Archive for December, 2006

YAWS : Yet another winter storm

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

They’re predicting another 3 feet to go on top of the foot of compacted snow left by the previous storm… so I may be incommunicado again.

Another storm rolls into Colorado

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Visibility is down to 100 meters, and up to 3 feet of snow are predicted. It’s possible we’ll lose electricity again, in which case I’ll be incommunicado.

Store & final beta

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

It looks like the next beta will be the last, so get your bug reports in! :-)

Those of you who reported bugs will be getting trial licenses to test the premium features soon. I’m building a license management tool to help me process orders quickly and to test it I’ll send you the licenses using it.

I promised that during the beta trial period the purchase price would be lower. Setting up a shop is taking orders of magnitude longer than I anticipated: resellers answer questions slowly if at all. Many of them expect a license key, not the license file I’ve implemented.

Argh… Beta 3

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

The first bug I got back from Beta 2 showed that the new Crash Reporter functionality wasn’t always started up correctly… despite my testing for that case. Turns out that what I thought was memory given to me by Python was in fact garbage collected (and therefore … disappears after an indeterminate amount of time). Since the Crash Reporter is the means for users to signal bugs, I’ve had to rush the third beta.

Second Beta released & Input Manager disabler

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

I released the second beta of Find It! Keep It! today.

It contains a few bug fixes, and a crash reporter to help people report bugs.

The biggest change is that Input Managers are disabled within Find It! Keep It! by default. They’ll still work in your other applications.

Why? All but one of the reported crashes at launch were due to Input Manager conflicts: 50% of all reported bugs! Understandably, if a crash is your first experience with Find It! Keep It!, you’ll assume Find It! Keep It! is at fault.

Contacting the author of every Input Manager that fails to ask them for a fix isn’t ideal: my users need to tell me what crashed and work with me to isolate the fault, and the Input Manager author needs to be willing to fix the problem. In the real world, most users will just give up.

Furthermore, in many cases, Input Managers are targeted at a specific application. For instance, Safari Tidy targets Safari, Chax targets iChat. At best they are harmless when loaded into other applications. At worst they’ll crash them.

So what if you actually want to access an Input Manager’s functionality from within Find It! Keep It!? I provide a Preference Panel that allows you to enable any of your Input Managers. When loading a new combination of Input Managers, Find It! Keep It! will step you through the process to help isolate crashes on load. It also disables any Input Manager it recognizes as having crashed on load, and restarts without it.

Hopefully, this is the best of all worlds: the ability for users to customize their systems without the penalty of instability.

I would like to see Apple providing stronger system controls over Input Managers, and other customizations: the user should always be in control. In particular Input Managers make adware trivial to implement on the Mac. Apple could improve overall user experience by requiring users to explicitly go to a preference panel to allow a given Input Manager to load into a given application.