The Yosemite, the Witch, and the App Store

June 11th, 2015 by Rob Griffiths

Many moons ago, we were alerted to a glitch in Witch‘s functionality in Yosemite (and in Mavericks 10.9.5 before that): The inability to properly switch windows across displays when those displays are in separate Desktops (nee Spaces). What would happen is that the app would switch, but the window would not gain focus.

We found a workaround for the problem back in November, posted a beta for users affected by this issue, and submitted an update to the App Store. And that’s where the troubles began…

Apple rejected the update, objecting to some code we’ve had in there since day one. Unfortunately, that code is pretty critical to how Witch works, and we’ve been unable to find another way of doing what we need to do.

So after months of trying, and talking to Apple about the issue, we’ve decided to release the update for our direct users, as we’re uncertain when (or if) we’ll be able to update the App Store version. So direct users, check for updates, or just download the full version of Witch.

If you’re using OS X 10.9.5, please do not update at this time! We’re trying to track down an issue that’s causing Witch to not activate on some users’ systems. If you’ve already updated, you can reinstall Witch 3.9.4.

But what about App Store users, you ask? If you’re affected by this problem, we suggest you switch to the direct version of Witch by following these instructions. This isn’t a full “direct sales” license, but it works just like one. The only difference is that it’s not portable between Macs; if you use Witch on more than one Mac, you’ll need to follow the instructions in the blog post to use the direct version on each of those Macs.

We don’t like having two different versions of Witch out at the same time, but in this case, it’s the best course of action for you, our users. If you have any questions about this, or the App Store licensing process, you can comment here, or use the Witch Support Page to ask for additional help.

Our apps and El Capitan compatibility

June 10th, 2015 by Rob Griffiths

As you surely know by now, Apple announced OS X El Capitan (aka Mac OS X 10.11) this week, with general availability this fall. They also released a developer beta, so we were able to give our suite of apps a quick test on the new system.

Given El Capitan’s focus on improving Yosemite, not implementing wholesale changes to the system’s fundamentals, we were hopeful that things would just work.

And that’s what we found: all of our apps appear to work fine. We have not done extensive testing of 100% of the features in 100% of the apps, but they all launch and run, and we tested a number of functions in each app. Even older versions of our apps, such as Name Mangler 2, appear to run fine.

We may have some minor tweaking to do, due to the change in the system font, but the apps themselves are all running under El Capitan. Yes, this includes Butler. Yes, this includes Usher. And Time Sink. And everything else, including Displaperture and the beta Resolutionator. Even our two Safari extensions appear to work.

So if you’re a developer using the preview, or you’re planning on installing the public beta when it’s released, our apps should work as expected. Of course, please let us know if you run into any issues—it’s very difficult for us to test every feature in every app by ourselves.

Moom and Usher updates released

January 13th, 2015 by Rob Griffiths

Today we updated Moom (to 3.2.1) and Usher (to 1.1.10). Moom gains a Yosemiteized interface, and full support for Yosemite’s dark mode. Usher’s got some behind-the-scenes changes, along with a fix for a search field glitch in Yosemite.

App Store versions have been released, and will trickle into the App Store over the next hour or so. Direct customers can update via in-app updates, or by downloading a new version from the respective web page.

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.