Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

Rob and I tried to find some words on what Steve meant to us over at Tales of a Running Bird.

(That "Rob and I" thing in and of itself is no small part of what I'm thankful for, so I think it stands to reason that I simply link to that piece, rather than writing another one for my personal site.)

Michael Crichton

November 6, 2008

During our lifetime, we all meet people who reassure us of what we do. People who make us feel like we're on the right track. For me, Michael Crichton was one of those people.

Years ago, I was just a hobbyist developer, and I had no idea if I could ever make it in the world of software. Then one day, out of the blue, I received an e-mail from Michael, stating how much he enjoyed using one of the products I was working on. But it wasn't just that — for me, the most important thing was the way he said it. He treated me as equal. And I thought: If he likes what I do, I must be fairly good at it.

Later on, we exchanged some more e-mails, and he sent me a copy of State of Fear, including a personal dedication. I've always been very proud of this book, and I've always liked showing it to my friends and family. In fact, I've shown it to my mother earlier this week.

As far as I know, he liked networking with us Mac guys in that way, so I'm sure there are lots of other developers, editors and bloggers who could tell you a similar story. But I'm not writing this to make anyone think I'm special. He was. All I want to say about me is that he was a positive influence in my life, and I'm grateful for that.

Michael Crichton died on November 4, 2008. He was 66 years old. And since today is my birthday, I hope it's OK to make a small wish: Let's all take a minute to think about him and his family. We have lost a great writer and an exceptional fellow man.


April 7, 2008

A few weeks ago, my sister called and told me I'd have to do something about this site. The blog was stale, and basically, the whole place seemed abandoned.

She was right, so I updated the blog page with some information on where to find the real news. And when I did so, I noticed I could save myself lots of time by adopting the basic mechanisms I had developed for the Many Tricks site. I also happen to like that site's design (obviously, as I did it myself), so I adopted that as well — with the exception of the color used for links. And this was actually a great opportunity for me, because I had always had a hard time choosing between these two colors: dark red, as seen on the Many Tricks site, and the one used here.

So it's my pleasure to introduce you to a slightly tidied-up web site and my other favorite link color: bluish.

These are just two reasons why I'll never regret having sold the original Textpander to SmileOnMyMac: Firstly, they have really been adding value to the product. And secondly, they chose to improve their product in order to make you even more productive — free of charge for anyone who donated for Textpander or bought its successor, TextExpander.

And that's very similar to my own approach to creating software: We're not just in this to make money. We want to create something that makes you smile. And whenever we're successful in doing that, economical success will come naturally.

Here are some of the new features in TextExpander 2:

  • Snippet groups
  • Add snippet groups from external files and external URLs (including password-protected URLs with Keychain support)
  • Synchronize snippet groups using .Mac synchronization
  • Print snippets
  • Hotkeys to enable/disable and to create snippets from selection or clipboard
  • Enable or disable groups on a per-application basis
  • AppleScript snippets, which expand to the result of the script
  • Update snippet groups from URLs and external files at regular intervals
Get it while it's hot.


May 22, 2007

Due to a little thoughtlessness on my part, this site has been down for a few days. Thanks to all those who let me know about it. Otherwise, it might have taken some more time before I would have noticed.

Anyway, I'm back up and running again; and I took the opportunity to update my content management system to its most recent version. This might confuse your RSS readers, though, so don't be too surprised if all articles from my feed — including the old ones — are marked as unread.

Still Moving

February 4, 2007

Although Many Tricks, the new home of all the Mac software that was previously available from this site, has been up for a few weeks, most of our applications were still hosted on my private web server. That's no longer the case, and we 're quite happy to have completed our relocation.

There's a technical implication to this, too. If you were still monitoring this web log (i.e., the respective RSS feed) for software updates, there's no point in doing so any longer. You'll want to switch to this one, instead.

As far as this log's future is concerned, I do plan on keeping it around for occasions where I'd like to express my personal opinion. I expect these occasions to be extremely rare, though, so don't hold your breath.

You might be interested in this little piece of information. But if you don't feel like clicking a link right now, here's the gist:

[Many Tricks is] a new project where Peter Maurer, of Butler/Textpander/Witch fame, and Alexander Schön, an aspiring new developer, join forces to provide you with even better Mac software. Here's more information about us.

All of the previously available applications will be moved to our new server within the next few days. And don't worry — there won't be any sudden license changes. We'll try to make this transition as smooth as possible.

To celebrate our new home, we proudly present yFlicks, which is what Clip Show, a video player beta that was previously available from this very site, has evolved into.

On a side note, yFlicks will of course be free for those who have donated for the original Clip Show before yFlicks was announced.

Introducing Clip Show

October 9, 2006

I initially created Clip Show for viewing our personal vacation videos. But Clip Show has turned out to completely replace QuickTime Player as a movie player for me. Have a look at the first public beta.

Butler 4.1.2

May 30, 2006

Butler 4.1.2 fixes some smaller issues, including my all-time favorite, the "Hägar" bug. Moreover, Butler should start up noticeably faster on typical setups.

Now that SmileOnMyMac has released TextExpander 1.3, we're getting comfortably positive feedback overall. Thank you very much!

Some users, however, seem to feel the need to complain. Here's my favorite comment from TUAW (emphasis is mine):

I have to say that $30 for this application is over-the-top ridiculous, especially considering that it was free prior to SmileOnMyMac's purchase of it (…) Peter Maurer, the developer of the original Textpander, should feel at least a little remorse after this move.

Obviously, Patrick hadn't donated for Textpander, because otherwise, he would have received a free TextExpander license.

This is my reply from the same comments thread:

You're mistaking "donationware" for "free", and now you're trying to make me feel bad? You must be kidding me. In fact, you're the archetypical example for the sad fact that donationware doesn't work.

Let me make this perfectly clear: I love distributing stuff as donationware, because it gives users the possibility to pay as much as they can afford. But I'm really growing tired of cheapskates like Patrick.

I bet he's doing honorary charity work all day.

Update: Patrick Haney is an expensiveskate ;-)

Is there any better way of saying that we have ironed this issue out?

Patrick has personally apologized for what he wrote. In fact, he just didn't quite manage to write what he meant to write. Because what he meant to write was simply that, in his opinion, the new TextExpander might be too expensive; and he is even reconsidering that now.

Likewise, TUAW's David Chartier has personally apologized for having written a slightly off-base original posting that might have sparked comments such as Patrick's. He has since edited that posting. I appreciate that.

Lastly, on a side note, I was positively stunned by the support I got regarding this issue — see Expat Leo's Blogroll, Hawk Wings (read the comments!), and Michael McCracken's Blog, for instance. Thank you all!

Butler 4.1.1 fixes an issue with its bookmarks importer.

Service Scrubber 1.1.3 no longer lists service providers that are located in the current user's trash. And there is a Japanese localization by Akira Ikeda now.

Some of you may have already read about it, and here's my confirmation: SmileOnMyMac has acquired Textpander (press release).

An updated version, renamed "TextExpander", will be available shortly. TextExpander will also include several new, unique features that yours truly had been working on for a while. And it will, of course, be free for users who have donated for the original Textpander.

The current version of Textpander will be available for download until TextExpander's initial release.

Butler 4.1

May 3, 2006

If you're using David Kocher's excellent Cyberduck FTP client, here's good news for you: Butler 4.1 lets you access Cyberduck's bookmarks via abbreviation as well as from Butler's menus.

Fixed Width

April 30, 2006

Everybody seems to render their web sites with a fixed text body width these days. Witness me jumping on the band wagon.

Here's a newsflash for all you kind people who have informed me about my PayPal account's "limited" status: I hadn't responded to your e-mails earlier because I wanted to have that account working again first. Unfortunately, that took somewhat longer than I had originally expected. Sorry.

Anyway, everything's fine now, so feel free to donate — if you're still willing to, that is ;-)

The Universal Butler

January 30, 2006

For all Intel-Mac early adopters, here's Butler 4.0.1, the "universal" version of Butler. In contrast to what I wrote earlier, this version still runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8. Turns out I hadn't read the universal binary specifications closely enough ;-)

Butler is getting somewhat more universal in another respect as well, by the way — this version includes French and Japanese localizations.

After almost two years of beta testing, the final Butler 4.0 has arrived. Sometimes, I thought I wouldn't live to see the day.

And if you happen to speak Danish, French, or Chinese, go ahead and download Service Scrubber 1.1.2, too.

Butler vs. Intel

January 19, 2006

Here's a little note for all those who are waiting for a "universal" Butler that will run natively on both Intel- and PowerPC-based macs:

Up to now, Butler has used nested functions quite extensively. While I still think that these are one of the most elegant instruments in programming, they are no longer supported by the compiler that's required for creating universal binaries. Rewriting these portions of Butler will take some more time. If you happen to have access to an Intel-based mac, please try running Butler on it (via Rosetta) and let me know if it works.

The final Butler 4.0 will remain PowerPC-only. Expect a beta version of Butler 4.1 during the next few weeks. The latter will run natively on Intel macs, but it will require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later — as opposed to Butler 4.0, which is supposed to run on OS X versions as early as 10.2.8.

Butler 4.0b30 supports dialing phone numbers (via AppleScript), can do things when starting up/quitting, plus some minor improvements. This might be the last beta version of Butler 4.0…

Service Scrubber 1.1.1 works with StickyBrain's quite unusual way of specifying its services now. Also fixes some cosmetical issues.

Textpander 1.2.2 and Witch 1.0.2 are universal binaries, so both of them can run on the new Intel macs now.

Service Scrubber 1.1

December 22, 2005

Service Scrubber 1.1 is for all those who couldn't deacticate ChineseTextConverter with Service Scrubber 1.0.

Wouldn't the services menu be much more useful if it weren't overcrowded by services you never even thought of using? Service Scrubber is a small utility that lets you restructure the services menu, change service keyboard shortcuts, and disable superfluous services.

Textpander 1.2.1

December 9, 2005

Textpander 1.2.1 lets you create snippets by pasting to the snippets list. Copying from the snippets list populates your clipboard with a list of the selected snippets and their respective abbreviations. Paste that into a text file and apply your formatting to create a snippets cheat sheet.

Also fixes an issue with iTerm.

Butler 4.0b29

November 28, 2005

Regressions are a developer's best fiend… It seems I've broken some things by accident in Butler 4.0b28. So here's the fix, along with some improvements.

Butler 4.0b28

November 24, 2005

A new version of Butler is available, sporting a vastly improved abbreviations window and a way to circumvent Spotlight's search-as-you-type behavior.

As mentioned before, Butler 4.0b26 was a huge step forward. Making such a huge step almost always causes a few regressions. So here's Butler 4.0b27, fixing most of these.

Textpander 1.2 fixes a nasty bug that could cause quite different kinds of symptoms. And you can have the current pasteboard inserted in your snippets on expansion.

Butler 4.0b26 is the largest step in Butler's development since the transition from Another Launcher to Butler. In addition to a restructured interface, the internal data structure of Butler has been completely rewritten. This makes Butler work more efficiently; and it makes updating Butler easier for me ;-)

Textpander 1.1 includes some features that were requested by users. Most importantly, you now have the choice between keeping or abandoning delimiter characters that trigger an expansion.

Introducing Textpander

August 22, 2005

Textpander is a utility that helps you type more efficiently and more accurately. Textpander listens to what you type and inserts predefined text snippets on the fly whenever you enter their corresponding abbreviations.

Three Updates

August 22, 2005

File List 1.2, Key Codes 1.0.1, and Witch 1.0.1 are now available.

Me vs. RSS, Part 2

August 12, 2005

I guess I spoke too soon. I had to fix some more bugs in my RSS feed in order to make it validate.

One Less Beta

August 9, 2005

It's time to leave the beta stage and release the official Witch 1.0. And BTW, there is also minor update to File List, which is now at version 1.1.

Me vs. RSS

August 9, 2005

I think I finally did it. This site's RSS feed should be working now.

If you're interested in test-driving my brand new batch renamer/playlist generator, look here.

Butler 4.0b24

June 1, 2005

So you thought I didn't notice that Butler's performance is far from perfect on Mac OS X 10.4, a.k.a. "Tiger"? Not true. In fact, I have been working on this bug-fix release for a while. I just couldn't reply to your bug reports because the computer that was responsible for handling my e-mail correspondence was having severe problems.

Anyway, now that the most obvious bugs are squashed, the new beta is available. Please note that Butler 4.0b24 has only been tested on Mac OS X 10.4.1 so far. Reports on bugs and/or regressions on earlier operating systems are very welcome.

Another Redesign

June 1, 2005

Alright, so I have reorganized this site once more. The German "localization" and some other details had to go, since I just don't have the time to keep them up to date.

In order to make up for this loss, I will try to make this log available as an RSS feed; but right now, when I try to access the feed at "feed://imac.local/~peter/v9/nasi.php?section=rss" (testing via local web sharing, PHP is turned on), I'm stuck on the following error message from Safari RSS: "NSURLErrorDomain:-1". I would be eternally grateful if anyone could tell me how to fix this.

Update: RSS problem solved.