Speech Jammer 5.0 released

Speech Jammer 5.0 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the iOS App Store.

This update contains an all-new audio engine that should result in an all around better experience that is more stable. This also brings much anticipated new features like better Bluetooth headphone support, and multitasking! Speech Jammer 5.1 will be launching shortly with a revamped iPad app!

Feature list for Speech Jammer 5.0

Introducing an all-new modern audio engine:

  • This should result in a much more stable experience.
  • Full Bluetooth headphone support is here! AirPods, and other Bluetooth headphone users rejoice!
  • Bluetooth headphones can now be used without needing to manually enable Bluetooth support
  • Swap between headphones without needing to restart the app

Multitasking support has arrived!

  • You can now close Speech Jammer and continue to experience the Speech Jammer effect while using other apps on your device!

Export all recordings at once, while offline

  • Recordings can now be exported into an archive for easier sharing or backup of multiple recordings at once. You no longer need to share each recording individually. Recordings are converted to m4a and zipped up.
  • Archived recording sharing can now be done while offline (e.g. AirDrop a zipped package of all your recordings, or share to another app)

Various improvements

  • Delay can now be increased to a higher amount than before
  • Delay setting is now saved between app launches and doesn’t need to be set each time you use the app
  • Updated all frameworks in the app to modern versions
  • Changed the name from the ambiguous “Jammer” to “Speech Jammer” in various areas of iOS to avoid confusion
  • Haptic feedback (where available) is now used in the app for an improved user experience
  • Improved design and user interface (including on larger-screen devices)
  • Updated FAQ system that is easier to maintain, which means it’ll be updated more frequently with relevant tips and answers to common questions
  • Improvements to VoiceOver support
  • Updated to support the latest iOS improvements
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the copying of a link to a shared recording
  • Fixed an issue that prevented shared recording links from properly sending to a selected app or destination
  • Fixed an issue that allowed recording playback while Speech Jammer was active when accessing recordings from the Home Screen quick actions
  • Various bug fixes and performance improvements
  • Phone calls and FaceTime calls will still temporarily interrupt Speech Jammer; however, Speech Jammer will be able to automatically resume after the call ends
  • Localization improvements (fixed some English words appearing in other languages)

Start Usage Meter 2.5.5 Released

New Start Usage Meter icon for macOS

Start Usage Meter 2.5.5 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

This update focuses on design and UI improvements. The update also changes default behaviour by modifying default settings. This update:

  • Adjusts the default update interval to every 2 hours. This will not impact users who have explicitly selected a different update interval, and updating every hour remains a selectable option; however, 2 hours is now the default.
    • This change was made to lessen the amount of times the app calls out to the Start.ca server while still providing meaningful updates. Two hours adds one additional hour to the previous update time, but it will also provide a larger glimpse of changes to data usage throughout the day.
  • Changes all menu dropdown display options to active by default to provide the most information possible. Previously, only the Downloaded (Quota/Grace) data was visible in the drop-down menu by default.
    • This change was made to provide more meaningful information at a quick glance and gives better visibility to these options for new users who may not have been aware of their availability. This should not impact users who have explicitly disabled menu dropdown options, and users may return to the previous behaviour by opening the Preferences window and deselecting desired display options.
  • New icon to match the new design patterns in the latest macOS release.
  • UI tweaks to improve clarity
  • Now built using the latest macOS Catalina technology.

If you have any questions or suggestions relating to these changes, feel free to email me at dwight@dwightd.com. All default behaviour changes that were made in Start Usage Meter 2.5.5 are reversible through the preferences window, and any explicitly set preferences prior to the update will be retained.

Start Usage Meter 2.5.4 released (merged with 2.5.3 announcement)

Start Usage Meter 2.5.4 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

Start Usage Meter 2.5.3 was re-released as 2.5.4 with a fix for an issue that may cause the app to continue to display 0MB while loading data, instead of the cleaner Start.ca text.

This update focusses on improvements to the menu bar and other UI elements of the app while data is being retrieved from the Start.ca server. It also contains bug fixes for rare cases where the next update time may be incorrect. Specifically, this update:

  • Improved the initial launch experience by preventing the menu bar from rapidly displaying 0MB momentarily while actual usage data is retrieved from Start.ca servers
  • Improved the menu bar experience while switching connections or updating the current connection usage data. The menu bar will now momentarily show Start.ca, instead of previous usage data. This improvement should make it much easier to see when Start Usage Meter is actively updating usage data information.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the next scheduled update time to be displayed incorrectly when changing the update interval while multiple keys are present
  • Improved initial setup handling and app behaviour when all keys are removed (the app should no longer display an error before you hit “Save and Check Usage.” This process is now automated)
  • Fixed an issue that caused the currently selected key text field in preferences to become empty after removing a key (even if another key is available to use)
  • Improvements to the user experience when removing keys to make sure old data is not presented to the user when it is no longer relevant after a key has been removed
  • Various improvements to efficiency, particularly with the initial app launch. The app has been streamlined to prevent unnecessary duplicate requests, which should result in a ‘snappier’ app experience
  • UI improvements and optimization to handling of multiple keys

macOS Compatibility Report
To provide a quick update on my commitment to supporting as many macOS versions as possible, Start Usage Meter 2.5.4 supports versions of OS X dating back to OS X 10.7 Lion up to macOS 10.15 Catalina.

Start Usage Meter 2.5.2 released

Start Usage Meter 2.5.2 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

This update focuses on UI improvements throughout the app. Specifically, this update includes:

UI Improvements to the Daily Usage Window
UI Improvements to the Daily Usage window
  • UI Improvements to the daily usage window (cleaned up the layout)
  • Updates to the daily usage window which now highlights the current day in a light green colour to make it easier to get a quick glance of todays usage
  • Various improvements to performance and reliability
  • Improvements to clarity of informational text throughout the app
  • UI Improvements on the detailed usage window, particularly when the app is on top of a bright window in the background

macOS Compatibility Report
To provide a quick update on my commitment to supporting as many macOS versions as possible, Start Usage Meter 2.5.2 supports versions of OS X dating back to OS X 10.7 Lion up to macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Speech Jammer 4.1.2 Released

Speech Jammer 4.1.2 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the iOS App Store.

This is a very minor update that focuses on reliability improvements and UI improvements. I have exciting things planned in the new year and can’t wait to share the overhauled app with you all. For now, Speech Jammer has been updated to support the newest iPhone and creates uniformity of the UI.

This update:

  • Adds support for the iPhone XS Max
  • Updated the UI on the shared recordings pages to now share the same overall look and feel of the new UX introduced in Speech Jammer 4.0
  • Updates frameworks
  • Addresses minor issues

This update was not phased and is available to all users immediately. Users with automatic updates should see the update happen within the next 24 hours.

Side note
Speech Jammer 4.1.1 was released on December 13th 2018. It included minor changes to frameworks and other UI enhancements. To the end user, these changes were minimal and unimportant and therefore does not have an announcement on the blog.

Start Usage Meter 2.5.1 released

Start Usage Meter 2.5.1 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

This update focuses on minor UI improvements, compatibility with older versions of macOS, and adds some clarifying warning messages to the app. This version is available for and compatible with OS X 10.7 Lion through macOS 10.14 Mojave, continuing my commitment to making sure the app works with as many versions of macOS as possible.

This update:

  • Addresses an issue which could cause the Daily Usage window to display a dark-mode background on macOS 10.13 High Sierra and earlier
  • Added a new warning on the Daily Usage window to warn when the user is not using a compatible connection and the app cannot retrieve usage details
  • Made some minor tweaks to improve compatibility across all versions of macOS

Start Usage Meter 2.5 released

Introducing Dark Mode in Start Usage Meter 2.5 on macOS Mojave

Start Usage Meter 2.5 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

This update adds compatibility with macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode and focuses on minor usability improvements, as well as fixing an issue that caused an informational message to be inadvertently displayed numerous times on the daily usage window (in some cases). The app now knows you don’t need the same information 3+ times.

Sorry for the delay in getting this update out (just over 2 weeks after macOS Mojave was released. It should have been earlier, and I know better from now on 😀). This update required some refactoring in order to support Dark Mode and be more context-aware for future macOS enhancements that are inevitably going to arrive. Some more details about the UI enhancements in Start Usage Meter 2.5:

About Dark Mode
macOS Mojave introduces Dark Mode for the Mac, which provides a darker appearance for UI items. Start Usage Meter 2.5 introduces support for Dark Mode across the app (including the daily usage window). There’s nothing you need to do, since Start Usage Meter will detect whether Dark Mode is enabled, and automatically show the darker interface.

About the usability improvement
As mentioned, this update includes usability improvements. This primarily surrounds the ability to identify which connection you currently have selected at a quick glance, without leaving the window you’re on. For example, the Usage Details window now displays the currently selected network on the titlebar of the window. You no longer need to click the submenu on the macOS menu bar and scroll through the list to identify your currently selected network.

It seems like a small change; however, this makes sure that the app gives you all the information you need at a quick glance, without needing to tediously click through menus to get the critical information you need.

OS Support Details
Keeping up with my goal of making sure Start Usage Meter supports all versions of macOS (ahem. OS X) going back to OS X 10.7 Lion, Start Usage Meter 2.5 also supports all versions of Mac OS X back to OS X Lion. As long as nothing forces me to increase my deployment target (i.e. Xcode requires all new builds with a new API to target OS X 10.8 or higher), I will continue to build in legacy support in the app as long as it doesn’t hinder the experience on newer versions of macOS. As always, the latest version of macOS runs Start Usage Meter the best.

Speech Jammer 4.1 released

Speech Jammer 4.1 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the iOS App Store.

This update to Speech Jammer focuses on stability and usability improvements rather than introducing new features. It includes some fixes to recording sharing, some improvements to the initial starting delay, improvements to AirPods compatibility, and updates core SDK’s that the app relies on.

This update:

  • Fixes an issue that could cause the upload to fail (but appear to succeed) when sharing a recording. Recordings of any size should now share properly once again!
  • Reduced the default/initial delay time to help have a larger impact and crank up the fun 100% (that number was arbitrarily made up, but I’ll bet it is somewhat accurate)
  • Improvements to AirPods compatibility and improves compatibility with other Bluetooth headphones. More enhancements coming soon!
  • Updated core SDK’s to improve reliability, stability, and performance

This update was set as a phased release and will release to users in phases over 1 week. You can force the update by opening the App Store and manually updating Speech Jammer.

Start Usage Meter 2.4.4 released

Start Usage Meter 2.4.4 has been reviewed and approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

As previously discussed, this update addresses a few minor issues that affected users on versions of OS X older than macOS 10.12. The app has been slightly overhauled to improve compatibility with OS X versions dating back to OS X 10.7 Lion. The only feature limited to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later is notifications (since OS X Lion does not have a notification API).

Please note that the best experience with Start Usage Meter is always on the latest version of macOS, although I do my best to support as far back as I can. I have no immediate plans to discontinue support for OS X Lion users, since I know there are still users with machines that cannot progress past it. As long as I still have the tools (i.e. Xcode doesn’t impose a minimum target greater than OS X 10.7), I will continue to target OS X Lion and later.

I appreciate your patience while I repaired the issues aforementioned. I have a few exciting enhancements planned for future updates and will preview them shortly. Even if you’re on a newer version of macOS, you should still update to Start Usage Meter 2.4.4.

Start Usage Meter 2.4.3 Released

Start Usage Meter 2.4.3 has been approved by Apple and is now available on the Mac App Store.

Some changes were required since the deployment of a brand new Start.ca website (that looks fantastic!) which was incompatible with previous versions of Start Usage Meter. Most of the issues were corrected with a server-side adjustment, but there are some client fixes required.

This update:

  • Addresses several issues that were introduced due to the last update to the Start.ca website including:
    • Fixed an issue that caused usage data to fail to load after the latest Start.ca website update which could cause an error to display indefinitely
    • Fixed an issue that prevented a users usage key from being populated automatically after the latest Start.ca website update
    • Improved the crash resistance throughout the app to prevent future changes like this from causing the app to crash
    • Completely revamped daily usage window to address crashing and prevent future changes from causing the app to terminate
    • This update also has the benefit of increasing performance and reliability in the daily usage window, so I’m going to go ahead and take credit for that too.

Although the website has since been slightly modified to address some of the issues users on Start Usage Meter were experiencing and usage will now display properly on 2.4.2 and earlier, there will still be some crashing issues on the daily usage window that requires 2.4.3 to be fixed.

Additionally, there is a known issue on OS X Lion that is causing the date selector on the daily usage window to stop functioning. This has already been addressed in the latest 2.4.4 beta and will be released to the App Store sometime next month. This issue is due to a missing API on OS X Lion and does not affect OS X El Capitan or later. 2.4.4 will bring a fix for users on older operating systems.

As always, thanks for continuing to support the usage meter. I love seeing the emails of happy users.