Last night, I released Lab Tick 0.9.3 which fixes a number of small bugs. The biggest change in this release is support for fast user switching. In previous versions of Lab Tick, you either had to disable or quite Lab Tick before you would switch to a different account on your notebook - otherwise, Lab Tick would continue to run and try to control the illumination. This caused erratic behaviour when another instance of Lab Tick was running under a different account.
Also, since Xcode 3.2 in Snow Leopard comes with a static analyzer built-in, I could find a number of small memory leaks, which should hopefully reduce memory usage by a bit.
However, even though Lab Tick 0.9.3 runs perfectly fine on Snow Leopard, it won't run in 64 bit. That is because some of the APIs I use to control the backlit keyboard are not fully 64-bit-capable and have been deprecated by Apple. I will look into replacing those APIs with modern ones that have 64 bit support. Since spare time is always an issue, I cannot make any promises on a release date.
Until then, I hope the lack of support for 64 bit doesn't bother you too much.
In the past two years, Lab Tick has matured from a relatively simple slider in a window to a complex application with a bunch of user-configurable preferences and nice features.
The following screen shots will give you an idea of what Lab Tick used to look like in the past. The first image shows version 0.2, one of the very first releases. In version 0.4, I started using a preferences window for some of the very first basic user-configurable behaviour.
Thanks to Sam, I can finally confirm that Lab Tick works on Apple's new MacBooks.
Also, and this doesn't warrant an extra post, for those of you who donated to Lab Tick in the past (Thank you!), I'll introduce a button that will allow you to get rid of the nag screen once and for all. It'll be in the next update.
Unfortunately, I did not do enough pre-release testing of Lab Tick 0.9 before I released it on Monday. There were some glitches which were affecting Tiger users. None of these glitches caused the application to hang or not function properly, but they weren't exactly nice to look at. Read More
I'll bet this is a new one:
I've been using Lab Tick about a week now. Last Monday I left the surgical suite (operating room) for my office. The Xray view box was very bright obscuring everything including my MacBook Pro I got a video ichat from the Surgeon I just left. He asked me a question that needed an immediate answer. Because the Lab Tick'd keyboard was lit up the surgeon got the information he needed. And the wasted time to turn on the keyboard back light wasn't.
So as far as I'm concerned Lab Tick saved someone's life.
Fixed the welcome window so it will be displayed above other windows.
Adjusted the updates to the illumination controller to reduce flicker.
Added localization for the "About Lab Tick" window.
Fixed some small localization issues.
Improved handling of sleep/wake up events.
Added a donation menu item.
Added a donation window (don't worry, it won't bother you much).
Use Lab Tick's built-in updater or grab the disk image from the Lab Tick site.
I have been accepting donations for Lab Tick for about two weeks now, and while these were two very successful weeks, I have learnt some lessons about freeware donations.
First of all, there have been a variety of issues using Dropcash. For some reason, potential contributors who were trying to donate using the Dropcash fundraiser that I had set up were presented with a German language version of PayPal if they did not have a PayPal account and an appropriate cookie. I suspect this is because my PayPal account is registered in Germany, but it would have been nice to have the option of an English language version for contributors. I didn't notice this until a few people contacted me, mentioning issues in handling the German page.
I tried to remedy the situation by switching my PayPal account's primary language to English, but it didn't help the cause. People without the appropriate cookie would still see a German donation page. Since Lab Tick users are primarily from non-German-speaking countries, I suspect that this has accounted for a bunch of lost donations.
The reason for this is probably one of the hidden form fields that PayPal uses to initiate a transaction:
This field definitely controls the language of the PayPal page that the user is being redirected to. Dropcash doesn't use this field in their POST request to the PayPal site, so I can only assume that this was the cause for the language mixup.
Another problem that I encountered was that the Dropcash campaign system insisted on users having a PayPal account. There was no way to contribute to the campaign without an account, not even if you wanted to pay by credit card. Two potential contributors mentioned this fact in an email to me last week as this was a real show-stopper for them. They simply couldn't donate, even if they wanted to. Again, I suspect more lost donations.
This has prompted me to take action and implement donation buttons like you can see them on various sites all over the web. Fortunately, PayPal made it easy for me to set this up. In their online "Integration Center", they have an assistant for donations. I could just enter some values such as the currency, the redirection URLs and the button that I was going to use and it presented me with the HTML code that I needed to add to my website. I've chosen to set up three different buttons for the three most relevant currencies (for me), which are EUR, USD and GBP. The code for the EUR implementation looks like this now:
This has resulted in a new donation page. It's too bad that the Dropcash campaign didn't work out for me, because I really think it is a great idea and a nice implementation. They just need to sort out the issues I experienced and they should be fine.