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Help us test Leech 3, our updated download manager

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Do you download a lot of stuff—like really, a lot of stuff—from the Internet? Would you rather not have those downloads tied to your browser? If so, do we have an app for you to test: Leech 3.

Leech is our lightweight download utility, and version three gains some nifty new features: acceleration, scheduling, and a user-settable bandwidth limit. We’ve made some interface changes, too, and made a lot of tweaks under the hood.

Before we do a general release, though, we’d like to stress test Leech 3 by having some heavy-duty downloaders give it a try. So if you download lots and lots of stuff from the net, we’d love to have your feeback.

Note: If you primarily download from login-required servers that use cookies and other mechanisms to verify your logged-in status (filesharing sites, in other words), Leech 3 probably isn’t for you. While we’ve done our best to make Leech work with many such services, there are no guarantees and we can’t make changes to support any specific site. You’re welcome to test Leech 3, but if it doesn’t work on your favorite filesharing site, it’s not going to work on your favorite filesharing site.

So if you’re interested in helping us test Leech 3, please drop us a line and let us know why you’d like to help test Leech. (To participate in the beta, you will be signed up for a Google Groups mailing list, so please send the email from an account that works with Google.)

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.)

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?

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How-to: Start and stop Leech on a schedule

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Note: This article applies to Leech 2; Leech 3 has built-in scheduling support.

One feature that Leech, our simple download assistant, doesn’t offer is scheduling. For many users, this isn’t an issue, as they can use their internet connection whenever they wish. There is a subset of users, though, who have internet connections that may offer more speed at night, or not have capacity limits at night, or may allow unlimited downloading only at night.

A future version of Leech may offer scheduling, but until that comes to be, you can use AppleScript and a scheduling application to handle the task. It’s not overly complicated, but does require a bit of work in Leech and AppleScript.

The first step is to have Leech queue up all download requests, so you can just copy and paste URLs into it during the day, then let it run at night. To put Leech in queued mode, just make sure there’s not a checkmark by the Queue > Start Downloads Automatically menu item, as seen in the image at right.

Once that’s done, you can add URLs to Leech throughout the day, but they won’t start downloading. Next, you’ll need to create two AppleScripts, one to start those queued downloads, and the other to pause them again.
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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.