Red Sweater Blog Official blog of Red Sweater Software Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:45:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OS X El Capitan Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:44:45 +0000 Tomorrow, Apple will release the latest version of OS X: 10.11 “El Capitan.”

All Red Sweater apps have been tested against the forthcoming release, and there are no known incompatibilities.

Please let us know if you run into any problems or have specific questions about our apps.

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Cmd-Number Shortcuts For Safari 9 Thu, 09 Jul 2015 18:49:46 +0000 If you’re a Safari user and you’ve updated to the Safari 9 or OS X 10.11 beta, you may have noticed a minor change in the default keyboard shortcuts for the app.

In Safari 8 and earlier, keyboard shortcuts combining the Command key and a number, e.g. Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, would open the corresponding bookmark bar item. So if you arranged your most-frequently-visited sites in the first few bookmark bar slots, you could easily jump to those pages by muscle memory thanks to these shortcuts.

In Safari 9, these shortcuts now switch to any open tabs you have in a Safari window. This will come as a surprise to folks who have gotten used to e.g. using Cmd-1 to quickly jump to e.g. Google News, or Yahoo Stocks.

The implicit shortcuts for bookmark bar items are still available, but you have to add the option key into the mix. So where you used to press Cmd-1, you must now press Cmd-Opt-1.

This may not be a big deal to you, and you may choose to simply adapt, but for those who got used to the old behavior and want to preserve a similar functionality, FastScripts can do the job of putting things back into order for you.

Safari’s scripting interface doesn’t support selecting a specific bookmark bar item by number, so FastScripts can’t exactly replicate the old behavior. What it can do though is bind (just about) any keystroke to a script that opens a specific URL in Safari. You might find after getting used to doing things “the FastScripts way” that you prefer it to the old Safari way, because you won’t be limited to using numeric shortcuts, and will instead be able to choose whatever shortcuts you like. For example, I use Ctrl-N as my shortcut to quickly jump to Google News.

Here’s a step-by-step procedure for adding shortcuts to Safari to open a specific URL:

  1. Download FastScripts. It’s free for up to 10 shortcuts.
  2. Launch FastScripts and find its icon in the upper-right corner of your Mac’s screen. It looks like this: MenuIconGray 2x
  3. Launch or activate Safari so it’s the front-most app.
  4. Click the FastScripts icon and select FastScripts -> Create Safari Scripts Folder.
  5. Download this script and copy it to the Safari scripts folder.
  6. Double-click the script to open in Script Editor.
  7. Change the URL in the script from “” to whatever URL you like, e.g. “”
  8. Save the script and rename it to e.g. “Open Google News”.
  9. Back in Safari, hold the Command down and select “Open Google News” from the FastScripts menu. This is a shortcut to quickly change a script’s keyboard shortcut.
  10. Set the desired keyboard shortcut in FastScripts’s preferences.
  11. There’s no step 11! From now on, whenever you’re in Safari and want to jump to that URL, just press the keyboard shortcut, and you’re done.

This sounds a bit more complicated to set up than it is in practice. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to quickly replace however many Cmd-Number shortcuts as you like in Safari, and it might even open the door to overriding behaviors of other apps. This is an area where FastScripts really shines. Enjoy!

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MarsEdit 3.7.1: Finessing Apple Photos And Google Authentication Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:16:18 +0000 MarsEdit 3.7.1 is available now on the MarsEdit home page, and will be submitted to the Mac App Store approval for approval by Apple.

This update addresses a couple issues that affect a minority of MarsEdit users. One fix is for Blogger users who ran into mysterious “JavaScript disabled” errors when trying to log in to their blogs. The other should eliminate a crash that could occur while loading the contents of an Apple Photos library in MarsEdit’s Media Manager.

  • Fix a crash that could occur while reloading Apple Photos Library
  • Fix a rare issue where users could encounter a “JavaScript disabled” error when trying to log in to Blogger

Let me know if you run into any trouble with the update!

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MarsEdit 3.7: Blogger Functionality Restored Tue, 02 Jun 2015 16:51:54 +0000 I’m happy to announce that MarsEdit 3.7 is available now from the MarsEdit home page and will be submitted to the Mac App Store approval for approval by Apple. If you are an existing Mac App Store customer, you can download and use the direct-download version immediately. Just switch back to the App Store version after you notice it’s been approved.

One week ago today, MarsEdit compatibility with Blogger was broken by a change in Google’s authentication requirements. I’ve spent the past week adding the required changes to MarsEdit so that Blogger blogs can be authenticated with the most modern mechanism Google offers: their company-wide OAuth2 implementation.

The big change for Blogger users is that instead of the usual MarsEdit authentication panel, requesting your Google username and password, you will see a larger window pop up with web content served directly from Google:

Sign In

While updating MarsEdit to use the new system was not a trivial undertaking, it is a valuable change for the long term. The new authentication scheme offers two significant improvements to protect your Google account’s security:

  1. Your password will no longer be stored (or even handled) by MarsEdit. The Google web window authenticates you using your login information, and then shares with MarsEdit a unique authentication token, which is now stored securely in the OS X keychain. This token allows MarsEdit to connect to your Blogger account without prompting you again for permission.
  2. You retain the option to revoke that access at any time, without even opening MarsEdit. Although MarsEdit always stores passwords securely in the OS X keychain, this additional level of security ensures that even if somebody were able to gain access to your keychain contents, they would not obtain unfettered access to your entire Google account.

This has been a wild week, but I’m very relieved to be able to offer this update for Google Blogger users. Folks who don’t use Blogger should also update, because there are a few minor fixes that will, in particular, improve the experience of using the MarsEdit Media Manager for some workflows.

Complete list of changes in MarsEdit 3.7:

  • Restore functionality for Google’s Blogger blogs by supporting their modern authentication scheme
  • Fix handling of dates to ensure proper post scheduling in all locales/regions
  • Fix some visual flickering of the Media Manager’s album/folders lists while clicking them
  • Refinements to Apple Photos support in Media Browser
    • Prevent a crash that could occur in media manager when no Photos library was created yet
    • Fix a problem where some groups could be expanded even if there are no contents inside

Please let me know ASAP, either in the comments below or by other support channels, how the update is working out for you.

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Preliminary MarsEdit Blogger Fix Fri, 29 May 2015 17:51:23 +0000 Since learning on Tuesday about MarsEdit’s sudden failure to connect with Blogger blogs, I have been working to restore functionality.

I’m happy to share that I’ve published a working (I hope!) beta release with preliminary support for connecting to Blogger through their newer authentication system, OAuth2. You can download a pre-release of MarsEdit with this functionality here:

Download MarsEdit 3.7b2

Be aware that when you first go to publish to your blog, upload an image, or delete a post, MarsEdit will pop up a login window for Google, right in the app. This is expected and is part of the new method for accommodating Google authentication:

Sign In

Be sure to use the Google account that is associated with your blog. After you sign in once and approve the connection, you shouldn’t need to sign in again.

There are a few rough edges in this beta release, but I want to make sure those of you who are waiting for a fix get something to try as soon as possible. Please let me know if you run into any major problems, particularly problems that prevent you from connecting to and editing your Blogger blog.

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Blogger Connection Failures Wed, 27 May 2015 03:42:52 +0000 I am disheartened to confirm that as of today, May 26, 2015, MarsEdit will fail to connect to any blogs hosted on Google’s Blogger/Blogspot service.

MarsEdit has supported Blogger for many, many years. A side-effect of having supported it for so long is the app uses an authentication method, ClientLogin, which has been phased out over time, and is no longer supported by Google.

Although I knew that Google was encouraging developers to adopt a newer authentication method, I was not aware that the ClientLogin mechanism would be shut down this month, or even this year.

I am committed to maintaining support for Blogger in MarsEdit, but adapting to a new authentication method is a non-trivial change, and not something I can turn around immediately. I will make it a priority to update MarsEdit as soon as possible, and will post again on this blog when a beta release is ready for testing, so that Blogger users who are anxious to return to MarsEdit can give it a try.

In the mean time unfortunately I don’t know of any workaround that will allow Blogger users to continue using MarsEdit. I appreciate your patience while I work to update the app.

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MarsEdit 3.6.9: Apple Photos Support Fri, 15 May 2015 21:37:34 +0000 MarsEdit 3.6.9 is available now from the MarsEdit home page and will be submitted to the Mac App Store approval for approval by Apple.

This update adds support for browsing images stored in Apple’s new Photos app, released with OS X 10.10.3.

Other changes include bug fixes affecting the post editor, application of the preview filter to posts on some blog systems, and an issue with pasting URLs copied from another application such as Safari.

  • Fix to include photos from Apple’s new Photos app to Media Browser
  • Fix “Apply Preview Filter Before Publishing” for Tumblr and Movable Type blogs
  • Fix a rare crash that could occur when a document window’s content changes while closing
  • Fix a problem with dragging images from Flickr or Catalog panes of Media Manager to HTML Text edit area
  • Fix an issue pasting HTML e.g. from a copied link in Safari
  • Fix a bug that prevented find/replace from working when replacement string contained a single quote (‘)


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MarsEdit 3.6.8: Retina Image Uploads Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:57:59 +0000 MarsEdit 3.6.8 is available now from the MarsEdit home page and the Mac App Store.

This update includes a large number of bug fixes as well as one important change in the way that MarsEdit handles the uploading of images intended to be displayed at a “Retina” compatible resolution.

One of the problems with handling Retina graphics well is that there is a huge variety of solutions in use by different web sites, depending on the priorities for bandwidth, ease of editing, backwards compatibility, etc. My expectation that MarsEdit users would want the app to support this variety has kept me thus far from releasing any solution at all to the problem. In the interim, I have been adopting the workaround myself of uploading images at twice the resolution I wanted them to display at, and hand-editing the HTML to reference them at half-size. So, if I wanted a 400x400pt screenshot on my blog, I’d upload an 800×800 image and hand-edit the HTML to look like:

<img src="..." width="400" height="400" />

As of MarsEdit 3.6.8, a checkbox when uploading or inserting an image to Treat as Retina image will enable behavior like the above, completely automatically.

That is to say, if you want a 400×400 image on your blog to look nice on Retina displays, just supply an image at least 800×800 and check the “Treat as Retina image” checkbox. MarsEdit will produce the expected HTML and upload the image at twice the width and height.

This solution will not meet everybody’s expectations for how Retina images should be handled, but it’s a good step up from what MarsEdit has offered thus far. This solution has the benefits of being both simple and backward-compatible. The main downside is that readers with standard-resolution displays are forced to download a higher resolution image than necessary. As high resolution displays become more and more popular, and bandwidth use becomes a less typically critical issue, I think the adoption of a compromise like this one will be common.

Here is a list of all the specific changes that went into this release:

  • Address issues with images being uploaded for display on Retina screens:
    • Images are now uploaded at 2x specified dimensions when Retina checkbox selected
    • Width and height fields now show size as “points” instead of “pixels”
    • Width and height fields now limited based on size of image and Retina setting
  • Rich and HTML Editor bug fixes
    • Fix a bug where pressing return in a blockquote could cause a new blockquote to be created
    • Fix a bug where smart quotes, etc. were erroneously allowed in plain HTML
    • Fix a bug that prevented images from being pasted into post editor content
  • Other media-related fixes
    • Fix a bug that caused Tumblr images to publish at constrained size even if the size is changed in Media Manager
    • Fix a bug where media style macro was not applied to re-inserted, previously uploaded images
    • Fix a bug where media style macro with prefix and suffix did not wrap the active selection
  • Other bug fixes
    • Fix a bug that prevented post documents from showing unsaved changes after changing custom field contents
    • Fix a bug in “Show Text Statistics” sample script that caused inaccurate word count to be shown
    • Fix a bug in Media Manager that failed to show the entire folder name for folders with periods (.) in their names
    • Default newly added Blogspot blogs to “Apply Preview Filter” before publishing, to ensure paragraph tags are added if needed

Let me know if you have any questions or run into any problems!

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Clarion 2.1: Modern Times Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:20:51 +0000 Clarion 2.1 is available now from the Clarion home page. I also intend to submit this version to the Mac App Store, for what will be Clarion’s debut on the store.

Clarion is Red Sweater’s utility for practicing the recognition of musical intervals (the distances between two pitches). It’s the oldest of my shipping apps, and over the past several years I had lost sight of how far into disrepair it had fallen. Very cool features such as its ability to customize from a variety of built-in synthesizer sounds were no longer functioning. I’ve brought that back in Clarion 2.1:

Screenshot of the Clarion musical instrument chooser.

Additionally, Clarion had not seen any updates since the advent of Apple’s high-resolution “Retina” displays. I’ve updated the graphics in Clarion’s main quiz window to look sharp on these screens:

Screen shot of Clarion's main window.

The playful VU-meter-styled gauge in the middle of the screen reflects your overall accuracy for a given quiz session. Up until now, the “needle” just jumped to its new location whenever you made a guess, but starting with 2.1, the needle animates smoothly to the new location, making a further approximation of its real-world equivalent.

Complete list of changes in 2.1:

  • Screen graphics optimized for Macs with “Retina” displays
  • Slight update to UI incorporates always-on piano keyboard in main window
  • Fix a bug that caused many instrument names to be listed as “Unknown Category”
  • Now recovers gracefully from bad synth settings that could be set in previous versions
  • Fix a bug that prevented changing Apple Synthesizer settings on recent OS X versions
  • Now supports automatic checking for future software updates

If you want to develop your ear for musical intervals, give Clarion a try!

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MarsEdit Live Source Preview Tue, 23 Dec 2014 17:20:55 +0000 Recently a customer wrote asking whether I would consider adding a feature to MarsEdit, so that as you’re writing a blog post, you could also keep an eye on exactly what the resulting HTML will look like. This feature would be handy for folks writing in Markdown or in the Rich Text editor, but also for folks writing in plain HTML, depending on what “preview filter” settings they have configured.

I told the customer I could see the value of such a feature, and that I would consider it for a future update. But the idea stuck with me until I suddenly realized that in fact MarsEdit could support such a feature today, without any update to the app.

Currently MarsEdit’s editor supports writing in either plain-text markup such as HTML or Markdown, or in Rich text. In any of these cases, the final result can be previewed in MarsEdit’s preview window, where the results of e.g. running Markdown or converting from rich text to HTML are shown in the context of a “preview template,” essentially a custom HTML document that users can tweak e.g. to match the appearance of their blog.

Preview window with default configuration

Because users can edit the template and add arbitrary HTML to the preview window’s content, it occurred to me that JavaScript could be added to the template such that every change to window’s content would be matched by a live display of the HTML being shown in that very window.

MarsEdit’s default preview template contains a body section that looks like this:

<div style="padding:10px 20px;">

The #body# and #extended# placeholders are replaced with the actual content of the post while you are writing it. For the purposes of this proof-of-concept, I decided to just focus on the body text, since many people don’t use “extended” entries. I added a bit of HTML in the template to hold the source view I plan to add:

<pre style="white-space:pre-wrap">
<div id="sourceContent" style="padding:10px 20px;">

Now the only trick remaining is to pay attention to changes and update the contents of the “sourceContent” div above with my content’s HTML. This required a little inside-knowledge that would have been admittedly challenging to discover on one’s own. The way MarEdit currently handles updates to the preview window content is to load the HTML template once, and then as you type, recompute and replace just the “body” of the HTML document. So I added a new script element outside the scope of the body tag, where it won’t get replaced constantly:

<script type="text/javascript">
	var ignoreUpdates = false;

	function escapeHTML(theHTML) {
		var escapedHTML = theHTML
		escapedHTML.replace("&", "&amp;");
		escapedHTML.replace("<", "&lt;");
		return escapedHTML;

	function updateSource() {
		var bodyDiv = document.getElementById("bodyText");
		var sourceDiv = document.getElementById("sourceContent");
		if (bodyDiv && sourceDiv) {
			var bodyHTML = bodyDiv.innerHTML;
			sourceDiv.innerText = escapeHTML(bodyHTML);

	document.addEventListener("DOMNodeInserted", function(e) {
		if (ignoreUpdates == false) {
			ignoreUpdates = true;
			ignoreUpdates = false;
	}, false);

I’ll leave making sense of that JavaScript as an exercise for the (very) curious reader, but the gist of it is that it listens for changes to the structure of the HTML document, and when it notices that happening, it grabs all the HTML out of the “bodyText” div, converts it to escaped HTML source, and sets that on the new “sourceContent” div that I added to the template.

Here’s what the MarsEdit preview window looks like now, with the live source preview in effect:

Preview window with new source display

While this isn’t as polished as a dedicated feature for previewing source, I found it interesting that I was able to come up with a creative solution using only the powerful and flexible preview infrastructure of the app. If you’re interested to try out the preview, you can download it here. Just copy and paste the text into MarsEdit’s preview template editor.

Let me know if you come are inspired to come up with any creative preview window solutions of your own!

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