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Our apps and El Capitan compatibility

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

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.

Something different: The Many Tricks holiday sale

Monday, December 15th, 2014

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.

Coming Monday: Something new, something different

Friday, December 12th, 2014

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!

Our apps and OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) compatibility

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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.

You want updates? We got updates!

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

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: Replace preference files in Mavericks

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Something many people do, myself included, is copy an application’s preferences file—either from one Mac to another (as a quick way of getting an app configured to my liking) or to replace a damaged/lost preferences file using a Time Machine backup. Until recently, this process was really simple: quit the app in question, trash the existing prefs file, insert the new prefs file, launch app.

Enter OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks, aka “the easy prefs copy killer.” Apple has made changes to the way the preferences system works in Mavericks, and one casualty of those changes is the easy replacement of an application’s preferences file. A brief bit of before-and-after, and then we’ll get to the fix—or just click the Read More link to jump right to the fix.

In prior versions of OS X, preferences files were always read by the application at launch. So as long as the app wasn’t running, if you replaced its preference file, it would read the new file the next time you launched the program.

In Mavericks, preferences are managed by a background daemon, cfprefsd. This service reads the preferences file once, when you first run the app. It then (I believe) receives notifications if you change the program’s settings while the program is running, and then writes them to the actual preferences file at certain points in time. But cfprefsd always has a copy of those settings in its cache, and that’s what the app gets when it checks its settings. (This reduces hard disk access, which is important in conserving battery life in laptops.)

Here’s the important bit: After you’ve launched an app once, it seems that any subsequent launches also get their preferences from cfprefsd. So if you try the old “replace the prefs while the app isn’t running” trick, you’ll be quite surprised to find that your program launches with its previous settings. It will do this even if you simply delete (via Finder) the old prefs file!

So how do you get around this aggressive caching of preference files?

(more…)

Desktop Curtain and Time Sink updated

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Today we’re releasing Desktop Curtain 3.0.1 and Time Sink 1.2.2. Neither of these are Mavericks-specific releases; they’re mainly bug fix releases with a couple small new features here and there. As with our Mavericks-specific updates, the following warning applies to these updates:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following updates will bump the minimum system requirement to 10.7 or newer; if you’re still running 10.6, DO NOT INSTALL THESE UPDATES.

Why 10.7 or newer? Apple recently declared an old security-related API dead (i.e. deprecated), and recommended that all developers switch to the newer API, which we did. But that new API requires 10.7 or newer.

App Store buyers should see the updates shortly; direct buyers can get them through in-app updating, or by downloading directly from our site. If you care about the nitty-gritty details, make sure you check out the release notes pages for each app (Desktop CurtainTime Sink) to see what’s up.

Oh when the updates come marching in…

Friday, October 18th, 2013

We’ve been quiet here lately, but that’s not because we haven’t been busy. Far from it; we’ve been testing our apps with Mavericks, and making changes where necessary (mostly cosmetic in nature). We’ve also addressed a number of minor bugs that have been reported (thanks!) since our last updates. So be prepared, we’re updating nearly the entire lineup today—everything here is Mavericks-ready, for whenever Apple ships the system.

As always, direct purchasers can update within the app, or by downloading a new version from our servers. App Store buyers should see the updates (soon, if not already) in the Updates tab of the App Store application.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following updates will bump the minimum system requirement to 10.7 or newer; if you’re still running 10.6, DO NOT INSTALL THESE UPDATES.

Why 10.7 or newer? Apple recently declared an old security-related API dead (i.e. deprecated), and recommended that all developers switch to the newer API, which we did. But that new API requires 10.7 or newer.

So what’s new and improved today? It’s quite a list…

  • Butler 4.1.16: A number of behind-the-scenes updates for improved Mavericks compatibility, and a couple minor bug fixes.
  • Leech 2.2: We’ve fixed a fuzzy date bug, improved the ‘resume download,’ and squashed a couple of bugs.
  • Moom 3.1: Lots of goodness here, but the biggie is that you can now specify resize dimensions as a percentage of available space. We’ve also changed how custom names work for saved window layouts, added a new AppleScript command, and made a number of other little changes. Check out the Moom release notes page for all the details.
  • Name Mangler 3.3: The big news here is that Mavericks users can use Tags in renaming operations. We also fixed a couple of minor bugs, and added a checkbox to the Terms List dialog that will make Name Mangler check the source file for updates. Full details on the Name Mangler release notes page.
  • Witch 3.9.3: We’ve updated the “how to enable” text for Mavericks users, and worked around a glitch for those using XtraFinder.
  • If you’re scoring at home, that’s five apps updated; the missing suspects (Desktop Curtain, Keymo, Time Sink, and Usher) all have updates in the works, and we hope to have those out shortly as well. Even without updates, those apps will work fine on Mavericks—so if you’re upgrading your OS, you should be in good shape with all of our apps, assuming you apply the updates we have released.

Announcing Many Tricks’ Donation Day

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

In the past, we’ve donated proceeds from our software sales to worthy causes, such as the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and Charity:Water. This year, we thought we’d try something different…

On Thursday, December 20*, all of our apps
will be priced at $1 ($0.99 on the App Store).

The catch: We want you to donate the money you saved
(compared to list prices) to the charity of your choice.

For example, if you want to own Moom ($10) and Time Sink ($5), we’ll expect you to donate $13 to your favorite charity. Usher ($35) and Desktop Curtain ($5) would mean a $38 donation. Buy everything in our portfolio for $9, and donate $109 to charity. It’s pretty simple math, regardless of which apps you’re interested in buying. (These donations should be tax deductible, too, but please don’t take our word for that!)

You may wonder how we’re enforcing this donation requirement. The short answer is we’re not. We both firmly believe in the goodness of people, and we’re confident that those who purchase on Thursday will do the right thing. Will everyone? Absolutely not. But we believe that many will, which will hopefully lead to some nice contributions to a wide range of charities.

Sure, we could have kept prices at their normal level, and donated proceeds to a charity or two of our choosing. But we feel strongly that you should be able to pick your own charity, and we hope that by dropping the apps’ prices to $1 for the day, we’ll get more participation than we would by simply donating our proceeds.

So if you’ve been waiting for a good excuse to purchase one or more of our apps, Thursday’s the day. You get the apps you want at an amazing price, you get to choose who gets the money you saved on our apps, and you get to feel good about supporting a charity.

All we ask (ask, not require) is that you let us what you did with the savings. You can either send us an email with the details, or just tweet about it, and copy @manytricks on your tweet. We’d love to know how much money was donated, and to which charities, if you feel like sharing that information.

Happy Holidays!Peter and Rob.

*

Because the world insists on having multiple timezones, our Donation Day pricing will roll out differently for the App Store and for our web site. App Store buyers will see Donation Day pricing starting at 12:01am on December 20th in their local timezones, and it will end 24 hours later.

On our web site, Donation Day pricing will begin at 7am Pacific USA time on December 20th, and end at 7am Pacific USA time on December 21st. This will give buyers, regardless of their local timezone, 24 hours to purchase directly from us, if that’s their preference.

Mountain Lion status report (bonus: three app updates)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Now that Mountain Lion (aka OS X 10.8) is officially out, we can officially update the status of our apps.

The short version: They all work.

The slightly longer version: To the extent that we were able to test all features in all apps, they all work in Mountain Lion. But there are just two of us, and thousands of features to test. So please, let us know if you find any issues. You can do so by going to the support page for any app (i.e. Moom’s support page), which list a few ways to report issues.

We also have three app updates today that fix minor issues in Mountain Lion—and resolve some other bugs and add some new features.

Get Leech 2.1.1 (release notes), Usher 1.1.5 (release notes) and Butler 4.1.13 (release notes) via in-app updating.

Note: If you’re an App Store purchaser of Usher, you should migrate (for free) to the direct sales version. Here’s how and why.