macOS

ScreenFloat Mac App Icon

Today I finally was able to release ScreenFloat 1.5.13 on the Mac App Store. It’s a free update for existing customers of the app.
A 15-day trial can be downloaded for free from the website, even if you’ve tried it before.

What Is ScreenFloat?

ScreenFloat lets you create screenshots that float on top of everything, enabling you to keep an eye on information you currently need without having to switch back and forth between windows, applications or spaces.

Customers use it in all sorts of cases – when coding for code snippets, when making wire transfers for IBAN numbers and such, when working in Photoshop to compare images, the list goes on and on.

ScreenFloat in Action

Basically, any time you need to keep something in your field of view or need to remember something on screen, ScreenFloat is there for you. The floating shots follow you around, no matter what window, app or space you are in, or you can pin them to specific spaces.

Shots you close are not deleted, but kept for you in the Shots Browser, where you can organize and categorize them:

ScreenFloat's Shots Browser

What’s New in ScreenFloat v1.5.13?

• Most importantly, ScreenFloat now works on macOS Sierra.
As I wrote about earlier, macOS Sierra has a new sandbox entitlement that was prohibiting ScreenFloat from performing correctly, so that is fixed now.
While I was at it, I put the screenshot creation into its own XPC process, so I could isolate the new entitlement from the rest of the app, as Apple encourages doing.
• Aside from now working on macOS Sierra, it fixes two bugs and a (rare) crash, so I definitely recommend updating to version 1.5.13.

A Little Background on ScreenFloat’s App Store Review

When I first submitted this update of ScreenFloat to the Mac App Store, I included this line in is App Store description:
“Improves compatibility with macOS Sierra”
The update was rejected because of it. You are not allowed to mention Apple pre-release software in your App Store description. Instead, they suggest you use this line:
“Improves compatibility with an upcoming OS”
I think that’s rubbish. Everyone knows what the next OS is going to be called – it was publicly unveiled already under that name, so the likelihood of it changing now is virtually zero.
Secondly, they have a public beta out, for crying out loud. It’s in peoples’ hands already, but they don’t want developers to let their customers know that the app now works on Apple’s latest and greatest new system?
So I sent an appeal to the Review Board, it got rejected, I submitted the app again with the suggested line and it went through.
Still, I don’t think “an upcoming OS” is helping anyone. In fact, it’s more confusing than anything, if you ask me. “An upcoming OS” is ambiguous, whereas “macOS Sierra” lets the user know exactly what you mean.
Anyway, this will be my process from now on: Submit with my original line mentioning the OS update explicitly, getting rejected, appealing and then submitting with their suggested line. Perhaps they’ll get tired of it and let it through at some point. Probably not, though.

Pricing and Availability

ScreenFloat v1.5.13 is available for purchase on the Mac App Store for the price of $8.99 / £6.99 / €8,99. It is a free update for existing customers of the app.
A 15-day trial can be downloaded for free from the website, even if you’ve already tried the app.
ScreenFloat runs on Macs with OS X Lion 10.7.3 or newer.

If you’re interested in writing about ScreenFloat, you can download its press kit here, which contains screenshots, icons, a short sample video and further information.
A limited amount of promotional codes are available to members of the press at press(at)eternalstorms(dot)at.

Links

ScreenFloat Website
http://eternalstorms.at/ScreenFloat

ScreenFloat on the Mac App Store
https://itunes.apple.com/app/screenfloat/id414528154?mt=12&at=1001l8pT&ct=blog

ScreenFloat Demo Download
http://eternalstorms.at/ScreenFloat/ScreenFloat.zip

ScreenFloat Press Kit
http://eternalstorms.at/press/ScreenFloat-1-Press-Kit.zip

ScreenFloat Video Preview on YouTube
https://youtu.be/MYtEzOP41Os

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and to see what you think about ScreenFloat 1.5.13. If you like the app, please consider leaving a little review on the Mac App Store, it would help me out a lot! Should you have any feedback or questions, please be sure to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

 

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Glimpses Icon

Today, Glimpses v2.1, an app that creates Still Motion Videos in just a few clicks, is available for download from the Mac App Store.
It’s a free upgrade for everyone who purchased it before.
A free, 15-day trial is available for download here, even if you’ve tried it before.

What Is Glimpses?

When you want to show your awesome photos from your recent vacation but there are just too many, you can either sort through them and heavy-heartedly decide which ones to toss aside, or you show them all – with a Still Motion Video.
Still Motion Videos show photos in very rapid succession, usually for the fraction of a second. Mix that with a soundtrack, and you can make your video action-packed and powerful, or mellow and soothing. Or even both.

Glimpses lets you create such high-quality videos with just a few clicks.
Import your photos (from your Photos.app library, a hard drive, Flickr or Instagram), add one or more soundtracks and you’re set – Glimpses figures out the rest.
The app creates your video in a smart way:

  • The video’s resolution (ranging from 240p to 4K) will be calculated by looking at the smallest photos you supply
  • Its duration is based on the amount of photos you imported, and the duration of the soundtracks you supplied
  • Soundtracks that turn out too long will automatically fade out smoothly at the end of your video, whereas short soundtracks can be looped
  • Pillar- and letterboxes can be eliminated, if the photo’s resolution allows for it
  • Due to built-in facial recognition, photos are positioned in a way that faces aren’t outside of the video’s frame

However, control is always at the user’s fingertips. For example, soundtracks can be edited so only your favorite part of it is used, in an easy-to-use, yet powerful way:

Screenshot of Glimpses' Soundtrack Editor

Additionally, every other aspect of your video can be manually set up:

Screenshot of Glimpses' Video Settings

What’s New in v2.1?

  • Improves integration with macOS by providing a QuickLook plugin that offers an easier and quicker way to identify Glimpses project files
  • Improves integration with Photos.app by supporting drag and drop from the app and offering a Share Extension so photos can be imported to Glimpses without leaving Photos.app
  • Photos can be edited using external editors
  • Shuffle photos to add a random touch to your video
  • Performance improvements, refinements and bug fixes throughout the app

Pricing and Availability

Glimpses 2.1 is available for purchase on the Mac App Store for the price of $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99.
It is a free update for existing customers of the app.
A free, 15-day trial is available on the website, even if you’ve already tried the app.
Glimpses runs on Macs with OS X Yosemite or newer.

If you’re interested in writing about Glimpses, you can download its press kit here, which contains screenshots, a short sample video and further information.
A limited amount of promotional codes are available to members of the press at press(at)eternalstorms(dot)at.

Links

Glimpses Website
http://eternalstorms.at/glimpses
Glimpses on the Mac App Store
https://itunes.apple.com/app/glimpses/id637565340?mt=12
Glimpses Demo Download
http://eternalstorms.at/glimpses/Glimpses.zip
Glimpses Press Kit
http://eternalstorms.at/press/Glimpses-2-Press-Kit.zip
Glimpses Sample Video on YouTube
https://youtu.be/NCa4Fg6uLoI

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and to see what you think about Glimpses 2.1.
If you like the app, please consider leaving a little review on the Mac App Store, it would help me out a lot!
Should you have any feedback or questions, please be sure to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

 

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In my app ScreenFloat, I use the command line tool screencapture via NSTask to create screenshots. On OS X El Capitan and earlier versions of Apple’s operating system, this worked perfectly fine. Now, on macOS Sierra, I’ve been getting reports that screenshot creation didn’t work anymore, so I investigated.

At first I thought it might be the keyboard shortcut API that has undergone some changes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as I saw something actually occurred when I pressed the keyboard shortcut – Xcode’s console printed:

screencapture: cannot run two interactive screen captures at a time

Since I was absolutely sure I’m not launching screencapture via NSTasktwice, I took to Console.app to see if anything unusual was reported there. And there it was:

Sandbox Violation of ScreenFloat on macOS SierraThe output in Console.app when trying to launch an interactive screencapture with NSTask.

deny mach-register

So registering a global Mach service is denied on macOS Sierra. In the back of my mind, I remembered a temporary exception entitlement, but it wasn’t quite the same – com.apple.security.temporary-exception.mach-lookup.global-name. I tried adding it to ScreenFloat’s entitlements file, with com.apple.screencapture.interactive as its value (this temporary entitlement expects an array of string values), but that didn’t help – the same denial and console output occurred. On a hunch, I tried using …mach-register.global-name instead of …mach-lookup.global-name and – tada – it worked!

So I’m all set, right? Well…

Temporary Exception Entitlements

Apple offers a couple of temporary exception entitlements. They may or may not be granted to your app during Apple’s review process. But going through the list, it’s clear that …mach-register.global-name is nowhere to be found, so it’s kind of a private entitlement – which makes it even less likely for it to be granted to your app.

Digging Further

Seeing as the sandbox denial points explicitly to com.apple.screencapture.interactive, not just com.apple.screencapture generally, I tried creating a non-interactive screencapture session with NSTask. To my surprise, it worked – without the entitlement.

So I tried a different command line utility – which. (which will return the executable path to the given command line utility, for example, which screencapture would return /usr/sbin/screencapture). Again, it worked. And again, without the entitlement.

It makes me believe (and hope) that the behavior we see for com.apple.screencapture.interactive is not desired, so I’ve filed a bug report with Apple in the hopes that they can set the record straight soon.

For now, I hope ScreenFloat will be granted the temporary entitlement just so it is functional again on macOS Sierra for the time being. However, if this is in fact the desired behavior, I will have to write my own screencapture utility so ScreenFloat can remain on the Mac App Store.

Bug Reporting

For anyone who’s interested or in a position to view it, here’s the bug report I’ve filed with Apple: rdar://27610157. I do hope to get an answer soon.

Update August 2nd, 2016

As I stated above, com.apple.security.temporary-exception.mach-register.global-name isn’t documented anywhere. Which is also the reason you get an error when trying to submit an app with such an entitlement to iTunes Connect:

ERROR ITMS-90285

So, no dice on the temporary exception. Having to write my own screenshot utility seems more and more likely. I hope I can make it in time for macOS Sierra.

Update September 9th, 2016

The temporary exception is now valid and will go through to Apple’s App Review without a hitch. My own solution is not necessary at this time, but I’m still going to be working on it – you never know.

 

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