Our incoming phone numbers are down

by Troy on November 1, 2012

Edit: And we’re back!

Again, sorry for the inconvenience, we’ll be back to our normal office hours tomorrow morning.

Previously:

For reasons unknown to us, our incoming phone system is down. We’re working with our service provider to correct the issue and apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused anyone trying to reach us.

In the meantime, we can still be reached by our usual email addresses and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • For Omni Mac app related questions. Use the Send Feedback link inside of the Help menu.
  • For Omni iPad app related questions. Use the Contact Omni link insed the gear menu of the Document picker.
  • And finally for OmniFocus for iPhone. Use the Send Feedback link in the Settings screen which is accesable via the Gear toolbar item on the home screen.

Email addresses are also available here on this website, just visit the product page and select support.

For general queries, please reach us at:

support@omnigroup.com
info@omnigroup.com

Help us make OmniOutliner accessible

by Ken Case on October 2, 2012

Accessibility is important to us here at Omni, and we have a long history of supporting accessibility in our apps. (In 2002, we added speech recognition to OmniWeb so you could surf the web using voice commands and ask it to read pages back to you using text-to-speech—even before the operating system itself was accessible.)

Unfortunately, we’ve fallen behind in our support for accessibility over the last few years—on both Mac and iOS, but particularly on iOS. Until our apps are fully accessible, we won’t consider them complete.

To that end, we’ve been working on making OmniOutliner for iPad accessible. As anyone who has used an accessible app knows, good accessibility design goes deeper than just slapping on some accessibility tags. Once we’re sure we’re on the right track with OmniOutliner, we’ll move on to making OmniFocus accessible.

Our internal QA team has reviewed the work we’ve done so far, and we think it’s ready for some external beta testing. We can’t post public beta builds of our iOS apps, but if you’re interested in joining our private beta-testing pool please contact us at omnioutliner-ipad@omnigroup.com.

Thank you!

TextExpander Touch support now in OmniFocus on iOS

by Derek Reiff on September 20, 2012

In OmniFocus for iPhone 1.15, one of our most-requested features went live: TextExpander Touch support.

There are so many different ways to use TextExpander with OmniFocus so I won’t even begin to offer suggestions here, but there’s a lot of reference material out there to link to.

  • Sven Fechner started us off earlier this year with a bit on using expansions to track project updates (in OmniFocus for Mac.)
  • David Sparks uses TextExpander to populate action titles with frequently-typed phrases.
  • Kourosh Dini goes a bit further and performs some calculations inside action titles, especially for “waiting for” contexts.
  • Michael Schechter goes one step further, completely automating a clipped email by populating context and project fields, but it won’t work in OmniFocus for iPhone. Sorry!
  • Finally, a very useful rundown of TextExpander by Thanh Pham. Mac-centric, but nearly everything works with TextExpander Touch & OmniFocus.

You can find out more about TextExpander Touch (and the original Mac variant) at Smile Software.



Dan W., current holder of the newest Omni employee title, uses TextExpander extensively:

Everyone appreciates a timely response and sometimes it’s required. I can’t always reply to messages right away—when I need to research a topic or have a conversation with someone—but OmniFocus helps track this and doesn’t bug me to send that email until all the required tasks are done.

TextExpander snippets for me are most useful in creating template email skeletons. Each email draft is an OmniFocus task and the task’s “Notes” field is my scratchpad for composing my message. My basic template sets up a text based form that includes ‘To:’, ‘CC:’, ‘Subject:’ and ‘Message body:’ with some space to write the body, it even places my curser just after the message body so I can start typing in the right spot. TextExpander Touch can’t prompt for user input like the Mac application can (an iOS limitation), so I rely on these text based prompts.

‘To:’ and ‘CC:’ remind me to call out who I’m looking for a response from and who’s just listening in. Plus, they also work as a reminder when I think of someone else I’d like to bring into the thread. As I’m composing my draft I have snippets to create URL links from my clipboard, properly case Omni product names, or include my email signature.

When I’m ready to send, I’ll copy and paste the template fields into an email message and hit Send. I also remind myself in the email template to create a “Waiting for response” placeholder task once I’ve sent the email.

Drawing on Experience

by Derek Reiff on September 20, 2012

OmniGraffle’s drawing tools have changed! In a great, really-saves-you-time kind of way.

You’re no longer entering a “mode,” per se, but rather enabling an additional set of drawing tool buttons.

The big change here is that we’re moving back to a more desktop-esque experience and away from our first assumptions about touch. At least for the drawing tools.

Joel, OmniGraffle’s PM, wrote a post about this when it was first implemented:

The interaction model is very quickly moving towards the established behavior on the desktop despite being a touch interface — Mimicking the desktop behavior is proving to be a huge win most probably due to its familiarity. While some may say that thinking of finger touches and the like as if they were a mouse click is flat-out wrong on a touch device, maintaining expected results here is more important (emphasis added), in my opinion. It’s the same application on two different platforms, and should act in similar fashion to itself unless completely warranted by the features of the platform it’s running on.

It’s very easy to use, even if you’re unfamiliar with OmniGraffle for Mac:

  • You’ll see the new Draw button in the toolbar, far right; tap it.
  • Tap the tool you’d like to use; tap again if you’d like the tool to stay active.
  • The tool inspector button lets you style the tool you currently have selected, before you draw the next shape, line, or text.
  • You can collapse the Draw Toolbar whenever, or select the Selection Tool to modify objects without closing the toolbar.

We put together a quick video, too.

20 years of omnigroup.com

by Ken Case on September 9, 2012

20 years ago today, omnigroup.com was born.

At that time, the five of us—Wil Shipley, Tim Wood, Len Case, Mose Wingert, and myself—were still working out of our homes (or sometimes in NeXT’s local sales office, before they exited the hardware business and closed its doors). We were collaborating together on several projects, but we were paid independently—and when those projects ended it seemed somewhat likely that we might scatter to the four winds, possibly joining NeXT’s DBKit team or Lighthouse Design when our current contracts were up.

Fortunately, Tim kept reminding us that we should really form a company. (He said later that he partly did this because he thought it was an excellent idea, and partly because he didn’t know the Lighthouse/NeXT people and didn’t want to get left behind while we worked for them.)

So on Wednesday, September 9, 1992—the day after NeXTSTEP 3.0 shipped—our omnigroup.com registration came back and I set up uucp and SLIP over 14.4Kbps modems to link our home workstations together. (They were all NeXTs, of course.) We started giving everyone our omnigroup.com email addresses, gave the “NeXT Programmers” mailing list (“next-prog”) a permanent home, and started establishing a common reputation and identity.

We’ve seen a lot of changes over the last 20 years, as we transitioned from working on consulting projects to shipping commercial products, from a team of 5 to one of 52—and trying our best to contribute to the platform as it evolved from its humble (but ambitious!) NeXT roots to the wildly successful platform that is now Mac OS X and iOS.

But in some ways, that first change was the biggest: the day we decided to stop investing in our individual identities and start building our collective identity. And after 20 years, I’m still privileged to be able to work each day with smart and talented people who are passionate about creating great software—while treating customers with respect, making a living, and having fun!