Black Ink 2.0.3: Printing Improvements & More

March 5th, 2020

Black Ink 2.0.3 is now available on the Black Ink home page and on the Mac App Store.

While most people love Black Ink for its digital solving features, it’s also an excellent tool for printing. Whether you’re practicing for the ACPT, or you just want to spend a little time away from your screens, turn to Black Ink for an effortless paper rendition of your favorite puzzles.

When you print a puzzle, you get Black Ink’s usual beautiful grid rendering, along with a sophisticated clue layout algorithm, and many options for fine-tuning the content and positioning of the puzzle’s elements:

Screenshot of Black Ink's printing options

This update includes a variety of small improvements to the printing feature, as well as a number of other important fixes to improve the usability and reliability of the app:

  • General improvements to puzzle printing
  • Fixed a bug that caused puzzle clues to print in bold when fitting to a single page
  • Fixed the appearance of the Puzzle Notes when Dark Mode is enabled
  • Improved the centering of circles when drawn in puzzle squares
  • Decreased the severity of the shadow drawn on text in selected cells
  • Fixed a bug that caused the last row/column to be slightly shorter/narrower than other cells
  • Typing a clue number to jump to a clue now favors the clue in the same direction as currently selected clue
  • Removed Emoji & Symbols menu item since it’s not used for puzzle answer entry
  • Direct navigation by typing clue number now favors the orientation where the answer is not yet entered

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.

TidBITS Reviews Black Ink 2

March 3rd, 2020

Connie Laubenthal has a thoughtful review of Black Ink 2 over at TidBITS. She particularly appreciates the check and reveal features:

I love using this option when I get stuck, particularly when the clue has to do with a person who is popular in an area I’m not familiar with, such as a particular movie or music genre. It saves me from having to resort to one of the many crossword puzzle answer Web sites. Some may call this cheating, but I solve crossword puzzles for entertainment, not for competition.

Laubenthal goes on to mention features such as the timer, for gauging how long it takes to (hopefully!) solve a puzzle, and recognizes that the app offers features for solvers ranging from beginner to advanced.

Thanks to TidBITS for reviewing Black Ink 2!

Protecting Your Privacy with Metadata Removal

February 14th, 2020

These days people are increasingly aware of the impact that publishing information on the web has on our privacy as individuals. Each of us has our own personal comfort level with respect to the amount of information we share. In particular, as bloggers we choose to share or withhold details including our real names, gender, geographic location, political affiliation, family members, and perhaps most significantly, photographs of ourselves, our family members, and our surroundings.

If you choose to publish photos in your blog posts, it’s important to understand that image metadata may reveal more to your blog’s readers than you necessarily intended. For example, many bloggers are comfortable sharing a photo of their child playing in the grass in their backyard. Or a delicious latte from the cafe they stop at on the way to work. It’s not as if it literally show the address where these photos were taken. Yet when GPS metadata is present on photos it effectively does exactly that.

For example, here’s a delicious tofu banh-mi sandwich I once enjoyed:

Picture of a banh mi sandwich

Nothing obviously identifies the location where this picture was taken, yet it’s loaded with extremely detailed geographic information. If you’re curious, go ahead and right-click the image above, save it to your Mac, and open it in Preview. If you then select Tools -> Show Inspector, you’ll see a ton of additional information about the image:

Screenshot of Info panel for image showing a map of Paris

That’s right! If I had published a blog post with that photo shortly after enjoying the sandwich, somebody might have been able to catch up with me in Paris and introduce themselves! It might have been a friendly encounter, or it might have been … kind of creepy.

So, what can you do about this? You could turn off GPS features of your camera and/or phone, but the truth is it’s really handy to be able to look up the location of photos from our personal libraries. Alternatively you could use software such as Flying Meat’s Retrobatch, which includes a preset template called “Social Scrub” specifically for removing metadata from images.

But if you’re a blogger, and you use MarsEdit to publish your posts, it couldn’t be easier. In fact, MarsEdit includes an option to strip location and other metadata from images automatically, whenever you upload an image to your blog:

Screenshot of MarsEdit image media defaults including an option to remove metadata

Better yet? This option is enabled by default. So download MarsEdit today, start publishing images to your blog, and rest assured that unless you choose to share your location, you never will.

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.