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

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.


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.

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.

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.

  • Today was improved: Today saw several incremental updates that added support for printing, iCal-esque date sorting and more smaller tweaks.
  • Check Off 4 was released: We also shipped Check Off’s first major update in several years, which refreshed the user interface, added 64-bit support and purging of checked items.
  • Snow Leopard: We made updates to both Check Off 4 and Today to be compatible with Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard release. We’re big fans of Snow Leopard and can’t wait to harness all the power it has to offer
  • We jumped on…and off…the iPhone bandwagon: And probably the most interesting part of the year was when we released both FitnessTrack and Emergency Information in the spring and then subsequently sold them to BitBQ to once again focus exclusively on the Mac platform. I waffle on whether the iPhone experience was worth it or not. As a learning experience, it taught us to not jump on the sexy and shiny, but it also caused delays in innovating on our existing products. I won’t say we’ll never get back on the iPhone, but it won’t be until Apple makes the AppStore somewhere we feel welcomed and comfortable being.

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.

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!

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.

Say Hello to the New Second Gear

Ever since we released Today a few months ago, I have wanted to take the time and give the Second Gear Web site a fresh coat of paint. The old site, while still good looking to me, had a focus on building custom software solutions for clients. We have not been accepting new clients in the past seven months, so it didn’t make much sense to highlight this former aspect of our business.

While most of the content is the same, we slapped a fresh, modern look on the site that we hope will scale well into the future as more Second Gear products are introduced over the coming months.

With the new Second Gear site we wanted to put the focus on our products and interacting with customers. My favorite feature of the new site is the integrated support. We’re big fans of Get Satisfaction and use it exclusively for handling the support for our products, but the major tradeoff was having to send our customers to a third-party site. The Satisfaction folks recently introduced the ability to use their API to integrate your Satisfaction forum natively onto your own site and we’re happy to be using it.

We hope you enjoy the new site.

WWDC Wrapup


Now that WWDC has wrapped up, we’re back at Second Gear HQ recovering from a long week of sessions on the iPhone, Leopard and the upcoming Snow Leopard. WWDC is a great way to get up to speed on new technologies, get help from Apple engineers on those lingering bugs and issue you run into and to just meet with fellow developers. I’m sure it is no surprise that there aren’t too many Cocoa developers in southern Indiana!

The focus now shifts back to working on getting Today 1.2 released. 1.2 is the biggest update since Today shipped back in April and will offer a lot of great features that people have been clamoring for. I don’t want to announce too much just yet, but it is coming very soon.

Oh and we’re working on an iPhone application. More details soon.

photo courtesy of chakote

Healthy WWDC

A lot of people have posted their tips on how to get the most out of WWDC over the week. The Knapsack offer great advice on how to get the most out of the conference itself. Joe Goh, on the other hand, offers some advice on how to survive the amenities and social aspects of WWDC. The Mac Developer Roundtable also recently did an episode which offered other tips for new WWDC attendees.

Having been to two WWDCs in the past, I thought I would offer a different set of advice: how to be healthy at WWDC. Conferences like WWDC are great ways to brush up your development skills, meet with friends and colleagues and just take a break from sitting in front of the computer. Conferences like WWDC are also physically draining. Here’s my tips on how to lessen that drain.

  • Water. Not Juice: Between sessions, and at lunch, there are several stations available that will offer Odwall juices, soda and bottled water. Go for the water. The sodium in the the juices and soda won’t quench your thirst, only make you still feel thirsty. Water will keep you hydrated and your mind fresh.
  • Avoid the heavy lunch food: Like Joe Goh said, avoid Moscone’s food. I realize it is included in your conference fee, but it’s awful tasting and many times unhealthy. Stuffing yourself with Lasagna and garlic bread in between morning and afternoon sessions is going to make you feel fatigued. Instead, get out of the building for an hour, head to Metreon or a restaurant nearby for foods with food which have a lot of proteins, complex carbohydrates and vitamins in them.
  • Fruit > Cookies: Picking up on #2, the in-between session snacks usually include cookies, bagels, and fruit. Go for the fruit. It’s probably the same sugar wise, but you are going to fill up on the fruit faster than the cookies because of the water and fiber contents. Less food in your belly equals less of a food coma.
  • Sleep: While the evening activities associated with WWDC are a great time, you should really try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. If you’re tired, your not going to be able to easily retain information in the sessions and labs.
  • Exercise: Every morning I start my day with a trip to the hotel gym, or if weather permits, a quick run through the streets of San Francisco. Exercise is a great way to wake your body and mind up. The endorphin production that can occur from a great workout has been shown to be beneficial to your brain function and response.

If you have any other tips you’d like to share, feel free to do so in the comments.