Red Sweater Blog https://red-sweater.com/blog Official blog of Red Sweater Software Tue, 12 Jun 2018 14:11:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 MarsEdit 4.1: Image Metadata and Privacy Protection https://red-sweater.com/blog/3342/marsedit-4-1-image-metadata-and-privacy-protection https://red-sweater.com/blog/3342/marsedit-4-1-image-metadata-and-privacy-protection#respond Tue, 12 Jun 2018 14:11:56 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3342 MarsEdit 4.1 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and from the Mac App Store.

This update brings a variety of improvements and bug fixes, with an emphasis on issues affecting image formats and the preservation, or removal, of metadata on images that are uploaded by MarsEdit.

Previously when an image was uploaded by MarsEdit, no special care was taken with respect to metadata. If your settings in MarsEdit specified a resize of the image, all metadata was lost. If your settings specified no resize, all metadata was preserved. With MarsEdit 4.1, the preservation or removal of metadata is placed firmly in users’s hands:

Screenshot of MarsEdit image properties, including a new option to specify metadata preservation.

Now there are three choices for image metadata: Preserve All, Remove All, and Remove Location. The right choice will depend on your scenario: if you’re writing under a pen name on an anonymous blog, removing everything is probably the right choice. If you’re a pro photographer and want the detailed camera settings, copyright, etc., to remain intact, then you probably want to preserve everything. But many of you will undoubtedly choose the compromise option, to preserve almost everything, but remove location information that could inadvertently reveal sensitive information to your blog’s readers.

While I was “under the hood,” so to speak, I took a look at another detail of image file formats: the color model. Most images formats support the specification of a standard by which the image’s colors should be interpreted when displaying them on a screen. The color model information allows for different devices to handle an image consistently. The sRGB color model is considered the standard for web images, but images from your phone or camera are liable to have another more proprietary color model. Starting with MarsEdit 4.1 there are two options for color model: convert to sRGB, or leave the color model just as it is.

These options for color model and image metadata apply consistently whether your image settings specify a resize, or not. This consistency of behavior will be a very welcome change in MarsEdit 4.1!

Also in the image department, MarsEdit now supports dragging photos directly from Apple’s Photos app. You may have noticed that many apps on the Mac do not supports this, and it’s because of a novel approach to dragging that Photos uses. Because images in your Photos collection may be stored in the cloud, a drag from the app only offers a “promise” of a full copy of the image. For this reason apps such as MarsEdit needed to be revised to support the new kind of drag. You might notice when dragging that there is sometimes a delay after releasing the drag. This is because MarsEdit needs to request a “fulfillment of the promise” before it can work with the image.

In addition to the image-focused changes, there are a good number of improvements and bug fixes that will affect a wide variety of MarsEdit users. Here’s the complete list of changes in this release:

  • Media improvements
    • New options for image metadata to preserve, remove, or remove only location-specific GPS data
    • Now supports direct dragging of images from Photos.app
    • Color profile can now be either preserved or converted to sRGB automatically
    • Performance improvements for users with large numbers of previously uploaded images
    • Preload media manager contents at launch time to avoid performance hit when opening it up
  • Bug fixes
    • Fix a bug that caused some CMYK profile images to not be rotated as expected
    • Fix a bug that caused featured image to be removed from posts when preview filter was applied
    • Fix a bug that prevented the “New Post” item from being enabled in the main window contextual menu
    • Fix “Copy Published Link” from the main window when a post is selected but post list not focused
    • Fix Preview Template auto-downloading for Micro.blog and other MetaWeblog API blogs
    • Fix a crash that could occur when interacting with the Formatting Macro editor window after closing a post editor
    • Fix a bug that could prevent Google OAuth tokens from being redacted in the Network Log
    • Fix a bug that caused “more” tags and other comments to be stripped from posts in some cases
    • Fix a bug where the full temporary path of an image was shown in the user notification
  • Little things
    • Add a “Remove Link” item to the Rich Text contextual menu
    • Don’t warn about editing mode switches if the editor is empty
    • Handle clicks on “mailto” links in the Preview Window for posts that happen to have them

Enjoy MarsEdit 4.1!

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The Future for Tumblr and MarsEdit https://red-sweater.com/blog/3321/the-future-for-tumblr-and-marsedit Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:52:13 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3321 MarsEdit’s history with Tumblr has been long and bittersweet. Starting with a December, 2008 post in which I encouraged Tumblr to add fundamental support for apps like MarsEdit to their API:

There are relatively simple changes that Tumblr can make to their API to facilitate an acceptable user experience not only from MarsEdit, but from other client applications that might choose to embrace the service’s API.

That post resulted in a response from their lead developer at the time, Marco Arment, and a significant update to their API. In March, 2009, I released MarsEdit 2.3 with support for Tumblr:

It feels great to finally have an official release out there that supports Tumblr. I would like to thank Marco Arment for his patience in working with me to improve the Tumblr API, so that it will work better with MarsEdit.

Although I was satisfied with the initial changes made to the API, there were areas that still needed work. The most significant shortcoming in Tumblr’s API remains to this day: lack of support for uploading and embedding images independently from “photo” style posts. This means that MarsEdit users who write traditional “text” blog entries on Tumblr cannot add images to those posts, even though the same functionality is available in the Tumblr web editor.

Over the years, other issues have interfered with MarsEdit’s integration with Tumblr, including reliability problems, unexpected api outages and overhauls, among other surprises. In short, it’s been a bumpy road.

In recent years, things have leveled out. Stability seems to have improved after Yahoo! acquired the company in 2013, and the Tumblr API has, for better and for worse, appeared to remain unchanged for many years now. Unfortunately, this lack of change also means that the decade-old lack of support for uploading images has not improved.

The latest chapter in this saga began last year when Verizon acquired Yahoo’s major products, including Tumblr. They established a new company called Oath, which is an umbrella for many sites including Tumblr and, until a few days ago, Flickr. The sale of Flickr makes me wonder where Tumblr fits into Verizon’s overall vision for Oath’s brands.

Most of Oath’s services, including major tech press outlets such as TechCrunch, revolve around providing consumers with content, as opposed to hosting user-contributed content. Do they want out of the blog-hosting business, the way they evidently wanted out of the photo-hosting business? Or did they merely see Flickr as being redundant with Tumblr?

Amidst the uncertainty about Tumblr’s future, the Tumblr Engineering team at least seems to be very optimistic. In an April 10 post titled “A Big New Beautiful Future for the Web at Tumblr“, they write about significant plans to renovate their whole approach to developing the website:

It was time to step back, survey the world of web technology, and clean house in a big way. That we could finally test some of the new tech we’ve been itching to use was just a little bonus.

What’s most interesting, and most encouraging, to me is the list of priorities they cite in rethinking their approach. At the top of the list:

A web client codebase fully separated from the PHP codebase that gets its data from the API in the same way our mobile apps do.

In case it’s not obvious, this is very encouraging for developers of 3rd party apps such as MarsEdit. Why? Because encoded in the ambition to implement their web client using the “API in the same way our mobile apps do” is an implicit promise (though not an Oath™) that they will be modifying the existing API to supply all the same functionality that is currently available on the web. In short: anything they can do on Tumblr.com should soon be doable by apps such as MarsEdit.

This would be a very welcome change, and I’ll be eager to see how it unfolds. It’s not a sure thing, though. WordPress has made a similar shift over the past few years with the development of their WP-REST API. Theoretically, they intend to reimplement the WordPress web interface entirely in terms of that API. What I didn’t anticipate though was that the API would not have a viable authentication model for 3rd party clients. Currently the WP-REST API can only be used on standard WordPress installations with “cookie authentication,” meaning by other web software running in the same browser. It’s effectively unavailable to apps like MarsEdit, and even to WordPress own mobile app.

Tumblr’s ambitions to re-orient development around the API may come with similar gotchas. I know enough after ten years supporting the service to know that I can’t count on anything until I see it. Still, this news leaves me more cautiously optimistic about Tumblr than I have been in years! If Tumblr sticks around, and if they do expand their API to support more functionality in MarsEdit and other apps, I’ll be eager to update the app to support it. Let’s hope for the best!

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FastScripts 2.6.12: Minor Script Folder Fixes https://red-sweater.com/blog/3318/fastscripts-2-6-12-minor-script-folder-fixes Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:25:26 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3318 FastScripts 2.6.12 is now available from the FastScripts home page, and on the Mac App Store.

This update brings a couple minor fixes affecting the way FastScripts deals with files in your script folders:

  • Fix a bug that could cause aliases in script trees to not resolve properly
  • Fix a bug in folder modification tests that could cause unexpected script folder resyncing

Most users shouldn’t notice much of a change, but I wanted to get these minor issues fixed. Enjoy!

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MarsEdit 4.0.9: Fix Blogger Images https://red-sweater.com/blog/3316/marsedit-4-0-9-fix-blogger-images Tue, 10 Apr 2018 20:54:44 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3316 MarsEdit 4.0.9 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and will be available from the Mac App Store after Apple has approved it.

In MarsEdit 4.0.8 I made a change for Blogger blogs to help ensure that images are embedded in a way that is compatible with Blogger’s themes. In the process, I messed up the generation of image URLs such that the http or https prefix for an uploaded image only has one slash:

https:/

When it should have two:

https://

The result was that for some blogs at least the images are showing up as missing resources, and not loading into the final published page.

MarsEdit 4.0.9 fixes this, but if you have any posts from the past month or so that exhibit this problem, you can fix it by editing the post as plain text (Post -> Edit Plain Text), find the “https:/” and add a slash to make it “https://”.

This update also changes the generation of “<!–more–>” tags on Blogger to avoid wrapping them with “<br />” tags.

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Black Ink 2 Public Beta https://red-sweater.com/blog/3311/black-ink-2-public-beta https://red-sweater.com/blog/3311/black-ink-2-public-beta#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2018 20:51:19 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3311 Last year, in the lead up to shipping MarsEdit 4, I released a public beta. The idea was to give users a chance to start enjoying some of the new features of the app while I worked out the remaining details and added a few bells and whistles. Now, I’d like to do a similar thing for Black Ink, my crossword solving app for the Mac.

Beta Release Overview

Black Ink 2 is available now as a public beta: Download Black Ink 2.0b4. This update requires macOS 10.12 or greater.

Pricing for Black Ink 2 has not been finalized. New users may evaluate Black Ink 2 using the free 30-day trial. When Black Ink 2 is released, customers who purchased Black Ink 1 on or after January 1, 2018, will receive a free upgrade.

Historical Perspective

In February 2007, I acquired a crossword solving app named MacXword. After a quick but significant update, I rebranded it and announced Black Ink 1.0 in March of that year. I explained at the time what a perfect fit a crossword app was for me personally:

The best part about this acquisition is that I love, and always have loved crossword puzzles. I’ve even gone so far as to try my hand at composing them. I’ve let my passion for puzzles diminish a little bit over the years, but Black Ink makes it so easy to download and solve puzzles, I’m finding it the perfect antidote to my stress-filled days.

I’ve actively maintained the app these past ten years, consistently releasing updates to refine the solving experience, add new puzzle sources, and adapt to the overall reduction in the number of free puzzles on the web. In spite of another lull in my personal enthusiasm for solving puzzles, I’ve been proud to be the steward of what I consider the best crossword solving app on any platform.

A couple years ago, my interest in solving puzzles was rekindled, and through my personal experience using the app almost every day, I have been motivated to make a number of longstanding improvements to the app. Many of these come down to fit and finish. To crossword lovers, the puzzles themselves are things of beauty, and I believe they should be represented as cleanly as possible both on the screen and when printed. For this reason I have always emphasized precise rendering of puzzle grid lines, cell numbers, and answer characters. Black Ink 1 is a beautiful app, but there are areas where it can still be improved.

What’s New in Black Ink 2

To give you an idea of what’s new, let’s start with a (shrunken-down, to fit this blog) screenshot:

Screenshot of Black Ink 2's main puzzle solving interface.

Existing Black Ink users will appreciate that the interface is familiar, yet different. Here are some of the changes that are visible above:

  • No more drawers! Clue lists are now integrated into the main puzzle window.
  • Sharper grid lines. On Retina displays, the lines between cells are now thinner to give an overall cleaner look.
  • Refined circle drawing. In Black Ink 1, circled cells draw right over the cell number. In the screenshot above, see how the circle makes way for the number. It does the same thing for any of the badges for incorrect and revealed answers in cells.

On top of these changes, I am chipping away at other details that may be minor nuisances, but which can be confusing or frustrating. How many times have you opened a puzzle and spent a good few minutes on it, only to realize you were missing something subtle? Some puzzles include special notes for solvers, but you have to remember to “Show Puzzle Notes…” from the menu bar. Not anymore. In Black Ink 2, if a puzzle contains notes, they are displayed automatically upon opening the puzzle:

Screenshot of a Black Ink puzzle with notes displayed.

Here are some other improvements you’ll find in Black Ink 2:

  • Clue text dynamically resizes to ensure the whole clue is visible at the top of the window.
  • “Advance to blank” behavior now considers a known incorrect answer as “blank”, for ease of navigation when finishing up puzzle with incorrect answers.
  • Capitalized letters are now accepted as valid (when you instinctively capitalize a proper noun, e.g.).
  • Diagramless puzzles now open as a blank grid, suitable for solving in the app or for printing.

What’s Next?

I’m excited to get this beta out to you so you can see what I’ve been working on, but I really need your feedback to figure out both where to go next, and how to refine what I’ve already done. Some of the enhancements I’m considering adding to the 2.0 release include:

  • Improved tools for downloading older puzzles from a source
  • Embedding the Timer into the main puzzle window.
  • Improved full-screen solving experience.
  • Tools for capturing screenshots of puzzles for social sharing.

And of course because I know many of you are wondering, I do still have it in mind to create an iOS version of Black Ink. I don’t have anything to announce at this time.

Please consider joining the Red Sweater Slack team to discuss the upcoming release, share your feedback, or let me know what you wish I’d add. Join the #blackink channel once you’re there! As always, I also welcome bug reports and other feedback via email.

I hope you enjoy the sneak peak at Black Ink 2. Happy solving, and let me know what you think!

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MarsEdit 4.0.8: Fix Media Manager Permissions https://red-sweater.com/blog/3305/marsedit-4-0-8-fix-media-manager-permissions Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:56:50 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3305 MarsEdit 4.0.8 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and from the Mac App Store.

This update brings a number of bug fixes and minor enhancements. Most notably, it fixes an issue where double-clicking an image from the Media Manager might result in an image that MarsEdit could not access, leaving a “?” placeholder image in the published post.

  • Fix a bug where images from Media Manager were not always permitted to be inserted into posts
  • Fix a bug that could cause slow text layout in the plain text editor
  • Disable Tags field when editing WordPress Page entries, where they’re not allowed
  • Ensure escape and cmd-. keyboard shortcuts work as expected for cancel button in panels
  • Enable the ‘Copy Published Link’ and ‘Send to Blog’ menu items when the preview window is active

Enjoy!

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MarsEdit 4.0.7: Editor Stability & Refresh Performance https://red-sweater.com/blog/3296/marsedit-4-0-7-editor-stability-refresh-performance Tue, 06 Feb 2018 18:54:16 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3296 MarsEdit 4.0.7 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and on the Mac App Store.

Within the past few weeks, the number of hangs and crashes having to do with MarsEdit’s plain-text editor has gone up quite a bit. I think it was a combination of some changes in in MarsEdit 4, and some changes in Apple’s latest revisions of the Mac libraries in macOS 10.13. This update makes a few changes that should dramatically reduce if not eliminate these editor annoyances.

MarsEdit 4 brought a new feature to support downloading the entire post archive from a blog, and some of the app’s most long-time devotees decided to put it to the test! For some blogs, particularly when there are thousands of posts, it may be prudent or even necessary to change the default “number of posts per request” in MarsEdit’s Connection settings. Previously, this setting was being respected for WordPress, but ignored for Tumblr and Blogger. This is also fixed in this update.

A number of other improvements were made. Here is the complete list of changes:

MarsEdit 4.0.7

  • Fix a crash that could occur in the plain text syntax highlighting functionality
  • Fix a hang in the plain text editor that could affect large posts
  • Fix Google and Tumblr blogs to heed the “number of posts per request” download setting
  • Fix a bug introduced in 4.0.6 that caused doubling of file extensions on image uploads
  • Fix behavior of “Do Again” format menu item for custom macros applies in Rich Text mode
  • Fix a bug that prevented Featured Image from being deleted from an already-published post
  • Fix handling of combining characters such as the “Male Singer” (Ziggy Startdust) in plain text editor
  • Change character count behavior to consider spaces in total character count.

Enjoy!

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MarsEdit 4.0.6: Lightroom Fix https://red-sweater.com/blog/3294/marsedit-4-0-6-lightroom-fix https://red-sweater.com/blog/3294/marsedit-4-0-6-lightroom-fix#comments Tue, 23 Jan 2018 22:41:26 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3294 MarsEdit 4.0.6 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and for the Mac App Store.

It’s a bit embarrassing that after celebrating support in 4.0.5 for Lightroom 7 (Classic CC) libraries, it became clear that many Lighroom libraries could not be accessed at all by that version, because of an oversight in how sandbox privileges were being requested for MarsEdit. Long story short: “it worked on my machine.” 😀

MarsEdit 4.0.6 fixes (knock on wood) the Lighroom issue and incorporates a couple other small bug fixes:

  • Fix names of HEIF based photos in the Media Manager
  • Fix a bug that prevented some Lightroom libraries from appearing in Media Manager
  • Fix a bug that prevented some dragged images from being accepted in the Rich Text editor

Enjoy, and let me know of any problems if you find them!

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MarsEdit 4.0.5: Moving Right Along https://red-sweater.com/blog/3290/marsedit-4-0-5 https://red-sweater.com/blog/3290/marsedit-4-0-5#comments Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:30:50 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3290 MarsEdit 4.0.5 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This update includes bug fixes and refinements that I’ve made in response to feedback from customers since MarsEdit 4.0 was released in December.

  • Fix a bug that prevented automatic preview template download from working on some Blogspot blogs
  • Add accessibility description to the buttons for adding and removing Custom Fields
  • Detect and convey more useful error message for “Obfuscated ID” Blogger image upload failures
  • Protect against a possible crash when handling Tumblr API errors
  • Incorporate support for Lightroom 7 into the Media Manager
  • Rich Editor fixes
    • Restore Cmd-Shift-C keyboard shortcut to open Color Panel
    • Fix a bug where the “More” tag in a post with Unicode characters could get stripped out
    • Improvements to cursor navigation of images and text with links

Enjoy the improvements, and keep that valuable feedback coming!

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MarsEdit 4.0.4: More Bug Fixes https://red-sweater.com/blog/3288/marsedit-4-0-4-more-bug-fixes https://red-sweater.com/blog/3288/marsedit-4-0-4-more-bug-fixes#comments Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:25:47 +0000 https://red-sweater.com/blog/?p=3288 It’s been two weeks since MarsEdit 4 was launched, and I’ve focused on releasing bug-fix updates to iron out little issues that have been reported since the debut.

MarsEdit 4.0.4 is now available for download from the MarsEdit home page and from the Mac App Store.

Here is the list of fixes this update includes:

  • Fix a failure to auto-configure some Tumblr-based blogs
  • Fix a problem that prevented bolds, italics, etc. from being set as default preview fonts
  • Fix a problem where Typewriter Mode in Rich Text mode could scroll awkwardly while typing
  • Restore support for selecting “main category” on Movable Type blogs
  • Improve indexing and searchability of built-in Help

Enjoy!

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