FastScripts 2.8.1: Bug Fixes & Performance

January 23rd, 2020

FastScripts 2.8.1 is now available on the FastScripts site and on the Mac App Store.

This update consists of minor bug fixes and performance improvements:

  • The keyboard shortcut for opening the FastScripts menu can now be set to “None”
  • Fix a bug that allowed the Preferences window to be resized too small to show the contents
  • Fix an issue that could impede scripts being run in quick succession with keyboard shortcuts
  • Fix an issue where the color chooser panel could be lost in the background if switching out of FastScripts while the Prefrences window is active
  • FastScript’s AppleScript interface now supports a “location” property on script library references, so you can obtain the file path to any node in its script hierarchy

If you enjoy FastScripts, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for your support.

MarsEdit 4.3.6: Phasing Out Blogger.com Support

January 17th, 2020

MarsEdit 4.3.6 is now available on the MarsEdit home page. It was submitted to the Mac App Store but has not yet been approved.

With this release, I’m officially dropping support for Blogger.com. Existing configurations may continue to work, but attempts to authorize new connections will fail. This is because Google no longer supports the authorization mechanism that MarsEdit uses. You can read more about the changes at Google that prompted this change in the Blogger page on Red Sweater Help.

For the adventurous existing customers who already have a Blogger configuration in MarsEdit, I’m offering advice for migrating existing authorizations from one Mac to another. This should be considered a stop-gap solution at best.

Dropping Blogger.com support is bittersweet for me. After I acquired MarsEdit in 2007, adding support for Blogger.com was one of the very first tasks I took on. I continue to host my own personal blog on the service. But over the years it has frankly been more of a headache to support than I wish it was, but I continued to put the work in because I both hoped Google would eventually put more effort into supporting the system, and because I knew I had a ton of passionate users who are still using the site. Unfortunately, I don’t think the prospects are good for the future of the service, and the hurdles Google has put up make it untenable for me to continue this effort.

On the bright side, this update also includes a number of bug fixes and enhancements. Here’s the complete list of changes in this update:

  • Adapt to changes in Blogger.com that require MarsEdit to drop support for the service
  • Images can now be pasted directly into the Featured Image field
  • Changes to default media size constraints no longer requires typing the “pt” units after the numeric value
  • Fix a bug that caused post editor’s sidebar width to change to match the preview template editor’s width
  • Fix a bug that could cause autoresizing text fields to not grow or shrink to match text
  • Fix a crash that could occur if a blog is deleted while it still has active network operations running

If you enjoy MarsEdit, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter, and of course, writing about the app on your own blog! Thanks for your support.

Black Ink 2.0.2: Bug Fixes and Accessibility Improvement

January 7th, 2020

Black Ink 2.0.2 is now available on the Black Ink home page and from the Mac App Store.

This update is a follow-up release to Black Ink 2.0, including a number of fixes to bugs that have been reported since that release. Black Ink 2.0.1 was a Mac App Store-only release to address a problem with in-app purchases.

One notable improvement on the accessibility front, is this release includes a change to fix the behavior of “Speak Items Under Pointer,” a feature that announces items as you move the mouse cursor around. Previously this feature only announced across words, but it will now announce either across or down words, depending on the whether the current focus is on an across or down word.

Here’s the complete list of changes:

  • Accessibility
    • Improve “Speak items under the pointer” to speak the right clue for across or down depending on current focus
  • Bug Fixes
    • Fixed an issue that caused downloads of older WSJ puzzles to fail
    • Fixed a bug that caused the puzzle window to drift off screen when making it larger
    • Fixed an issue that prevented logging in to American Values Club accounts when passwords contain particular characters
    • Fixed a bug that caused the timer to not be visible/started by default
    • Improved error handling when a downloaded puzzle cannot be saved for whatever reason

If you enjoy Black Ink, please consider writing a review or rating the app on the Mac App Store, or spreading the word on Facebook or Twitter! Questions or concerns? Get in touch at support@red-sweater.com. Thank you.

Black Ink 2.0 Is Here

December 2nd, 2019

I’m excited to share the news that Black Ink 2 has shipped and is available for immediate download both on the Black Ink home page and from the Mac App Store. As promised, customers who purchased a license to Black Ink 1 on or after January 1, 2018, are entitled to a free upgrade to Black Ink 2. Customers who purchased Black Ink 1 in 2017 or earlier are entitled to a discounted upgrade price.

Black Ink 2.0 is a huge update to the app, featuring a massive overhaul of the puzzle-solving window, support for new accessibility features, and at long last, Dark Mode support for macOS 10.14. Read on to learn more about the changes in this update.

Free For All

One major change that comes with this update is that the app can now be used for free, with no time limit. All the basic features to download and solve puzzles are available, but a few “premium” features are locked and available only to customers who purchase a license. These premium features include:

  • Printing puzzles
  • Using the puzzle timer
  • Checking puzzle answers
  • Revealing puzzle answers

These modest limitations leave the app delightfully useful in “free mode,” but I hope that most users will be inspired to purchase a license to unlock the extra behaviors and to help support development of the app. Additional premium features may be added in the future.

Visual Refinement

Every aspect of the puzzle-solving window has been rethought, from the elimination of the outdated “drawers” for the clue lists, to painstaking improvements to how the elements of the puzzle grid are drawn. One of my goals with Black Ink is that it embraces the aesthetic joy of working with crossword puzzles, and to that end the puzzle itself must be as beautiful as I can possibly make it.

Folks who enjoy running macOS 10.14 or later in Dark Mode will appreciate the new Dark Mode puzzle grid, drawn mostly with a combination of black and grey, with white text only for the most pertinent aspects of the puzzle: the clues and your answers.

Accessibility Improvements

I’m excited to finally offer VoiceOver support for the puzzle grid. Believe it or not, I have been wanting to add this for over 12 years, but whenever I sat down to tackle the problem it just seemed … too hard. There are aspects to a crossword puzzle that defy the usual assumptions about what elements on a screen represent. I ended up making my best effort at addressing the challenges, and I hope the VoiceOver community finds it usable. In any case, I consider this a “1.0” as far as VoiceOver support is concerned, and will be eager to hear feedback from folks in the VoiceOver community once they’ve had time to give it a spin.

Separately from the all-new VoiceOver support, Black Ink 2.0 now correctly handles “focus follows zoom”, so folks who benefit from solving with the Mac’s overall screen zoomed in can enjoy the benefits of the zoom area moving automatically to reveal the currently focused word.

Streamlined Solving

Lots of little improvements have been made to “the little things” in Black Ink that make solving that much more of a joy. Nuanced behaviors in tabbing forwards and backwards in the puzzle, such as answers marked incorrect being treated as “empty” so you can easily navigate to them to re-solve them. Relatedly: the home and end keys now navigate to the beginning and end of the focused word, respectively.

Finally, puzzles that have notes from the author attached to them are now much easier to spot. Where previously you had to look for a “Show Notes” menu item, Black Ink 2 will now prompt you when opening a puzzle that has notes. If you choose to view them, you can either dismiss the notes, or drag them off into a separate window for easy reference as you solve the puzzle.

A Fresh Start

I’m excited to share Black Ink 2 with the world, and see it as a great baseline for continued development of the app. Here’s to crossword puzzles, their beautiful aesthetic, and the joy of solving them on a Mac.