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Ushering in a new era

Friday, September 13th, 2019

For those of you who use Usher, you’re probably well aware it’s a 32-bit application, and will stop working when macOS Catalina ships this fall. This was a key factor in our decision to retire Usher back in 2017.

But since its retirement, all has not been quiet with Usher—at least not privately. We’ve stripped out the old 32-bit QuickTime engine and replaced it with the modern AVFoundation (a.k.a. QuickTime X). This wasn’t a trivial change, but we’ve reached a point where we’d like to invite Usher users to help test what we’re calling Usher 2.

Usher 2 is a 64-bit app, ready to run in both macOS Mojave and Catalina when it ships this fall. We’d like all current Usher users—as well as others interested in the media management and playback features of Usher—to download the Usher 2 beta and give it a spin.

We’re very interested in feedback, of course. Not just does it run (we’re quite confident in that one), but what do you like, what don’t you like, what key feature that used to exist is now missing and you absolutely must have it, what other features would you like to see, etc.

What’s new in Usher 2, other than the entire engine that runs in? There’s a full list in Usher’s release notes, but here are a few highlights…

  • If Usher can’t directly open a file (that is, QuickTime X doesn’t support its codec), Usher will fall back to opening the file with its default app.
  • If you use VLC, Usher can monitor VLC’s playback progress and start the next movie in an Usher playlist when the first is done.
  • Dark mode support
  • Play movies backwards, and/or at double speed.

There’s a ton of other stuff, so do check out the release notes! We’ve also tried to predict which questions you may ask us about Usher 2…

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We’ve updated a number of our apps…

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Following on the heels of Butler, Keymou, Moom, and Witch, we’ve updated the rest of our main app suite (excluding Name Mangler). As always, you can find the updates within the app or by downloading a new version (direct customers), or in the Mac App Store app (App Store customers). Here’s a little bit about what’s new in each app…

Desktop Curtain 3.0.8

Some behind the scenes changes, and a fix for an annoying bug that could cause Desktop Curtain to stall for a few seconds after clicking a Desktop-covering curtain. [Release Notes]

Leech 3.1.2

We’ve rewritten the Leech extension to work with the new rules of Safari 12, and added support for Full Screen and Split View modes. [Release Notes]

Resolutionator 1.1.2

Fixed a long delay before the menu appeared for those using dynamic desktop images in Mojave, and Resolutionator now supports Dark Mode in macOS Mojave. [Release Notes]

Time Sink 2.0.1

We’ve added a checkbox so you can include windows from menu bar apps, fixed a bug that broke Time Sink on 10.9.5, and the Escape key can now be used to cancel interval dragging in the Activity Report window. [Release Notes]

Usher 1.1.17

Yes, it’s no longer for sale, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get updated. This update adds more fields to the CSV export, you can search for ‘or more’ star ratings by adding a plus (***+), and we fixed a preview-related crash when previewing a huge number of movies. And oh yes, if you use Smart Playlists with subdivisions, try selecting more than one subdivision—notice the search bar now lets you see the Union and Intersection of those selections. [Release Notes]

All of these updates are live now, though App Store customers may not see them just yet—but they should show as available very soon now.

Usher 1.1.16 released

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Although Usher is retired, that doesn’t mean it’s being ignored. Today’s update adds two new features (really!), and fixes a couple of bugs.

The new features are an option to auto-size thumbnails, and (mainly for those looking to migrate to another app), a CSV export option. For more details on the export, open Usher’s help, and you’ll find some instructions at the top of the first page. If you’re really bored, you can read the full release notes.

Because Usher is no longer available in the App Store, this update is only available to users of the direct version. Usher App Store users, please crossgrade (it’s free) to the direct version in order to get this update.

Usher will be stepping aside

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

After many long conversations, we have decided to retire Usher, our media management app: Effective March 1st, 2017, Usher will no longer be available for purchase. We will update it to fix issues that arise, but no further development will occur.

If you’ve always wanted to own Usher, you’ve got about two weeks left to make the purchase. (It’s not being abandoned, we’re just retiring it from active development, so you will be supported. However, please read the Q&A before you decide to purchase Usher.)

So what does this mean for you as an Usher user? We figure you might have questions, so we’re going to do our best to answer them here. Anything we don’t address, please feel free to bring it up in the comments, or by emailing us directly.

Why are you retiring Usher?

Usher does its video magic through QuickTime. Not the newer-and-current QuickTime X, but the original QuickTime. This lets Usher do all sorts of neat stuff, but also means it can break due to an event that crashes QuickTime—most Usher crashes are actually QuickTime crashes which then take Usher out, too.

QuickTime is very old, and obviously no longer updated. (It’s so old that it’s not even 64-bit code.) Newer video formats may cause issues, and we can’t resolve those issues in Usher because they’re actually in QuickTime. Given these age-related issues with QuickTime, we’re no longer comfortable selling and supporting Usher to new buyers, so we’ve decided it’s retirement time.

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Three minor updates have escaped into the wild…

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

…and while you’d think that’d be enough for one day for us, we are Many Tricks, after all. So a bit later today, stay tuned for an announcement witchwhich you may find of interest.

As for the escapees, they are…

  • Butler 4.1.23, which includes some comestic improvements and a couple of bug fixes. [release notes]
  • Resolutionator 1.1.1 fixes a color depth issue on newer laptops that could cause Resolutionator to not show any resolutions. [release notes]
  • Usher 1.1.15 has a ton of changes, most of which aren’t directly visible. But we’ve improved memory usage, speed of previews, crawler performance, and more. [release notes]

Butler and Resolutionator are direct-only apps, so you should get notified by each app that there’s an update available, if you haven’t disabled that setting in Preferences. Or you can just download the full app from our site again; you won’t lose your settings if you update that way.

Usher is available both direct and in the App Store, and the App Store update should be showing up any minute now, if it’s not out already.

Usher 1.1.14 released

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Usher has reached version 1.1.14. The biggest news in this version is that the App Store and indie versions are back in sync.

Beyond that, the Help files have much more content, and Usher is now using our improved help system with much better navigation and search—plus all screenshots have (finally) been retinaized. You can read the release notes for the nitty-gritty on 1.1.14, if you prefer the trees to the forest.

Direct users can update via the in-app updater, or by downloading a full version from our web site. App Store users should see the update now (or shortly, if not now) in the App Store app.

The new Many Tricks’ end user license agreement

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Ever since Peter and I relaunched Many Tricks in 2010, we’ve never had an official software license agreement. The closest thing we’ve had is this blog post, which explains limits on the use of our apps across multiple Macs (tl;dr: Use them on as many Macs as you personally use). However, we’ve never had an actual end user license agreement (EULA) that spells out the legal license you agree to when you purchase one of our apps.

Well, we have one now—it’s also permanently linked in the sidebar here, and will be accessible from within our apps. And a really big thanks to Rich Siegel at Bare Bones Software, who generously agreed to let us use his document as a starting point. I found the Bare Bones EULA to be well written, brief, and easily understood; hopefully our version, which has only minor changes, is still all of those things.

After six years, why did we suddenly need an EULA? The truth is we probably should have had one from day one, but never really felt the need. Recently, however, we’ve received inquiries from government agencies and larger companies interested in buying our apps … and many of these customers aren’t allowed to purchase our apps unless we have an actual legal license agreement. So now we do.

Note that this doesn’t change anything relative to the usage of our apps; we still allow you to use one license to install our apps on as many Macs as you personally use. We just needed to have a formal legal software license for larger customers and government agencies.

Announcing our new in-app help system

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Starting with our recent update to Keymo, we rolled out a new help system. We developed this new system to solve some aggravations we were having with Apple’s built-in help system, and to provide our users with a better help experience. This new help system will be rolling out to all our apps in the very near future.

Here’s a quick peek at the first screen of Moom’s new help:

Moom's new help

There are many aspects to our new help system that should make in-app help work much better for our users—some new features, some existing features working better, and a revamped look and feel.

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The Many Tricks holiday sale event and charity drive

Monday, December 14th, 2015

People ask us all the time, “When are your apps going on sale?” And we always reply “We don’t know,” because, generally, we don’t know. But we know now: Our apps—when you purchase directly from us—are on sale for the remainder of 2015, and there are two ways to take advantage of the sale.

Option One: Own Them All

First off, you can own them all for just $50—that’s $62 off the normal price of $112 for all 10. All ten apps, fifty bucks total. These are fully licensed versions, not some special one-off, so they’re all eligible for upgrade pricing when major new releases come out.

On the charity drive front, we will donate $10 for each bundle sold to the United Nation’s refugee fund, to help with the ongoing global refugee crisis. And to get things started, we’ve already donated $500 to the fund.

Option Two: Save Some Coin

If you don’t really want all our apps (we don’t understand such thinking, of course!), you’ll want to use option two: Every purchase is 30% off for the remainder of the year.

We will donate 10% of our net proceeds from any individual sales to that same UN refugee fund.

About the Mac App Store

You may have noticed that this sale is only available to customers who purchase directly from us; our App Store app pricing is unchanged, and we can’t create a bundle of apps there anyway.

So why aren’t the individual MAS versions on sale? Quite honestly, we feel Apple has ignored the MAS for too long, and as a result, the customer experience is not what it should be. Add in the recent snafu with certificates, and we would like to reward those who choose to purchase direct. That’s why this sale is for direct customers only.

So there you have it, the Many Tricks year-end sale event and charity drive.

Usher 1.1.12 released

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Sorry for two updates in two days, but a couple users—including me!—noticed an issue in Usher 1.1.11: Changes to the library weren’t sticking between relaunches, and Usher was recreating thumbnails on every launch.

You’ll only have this problem if you keep your main Usher library file on an external volume (which isn’t recommended, but some of us live on the edge!). The problem was that Usher’s path determination for these library files was failing, leading to a failure to write the library file on quit.

Usher 1.1.12 fixes that problem, and is available now via in-app updates, or by downloading the new version from our site. Sorry about that, and thanks to everyone who reported it!