May 19th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

One of the main features in Name Mangler 3 is multi-step renaming. Instead of being limited to just one renaming step, you can add many steps to one renaming task. In prior versions of Name Mangler, you’d need to use Advanced mode, or run multiple repeated single tasks, to handle multi-step renaming tasks. This is a great change for everyone, and has greatly reduced the need to use Advanced mode.

But Name Mangler 3’s Advanced mode still has a few tricks that you can’t do using the “normal” renaming options. One of the most powerful of these hidden gems is the “sequence identifier” parameter for the sequence action. The help file has this to say about the sequence identifier:

The sequence identifier, if included, indicates that sequence indexes are only inferred from the number of files that share the same identifier, as opposed to the overall number of files to be renamed.

Clear as mud, right? That’s entirely my fault, and I’ll try to come up with better wording in a future update. But for now, here’s a hopefully-clearer description:

The sequence identifier, if included, is used to group files together (by a common criteria) for sequencing. All files that share a sequence identifier will be treated as part of the same sequence.

Hopefully that’s a bit clearer…and here’s a real-world example of how you can put sequence identifiers to use to simplify your renaming tasks.

At right is a collection of photos I took of holiday light displays, divided into three separate “setN” folders (one for each house that I shot).

I’d like to rename the photos to indicate that they’re holiday light photos, and use sequence numbers to differentiate them.

For purposes of this example, the desired name would be “Holiday_Lights_nn,” where “nn” is the sequence number. One way to do this is to use a simple two-step action in Name Mangler 3.

The first step will use the Compose action, to completely remove the old name, and replace it with what I want—in this case, I’d use Holiday_Lights_.

The second step will use the Sequence action to add the sequence number to the end of the filename. (It also needs to include a prefix, to attach the name built with the Compose action.)

The completed two-step action would look like this:

While this works, the problem is that the sequence numbers keep increasing, even as the renaming action moves from folder to folder—the first image in the “set2″ folder will start at 06, even though it’s the first image in the folder.

While there’s no way to work around this in Name Mangler’s normal modes, the sequence identifier in Advanced mode was designed to handle cases just like this. Starting fresh, set the rename mode to Advanced, and enter this text:

[concatenate

	"Holiday_Lights_"

	[sequence
		from "1"
		increment by "1"
		sleep "0"
		maximum index ""
		minimum number of digits "2"
		identifier <name of parent folder>
	]
	
	<.extension>

]

With these commands entered in the Advanced section, the preview shows that the sequence numbers will now reset on each change of parent folder. Note that the gray text above is ignored by Advanced mode; any text that’s not part of a command is considered a comment. You can remove the gray text, or replace it with something that makes more sense to you. Here’s how the renamed files look:

Run the rename as shown, and you can see the results in Finder, as seen at right.

If you understand the Advanced mode syntax above, you’re good to go—you can use the sequence identifier in lots of interesting ways, not just for parent folder names.

For example, use unique sequences based on photos’ pixel sizes by using <number of pixels>. Or use <artist> to create sequences by artist in your folder full of audio files.

If, on the other hand, the above Advanced mode commands look like gobbledygook, then keep reading—I’ll attempt to explain what each line does, so you can hopefully take away enough knowledge to put it to your own use.

Here’s how the above script works, line by line…

[concatenate

The concatenate function is used in many Advanced scripts; it doesn’t do anything other than join anything within its confines into a single result. In other words, it’s how the filename is actually assembled from the various bits.

"Holiday_Lights_"

This is simply the static text that makes up the first part of the filename; the trailing underscore is used as a visual separator from the sequence number.

[sequence

This is the start of the sequence numbering function; what follows are the paramaters to that function.

from "1"
increment by "1"
sleep "0"
maximum index ""
minimum number of digits "2"

This section is the guts of the sequence command. It specifies where to start (1), how many to increase by with each step (1), whether to repeat a number before moving on (0 means do not), what the maximum sequence number should be before resetting (unlimited), and the minimum number of digits in the sequence number (2).

identifier <name of parent folder>

This is the line that does the work to change the sequence number when the parent folder changes. You can use any metadata that Name Mangler is aware of, which gives you a ton of choices for resetting the sequence numbering.

In fact, you’re not limited to just metadata. You can put any Name Mangler expression there. So you can group by a find and replace, by a combination of three metadata items, by random numbers, or whatever you like. There’s almost no limit to how you can create your sequence identifiers.

<.extension>

This appends the dot extension to the newly-created filename.

]

This last closing bracket marks the end of the concatenate, and hence, the end of the new filename. Advanced mode may not get as much exercise as it did in older versions of Name Mangler, but having access to the sequence identifier feature is one good reason to put it to use.

Butler 4.1.17 released

May 13th, 2014 by Rob Griffiths

Today we released a minor Butler update, with three small but important bug fixes:

  • Keystrokes Smart Items now let you use the current pasteboard via cmd-v keystroke, provided that you add a sufficiently long delay (recommended: 1 second) in front of the cmd-v keystroke.
  • Fixed a display glitch where delays in Keystrokes Smart Items weren’t displayed properly.
  • Fixed an issue with the Screensaver Smart Item.

You can update within Butler (in the About Butler section of its configuration window), or by downloading the full version from our site.