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Leech 3.1.3 released

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Leech 3.1.3 is out now; this is primarily a bug fix release—see the release notes for the gory details.

There is, however, one new addition to the Safari extension: You can specify a regular expression to help filter matches when using the extension’s “download all links” feature. You set the expression on Leech’s Advanced tab, and Leech then applies the filter so that only matched items are downloaded. (There are a couple examples of how to use it in the help file.)

App Store users should see the update in the App Store app; direct users can update in-app, or by downloading a new copy of the app from the Leech web page.

Butler 4.3 released

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Butler 4.3 is out now, with some bug fixes and a couple new features:

  • Chrome bookmarks can now be imported.
  • Deactivate defined hot corners by clicking the active radio button; it will deselect.

Check the release notes for all the details. You can get the new version via the in-app updater, or by downloading a fresh copy of the app from the Butler web page.

Witch 4.2 released

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Witch 4.2 is now in the wild, and it contains a lot of goodies for a little “dot one” release. The release notes page has a summary of everything, including some nice new features. Here’s a brief summary on how to use a couple of the new features—the help file has more detail, including screenshots.

See active app’s icon in the menu bar: If you’re using the “Show in menu bar” checkbox to see Witch’s actions in the menu bar, you can now have the icon reflect the frontmost app, in place of the standard Witch icon. Hold down the Option key when selecting the Witch menu item, and the Preferences entry will change to Reflect Frontmost App. Select that to see the frontmost app’s icon in the menu bar (and a checkbox next to the frontmost app in the list).

Control frontmost window’s tab handling: Hold down the Option key while clicking the Mode pop-up in the “List tabs” section of an action, and the pop-up menu changes to indicate that the selection will only affect the frontmost window.

For example, if you want the frontmost window to always treat tabs as windows (i.e. list them separately in the switcher), hold down the Option key, click the Mode pop-up button, then select Frontmost Window: Treat Tabs as Windows from the pop-up menu. You can then select a different behavior (by not holding the Option key) for non-frontmost windows.

On the bug fix front, Witch 4.2 should resolve the occasional crash issue that a small number of users were seeing, gets rid of the annoying phantom Login item some of you were seeing, and greatly—and I do mean greatly—improves the quality of the mini window previews, if you use that feature. There’s lots more goodness in this release, so check for updates and install Witch 4.2 today.

Name Mangler 3.4.1 released

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Name Mangler 3.4.1 has been released, and should be showing in the in-app updater (for direct customers), or in the App Store app (for App Store customers). Direct customers can also download a full copy of the app from our site.

While only a tiny bump in release number, there’s actually a lot of goodness in this update, including…

  • Hold down the Shift key then click to select Files, Folders, and Folder Contents from the “what to rename” pop-up menu—in one click. The clicks you save will help extend the life of your clicking device!
  • Free spacing mode—for regular expression users—can now be toggled off or on in the preferences.
  • You can change Name Mangler’s default action, even setting it up with a series of Actions if you prefer. Set up the Action(s) you’d like to use, then hold down the Option key and select File > Save Default Configuration.
  • Name Mangler’s “traffic light” indicators, which let you know whether a given file was going to be cleanly renamed (green), renamed but with a note (yellow), or not renamed (red) are now distinct in both color and shape.
  • If Name Mangler is scanning a massive (hundreds of thousands of files) folder and you want it to stop, click the Rename button while the scan is in progress, and it will stop.

There are a few other goodies in this release, so check out the release notes for all the details.

Moom 3.2.8 released

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Late yesterday, we released Moom 3.2.8, which has only one change from Moom 3.2.7, released the day before. The update is available directly from us (via in-app updater, or by downloading it from our site), and it should be available in the Mac App Store app shortly, if not already.

The one change was to the grid, which switched from rectangular (with the circles of 3.2.7) to the new hexagonal layout, as seen at right.

Why did we change the design? Late last week, we learned there’s a US patent that covers resizing windows using a rectangular grid in a miniature preview image. We learned this when the patent’s owner told us they believed Moom’s grid was infringing on their patent. For now, we have redesigned the grid in such a way that no infringement claim can be made, and we’re working on further improvements.

Note: Comments are closed on this post, as we wish to inform you as to what happened, not to start a debate on software patents in general, or this patent in particular.

How Apple’s security system broke some Mac apps

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Feb 28 2017 update

Apple has responded quickly to address this issue. Their Developer ID page, which I believe is brand new, specifically addresses provisioning profiles and their relationship to the Developer ID certificate. Here’s what they say (emphasis added):

For apps that utilize advanced capabilities with a Developer ID provisioning profile
Gatekeeper will evaluate the validity of your Developer ID certificate when your application is installed and will evaluate the validity of your Developer ID provisioning profile at every app launch. As long as your Developer ID certificate was valid when you compiled your app, then users can download and run your app, even after the expiration date of the certificate. However, if your Developer ID provisioning profile expires, the app will no longer launch.

That section addresses the crashes seen in PDFpenPro and 1Password: It is now documented that an expired provisioning profile will prevent your app from launching. That’s not necessarily good news…but the good news is that this will, going forward, be a much rarer event:

To simplify the management of your Developer ID apps and to ensure an uninterrupted experience for your users, Developer ID provisioning profiles generated after February 22, 2017 are valid for 18 years from the creation date, regardless of the expiration date of your Developer ID certificate.

So any app that uses a provisioning profile created after February 22nd of this year will not crash due to an expired provisioning profile—even if the developer does nothing and lets their Developer ID certificate expire—until February 22, 2035. That’s effectively forever in the world of a macOS app (it’s longer than macOS/OS X itself has existed, in fact.)

Thanks, Apple, for the quick response! We’re leaving the original article posted as a non-techie overview of the Developer ID system; keep reading if that’s of interest to you.


Recently, some well-known Mac apps, including 1Password, PDFpenPro, and Soulver, had a big problem: They all failed to launch. Nothing had changed with these apps (i.e. no updates had been released), and yet they simply stopped working.

So what happened? All three of these apps (and probably some others we haven’t heard from yet) contained an expired code signing certificate. That expired certificate prevented the apps from launching, though no developer would have expected that, based on Apple’s own documentation. And an expired code signing certificate can’t just be renewed to extend its expiration date (like you would a driver’s license); it needs to be replaced with a new non-expired certificate, which requires distributing an update to the app.

Follow me now, if you wish, for a somewhat deep dive into the world of code signing, as I attempt to explain—from a consumer’s perspective yet with a developer’s hat on—what is code signing, why these apps broke, why the breakage wasn’t expected, and other related questions and answers.

Update: AgileBits has a very detailed blog post that covers this issue in even more depth—well worth the reading time.

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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.

All direct apps updated to improve update security

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Yes, that’s right, we’ve updated the updater in our direct apps. Our direct apps rely on Sparkle to inform you when there are new versions available. Over the weekend, we were made aware of a potential vulnerability in how we implemented Sparkle. Basically, if your network is already compromised by what’s called a Man in the Middle attack, then it’s possible an attacker could use the Sparkle update mechanism in our apps to remotely execute code on your Mac. That’s bad.

Although this is a relatively small exposure (as you must already be on a compromised network), we felt it was important to act on it right away, so we’ve updated all of our apps to use Sparkle over secure HTTP (HTTPS). Please update any directly-purchased Many Tricks apps immediately.

Important: There’s a bit of a Catch-22 here … in order to get you this update, it must come over insecure HTTP, because that’s how Sparkle in the app you’re using is configured. If you are concerned that you might be on a compromised network, please do not update using the in-app updater. Instead, just download the relevant app(s) directly from our site, which uses HTTPS.

If you have any questions on this update, please leave a comment or email us directly, and we’ll do our best to address your questions.

Note: Although our App Store apps don’t use Sparkle, we know they’re out of date with some of the other minor bug fixes that came with these releases. We’ll be submitting updates to the App Store next week to get App Store users current.

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.

All direct apps updated ahead of El Capitan’s release

Monday, September 28th, 2015

There are a couple of changes in the soon-to-be-released El Capitan that required us to update our direct-sales app update mechanism—an incredible open-source framework known as Sparkle. (App Store versions don’t have this update mechanism, because the App Store app handles app updates.)

Because of how we implemented Sparkle, we found that the updater wasn’t working properly in El Capitan. So we needed to fix this prior to El Capitan’s release. As a result, today we have updated every single direct app we sell (and even one we give away):

Butler, Desktop Curtain, Key Codes, Keymo, Leech, Moom, Name Mangler, Time Sink, Usher, and Witch

We have pushed all these updates live, so you should see them automatically (if you have our apps set to auto-update), or you can look in the Preferences > Updates section of a given app and manually check for updates. You can also download the complete new version from our site, if you prefer (just delete the old one and replace with the new; you won’t lose your settings.)