Stick Software News 

August 2005 edition.  Copyright © 2005 Stick Software. 

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Hi! It has been quite a while since our last newsletter (October 2004!), and much has changed. Just after the last newsletter I suffered a catastrophic hard disk crash. You can read more about that, and the consequences, at the bottom of the newsletter if you're interested. On the assumption that most of you want to know what new goodies we've got for you, however...

Our big new release is Constrictor 3.0. It is now compatible with OS X 10.4 (Apple broke version 2.3 due to changes in the video architecture), and we added some new features into the bargain. We also did a minor release of Jiggler, version 1.2.

It's not a lot for almost a full year's passage, but it will have to do. :->

Constrictor 3.0:  Custom screenshots

Download Constrictor (300K)   mirror
More Information on Constrictor
VersionTracker's Page on Constrictor
Price: $10 (Kagi) (PayPal)

Constrictor 3.0 is a screen snapshot utility for Mac OS X 10.4 and up (users on 10.3.x or earlier will want Constrictor 2.3 instead). It lets you position a frame over exactly the area you want to snap, and then lets you customize the snap image with effects like scaling, framing and feathering. It has considerable flexibility in saving, and can take snaps using hotkeys without interrupting your workflow. And it's scriptable, too!

Here's Constrictor about to take a snapshot of an icon on the desktop; the Copy Image command is being selected from Constrictor's context menu:

This snapshot, which was itself taken with Constrictor, shows the "feather" effect, which fades the edges of a snapshot out to a background color. Feathering was improved in version 3.0 to be smoother and softer, as this image shows.

An advanced feature of Constrictor is its "backdrop", which can isolate a window from the desktop to let you capture it all by itself. Here's a little Safari window that we snapped with a white backdrop:

As you can see, the desktop the window was on is not visible, while the window's shadow has been perfectly preserved. This makes for clean, sparkling screenshots for web pages and documentation.

There is an online manual to help you out (for a 704K PDF version of this manual that can be used offline, click here). But Constrictor is really very simple and intuitive to use: just position the frame and snap!

New in Constrictor 3.0:

  • Fixed a compatibility issue with OS X 10.4
  • Added hot keys to allow snapping screenshots with a quick keystroke
  • Added the ability to tag screenshots for easy finding with Spotlight
  • Added GIF as a save format, removed EPS
  • Changed the prefs panel to be tabbed, and cleaned it up
  • Added a pref to turn on shading inside the frame (for better visibility)
  • Added a pref to use four-character extensions (.jpeg, .tiff)
  • Fixed the "owner app" preference code to allow correct selection of apps
  • Improved the clipboard format used, for greater cross-compatibility of pastes
  • Added support for snapshots that cross the boundary between monitors
  • Improved the appearance of feathered snapshots
  • Removed localizations besides English (too much work to maintain, sorry!)
  • Added registration codes, version check panel, and other standard Stick Software stuff

As the last item says, registration codes were added for Constrictor 3.0, in keeping with our general move towards using regcodes for our products. If you have already paid for Constrictor, you should have already received your new regcode by email (if not, check your spam mailbox for it, and then contact us; probably the email address we have on file for you is obsolete). If you have not paid for Constrictor yet, now would be the time!

Jiggler 1.2:  No-Doz for your Mac

Download Jiggler (132K)   mirror
More Information on Jiggler
VersionTracker's Page on Jiggler
(No payment links — Jiggler is freeware)

Jiggler is a little freeware app with one purpose: to keep your Mac awake. When you have some lengthy task for your computer to do, it's annoying to have to turn off your screensaver and turn off the sleep timer, only to have to turn it all back on again when you're done. (The "never sleep" corner will keep your screensaver from kicking in, but still won't prevent your machine from falling asleep.) What you really want is a little helper who will bump your mouse every once in a while to keep your machine alert. That's Jiggler.

Jiggler is freeware (which means use it freely with no charge). If you like it, please check out our shareware products, and pay for the shareware you use. Thanks!

New in 1.2:

  • Fixed a preferences bug
  • Expanded the "only jiggle when app X is running" facility to allow a list of jiggled applications

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The more things change...

So, as I was saying: hard disk crash. Not quite everything was lost, but it had been quite a while since I had made a backup (have you made a backup lately?) and so several months of work disappeared overnight. I lost the final source for Solarian II 1.1 and PhotoReviewer 1.4, and those have still not been re-created (which is why we haven't released a patch for a few annoying bugs in PhotoReviewer, sorry...). Those of you who have been waiting for a desktop app version of Fracture will be sad to learn that all work on that project, which I had begun to focus on intensively in the weeks prior to the crash, was lost as well. It was traumatic, to say the least, and I really didn't want to look at my computer for a long time afterwards.

I did a lot of soul-searching after that, and realized that part of the reason I felt so traumatized by the crash was that I hadn't really been enjoying the work I had been doing, which made the thought of having to do it all again rather abhorrent. I realized that although I love the Mac, and the Stick Software adventure was great fun for a long time, it was time for a change. So. I have gone back to school, with the aim of getting a degree in biology and perhaps becoming a teacher, something I have long considered as an alternate career. I'm at San Jose State University, and I'm having a great time so far.

Stick Software is not kaput, but it has certainly slowed down. It is my intention to keep my products working, as well as I can with the limited time now at my disposal; and I may find time here and there to even do a bit of original, non-maintenance work. I still fantasize about that desktop Fracture app. We shall see.

If you try to contact me in response to this newsletter, please be patient; I'll be out of town until late August, and when I get back, my classes will start the next day. I'll do my best to stay in touch and answer emails, but it may take a while for you to hear back.

If you've got ideas, comments, bug reports, or anything else you'd like us to see, send a note to our support email address.

Thanks for your support. Word of mouth is essential to our survival as a shareware developer. If you can help spread the word to your friends, your co-workers, or your favorite Mac OS X websites and newsletters, it would be greatly appreciated!

This newsletter is provided as a service of Stick Software, If you are receiving this newsletter, you have either requested it, or you are a friend of the author, or a mistake has been made. In any event, you can contact us at our support email address and we will remove you from our list immediately. We are opposed to unsolicited commercial e-mail, and we apologize if this newsletter has been sent to you in error.