This is a very minor update that mainly focuses on server-side adjustments to the caching system to improve response time and ensures users are not waiting too long for a response.
An overhaul is still planned and I should have more details about that shortly.
Made some adjustments to the server side database to make sure all pages are responsive and served as quickly as possible. Rocket Loader can only do so much, but we need to get the content to it as quickly as possible.
Adjusted caching policies to make sure CloudFlare is served cached data whenever possible to ensure the quickest response time; however, we’ve adjusted cache time-to-live to make sure users are getting the latest data.
Client side: CSS improvements for older browsers
Client side: CSS improvements for older mobile devices (mainly performance)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
An update has been pushed out to ActorAgeCheck.com. This update made some changes to the core foundation of the website and its backend in preparations for a big overhaul that I first mentioned in the last website update.
Since the last update, I’ve made progress on all the items I had previously mentioned, including the full deprecation of the old image subdomain.
Todays update consists primarily of backend overhauls in preparation for a completely redesigned and vastly improved version of the site. These changes are mostly on the backend; however, since the current iteration of the website is able to utilize the new backend, there are some changes on the frontend (as the backend does a lot of content generation). As a result, the current website (1.0.34) is utilizing some components from the new backend, which results in a slight change to how some content is presented on the current site.
Some temporary changes as I prepare to launch the new site:
TV Shows are referenced in some places on the site. It is pulling these references from the new backend; however, the functionality is not yet complete and the current frontend cannot interface with the new responses from the backend to actually display any TV Show content. The ability to search TV Shows and display their information will become available when the new website launches, and won’t be available prior to that.
Some API’s are returning slightly different responses with modified organization. This is temporary while the old frontend still exists. Once the website is completely overhauled, the responses will return to the original organization.
Some API’s have become exposed but are not used on the current frontend. For example: search autocomplete. The frontend has exposed a new script that returns autocomplete results for the search field. It is in development and testing and is not currently active. Like the TV Show functionality, this feature will become available when the new website launches. You should not be calling it from your scripts, since its state is likely to change prior to launch.
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.
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.
An update has been pushed out to ActorAgeCheck.com. While I am planning an overhaul of the entire website, I’ve gone ahead and released a maintenance update to improve the performance and reliability of data on the website. Additionally, this maintenance update includes various server-side enhancements that will carry over into the new overhauled website. I’ll post more on the brand new overhauled version shortly.
This maintenance update (1.0.33) includes:
HTTPS is now enabled and forced on all domains. Non-HTTPS links will push users to the equivalent HTTPS page.
Images are now served by the image subdomain by default on mostpages. Some pages may occasionally revert to the old https://actoragecheck.com/image/ URL. This will eventually be completely phased out in favour of the image subdomain which boasts a much faster response time since the image no longer passes through a few servers for processing.
Deprecation heads up: The https://actoragecheck.com/image/xxx.png URL that still serves images is being phased out and will eventually (prior to the overhaul) no longer serve any images. If you link or reference images, please prepare to move to the new https://image.actoragecheck.com/ domain which is far more responsive.
Caching is now utilized for almost all lookups to improve the responsiveness of movie and actor detail pages. These lookups are now aggregated and cached on the ActorAgeCheck server and will be served if the cached data has not expired.
CloudFlare has now been applied to all aspects of the website as another layer of caching and to improve content delivery
Movie and actor lookups are now limited to 20 results each to improve performance
The FAQ section is being moved to a separate link rather than an HTML object with a :hover CSS rule. This will improve the sites usability. * Note: this change may take a couple of weeks to roll out to all visitors *
Thanks for your support! The overhauled website will be detailed shortly, but this maintenance update will enhance the experience on the current website. It focuses primarily on responsiveness, caching improvements, and forcing security. All of these changes are also laying the foundation for the new site.
Please note, due to the aggressive intelligent use of caching, some of these changes may not be present on all pages of the website. As cached data expires server-side, the new data pull will contain any relevant changes as mentioned above. Since cached data is still valid, I’m not going to flush any of the currently existing cache, but will instead roll features in and phase deprecated functions out as I can. This will make sure the site remains reliable and responsive.
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.
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.
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.
As I continue to move forward (at least I’m hoping this is forward), I notice that there are a lot of people that just don’t seem to see the value in a vacation. Ever since I was young, my family and I have taken yearly vacations to the Caribbean. Although as a kid, it was just really cool to go to a tropical destination for a little while and take a break from this cold harsh weather we have in Canada.
However, now that I am a little older, I see that it means so much more to me now. It is no longer just a break from the weather, but rather a break from reality as a whole. The vacation gives something that is planted and firmly placed in time to look forward to. It is the light at the end of the tunnel when work starts piling up. It’s a chance to throw all worries away and get away from everything. I realize the importance of a vacation now more than ever before. You have to enjoy life, and part of that (for me anyway) is putting your hands in the air and leaving your desk behind for a week with no thoughts about what you were just doing.
A vacation is vital in a successful career. It sparks passion and gives you a chance to think about potential ideas without being required to think about them for lucrative reasons. I generally head back home with a new smile and a new chance to build something truly spectacular that I enjoy. Moreso, it renews my excitement for what I do.
Maybe it’s just me… maybe it’s a sign that what I am doing needs to change more frequently so I don’t fall back into that rut. However, it seems like a getaway every year ensures that my passion for what I’m doing is renewed.
If you’re ever feeling dull or like you’re stuck in the same-old same-old routine, hop on that next plane to a sunny destination. I suggest Royal Caribbean! Sail away!