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yFlicks 3.3; TubiTunes 1.0

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

There are quite a number of improvements in yFlicks 3.3: First of all, our eye candy department wants you to know that you can now browse your movies in coverflow mode (Mac OS X 10.5 only, sorry). And if you’re using yFlicks’s Usher mode to have Front Row display your movies in a hierarchical fashion, you will be pleased to hear that yFlicks can now include your iTunes movies in its library. Apple doesn’t want us to play back movies you’ve bought from the iTunes store, but you will be able to organize those movies in your smart groups nevertheless.

In other news, we’ve added something we had been promising since yFlicks 1.0: more conversion/export options. You’re no longer restricted to exporting to MPEG-4, and converting a movie no longer blocks yFlicks. We’ve also improved the web video downloading mechanism quite significantly. Downloading those movies is now much less likely to fail, as we’ve added something we like to call the generic web media detector. Said detector not only makes yFlicks work with a lot more video sites than before, it also supports things like downloading MP3 files from MySpace, for instance. And once you’ve downloaded a web video, you can now have yFlicks convert that video to something your iPhone/iPod can work with automatically.

In fact, we’ve come to the conclusion that yFlicks’s downloading and conversion functionality might also appeal to users who don’t want to organize those web videos in yFlicks — e.g., because they’re doing it in iTunes. So we created a spin-off, which focuses on just that: downloading and converting movies. Say hello to TubiTunes, the easiest-to-use web video downloader and movie converter ever.

And if you think that TubiTunes is close to being a light-weight download manager, you’re perfectly right. It would be ridiculously easy to develop TubiTunes into a download manager, and if we ever did this, even the application icon would be quite similar to TubiTunes’s icon. We’ll see.

yFlicks 3.2(.1)

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

If you’re like us, you have some of your movies on your computer’s boot drive, while others are located on an external mass storage device. Up to now, that was a problem, because there wasn’t an elegant way to organize all those movies in one library while keeping the benefits of having yFlicks organize your movie files automatically.

yFlicks 3.2 introduces supplementary library folders that help you distribute your movies across several volumes while still having them organized automatically. And it hides those movies that are currently not available as soon as you unmount your external volumes. Re-mount them, and yFlicks shows all those movies again.

Apart from the usual maintenance stuff (fixed downloading from YouTube and others), there are a lot more improvements in this version, and most of them can be classified as user interface enhancements. Have a look at this list for the details.

Update: The original yFlicks 3.2 had an issue with Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”, which we’ve just fixed. So if you were experiencing a problem with starting yFlicks under Tiger, please download again and accept our sincere apologies for having overlooked this one.

Service Scrubber 1.1.4; yFlicks 3.1.1

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

We’ve got two bug-fix updates for you today:

Firstly, Service Scrubber 1.1.4 no longer lets you edit signed applications, as introduced by Mac OS X 10.5. This restriction effectively limits Service Scrubber to non-Apple applications and services; but unfortunately, it’s a necessary step — at least as of now.

Here’s why: Service Scrubber works by editing an application’s resources, and those signed applications refuse to play nice with your key chain, which is used for storing your passwords, once their resources have been edited by a 3rd-party application, such as Service Scrubber. So if you’re using Service Scrubber on services made available by Apple’s Mail application, for instance, Mail might lose the ability to access your stored mailbox passwords or store new passwords.

If you’re still on Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier, this restriction does not apply, as there aren’t any signed applications there. And if you’re willing to take the risk of editing certain signed applications on Mac OS X 10.5, let us know. There is a way to circumvent the “non-signed applications only” restriction built into Service Scrubber 1.1.4, but we’re not sure yet whether releasing it is worth the risk of having some users detach their applications from the key chain, so to speak, without being fully aware of the consequences.

The second update is much easier to explain: yFlicks 3.1.1 fixes an issue that made downloading from international YouTube sites — such as — impossible. End of story.

yFlicks 3.1

Friday, January 11th, 2008

There are a lot of improvements in yFlicks 3.1, and you can read all about them here; but let’s focus on two things we’re especially thrilled with for the sake of brevity:

Firstly, you can now have yFlicks treat a sequence of movies as one composite movie by selecting them and choosing “Merge Movie Sequence…” from the “File” menu. This makes dealing with multi-part movies, as present in vast quantities on YouTube, for instance, much easier and more elegant.

And seconly, sometimes you encounter a movie that has black borders around the actual movie frames. Apart from consuming screen estate, these don’t serve any purpose, so yFlicks now lets you get rid of them by choosing “Crop Visible Area…” from the “Display” menu.

yFlicks 3.0.3

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

yFlicks 3.0.3 squashes just one little bug, namely a display glitch in the English localization’s “Advanced” preferences tab.

yFlicks 3.0.2

Monday, December 10th, 2007

This is just a small update to yFlicks, but it contains a lot of things we know you have been waiting for. First and foremost, it reduces the delays you’ve learned to hate when you were adding multiple files to your yFlicks library, and it does so dramatically. Movie metadata — such as preview images and movie durations — are now cached by a separate little helper process we call the “yflickscrawler”, so you don’t have to wait until yFlicks has digested all those new movies before doing anything else anymore.

There is also a new overlay slider control for movie previews, giving you the possibility to skim entire movies with minmal effort — without ever really having to open them.

And there are a lot more little improvments, but this one is kinda important for us, since we’re native German speakers and we’ve had a lot of friends asking for this: yFlicks now has a complete German localization.

Butler 4.1.4 Transient; yFlicks 3.0.1

Monday, November 26th, 2007

We’re fixing a few bugs in both Butler and yFlicks today. Most importantly, we have solved the most unnerving Butler bug ever, which usually made Butler crash on Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” while editing a configuration item in the main window’s Inspector. Thanks to everyone who helped us with this — it took us weeks to even get the slightest idea of what was going on.

We’d also like to thank those who helped us squash a couple of yFlicks bugs, including a smart group sorting issue that gave us reason to improve the library’s behind-the-scenes mechanisms quite significantly.

And just in case you haven’t noticed: We’re back with a fast and reliable webserver after living through a webserver nightmare last week, including the day yFlicks 3.0 was released. We’re not particularly keen on experiencing that kind of thrill again any time soon. And we are really sorry for any web site and e-mail hiccups that occured during the transition.

yFlicks 3

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

The new yFlicks 3 doesn’t just let you view and arrange movies in static groups — its versatile tags feature lets you categorize your movies any way you want. You can even tag your movie automatically by querying Amazon’s online movie database, which gives you the additional benefit of having the corresponding DVD cover art downloaded automatically. And once you’ve done so, creating smart groups based on your tags and subdividing those smart groups by tag values will let you browse your movie library by Genre, Actor, Director, MPAA Rating, or Year, for instance.

And if you’re a Front Row fan, you’ll love the fact that usher mode lets you access the full complexity of your yFlicks library via Front Row.

So head over to MUPromo and get it. It’s available there with a 40% introductory rebate. Only today.

Buy Sofa Control

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Apple ships a remote control with most of their computers. With only six buttons the Apple Remote is the ultimate in simple sophistication. The standard functionality, however, is limited to controlling just a couple of applications. Sofa Control breaks this limit. With Sofa Control you are able to control any application on your Mac and trigger whatever actions you like.

Now you might be wondering why we would recommend an application we’re not officially affiliated with. Here’s why: About a year ago, Sofa Control’s head developer, Martin Kahr, did something Apple forgot to do: He provided a framework named Remote Control Wrapper that made it ridiculously easy for 3rd-party applications to interface with the Apple Remote. So when we started thinking about adding remote control support to yFlicks, the decision to use Martin’s framework was more or less a no-brainer. It was rock-solid, it was elegant, and it was free.

However, we encountered one issue that — in our humble opinion — was worth fixing: There wasn’t any mechanism for managing situations where several applications using Martin’s framework would strive for access to the remote control. When we contacted Martin about this, we were delighted by his open-minded response and his willingness to work this out.

And that’s what we did. Together, we came up with a beautiful solution for this kind of race condition. And this solution doesn’t even require any additional work from 3rd-party developers. They just have to update their applications to the newest Remote Control Wrapper version.

Yesterday, Martin released said version, along with Sofa Control 2.1, which — hardly surprisingly — uses the Remote Control Wrapper framework, too. So now you can have yFlicks and Sofa Control work seamlessly together, because actually, that new Remote Control Wrapper version has been built into yFlicks since yFlicks 2.0.

yFlicks was on macZOT (Tags)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

First of all, we’d just like to say thank you! yFlicks was quite a success with the macZOT community. When we negotiated this offer, macZOT gave us an estimate of the number of licenses they thought we would be able to sell, based on their usual sales figures and consisting of a minimum and a maximum number.

We sold almost three times the maximum estimate.

And macZOT buyers are no different from our other customers, inasmuch as they ask for tag support a lot. You really seem to be waiting for this — waiting for a way to store a movie’s director and its genre, for instance, in your movie library. So we thought we might as well let you know that we’re working on tags right now. And there’s a reason why we are taking our time for this: We want to do it right; and we think we do. In fact, this could easily turn into the most intelligent tagging mechanism you have ever seen — most notably when combined with smart groups.

And who knows… There may be an even bigger picture to this.