Downshift: The Second Gear Weblog

Jul 26

Second Gear On Github

Open source is one of the great things about software development. Even if you are building commercial software like the products at Second Gear, it’s great to be able to share a piece of code you’ve developed with other developers to hopefully save them a bit of pain down the road. More often than not, that reciprocates back to you as a piece of code someone else has shared publicly will help you out along the way.

Many of our products make use of great open source code. When you send in a feature request or bug report in Today, you’re using Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch’s most excellent JRFeedbackProvider. If you happen upon a crash in either Check Off or Today, you’re presented with Stephen F Booth’s SFBCrashReporter.

For a while I have had various projects sprinkled around the Internet. The problem was that it was hard to find it as some of the code was linked on this blog, while others code was stored on my personal Github account. It wasn’t too much effort to find with a bit of Google searching, but it wasn’t as meticulously organized as I’d like.

With Github’s recent Organizations feature I finally took an afternoon to get everything neatly organized into a single location. plus add some new goodies to the bunch.

Second Gear now has its own page on Github that lists all of our open source contributions. Here you will find:

I’ve also published two new repositories:

Down the road, I’d like to add more information about our open source offerings on the proper Second Gear site, but for now I hope this new Github account will prove useful to many of the other developers out there.

Apr 01

Today Classic Now Available For Mac OS 9!

Looking for a new piece of Classic Mac software? Well, are you in luck! While everyone else has been distracted by the iPhone and that newfangled iPad, the Second Gear crew has been hard at work giving love to a dedicated group of Mac users who haven’t felt the love lately: the Classic Mac diehards.

You know there’s one of them in your circle: that guy who swears Mac OS X is terrible and will never bail on OS 9 until Apple fixes that abomination that is the 10.6 Finder.

Well, they have a schedule too and we wanted to offer the same great Today 2 experience that our Snow Leopard users have to these platinum themed diehards. With Today Classic you can keep track of what’s on your plate for any given day without keeping Now Up-to-Date & Contact open all the time. Today syncs with Now Up-to-Date & Contact and your life’s agenda so daily events & tasks are always available via one, convenient little interface.

Jan 27

Second Gear’s Latest Builds

Are you interested in being on the cutting edge of each release of Today and Check Off? Check out the new latest builds page, which will house the most recent in-house versions of both applications for you to test and try out.

Right now there is a fresh version of Check Off 4.1b1 that has some crash fixes and accessibility improvements in it.

Before you get your click on, a few words of warning. These are unsupported and uncooked versions of our applications, so if you are not comfortable with dealing with a few crashes and unpolished bits, you’re going to want to stay on the shipping versions of both products. These versions are also experiment grounds, so it’s entirely possible we may deploy something in a beta and then pull it back before the final shipment.

Haven’t scared you off yet? Go forth and fetch fresh bits!

Latest Builds Page

Jan 22

Indie+Relief Aftermath

A few days ago I mentioned that Second Gear was organizing a Mac & iPhone software charity drive called Indie+Relief.

In total, the Mac & iPhone community raised over $143,000 for Haitian relief charities. Thanks to everyone who bought either Today or Check Off on the 20th and to everyone else who came out in droves to buy software from all the other participating companies.

If you’d like more in-depth details, please check out this post on my personal site, but suffice to say it was a resounding success.

Jan 20


If you’ve been following the @secondgear Twitter account, or my personal one, you’ve probably seen reference to Indie+Relief, the charity event we’ve been organizing over the past few days with the help of our pal Garrett Murray.

Indie+Relief is a gathering over nearly 140 Mac & iPhone developers who have pledged to donate their sales for today, January 20 2010, to charities that benefit the relief effort in Haiti. Both Today and Check Off are taking part, and the proceeds (everything less the processing fee I pay to my merchant provider) of any purchase made today will be donated to the International Rescue Committee.

Even if you don’t buy our software today, please do check out all the other great applications available on the Indie+Relief site. I’m sure there’s something there for everyone.

Jan 11

Find Us On Facebook And Save On Today or Check Off!

Now that Today 2.0 is officially released, we are starting to get a few smaller projects that were put on the backburner out there. One of those is our new Facebook fan page. Everyone on earth (my grandmother included) is on Facebook, so we wanted to make it easier to interact with our customers.

We’ll be using the Facebook page to post product announcements, tips & tricks and hopefully highlighting some of our friends in the Mac development community who are also on Facebook. If you want to join, just click the image below.

Find us on Facebook

As a bonus for becoming our fan on Facebook, we are currently offering a $1 off coupon for any of our products just for becoming our Facebook fan. We’ll periodically update the Facebook exclusive offer with deals for our existing customers as well as some of our favorite third-party Mac products.

Thanks for supporting Second Gear.

Jan 06

Today 2.0 Released!

Things have been relatively quiet around Second Gear HQ, but that is only because we have been hard at work on building the next great version of Today. After what seems like forever, Today 2.0 is now available!

Today 2.0 was our opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start from a blank canvas. We reimagined the user interface to be lighter, brighter and infinitely more usable. We also rewired everything under the hood to absolutely fly on Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Oh, and we finally went 64-bit.

We also took the opportunity to adjust how events and tasks are created in Today. It didn’t make much sense to keep the windows attached to the main Today window as sheets. With 2.0, you can now create as many new event/task windows as you desire. Even better, you can assign global hot keys to the action so that you’re just a keystroke away from adding a new event to your calendar.

We hope you enjoy this new release. I am genuinely proud of how it turned out and couldn’t imagine going back to the old version. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Dec 28

Looking Back On 2009

2009 was an interesting year at Second Gear HQ. We had several product releases and a few product acquisitions. Let’s look at some of the highlights.

As for 2010, I think you will be incredibly pleased with what we have coming very soon. We hope you have a great 2010 and thanks for supporting Second Gear.

Oct 16

BitBQ Acquires FitnessTrack & Emergency Information

It’s with great excitement that I announce that BitBQ has acquired FitnessTrack and Emergency Information and will taking both applications to the next level. Curious about the what’s and why’s? Read on.

What’s Happening

BitBQ has acquired Second Gear’s stable of iPhone applications: FitnessTrack and Emergency Information.

Why are you selling the iPhone apps?

There are a few reasons for it, but mainly it is because Second Gear wants to get back to focusing on the Mac platform rather than dividing attention between two different platforms. BitBQ, on the other hand, was looking to get into the iPhone development business and was a fan of both applications. It seemed a natural fit.

Do I have to repurchase either application?

We hope not, but right now that depends on Apple. Both companies are working with Apple to transfer the applications in the iTunes program so that the transition is as seamless as possible for existing users. To keep up-to-date on this, subscribe to BitBQ’s blog and/or Twitter

Who do I contact for support, feature requests or other questions?

Please contact Patrick at BitBQ for anything related to FitnessTrack and Emergency Information going forward. You are in great hands.

So what is Second Gear working on now

Right now we’re hard at work on updates to both Check Off and Today, our two Mac applications. There may or may not also be a third Mac application at our top secret shop. Stay tuned!

Aug 24

Check Off 4 Now Available

We are pleased to announce the release of something that has long been in the works: a major update to Check Off. Check Off is a quick to-do list that sits in your Mac’s menu bar. Simply click the check mark and your personal to-do list will drop down.

This release focuses on modernizing the the application going forward. Much like Apple is doing with Snow Leopard, we wanted to update Check Off so that it is ready for the next decade of software and hardware advancements.

The release sports a new coat of paint with a modernized interface. Check Off now looks and feels like it belongs on Leopard and Snow Leopard with its modernized toolbar, list styles and preferences window.

Check Off 4 also includes a new purge feature which will allow you to remove all of your checked off items with a single click so you can just focus on what’s left to be done on your list. The application is also more friendly to international users with its new support for non-ASCII characters in the list, printing and exporting.

Under the hood, the application saw substantial upgrades and enhancements.
We took the opportunity of 4.0 to rewrite key portions of the architecture to use modern features of the Mac OS X development experience and to add support for 64-bit. Check Off should be leaner, more stable and maybe even a bit snappier as well.

The new core will make it much easier to add functionality to the application going forward. It also gave me the opportunity to fix some lingering usability issues. Check Off now behaves more like a Mac application should and even has standard keyboard shortcuts.

We are very proud of this release and am glad that others can finally get a chance to use it.

The Transition From Free To Paid

Check Off has long been a free product, but with 4.0, the decision was made to start charging a license fee. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it boils down to having to support a company and the developers behind it. We want to continue to build great products for the Mac platform, but short of inheriting quite the trust-fund, making for-pay products is the only way to can do that.

Single user licenses are $12.95, or you can purchase the family pack for $19.95 for use on up to five computers in your household.

Transitioning from free to paid is always an awkward situation and I’m not sure if there is a right way to do it. As part of the transition we have offered free 4.0 licenses to anyone who has made a donation towards Check Off in the past three years. Whether it was a dollar or fifty, we wanted to thank those that took the time and saw fit to support the development of a free product.

Give It A Try

Please download it today and let us know what you think. We are very proud of this release and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed build it.