Red Sweater Blog http://www.red-sweater.com/blog Mac & Technology Writings by Daniel Jalkut Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:04:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 MarsEdit 3.6.5: Fix Flickr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2972/marsedit-3-6-5-fix-flickr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2972/marsedit-3-6-5-fix-flickr#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:24:13 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2972 MarsEdit 3.6.5 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This releases restores functionality of MarsEdit’s Flickr integration, which broke last week when Flickr flipped the switch to require that all clients access their services with more secure HTTPS-based requests.

I want to be clear that the cessation of functionality was firmly my fault. Flickr did an admirable job of giving developers ample warning about the impending change, and even staged a couple of preliminary test outages before the final switch-over. What happened in this case is I made changes for MarsEdit 3.6.4 which I thought addressed the situation in entirety, but did not. I should have done more aggressive testing to ensure a smooth transition.

MarsEdit 3.6.5 includes the remaining Flickr fixes that should have gone into 3.6.4, as well as a couple other minor fixes:

  • Restore functionality for Flickr after recent API changes
  • Fix a crash that could occur on some systems while trying to locate the Growl framework
  • Fix a bug where blank document windows were sometimes opened upon launching

Enjoy!

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Red Sweater T-Shirt http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2965/red-sweater-t-shirt http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2965/red-sweater-t-shirt#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:05:19 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2965 I’m incredibly excited to announce that Red Sweater now has an official shirt, designed and illustrated by the brilliant Susie Ghahremani:

Red Sweater T-Shirt

As I write this, Apple is putting on WWDC, their developer’s conference in San Francisco. This has become a huge, annual tradition that attracts many thousands of brilliant people to a city that is already teeming with many brilliant natives. I try to make the journey every year, in part because it’s a fun time to socialize with old friends, but also because it’s an unparalleled opportunity to meet new people who inevitably change the course of Red Sweater’s progress for the better.

I can recall the occasion many years ago when I met the guys from Buy Olympia, Pat and Aaron, who impressed me with their story of running a full-fledged online store dedicated to highlighting artists’ work, while also developing an impressive array of Mac software for mailing and shipping. It must have been five or more years ago that I met them and they graciously offered to sell a shirt for Red Sweater if I ever wanted to do so.

I can also recall the first occasion I had to appreciate Susie Ghahremani’s art, which was unrelated to WWDC but also took place in San Francisco. It must have been around 2002 when I came across a delightful shirt in a shop called Otsu. I wore that shirt proudly and only realized years later that I could track down the designer and buy many of her other shirts as well. If you’ve ever met me in person, or seen a photograph of me, there’s a good chance I was wearing one of Susie’s shirts.

As luck would have it, I got to know Susie over the years through Twitter and because of a number of mutual friends. And as it turns out, Susie was also friends with the guys from Buy Olympia! We’re all friends! Isn’t that friendly?

So that catches us up to two years ago or so when Susie and I agreed we should collaborate on a Red Sweater t-shirt. I immediately told my wife something along the lines of “SUSIE GHAHREMANI IS MAKING A RED SWEATER SHIRT!” and then, as I do more often than I’d wish, I dropped the ball repeatedly on doing my part to make the dream come true. I chatted with Susie occasionally about how we should finally be making the shirt, but neglected to go the extra mile of talking to her about what the shirt should be and how she could proceed.

A couple months ago, Susie nudged me again about the project and I finally made the case for what I was looking for: a shirt that people would love and want to wear even if they didn’t know what “Red Sweater Software” was. I am so excited by the result: that cute bear with it’s cozy red sweater is exactly the kind of shirt I would have bought and wore proudly had I come across it in 2002. Now it’s exactly the kind of shirt I can wear proudly with the knowledge that, for those in the know, it’s also subtle branding for my Mac (and iOS!) software company. I hope that many of you who are fans of my work or Susie’s will also enjoy wearing the shirt!

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Black Ink 1.6.1: Premium Puzzles http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2961/black-ink-1-6-1-premium-puzzles http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2961/black-ink-1-6-1-premium-puzzles#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 19:31:13 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2961 Black Ink 1.6.1 is now available for download from the Black Ink home page and from the Mac App Store. This is a free update.

The big change in this release is addition of built-in support for downloading from two authenticated “premium” puzzle sources: The New York Times and the American Values Crossword. Black Ink does not offer subscription sales to these services, but for users who do have a subscription, Black Ink now supports entering your username and password to authorize automatic downloading of the source’s latest puzzle.

For a long time now many users have enjoyed direct downloads of the New York Times premium puzzle because of the happy coincidence that Black Ink and Safari could share the same web browser “cookies.” This meant that if you had logged in to your premium New York Times account via Safari, downloads of those puzzles (after configuring a custom puzzle source) would work automatically. That functionality was broken with Black Ink 1.6 as an unexpected side effect of security sandboxing: Black Ink can no longer access Safari’s cookies. With this update cookie sharing is no longer required for this functionality.

Complete list of changes:

  • New support for premium puzzle downloads from New York Times and American Values Club
  • Fix a bug where the puzzle chooser would appear upon launch even when already opening a document
  • Fix a crash that could sometimes occur while closing a puzzle

I hope these changes make Black Ink even more enjoyable for you puzzle lovers out there.

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MarsEdit 3.6.4: Authentication & Bug Fixes http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2953/marsedit-3-6-4-authentication-bug-fixes http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2953/marsedit-3-6-4-authentication-bug-fixes#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 18:13:23 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2953 MarsEdit 3.6.4 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This release catches MarsEdit up with some recent security-related changes at both Tumblr and Flickr, as well as fixing a number of minor glitches and UI defects.

Tumblr users who have chosen to take advantage of the recently announced two-factor authentication support will want to update to this release to get authentication from MarsEdit working properly again. To connect from MarsEdit, just connect to your Tumblr settings page and click the option to “Generate mobile password.” Yes, this terminology is not the most accurate Tumblr could have possibly used. (Update May 2, 2014: Tumblr now calls them “app passwords” and alludes to other apps. Great improvement.)

TumblrMobilePass

Here is the complete list of changes for MarsEdit 3.6.4:

  • Fix a problem with Tumblr 2-factor “mobile” passwords
  • Update Flickr authentication to support new HTTPS API requirements
  • Fix to support relative URLs in the rich editor, loaded relative to the home page URL
  • Fix to prevent blank display of embedded YouTube videos lacking a URL scheme (http or https)
  • Fix to prevent preview window from reloading completely when a post’s title is edited
  • Fix a Voiceover issue that prevented contextual menus from appearing in the blogs and posts lists
  • Fix some cosmetic issues in the blog settings panel UI
  • Fix an issue where the main window showed up in an awkard position on first launch
  • Fix bugs that caused documents to sometimes show changes when there hadn’t been any

Enjoy!

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Heartbleed Statement http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2942/heartbleed-statement http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2942/heartbleed-statement#comments Sun, 13 Apr 2014 16:14:46 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2942 By now many people have heard about The Heartbleed Bug, last week’s internet-wide security issue based in a problem with the popular OpenSSL encryption libraries. I have put off making a public statement not because of ignorance about the bug but because I wasn’t sure it was appropriate or necessary. Over the past week I’ve become convinced that it’s a good idea for any affected company or site to fully disclose their exposure and response to the bug.

What was Red Sweater’s exposure?

Our only customer-facing service exposed via HTTPS is the Red Sweater Store, which was affected by the bug. In practice, this means that private customer data including credit card numbers as well as customer names, addresses, email addresses, could theoretically have been exposed to an attacker during the exposure window. Credit card numbers used in the purchase of Red Sweater products are never stored on Red Sweater servers, but are held in memory for a short time in the creation of encrypted transactions with PayPal, our credit card processor.

What was the exposure window?

Although the bug existed in OpenSSL for almost 3 years, I was somewhat lucky in that I had only updated the Red Sweater Store to an affected version of OpenSSL on March 6, 2014, about one month before the vulnerability was disclosed.

What was Red Sweater’s response?

While some larger services were apparently notified of the bug earlier, it was not shared with the public until Monday, April 7. Red Sweater’s secure server was updated with fixed software at around 3:30AM Pacific time on April 8. By 9:00AM Pacific, I had created a new private key for Red Sweater, reissued, and installed the updated certificates. From this point onward there is no known risk of exposure of any private customer data submitted to the Red Sweater Store.

What should customers do?

Theoretically, any affected site has been vulnerable to possible eavesdropping during the exposure window. Because the Red Sweater Store does not incorporate a password or cookie-based credentials system, there is nothing that needs proactive changing to limit further exposure. Because of the wide-reaching nature of this bug, I would advise all users of all web sites to be on guard about possible exposure of private information including credit card numbers. Because of the small exposure window and relatively low profile of Red Sweater, I think the risk to my customers on this site in particular is low.

If you have any questions at all about my response to the Heartbleed bug or to any other security issue, do not hesitate to contact me (Daniel Jalkut, founder of Red Sweater).

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Ten Dollar Apps http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2936/ten-dollar-apps http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2936/ten-dollar-apps#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:58:42 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2936 I’m launching an experiment today, possibly permanent, in which the prices of four of my apps will drop to just $9.95 each. Black Ink, FastScripts, FlexTime, and Clarion are all just $9.95 for a single-user license, or $14.95 for a family-pack license.

I’ve long held fairly strong opinions about software pricing. I have written extensively about my rationale for maintaining relatively higher, dare I say premium prices on my software. I still believe that pricing too low is a mistake: it attracts users who don’t value good work, and leaves them lacking a sense of ownership. If a developer treats his or her software as disposable, then I think users are likely to treat it the same way.

But in a post-App Store world, I am no longer convinced that $10 is a disposable price point. The four apps I’m adjusting the price on could be sustainable at that price point, thanks to their relatively modest support requirements. If the sales of these apps doubles or triple as a result of the price change, I will probably see a net gain financially, and will definitely be making a greater overall impression with my work.

I’m sticking with $39.95 for MarsEdit because it’s a more nuanced and powerful app, requiring both more development time and more nuanced support from me. And although many people perceive it as mass-market software, it’s still a relatively niche market in which people who know how to get the most out of it are delighted to spend the money.

I hope the new price points for these four apps will attract some of you to give them a try and to share the news about them with friends and colleagues. Let me know if you do try them out and have any feedback.

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Black Ink 1.6: Welcome To The Sandbox http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2926/black-ink-1-6-welcome-to-the-sandbox http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2926/black-ink-1-6-welcome-to-the-sandbox#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:30:56 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2926 I’m pleased to announce that Black Ink 1.6 is now available from the Black Ink home page. It will be available in the Mac App Store as soon as Apple approves the update.

Black Ink is a dedicated app for solving crossword puzzles, and the nature of the app is perfectly suited to Apple’s “Application Sandbox” technologies, which give developers a means of restricting the access an app has to files and services on your Mac.

Previously, Black Ink could theoretically read or write any file that the user running it had permission to view. Now, it only reads and writes to files within Red Sweater’s sandboxed group container, or to files explicitly chosen by the user.

When Apple announced the sandboxing technologies a few years ago, I was quite a bit more disheartened than inspired. Adopting the sandbox turns upside down the approach we’ve had to desktop software development for decades. That approach always was that users must trust developers not to write apps that screw up their computer, and developers had to tread very carefully for fear of betraying that trust.

I have to admit I like the reassurance sandboxing gives me as a developer that although I still need to be careful with users’ data, there is a limit to how large of an impact even the worst mistake could make.

While adapting Black Ink to the sandbox, I also took the opportunity to make a few long-standing fixes I’d wanted to make to the UI. The clue list used to suffer a problem in which a particularly long clue would run off the edge of the list, and be unreadable. Now the list will wrap as much as needed to show the whole clue. Compare the appearance of the old clue list with the new one and you’ll see there were some other clean-ups as well:

Black Ink 27
(Black Ink 1.5.3)
BlackInkNew 1
(Black Ink 1.6)

I also updated Black Ink in 1.6 to embrace some of Apple’s new technologies in 10.7 to support autosaving and version browsing of documents. While this might not be the kind of app where browsing previous versions is common, it’s nice that you can now quit and reopen Black Ink with confidence that the puzzle you were working on will pop right back open.

The complete list of changes for Black Ink 1.6 is below:

  • Sandboxed for increased security
  • Now supports autosave and document version browsing on 10.7 Lion or later
  • Clue list rows now resize height to guarantee showing entire clue
  • Puzzle solving – improvements to the mechanics of when checked and revealed indicators are shown
  • Fix an issue where typing a clue number too high for puzzle could crash
  • Fix a crash when starting the puzzle Timer on Mac OS X 10.6.8

If you like solving crosswords and haven’t given Black Ink a try, grab it from my site or the Mac App Store and let me know what you think!

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MarsEdit 3.6.3: Images, Mavericks, and Tumblr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2917/marsedit-3-6-3-images-mavericks-and-tumblr http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2917/marsedit-3-6-3-images-mavericks-and-tumblr#comments Thu, 02 Jan 2014 18:25:23 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2917 MarsEdit 3.6.3 is available now from the MarsEdit home page, and has been submitted to the Mac App Store for review by Apple.

This release addresses a few stability issues and some subtle usability problems related to image workflow and full-screen integration on Mavericks. It also fixes a nagging issue for Tumblr users who preferred to have images remain in the same format as they provided. Previously the images were unilaterally converted to PNG format.

Here is the complete list of changes for this release:

  • Fix to Tumblr image uploads to preserve original image filetype (e.g. JPEG)
  • Fix a bug where image sizing constraints were enabled even when full-size option selected
  • Fix a bug that prevented reliable searching/replacing of multiple spaces in Rich Text mode
  • Fix a crash that would occur if the “Send to Blog” button was clicked twice instead of once
  • Fix an issue with OS X Mavericks where window positions changed when switching from a full screen app to MarsEdit

Please let me know if you run into any issues with the update!

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Markdown On WordPress.com http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2915/markdown-on-wordpress-com http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2915/markdown-on-wordpress-com#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 02:01:33 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2915 The folks at WordPress.com have great news for fans of Markdown. It’s now built-in by default to every WordPress.com blog, and it’s super-easy to enable:

To start using Markdown, go to Settings → Writing in your blog dashboard, check the box next to Use Markdown for posts and pages, and save.

I just enabled it for one of my test blogs and am happy to report that MarsEdit works perfectly for publishing with Markdown to WordPress.com. They mention that it’s best to stick to the “plain text” editor on WordPress.com, and the same is true for MarsEdit. You’ll want to stick with editing in “HTML Text” mode so the plain Markdown text can get to your blog without being wrapped in HTML generated by MarsEdit’s rich editor.

I wrote recently about MarsEdit’s ability to automatically convert Markdown to HTML before publishing a post. It’s worth noting that if you use the new Markdown functionality on WordPress, you probably want to avoid MarsEdit converting to HTML. This is because WordPress’s implementation of the Markdown feature does things “the right way” in my opinion, storing the original Markdown as the text of the post, so you can make further edits to the post by editing the original Markdown and not the converted HTML.

The only downside I’ve noticed so far is that when you download a post through the API from MarsEdit or from the official WordPress apps, the content is converted to HTML even though it shouldn’t be. The original Markdown does show up in the web-based WordPress admin panel. I’m going to report this as a bug and hopefully they will agree that it should be fixed.

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OS X Mavericks Compatibility http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2910/os-x-mavericks-compatibility http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2910/os-x-mavericks-compatibility#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 20:29:55 +0000 http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/?p=2910 All Red Sweater apps are compatible with OS X Mavericks.

Over the past-several months we have tested all our apps against pre-release versions of OS X Mavericks. Minor bug-fixes were required here and there but have been actively deployed in the released versions of apps for several months.

Should you run into any issues at all with OS X Mavericks, please get in touch and we will make it a priority to address any outstanding compatibility issues as soon as possible.

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