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Usher 1.0 ushers in a new era in movie management

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Usher iconWe’re thrilled—beyond thrilled, actually—to announce the release of Usher 1.0 today. Usher is Many Tricks’ movie management and viewing application. If you collect videos—be they from cell phones, digital video cameras, internet downloads, ripped DVDs, or wherever, Usher is the tool to help you gain control over your collection.

The list of features is immense; check out the Usher web page to get a sense for its capabilities. We’ve really worked hard to make this a solid release, as yFlicks was a much-loved and much-used program that, sadly, stopped working a couple of major OS X releases ago. While Usher is the spiritual successor to yFlicks, the number of new and/or greatly improved features, along with the completely revamped interface, make it essentially a brand-new program. That’s why we tested Usher with our largest-ever group of beta testers—Usher is a large, complex program, and we wanted it to be as issue-free as possible.

Keep reading to see a small sampling of Usher’s features, and for full information on purchasing or upgrading to (including free upgrades for many yFlicks users) Usher.


Announcing the Usher limited public beta

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

What is Usher, you may be wondering? Usher is the new name for yFlicks. The name yFlicks never really captured the real mission of the application; we think Usher is a much better fit: Usher is your personal movie assistant.

There are a ton of new and/or improved features in this update to yFlicks, which is why we’ve also chosen to reset the version counter: this release will be Usher 1.0 to reflect the scale of the changes. Due to the sheer number of changes, there are also probably some 1.0-type issues in Usher…and that’s why we’re releasing it now as a limited public beta. We’re looking for people who are willing to really help us test Usher and find all those little glitches–so we can remove them before we ship Usher.

We’re looking for 25 to 30 testers for Usher’s limited public beta, but we’re interested in people who can really help stress test Usher. To that end, we’re looking for people who meet at least one of these three criteria:

  1. Existing yFlicks users with between 1 and 3,000 movies in their collection.
  2. Existing yFlicks users with over 3,000 movies in their collection.
  3. Non yFlicks users who are looking for a tool to help them manage their collections.

If you’d like to participate in this public beta, please send me an email, with the subject set to Usher beta. Important: In the body of the message, please let me know which of the above groups you fall into, and include the (approximate) number of movies in your collection. If you’re selected for the beta, you will receive a copy of Usher to test, along with further instructions on how to go about helping us test Usher.

As an incentive to help test, the top three testers–based on reporting the most (confirmed) issues–will receive a free license for all of Many Tricks’ products. So what are you waiting for…drop me an email and get your name in the hat for one of the limited testing spots!

A look at our 2010 product release timeline

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Many users have been asking me about our plans for products we haven’t yet updated, namely Witch, yFlicks, and Butler. In response, I offer this generic timeline of our plans for the rest of 2010:

Please note that this is a rough timeline, and subject to change based on our workload, customer demand, the phase of the moon, and the price of soybean futures on the daily spot market. However, it should provide a bit more detail on what our priorities are, and the approximate timeframe in which we hope to ship each of our apps. (It doesn’t show minor releases, which may include bug fixes and/or new features; those will be ongoing for each product.)

Read on for a bit more detail on each of the products in the timeline.

The terms of the Many Tricks software license

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I’ve had a few questions on how Many Tricks’ programs are licensed: is it per computer, per user, per user per computer, or something else? Given the confusion, I thought I’d explain here so it’s (hopefully) clear. I’ve posted this same information to our FAQ pages. And yes, we do have a full, legalese-filled software license, which covers what’s below and adds some required legal terminology.

The objective in our licensing is to keep things simple and fair. To that end, all of our products fall under one general usage license. Here’s how the licensing works: It’s basically a “buy only one” license model, except in the case of possible simultaneous usage. These situations should help clarify that basic rule:


The future looks all Sparkle-y

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

As I noted in the Name Mangler 2.1 announcement, all future Many Tricks products will include support for in-app updates via Sparkle.

If you’re not aware of Sparkle, the reality is you’re probably aware of Sparkle. If you’ve ever run an app that let you download and install an update directly within the app, chances are good it’s using Sparkle to do that behind-the-scenes magic.

This amazing tool is open source, and supported by donations—and we’ll be doing some stuff in the future to support the project, as we think it’s a great addition to our code base.

Because you do lose some control over your machine in Sparkle-enabled apps (when they automatically download an update you didn’t ask for), all of our apps will include a simple on/off toggle for automatic update checking. If you’d rather check manually, just turn off the automatic updates. Personally, though, I leave Sparkle enabled in all the apps I use that include it; it makes product updates incredibly simple.

I’m thrilled we’re taking this step, as it simplifies what was a too-complex task for our programs—clicking a couple of buttons beats going to your browser, downloading and expanding an archive, quitting the original program, finding the original and new versions on your disk, and replacing old with new. Instead, Sparkle does all the heavy lifting ; you just click a couple of buttons and your app is up to date.

So thanks, Sparkle, for making our users’ lives simpler!

Rob Griffiths to join Many Tricks

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Portland, Oregon (February 22, 2010) — Many Tricks, a long-time creator of numerous essential Mac utilities, is pleased to announce that Rob Griffiths, founder of and previously a Senior Editor at Macworld, will be joining Many Tricks as a partner, beginning March 1st. Rob Griffiths will handle all aspects of the business side of the company, including marketing, accounting, web systems, sales, and support, while Peter will focus on writing code for Many Tricks’ products. Both partners will work together on improving existing programs and on new ideas.

Peter Maurer, founder of Many Tricks, said, “I’m thrilled to have Rob on board to help run the company. For many years, I’ve wanted to do more with my applications, but I’ve had no interest in the “business” side of the software industry. Rob’s strong background in business, along with his experience in the Mac software world, will help take Many Tricks to the next level.”

“I’m incredibly excited by the opportunity to join Peter Maurer at Many Tricks,” said Griffiths. “Many Tricks’ utilities, especially Butler and Witch, have been essential tools on my Macs for many years. I’m really looking forward to working with Peter to help grow the business.”

Many Tricks will be updating its existing lineup of Mac utilities throughout 2010, and launching some entirely new programs. “We’ve got some good stuff in the pipeline, especially for the upcoming iPad,” said Rob Griffiths.

In closing, Peter stated “I’m feeling great about this partnership; it really frees up my time to focus on coding, and I’m confident that the two of us can create compelling solutions in the utilities space on the Mac, the iPhone, the iPod touch, and the iPad.”

About Many Tricks: Many Tricks, co-founded by Peter Maurer and Alexander Schön, has been producing great Mac software since 2003, and its product line currently includes Butler, Witch, yFlicks, Leech, and Name Mangler.

Service Scrubber 1.1.5

Friday, June 27th, 2008

No, we still can’t edit signed applications on Mac OS X 10.5 without causing keychain problems (explanation), but Service Scrubber 1.1.5 features an improvement that I, personally, have been looking forward to pretty much ever since Service Scrubber was released — a serious icon.

Granted, this may seem like a nonrelevant problem to some of you, but the old preliminary icon was never meant to stay; and it has bugged me for years. So I’m deeply grateful to Lars Herrmann for creating the icon I had always envisioned.

The other improvement in this version is a French localization overhaul by Ronald Leroux. And speaking of Ronald — being donationware, this doesn’t really apply to Service Scrubber; but if French is your primary language, and if you’re about to buy one of our shareware applications (i.e., Leech, Witch, or yFlicks), you should definitely check out Lingua Franca for localization news. And once you’re there, consider using their “Buy Now” buttons, where available. That way, Ronald will get his share of the sale, compensating for his hard work on all those French localizations.

yFlicks 3.3.2

Friday, June 20th, 2008

As promised, here’s yFlicks 3.3.2, which fixes a bug that resulted in a hanging yflickscrawler process and, consequently, non-working preview image creation with QuickTime 7.5 installed. This version also works around a bug in Apple’s URL loading frameworks that resulted in long download connection delays under certain circumstances (background info for fellow developers: NSURLConnections based on NSMutableURLRequests don’t obey their timeout setting, so we had to emulate that time-out).

And last but not least, yFlicks now speaks French. Merci beaucoup, Ronald!

Update: Just in case some of you French users are wondering why the sidebar categories (“Library”, “Smart Groups”, etc.) aren’t renamed to French automatically in this version — that’s because they are entirely under your thumb once you’ve created a library. Just rename those categories to whatever you prefer.

yFlicks: 50% Off, Instant Replay

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

A funny thing happened yesterday, when yFlicks was promoted on macZOT: yFlicks drew so much attention, it killed macZOT’s bandwidth. In fact, they are still struggling to stay online. And as a result, some of you couldn’t get the rebate.

What do we do about this? We do an instant replay. Get yFlicks now — the 50% rebate is available for another day. And don’t forget that buying yFlicks means getting TubiTunes for free.

yFlicks 3.3.1; TubiTunes 1.0.1; Desktop Curtain 1.1

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

We have four updates for you today, and we’ll divide these into two blog entries, because the fourth one needs more detailed explaining.

Let’s start with these two: Just in time to meet today’s 50%-off macZOT promo, both yFlicks and TubiTunes are now capable of downloading the higher-quality MPEG-4 file for a given movie from YouTube, if available. Other than that, we’ve just squashed some bugs — including a particularly embarrassing one: TubiTunes’s automatic update checker didn’t actually check for updates automatically.

What are the other two updates? Desktop Curtain is now ready to deal with multiple screens and spaces. And Witch 2.0 is detailed here.