Monday 21 June 2021

If ScreenSleeves doesn't appear to work

If ScreenSleeves Standalone doesn't appear to realise that there's music playing, then the answer is almost certainly linked to permissions.

With each release, MacOS has become more secure. As a general rule it won't do anything unless you've given permission. 

Since Catalina, ScreenSleeves won't be able to find out what music is playing without you allowing it to access 'System Events' as well as whatever app(s) you use to play music. When you first run SS, you should see a dialog, and it's important to agree to these things. 

Regardless of whether you remember the dialog(s) and what your answer was, you can always grant the necessary permission with a checkbox or two.

You need to go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Privacy > Automation

Thursday 10 June 2021

First Apple Silicon (ARM / M1) builds of our apps

Late to the party, I know. Being at the cutting edge has never been in our mission statement, and no problems have been reported with our apps running on Big Sur under Rosetta (Good job Apple).

This was the first attempt at building Integrity as a UB (which contains native binaries for ARM and Intel based Macs). Of course it was going to be more efficient but I didn't realise just how much faster this would run as a native app on one of the new machines.

The UB versions of Integrity, Integrity Plus, Integrity Pro and Scrutiny are all available on their home pages. They are still in testing and the previous known-stable versions are there too, but all seems fine so far. 

Tuesday 1 June 2021

What's happened to Hue-topia?

The Hue-topia Mac app goes back to November 2013. To be frank, it has been in a vicious cycle of very little interest / therefore very few updates, and has not kept up with changes from Philips such as additions to their API and dropping of support for the v1 (round) bridge.

From the start, Hue-topia had its own interface concepts which it shared with LIFXstyle. These didn't always align with the concepts of the Hue system. Therefore HT was doing a lot of conversion / bridging. This led to a lot of unnecessary complexity and inconsistency within the app,

Hue-topia version 4 is a new version for 2021 and way more of an overhaul than it may appear from the interface.  It is intended to be more of an interface with your bridge, and have concepts which align with the Hue system.

Key changes include:

  • Presets are now Scenes. The scenes list is a nice way to control your lights (click to select a scene appropriate for the mood or time of day, using manual controls for creating those scenes). HT4 allows you to add your own photograph / icon to represent a scene.
  • Uses newer additions to Philips' API, such as 'localtime' rather than 'time'. These changes tend to make HT less complex and more likely to work as expected.
  • Sunrise and Sunset functionality used to be managed pretty heavily by HT. It calculated times using your location, allowed you to select from the various definitions of sunset/sunrise, and could regularly update scheduled times on the bridge accordingly. Now the Hue Bridge has its own daylight functionality with configurable offsets and it's more appropriate to make use of that. (not yet implemented in the v4 beta).
  • Support for sensors. The motion sensor, besides detecting motion and having a little configurability, also has a temperature sensor which can be viewed in HT4.
  • Effects and the effects designer are no longer a feature of Hue-topia. We feel it's more appropriate for this functionality to form a separate app, which we'll do if people ask.
Version 4 is just about ready for beta. ie most of the functionality (that's intended for v4.0) is there but is in the testing / fixing stage. It'll be freely available for public testing very shortly.