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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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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Note: Although our App Store apps don’t use Sparkle, we know they’re out of date with some of the other minor bug fixes that came with these releases.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.)

Resolutionator 1.0.1 gets Docky with it

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Today we released Resolutionator 1.0.1, which makes a number of minor changes and fixes (release notes). It also adds one major feature: the ability to change resolutions via Resolutionator’s Dock icon (click for a larger image).

Control Resolutionator via the Dock

If you have Resolutionator set to check for updates automatically, well, this might be old news to you. If you don’t, check for updates now, or just download the newest version if you prefer.

Welcome, Resolutionator

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Meet Resolutionator, the newest entry in Many Tricks’ stable of apps. Resolutionator makes it brain-dead-simple to switch the resolution on your display(s), and was developed with retina displays in mind (though it’s perfectly functional on non-retina displays, too).

Like many of our other apps, Resolutionator came about due to an internal need—I use a 13″ retina MacBook Pro, and as crisp and gorgeous as that 1280×800 ‘retinaized’ display is, that’s just not a lot of room when working with lots of windows. As a result, I found myself constantly switching resolutions—I’d use a higher resolution when working on complicated projects, then switch back to the default retina resolution when browsing the web or reading email.

In prior versions of the Mac OS, switching resolutions wasn’t a big deal—an optional menu bar icon provided quick access to any available resolution. But some years back, this feature vanished, never (at least so far) to be seen again. In its place is a convoluted process that requires launching System Preferences and clicking buttons. If you change resolutions once a week, it’s not too bad…but if you change multiple times a day, it gets old, and fast.

Switch via pop-up or menu barEnter Resolutionator, which recreates the old menu bar prompt to let you quickly change the resolution on any and all attached displays, as seen at right.

But Resolutionator goes well beyond the old stock resolution switcher.

You can assign a keyboard shortcut, and then switch resolutions via a pop-up menu. And whether you use a keyboard shortcut or the menu bar icon, Resolutionator lets you switch the resolution on all attached displays from the same location.

Want to conserve menu bar space? After assigning that keyboard shortcut, switch Resolutionator to faceless mode, and it runs completely invisibly, activated only when you press the assigned shortcut. (It can also run as a normal application, complete with Dock icon, if you prefer.)

Those features are useful, though not all that exciting. The exciting feature in Resolutionator is its secret superpower…

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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 new: Resolutionator

Monday, December 15th, 2014

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.