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Aug 18 12

Current Status of the VelaClock widget

by veladg

VelaClock 1.0 was first introduced on April 29, 2005. On May 1, 2007, we introduced VelaClock Deluxe, an optional upgrade. The full history is below. VelaClock Deluxe has been updated 25 times and VelaClock standard has been updated 35 times. We have always striven to ensure that VelaClock is compatible with the current Mac OS as well as that it has accurate time zone information. The current version of VelaClock is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion.” It is also still fully compatible all the way back to Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” (PowerPC or Intel).

When Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” was introduced, two things happened:

  1. We received a surge of emails that VelaClock Deluxe couldn’t be used on Mountain Lion. People wanted  an update.
  2. We discovered the Apple had removed the Apple Staff Favorites section for widgets as well as Apple’s “Top 50″ widgets page. This caused VelaClock sales to drop dramatically.

We immediately proceeded to fix VelaClock to make it compatible with Mac OS X 10.8. The update was much more involved and time-consuming than expected. In addition to investigating and fixing a crash for VelaClock Deluxe on Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), we made two more fixes: fixed ability to click checkboxes on back of widget (Mountain Lion only) and corrected size of daylight bar and moon on new retina display. The changes for the version 2.2.9 update are listed on the VelaClock widget page. I also personally responded to scores of emails and sent out several emails to a large group of users. Finally, we wrote and later revised for simplicity a Mountain Lion compatibility blog post to instruct users how to download and run VelaClock on Mountain Lion. The whole update process has taken about two weeks.

The past several years,VelaClock Deluxe was regularly an Apple Staff Favorite and was nearly always on Apple’s “Top 50″ widgets list (out of 4000 widgets). This exposure helped us maintain steady sales. Recently, Apple removed both the Apple Staff Favorites section for widgets and the “Top 50″ widgets list page. This has caused our sales to absolutely plummet. We don’t mean to criticize Apple. Our only option is to adapt to the current environment, and we’re working towards that goal.

After we released VelaClock 2.2.9 (Deluxe and standard) for Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility, we received many, many emails from VelaClock users expressing their appreciation. If you’re a long time VelaClock user and appreciate being able to continue to use VelaClock, please add a comment to this blog post or send us an email. We will do our best to keep VelaClock up to date with the latest Mac OS. In the future, it may be difficult to offer products that need frequent updates and have a one time purchase price.

Thanks,

Chuck, Klaus and Jennifer
Team bios.

History of VelaClock

VelaClock 1.0 was introduced on April 29, 2005. This was the same day that Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” was launched with its new Dashboard feature. We were excited about the possibilities. The VelaClock 1.0 press release had the following quote from Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations: “VelaClock is a great example of an elegant and helpful widget which we’re pleased to see added to the collection.”

On May 1, 2007, two years after the initial release, we released VelaClock Deluxe with two significant and highly requested features: user defined locations and the ability to change the current date. Over the years, users sent us many notes of praise including “Flawless operation, and a lot of information in a very compact, but readable form.” and “I wish all software developers were as passionate about their product as you are.”

Numerous updates over the years.

On August 3, 2012, we released VelaClock 2.2.9 (Deluxe and standard) for compatibility with Mac OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” and included a fix for retina displays.

References to past staff favorites and “top 50″ widgets

– Previous location for Apple staff favorites for widgets.
– Previous location for Apple’s “Top 50″ widgets (page is gone).

Snapshots of these pages from June, 2011, using the Internet Archive:
– Archived snapshot of Apple staff favorites for widgets with VelaClock Deluxe.
– Archived snapshot of Apple’s “Top 50″ widgets with VelaClock Deluxe at #24.

VelaClock for iPhone

VelaClock app: http://veladg.com/velaclockapp.html
VelaClock Classic app: http://veladg.com/velaclock1app.html

Aug 3 12

Mountain Lion compatibility

by veladg

VelaClock widget instructions for Mac OS X 10.9 / 10.8

Below are instructions for how to download and install VelaClock Deluxe or VelaClock standard versions on Mac OS X 10.9 or 10.8. A bug in VelaClock Deluxe 2.2.8 and earlier had prevented it from running on 10.8.
These instructions assume that you have default Security preferences set in Mountain Lion. That is, in “System Preferences” in “Security & Privacy” under the General tab, the “Allow applications downloaded from:” setting is either “Mac App Store” or “Mac App Store and identified developers.”

1. Download VelaClock Deluxe 2.2.9 (or VelaClock 2.2.9)

Visit the VelaClock widget web page and download the VelaClock Deluxe 2.2.9 (or VelaClock 2.2.9, standard). The following alert will appear (unless you’ve changed your Security preferences). Click the “OK” button.

2. Install VelaClock Deluxe 2.2.9 (or VelaClock 2.2.9)

After downloading, find the widget. It should be in your Downloads folder. Hold down the Control key when clicking on the VelaClock widget icon and select “Open” from the menu, as shown below.

After control clicking on the icon and selecting “Open” from the menu, the following dialog will be displayed. Click the “Open” button.

Finally, if you have an old version of VelaClock installed, click the Replace button to install VelaClock.

That’s all. Enjoy.

Please note: we had tested both versions of VelaClock on a Developer Preview version of Mac OS X 10.8 and it ran fine. The problem with VelaClock Deluxe was discovered on the final release of Mac OS X 10.8. We fixed the issue as fast as possible and apologize for the inconvenience. Mountain Lion compatibility is provided primarily for our existing users.

Update: these instructions were revised on August 7, 2012. It’s no longer necessary to adjust your Security preferences to install the VelaClock widget on Mountain Lion.

If you need any help, please contact us via the “support email” link at the top of the company page. Thanks.

Dec 19 11

Apps for Water

by veladg

Vela Design Group will be donating 100% of the proceeds from sales on December 20th, 2011 to charity: water. We are taking part in Apps for Water along with many other developers.

Apps for Water

“Apps for Water gives app developers a chance to donate one day of their sales to a very worthy cause: providing clean water for developing nations. It seems like a simple thing, turn on a faucet and clean water pours out. Unfortunately, there are almost 1 billion people in the world who don’t have a safe, clean water source. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience. It turns out, the lack of safe water is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Over 2,000,000 people die each year from diseases stemming from the lack of clean water.”

From Gaucho Software’s announcement of Apps for Water.

As an added incentive to take part in this worthy cause, we are offering 20% off for our Mac products, including the VelaClock Deluxe widget for $12.76, (use “AppsForWater” coupon) and 25% off the VelaClock iPhone app for $2.99.

Take part in Apps for Water on December 20, 2011.

Dec 13 11

MacTech Conference

by veladg

Although I wasn’t originally planning to attend this year’s MacTech Conference in November, the speakers and sessions intrigued me enough to make a last minute trip from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. The three day conference offered a range of iOS and Mac developer sessions including a keynote by Guy Kawasaki and a special nighttime tour of Universal Studios. Of particular interest to me was that MacTech did not focus purely on technical discussion: there were also  sessions on how to grow a business with a limited budget, techniques for dealing with the press, and even one that covered the “difficulty of balancing pleasing Apple with pleasing our end-user customers.” In addition to the Developer Track, a full IT Track was also offered. Sessions like these are not offered at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference and that in itself makes MacTech the perfect complement to WWDC.

What follows is an overview of the Developer Track and various activities of the 2011 MacTech Conference. It is not meant to be a thorough review of all the sessions.

Day One There were over a hundred people milling about enjoying coffee and snacks while waiting to register and collect their badges. I was pleasantly surprised to run into my friend Florian Albrecht from Boinx Software – visiting all the way from Germany! The two of us wandered over to greet Guy Kawasaki – chief evangelist at Apple in the mid-1980s and respected author – who sat near a stack of his latest work Enchantment. It was fun to witness Daniel Jalkut, author of the famous blog editing software MarsEdit, give Guy immediate on site tech support. After they solved the issue, Guy signed my book and let me pose with him for a photo. Midmorning Guy Kawasaki was scheduled to speak about his book Enchantment, but in light of Steve Jobs recent and untimely death, he instead spoke about what he had learned while working at Apple. Guy’s talk was an expanded version of his blog post that lists the top 12 lessons he learned from Steve Jobs. (Aptly titled, “What I learned from Steve Jobs“) My personal favorites are, 5) Design counts and 7) Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence. Kawasaki was very open with us and seemed genuinely happy to be in a room of Mac folks. For a summary of Guy’s keynote please visit Kelly Guimont’s (of TUAW) blog post.

The next session was Chris Rojas speaking about Physical Computing/Making Robots. Chris’ talk wasn’t what I expected to hear at a Mac conference, but it was definitely worthwhile and interesting. He spoke about his iPhone controlled Solar Powered Arduino Tank along with many other projects.

After lunch, there were four technical sessions: Beyond the Gradient with James Wilson, Accelerate Your Code! with Jeff Biggus, Internationalizating iOS and Mac Applications with Brenden Clavin, and Going Mobile with Aaron Hillegass. I was most interested in Jeff Biggus’ talk. He explained how using the accelerate framework can make one’s code faster, use less battery life, and be more elegant and debuggable.

In the evening, we went on a fascinating private group tour of Universal Studios followed by a behind the scenes technology talk.

Day Two Day two consisted of a a full day of sessions: 9:00am to 6:30pm. Exceptionally useful technical session topics included Core Animation, Core Data, Xcode Instruments, Recognizing Bugs in Cocoa and Flexible JSON Importing. In particular, I found Nathan Eror’s talk on Core Animation and Marcus Zarra’s talk on JSON to Core Data Importing, to be most relevant to my own development. There were two sessions that focused on business (as opposed to technology): “How to grow your business with limited budget” by Jacob Gorban and “The Press, And How To Humor Them” by Andy Ihnatko. These sessions covered critical aspects of running a software business and definitely warrant a closer look with a more focused blog post.

Dinner was in the Starview Room on the top floor of the Sheraton Universal Hotel. It was a high quality buffet with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills and the surrounding area. Day Three The last day of the conference included these sessions: Macintosh Security for Corporations with Jan P. Monsch, Google Switzerland, Serving Two Masters with Daniel Jalkut, Red Sweater Software, and Managing Multiple Data Formats in the iCloud with Rich Warren. Daniel Jalkut’s covered his solution for automatically allowing Mac App Store (MAS) users to run self-sold editions of his software. This topic is especially important for developers that sell and support their Mac software in both Apple’s Mac App Store and a separate e-commerce solution (such as eSellerate). Daniel expanded upon his This App Is Your App blog post to a standing room only crowd. Overall, I felt that attendance at the MacTech conference was both worthwhile and a good value. All meals were included in the cost of the conference and the food was excellent (full buffet breakfasts and lunches and salmon, steak or pasta for dinners). Also included were the Universal Studios Tour and an evening at Jillian’s which added a vacation element to the conference. Because of the relatively small number of attendees, it was easy to meet people and to converse with the speakers. I enjoyed talking with IT people as well as developers and I particularly appreciated that – while the majority of the sessions for the Developer Track were relevant to current Mac and iOS technologies – there were also several sessions aimed at running and improving software businesses. MacTech is an excellent conference that complements, but doesn’t replace, WWDC. I recommend the MacTech conference.

Feb 3 11

VelaClock update

by veladg

On January 24, 2011 (10 days ago) we released VelaClock 2.0 with a dramatically new user interface (UI). Immediately after the update, a number of users emailed us saying that they preferred the old user interface. The app rating dropped to 2 out of 5 stars (with 5 reviews) from about 4.5 stars. Some users were upset. We also received a number of emails from users who liked the new interface. Given the small number of reviews and emails we received, it was difficult gauge if more users liked the new interface or the original interface. It was clear that some users strongly preferred the original interface.

How can we keep everyone happy? The App Store doesn’t support an optional upgrade. The only feasible solution is to have two apps. We’ve renamed the original VelaClock to “VelaClock Classic” (VelaClock1 in the App Store) and introduced a new VelaClock app. [Please note that we started writing this blog post on the same day that we submitted both apps to the App Store.]

VelaClock Classic v2.1 (free update for existing users, original UI, named “VelaClock1″ in the App Store): What’s new:
– Added an enhanced photographic image of the moon accurately depicting the moon’s phase and tilt.

VelaClock v1.0 (new app, new UI): introductory pricing of $0.99 USD for the first three days, then the price will be moved towards the normal price over the next couple of weeks. iOS 4 is required (for importing custom locations). Changes to new app (if you previously used it):
– Added ‘change in minutes of daylight from the previous day’ after daylight duration in the Sun/Moon detail panel.
– Fixed serious memory bug that caused a crash.
VelaClock v1.0 in App Store

Note: If you purchased VelaClock 2.0 with the new interface, and understandably do not wish to re-purchase the app, please contact us. Fortunately, VelaClock 2.0 with the new UI was only on the market for less than two weeks.

The original VelaClock app first appeared in the App Store on July 11, 2008, the day that the App Store opened. On that day only 500 apps were in the App Store and we were honored to be there! This version of VelaClock, now named VelaClock Classic, divided the screen into two panes, the upper pane which contains a list of cities and a lower detail pane, with three horizontally scrolling panels. The simplicity of a single screen interface is appealing, but VelaClock only displays a very limited amount for information. To provide more information, VelaClock needs a different format.

The new VelaClock app delivers much more information (data and graphics) with a new user interface. To create this highly usable and functional interface, we had many, many design iterations, and we think that you will like the results. The initial screen contains the list of cities and corresponding local times. Tapping on a row in the city list will transition to one of the four new full screen detail views. These new full screen detail views allow much more information to be displayed. A full description is on the new VelaClock web page.

Importing Custom Locations
To import Custom Locations from VelaClock Classic (VelaClock1) to the new VelaClock app, both apps must be on your device. To perform an import, navigate to the Custom Locations list in the new app and tap on the “Import from VelaClock1″ button. Having this feature was critical to being able to release a new VelaClock app. This feature required iOS 4.0 or newer.

Update on February 18, 2011
Further explanation is in a blog comment and response below.

Jan 18 11

VelaClock 2.0 app

by veladg

Important Update – February 14, 2011

VelaClock 1.0 app
If you recently purchased VelaClock 1.0, thank you. A full description of this new app is on the new VelaClock web page.

VelaClock 2.0 app
If you are currently using VelaClock 2.0, please read this important blog post: VelaClock Update.
VelaClock 2.0 will be updated to VelaClock Classic v2.1 (original UI, free update). A new VelaClock v1.0 (new app, new UI) is now available. [Note: this blog post was originally intended for the VelaClock 2.0 update.]