OmniPlan 1.1 beta 2 is now available.

by Molly Reed on February 14, 2007

This beta release includes several improvements to import/export, printing, AppleScript support and performance. For more detailed information on the fixes in this release, you can read our release notes.

Please keep in mind that this release is still under development. Your feedback will help us improve the software, and we apologize if it crashes, corrupts your files, or otherwise misbehaves. A more stable release is also available.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. You can contact us directly via our support page or by using the Send Feedback feature in your copy of OmniPlan.

Download the new beta now!


OmniGraffle 4.2 beta 1 is now available (including Pro).

by Joel on February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, and much love has been directed at OmniGraffle since the 4.1.2 release last August.

Shape combinations have been meticulously looked over and we've fixed the lion's share of bugs that have resulted in unexpected results, error panels, and a crash or two. There are still a small number of outstanding issues that will be addressed before the final release.

Microsoft Visio XML import and export support has gotten a good deal of attention as well, fixing rendering bugs as well as allowing objects on master canvases and text variables to export properly.

Along with hundreds of bug fixes, we've offered a few new features as well: Basic shapes can now be converted to custom polygonal/bezier shapes and vice versa; Layers can now be merged; Files can be compressed upon saving. Three's also the Document Settings Inspector—A new inspector has been added which shows document creation and change information, allows file compression, and per-document settings for saving the file as a flat file or file package. Currently this inspector resides in the Canvas: inspector group, we are considering breaking it out into its own group; feedback is greatly appreciated.

OmniGraffle 4.2 beta 1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

Please understand that this version is still under development, and due to the large number of changes and fixes in this first beta release, foreign language localizations are pretty broken. The beta 2 release will be the UI freeze, and that release will be the one released to our localization teams for that work to be done. Apologies to our international users for the inconvenience this may cause. As always, OmniGraffle 4.1.2 is still available for download.

Voluminous release notes are up for perusal, please direct your feedback to our support page or by using the Send Feedback feature in your copy of OmniGraffle.

Enjoy the new beta now!


Teeny-tiny office supplies

by Joel on February 7, 2007


Molly found these very very small office supplies that somehow or other came with the booth at the Macworld Expo or perhaps were secreted into our space by tiny molemen who visit us from another dimension, at this point I am completely unsure.

The set includes a small stapler, a tiny tape dispenser, and a half-pinted hole punch. Not shown are the petite post-it notes and the confusingly normal-sized paper clips and rubber bands.

Bill is of the opinion that they resemble the application icons of Panic, and I tend to agree—Cabel, if you ever decide to start making office supplies instead of awesome software, it looks like you may have a little (snicker) competition.

I'm all for miniaturization, but please, let's do so with small (another snicker) doses. Surprisingly, the word nano doesn't appear to anywhere near the small case these came in.


The process of being productive

by Linda Sharps on February 5, 2007

I have to admit, I've never been a particularly rabid fan of individual/organizational be-the-best-YOU-you-can-be methodologies.  Maybe because on the surface they kind of remind me of diet books, where people can take some fairly basic concepts—“Don't eat fistfuls of lard!”—and wrap an entire industry around them.

Also, they always seem to involve so many Productized Buzzwords™, after a while they all start sounding the same. Fish: Who Moved My 7 Habits of Mythical One-Minute Management?, or something.

I did like Getting Things Done, although I'm not religious (at all) about adhering to its principles. I like the ideas, and I like the relatively non-annoying language it contains (exceptions: “uh-oh bell”, “interruptitis”). I was stupidly dumbstruck by the simplicity and SHEER GENIUS of the Next Action concept, which has saved my butt on numerous occasions when I've struggled with how to make headway on a project (Me, talking to myself: “Pick up the phone and get a quote on the printing! Also, don't eat lard!”).

Still, I'm kind of lazy about getting organized and the idea of using specialized software to do so seemed a little daunting. I worried I'd find myself thinking, “Oh, I should really send that email but first I should write down that I need to send the mail so I'm reminded to send the email.” Which seems kind of . . . needlessly complicated?

As I learn more about what OmniFocus will be able to do for me, though, I'm starting to see a lot more benefits than getting reminded about email to-dos. There's the Quick Entry feature, for one: from within any app, you'll be able to use a key command to bring up a window (like Quicksilver), in which you can jot down text and file it in the appropriate context and project. So you could build a whole project, or quickly capture ten unrelated things and have them all land where they belong—then move on with whatever you were doing.

Having something that stays out of my way until I need it, then provides me with an easy, superfast capture? Okay, I'm officially on board. I'm both easily distracted (that dog has a puffy tail!) and living with many distractions (I have a 17-month-old toddler, it's a wonder I'm even upright and typing right now instead of singing the Blue's Clues theme to myself, over and over and OVER), so I really could use a method of gathering together my scattered, feeble neural flickerings and making some sense of them.

I should note that since OmniFocus isn't tied to a specific productivity methodology, it's flexible, and doesn't require you to adopt a particular way of thinking in order to use it. It's designed to work for the GTD crowd as well as the rest of us.

I'm most excited about the loftier goals of OmniFocus, I think. At its most basic, it will be easy to use OmniFocus to keep track of things you need to do, but I can imagine that its combination of information capture and processing might yield all kinds of amazing results. How much more headway could it help you make into a tough project? How many great ideas might you be able to save?  How much more could you accomplish, if you had the right tool to help you?

Why, it's enough to make me want to be the best me I can be, and I never thought I'd type that sentence without including the word “BAAAAARF”. Or possibly “HOOOORK”. 

So as we collectively, impatiently wait for OmniFocus to reach a coveted State Of Beta-Dom*, tell me, if you tend to use tools to help you be more productive, do you have any success stories to share? Things you were able to get done that you might not have otherwise? I'm interested to hear from you, and maybe get some tips.

* I have no update yet on this timeframe, I'm sorry to tell you—I can say that there's currently a lot of work being done on the UI. There are lots of challenging issues over how to present information in the best possible stay-out-of-your-face-but-be-intuitively-accessible style, but if anyone's up for the task, it's Omni's team of UI brainiacs.