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Witch 3 departs the Mac App Store

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

When we released Witch 4 in March of 2017 (after a public beta that began in October of 2016), we made the decision to leave Witch 3 in the Mac App Store—Witch 4 can’t be in the store, because it cannot be sandboxed.

We left Witch 3 in place mainly to keep the exposure of Witch to those searching the App Store for app switchers and utilities. But we know that it’s not fair to pay for old outdated tech, so we included a free license for Witch 4 for anyone who wanted to move to the new Witch (though doing so meant leaving the Mac App Store for future updates).

With the release of Catalina, though, we’ve decided to remove Witch 3 from the Mac App Store, effective today. Why? Because Witch 3 is 32-bit code, and it will not run in macOS Catalina. Unfortunately, the App Store will lie about this if you look at the Witch 3 listing in the Mac App Store; this screenshot is from my MacBook Air, which is running Catalina:

We have no control over the system requirements, and we do not like that we’re potentially deceiving customers (even though they’d get a free Witch 4 license, they may not understand that, and feel ripped off).

In addition, it’s been three years since we released Witch 4, which is a very generous “sunset period” for the prior release. Hence, it’s time for Witch 3 to retire from the Mac App Store.

How to get your free Witch 4 license

If you bought Witch 3 from the Mac App Store after October 1st, 2016, and would like to get your free Witch 4 license, start by downloading our Crossgrade Assistant. Launch it, and you’ll see a standard “file open” dialog. Navigate to the Applications folder, select Witch, then click the “Choose App or Receipt File” button. If all goes well, you’ll see this dialog…

Fill that form with your name and a valid email address—that’s where your license file information will be sent—then click Submit. You’ll then receive an email with a license file download link; download the license file and make a backup somewhere.

If you haven’t done so already, download and install Witch 4, then double-click the license file you downloaded earlier. You should now be a licensed Witch 4 user.

If you have any troubles with the process—or no longer have Witch 3 installed but believe you’re qualified for the free Witch 4 license—just open a trouble ticket and we’ll get it figured out.

Name Mangler 2 and macOS Catalina: End of the road

Monday, August 5th, 2019

For those of you still running Name Mangler version 2—version 3 was released over six years ago—just a heads up that you’ll have to choose between Name Mangler 2 and macOS Catalina when it ships this fall: Catalina won’t support 32-bit apps, and Name Mangler 2 is a 32-bit app. Name Mangler 3, of course, is a 64-bit application, and runs fine in macOS Catalina.

So if you use Name Mangler and want to run macOS Catalina this fall, you’ll have to upgrade to Name Mangler 3. How do you do that? The process differs depending on whether you originally bought Name Mangler 2 from us, or from the Mac App Store.

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Direct vs. Mac App Store: Where to buy Mac apps?

Friday, December 9th, 2016

One of the more-popular questions we receive is “should I buy your app directly from you, or from the Mac App Store?” The factual no-opinion-involved answer to this question is that it’s your money, so you should buy from whichever source you prefer to use. That has been, and will always be, our “corporate” answer to that question.

With that said, if you ask either of us for our opinion on the best place to buy Mac software, here’s our opinionated answer:

We strongly recommend buying direct over using the Mac App Store.

At a personal level, we both always try to buy direct, using the App Store only when there’s no direct alternative.

Why do we think you should buy direct? Because we feel the advantages of buying from the Mac App Store are greatly outweighed by the disadvantages of buying from the Mac App Store.

Here’s a comparison of the two methods of buying, with what we view as some of the pros and cons of each.

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Avoid download issues with App Store purchases

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Over the last few days, several users let me know they were unable to download our apps from the Mac App Store. They reported that they were receiving this error message when trying to purchase or update:

App Store Error: Failed to verify the preflight file. It is not signed by Apple.

Emails like this are frustrating, because we have absolutely no official way to help such users—Apple handles everything related to the store after we submit our app. They test the app, hopefully approve the app, and then host it for downloading. If the app makes it through this process, it’s pretty clear the code itself is good, and any download issues are related to the user’s system.

In theory, Apple (in exchange for their 30% cut of our revenue) should be helping these users solve such problems. But based on what I’ve heard, that’s not usually the case, so they end up writing to me. After a bit of web searching, I found the cause and solution to the problem: Keychain Access.

In particular, the settings for OCSP and CRL in Keychain Access > Preferences > Certificates. For some apps, and for some users (but not for all apps, and not for all users; I don’t know why), these values must be set to “Best Attempt:”

Keychain Access' Certificates prefs

If these two values are set to anything else, it’s possible that some apps and/or updates will fail to download with the above-noted error message. I’ve never personally touched those settings, and I was curious why others might; a friend pointed out this thread, which recommends changing the settings to reduce background bandwidth usage by the ocsp process.

In any event, if you’re having troubles downloading apps and updates—not just ours, but from any developer—from the App Store, check these settings in your Keychain Access app.

How to: Migrate from App Store Witch to direct Witch

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

As you may have heard, the App Store is now enforcing sandboxing. As such, apps that aren’t sandboxed cannot be updated with new features; only bug fix updates are acceptable.

Unfortunately, with the rules that are presently in place, Witch is not sandboxable, which means that today’s release of Witch 3.9.1 is the last with any new features in the App Store—unless Apple changes their mind, which has been known to happen if enough users let them know how they feel about things (hint hint!). We fully intend to continue updating Witch with new functionality, but all such updates will only be applicable to the direct sales version. That’s the bad news…

The good news is that we have a way for you to easily migrate to the direct sales version, and making this move is completely free. The process is actually quite simple, too.

  1. Make sure you’ve run the App Store version of Witch 3.9.1 (it must be the most-recently-updated version) at least once.
  2. After running once, quit the App Store version of Witch.
  3. Download Witch 3.9.1 from our site, and install it. (The direct sales version of Witch is a System Preferences panel, not an application; you’ll find it in the Other section of System Preferences after installation.)
  4. There is no step four. Just check the Enable Witch box in the Witch System Preferences panel, and you’re good to go.

You can tell you’ve successfully licensed your app by looking at the About tab; the license in the middle should look like this:

That’s really all there is to it, with one caveat: you must repeat this process for each Mac—or different user on the same Mac—that you would like to convert. That’s because the conversion is tied to a license file which is specific to each user on each Mac.

Desktop Curtain 2.2 released

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Today’s Desktop Curtain update adds two minor features, and includes a few bug fixes. The two new features are:

  • A ‘boss key’ to instantly bring the curtain to the foreground, covering absolutely everything (including the Dock and Command-Tab application switcher). It doesn’t, however, bring up a fake spreadsheet as did certain games of yore.
  • Image names are now shown while hovering over image thumbnails in the History menu.

Desktop Curtain is (as of now, at least) only available on the App Store, for $1.99 to new purchasers (the update is, of course, free to all current customers).

Touching things up on a Tuesday

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Yes, it’s another installment of Touch Up Tuesdays…this time out, Butler, Moom, and Name Mangler are getting the update treatment.

Butler 4.1.10: There are some nice fixes in this release, including making Butler work properly with Address Book’s Smart Folders feature, and pasting clipboard items as plain text into Mail. (Full release notes)

Moom 1.2.1: Mouse users can Option-click the full screen icon to center windows, Moom now works properly when running Dreamweaver and/or HyperDock, and we’ve reduced Moom’s CPU usage through a smarter activation algorithm. (Full release notes)

Name Mangler 2.4.3: You can now use Command-Z (multiple times) to undo changes in Advanced mode, and you can use the forward slash character in renaming actions. (Full release notes)

As always, you can get the new versions via in-app updates, or by downloading a fresh copy from our site. App Store users: the updates for Moom and Name Mangler should be available very soon, if not already, from the App Store application.

Witch 3.6.1 slides onto the scene

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

This latest Witch update—for both the Mac App Store and web site versions of Witch—includes two requested features and a number of minor bug fixes. (Note for App Store users: it may be anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours until you see the update in the App Store.) The two new features are:

  • Witch can now “see” many more windows without titles than it previously could. In particular, if you save Mail drafts without Subject lines, Witch should now show those as (Untitled) windows.

    Of course, because they have no title, you’ll want to use the pop-up preview feature to see what’s actually in those untitled windows. Witch should also display untitled windows in Elgato’s applications, and Sparrow, the minimalist Gmail client.

  • There’s a new slider in the Behavior tab of Witch’s settings that controls how long Witch will wait to hear from an application before giving up on it.

    Witch works by polling all applications, asking for information about their windows. If an application is slow to respond, we’re forced to make a choice: wait to display the switcher panel, or display the switcher panel in a reasonable amount of time, but leave out the slow-responding application (because we can’t determine its window states).

    Witch is set to wait 0.2 seconds, which is typically more than enough time. Certain troublesome apps, though, may work better with a longer timeout. You can use this new slider—which will let you set a timeout of up to two seconds—to find a balancing point that you’re happy with. Note: Unless you’re having trouble with missing windows, we suggest leaving this slider where it is.

  • If you use Matrox products to use extra displays on your laptop Mac, Witch now has some hidden settings that greatly improve the appearance of the switcher panel on those machines. If you’re one of those users, write to me and I’ll provide the usage instructions.

Mac App Store users can update via the App Store application; users of the web site version of Witch should be notified of the available update. (Check the Update tab in settings to make sure you’re set up for automatic notification of new updates.)

Rethinking Time Sink

Monday, January 31st, 2011

What follows is a bit of backstory on Time Sink, our utility that tracks how you spend your time using your Mac. If you’d rather skip the backstory, here’s the executive summary version: effective immediately, we’re cutting the price of Time Sink to just $5 ($4.99 on the App Store).

Why are we doing this? In short, because we think Time Sink is a very cool little utility, and we’d love to see more people using it. For the longer version, read the details that follow.

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Conversations with the App Store

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

We’re now roughly three weeks into the Mac App Store’s existence, and both Peter and I have been thrilled with how it’s gone. We’ve found it generally pleasant working with Apple (they’ve yet to reject one of our apps or updates), and the users we’ve chatted with have found the store to be a pleasant place to browse and shop.

With that said, there’s one feature missing from the store that impacts our ability to interact with customers and prospects: there’s no mechanism for developers to respond to questions or comments in users’ reviews. (We could modify our program’s descriptions, but using that space to answer questions seems like using a hammer to crack an egg.)

So we’ve decided to start an occasional series here on our blog, of which you’re reading the first installment: Conversations with the App Store. Each installment will address some of the questions and comments raised in reviews on the global (those we can read, at any rate!) Mac App Stores.

While this isn’t an ideal feedback mechanism—Apple should really allow developers to post responses directly—we hope it provides useful information to those who may have similar comments or questions about our programs. So without further ado, here’s the first edition of Conversations with the App Store.

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