Use BusyCal with Today

The folks at BusyMac just released a public beta of BusyCal, their new iCal replacement that adds support for live weather forecasts, graphics, recurring todos and more. What’s great about BusyCal is that it is fully compatible with iCal still, and any event or task you create in the application will automatically sync back to iCal, and subsequently to Today.

If you’ve been looking for a more powerful calendaring solution than what iCal offers today, be sure to check out BusyCal.

Emergency Information 1.0 Now Available

FitnessTrack 1.1 is unfortunately still in review with Apple, but I am pleased to announce that a weekend project from a few weeks ago is now available in AppStore for just 99 cents: Emergency Information.

An In Case of Emergency (ICE) card is something everyone should be (but usually isn’t) carrying on them. It contains your emergency contact information, allergies and medications should you ever be involved in an accident.

I had the idea for building an iPhone version on a recent Friday afternoon and wasn’t satisfied with the existing offerings on AppStore. I used it as motivation to spend my entire weekend building what I envisioned an ICE application should look and function like. This is the fruits of that labor.

Be sure to check out Emergency Information for only 99 cents and tell your friends & family about it. Thanks for supporting Second Gear.

FitnessTrack 1.0 Now Available On AppStore!

I’m pleased to announce that my first iPhone application, FitnessTrack is now available on the AppStore.

FitnessTrack is designed to help you keep track of your progress at the gym. Whether you lift weights, run or just want to shed a few pounds, FitnessTrack is designed to replace your notebook or clipboard workout sheets.

The application was an idea I’ve wanted to pursue for quite a while. It started as a side project for the Mac a few years ago, but was given a new breath of life with the release of the iPhone. It became obvious that it would and should be on the iPhone.

FitnessTrack features the following:

  • **Workouts: I tried the other fitness applications on the iPhone and none of them worked the way I thought when it came to actually being in the gym and keeping track of what you are doing. FitnessTrack is my spin on how I think this should happen. Add your exercises, set the number of sets and adjust your weights: all in a beautiful and intuitive interface.
  • Exercises: FitnessTrack includes over 65 professionally designed exercises. I’ve partnered with Custom Fit Personal Training here in Evansville to design the exercises and give detailed, easy to follow instructions on how to perform them. You can also create your own exercises should you need to supplement the list.
  • Routines: Have a workout you repeat often? Save it as a routine that you can use to populate a new workout. Routines store the exercise and number of sets for each respective exercise.
  • Fitness Profiles: Fitness Profiles is designed for those that are trying to reach a certain weight or inches goal. I tend to put myself in 6-8 week cycles where I have a certain goal of trying to put on a certain amount of muscle in the timeframe, losing a certain percentage of body fat, etc. I designed Fitness Profiles to allow me to keep track of that information via the iPhone.
  • Gorgeous UI: One of the things I’m most proud of in the application is the look & feel of the app. Thanks to the work of the awesome William Wilkinson, FitnessTrack looks like it belongs on the iPhone. I’ve tried to ride the line between a completely custom UI and the iPhone standard (striped table views = yuk), and I think it looks tremendous.

FitnessTrack is available right now for the low introductory price of $3.99 on the AppStore. I have quite a few features planned for the future and I hope you’ll come along for the ride with me.

Happy 1st Birthday Today!

It is hard to believe that it has already been a year since we announced the release of our flagship product, Today. Since that initial release, we have done 14 minor and point releases that have added the features you’ve requested.

I opened up Today 1.0 this morning just to reminisce and I can say I’m quite proud of how the little guy is growing up. There is some great stuff happening with Today for the next major release. Stay tuned!

Get the forecast in Today with WeatherCal

Today is a great way to see what’s on your daily schedule of events and tasks, but with WeatherCal, a new utility from Bare Bones, it can also be an instant way to see what the forecast is.

WeatherCal creates a new calendar in iCal that has the daily forecast as an all day event in iCal and subsequently Today.

This is such an ingenious use of iCal that I can’t believe no one thought of it until now. Great job, Bare Bones!

Mac Developer Network members can save 20% on Today!

As a software developer myself, I built Today to help me easily keep track of ship dates, outside meetings and my daily life. With that in mind, I’m happy to announce that all members of the Mac Developer Network can now receive 20% off of Today just for being a member. See the members area on the site for instructions on how to claim this discount.

If you are a Mac OS X or iPhone developer, you should do yourself a favor and join the MDN to gain access to the plethora of knowledge it holds. Who knows. Maybe you will hear me on a future podcast!

2008 Year In Review

As 2008 is drawing to a close, it is customary to reflect on the year that was. For Second Gear, I think 2008 will be marked as a year of transitions. There were many highs and a few lows, and overall I’d say that 2008 was a success. Some of the highlights included:

  • The transition from consulting to sales: At the beginning of 2008, we stopped accepting new clients to instead focus on the development of new products for the Mac, including…
  • The release of Today: Today was built to scratch an itch I had for a small, easy to access way to see my daily schedule. It’s launch in April of 2008 was a massive success and was received with high praise. During the rest of 2008, we released Today 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 with a few smaller releases in between.
  • Bringing Check Off into the fold: Before Second Gear, I had an application called Check Off that I released under my own personal name. It made little sense to keep two separate presences in the Mac development community, so Check Off was folded into the Second Gear brand. I’m working on a major update to the application that I’m hoping to release in 2009.
  • F#ckingNDA: The dark horse of 2008 was the iPhone NDA. If you’re wondering why there are currently no applications in AppStore from us, it’s mostly because of the NDA that prevented iPhone developers from discussing the development of iPhone applications with one another. The IconFactory’s Craig Hockenberry coined the phrase F#CKING NDA to describe the frustrations developers felt. The meme picked up, and on a whim we setup a Web site at which garnered quite a bit of press. The NDA is gone and so is the Web site, but I like to think that it had a little bit to do with helping get the NDA lifted. If not, it at least gave other developers a place to find other frustrated iPhone Devs.

It wouldn’t be a reflective post without a few predictions and thoughts for what is coming in 2009. You can be sure that there will be more releases of Today. Presently, we’re working to address accessibility issues and add an AppleScript dictionary for all those scripting fiends out there. There will also be an updated Check Off released sometime that we hope will knock your socks off. As for the iPhone? We’re working on something right now…stay tuned!

Porchlight Service Shutting Down

After much deliberation, we’ve decided to shut down Porchlight as of January 9, 2009. There are a variety of reasons for doing this, but it boils down to resources and focus. Running a Web service is a full-time gig and Porchlight never has really found an audience like we hoped. The shifting economy has caused us to make some hard decisions and shutting down this service is one of them.

The other major point is that Second Gear’s focus as a company has shifted in the two and a half years since we launched the service. We’re a Mac and iPhone development company, so maintaining a Web service just doesn’t fit in the cards these days.

We tried unsuccessfully to find a suitor to take over Porchlight, so this seems to be the end of the road.

If you are a Porchlight user, we don’t want you to lose your data, so please to export your contents out before January 9, 2009. To do this:

  • Login to your Porchlight account
  • Go to Account Settings
  • Click on “Export all projects and bugs in XML”

The XML output should contain all of your project data so you can take it with you to another service or archive it for your own internal use.

Thanks for supporting Porchlight over the years. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Join the Second Gear Mailing List

It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally setup a mailing list to keep our customers and fans up to date on the latest happenings with our products. The list will be low volume and will focus on announcing new product releases, offering a few tips & tricks and offering a few discounts every now and then.

Just so you know, we will never sell your email address to any third party and it will only be used by Second Gear to send you newsletter messages. We hate spam and will never contribute to the problem.


p>You can find the signup form in the sidebar of this weblog and the Today and Check Off.

Our Toolbox: TextExpander

One of the indispensable tools we use at Second Gear HQ is a utility application called TextExpander from our friends at SmileOnMyMac. TextExpander works by listening to your typing and expanding abbreviations you type in into longer-form snippets of text.

This really helps out for dealing with common support issues. For instance, I have a snippet with a link to a direct download of the latest version of Today. I type ‘dltd’ into an email and TextExpander will automatically expand it into a full-fledged URL.

The AppleScript support is also an awesome timesaver. When pasting long URLs around the Web, I like to shrink them using There is a script that will automatically take the link on your clipboard and convert it to a URL.

TextExpander is $29.95 and well worth the price if you are a keyboard cowboy like myself.