A collection of previous news stories...
26th March 2007
Thanks to Martin Harding for creating the first ever third-party dock theme!
"HUD Panel" is based on the floating "heads up display" windows used in iLife and Apple's professional apps.
You can download it on the Themes Page which also has full details on how you can create your own themes. Keep them coming!
22nd February 2007
DragThing 5.7.2 is now on the Download Page.
Yet Another Clip Show
This is mainly a bug fix release, but also adds three cool dock themes, plus a brand new feature that lets you paste clipping items directly into other applications just by opening them. The full list of changes is available here.
Despite having fun new stuff, this is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5.
I hope you like it... See you on the forums!
8th January 2007
Just wanted to wish everybody a slightly belated Happy New Year!
I'm hopeful that the Macworld keynote tomorrow will bring some Leopard announcements - a release date would be nice - and that's likely to be my focus for the next while. Let's wait and see what Steve has to say!
26th December 2006
The MacSanta promotion has now ended. Thanks to all those who took part and supported independent Mac developers!
22nd December 2006
I've signed up with over a hundred other independant Mac developers for MacSanta. You can save 20% on the price of both DragThing and PCalc through 25th of December by visiting this page and following the link to TLA Systems and entering the coupon code "MACSANTA".
There are many other great products there with the same 20% off, so check it out!
18th December 2006
Much as I dislike doing a bug fix so soon after a release, DragThing 5.7.1 is now available from the Download Page.
Just after 5.7 was released, I started getting a few reports of a crash in DT when saving docks or when shutting down your Mac. After lengthy investigation, I found a bug in 5.7 when dealing with applications that have incorrectly formatted version information. If you put one of them in your dock, DragThing would crash when trying to save out the information to disk.
Most people won't encounter this, but since it affects saving and thus could lose changes to your docks, I deemed it imporant enough to fix as quickly as possible.
Sorry for any inconvenience!
14th December 2006
DragThing 5.7 has finally been released! Go and get your copy now from the Download Page.
DragThing is back, and it's looking shiny!
The main new feature of this release is support for dock themes - a simple way to make your DragThing docks look great. It does away with all the trial and error from previous versions - you can now just pick from a range of cool styles in a single place.
This release ships with a dozen themes, pictured above, but the format is completely open and XML based, so anybody can make them. See here for more details. I'm hoping that other people will create some more themes soon, and I'll put them up here for you to download when they do.
As well as dock themes, there are many other improvements and fixes including the ability to highlight any Rosetta applications in your docks and new lightning fast AppleScript support.
Best of all (at least for you), this is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5. Otherwise, it costs $12 for people who bought DragThing 2 and 4, and $29 for new users. Five and ten-packs are also available at $99 and $149 respectively.
Plus, if you buy DragThing and our calculator PCalc together, you can get them both for $34, saving $14 on the total price. Look for the "DragThing 5 & PCalc 3 bundle" special offer at the top of the order page.
DragThing 5.7 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and is - of course - a Universal Binary with native support for both Intel and PowerPC Macs.
Let me know what you think, either on the forums or at the following address:
7th December 2006
Yes, it's Thursday, so it's time for another DragThing 5.7 pre-release beta. Click here to download it.
This is not the final DragThing 5.7 release, I'm making it available early for people to play with so they can experiment with the new dock theme support and give feedback. If you aren't comfortable with running a beta, you should probably stick with the official 5.6.4 release.
What's new in DragThing 5.7b3?
- Added preliminary support for Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese languages.
- Added a new very retro looking dock theme.
- Improved startup times a little bit.
- Improved serial number handling in the Register window.
- Fixed a problem reading the version numbers for some applications (Interarchy, this means you).
- Fixed a problem dragging multiple clippings on Intel.
I think this is likely to be the last beta, as I'm aiming for a final release next week. So please, if you've encountered any bugs or weirdness with this or any of the betas, please tell me now, and I'll hopefully be able to fix any problems before 5.7 ships. If you are just assuming that I've already heard of the bug you are seeing, and haven't reported it yet, it might not get fixed!
I'm not going to be able to add any more new features for 5.7 at this stage, but do send me comments at the following address:
Not long to go now! Oh, and don't forget to check out the new theme documentation.
4th December 2006
If you just want to quickly edit some graphics files to get a dock theme going without needing to know about all the details, you can now download a simple template theme here.
It's not pretty, but it should be enough to get you started - just replace the ugly flat coloured bitmaps with something nicer and you're done!
1st December 2006
The company who handle payments for us had some technical difficulties earlier today. If you tried to pay and encountered problems, please try again now. Thanks!
30th November 2006
I've got a new DragThing 5.7 pre-release beta for you today! Click here to download it.
No pandas were harmed in the making of this theme!
As I said below about the first beta, this is not the final DragThing 5.7 release, I'm making it available early for people to play with so they can experiment with the new dock theme support and give feedback. If you aren't comfortable with running a beta, you should probably stick with the official 5.6.4 release.
What's new in DragThing 5.7b2?
- Added one new very furry dock theme.
- You can now choose a different font to be used for dock tabs (in Dock Options).
- Improved the quality of vertically drawn text.
- Fixed some drawing problems with dock themes.
- Fixed a problem dragging applications to the lists in the Preferences window.
- Fixed a problem with the Dock Paint window appearing blank.
There is also now some documentation available for making your own dock themes, so please check it out. I look forward to seeing what people come up with! Hopefully I'll include some of your themes with the final DragThing 5.7 release.
If you have any comments or bug reports about this beta, send me an email at the following address:
Thanks to all those who have given feedback so far!
21st November 2006
The future is now!
Let's try something new. Instead of just teasing you with images of the next version of DragThing, why don't I let you actually play with it ahead of time?
So, here you go - click here to download a pre-release beta version of the new DragThing 5.7!
Wait, a pre-release beta? What does that mean? Well, let me explain. This is not a completely finished version of DragThing - it's still a work in progress and it's not going on the main Download page quite yet. You should note a couple of important things first:
- While I believe this to be very stable, it hasn't been fully tested yet, so some bugs may remain. If you don't want to be using the absolute latest, you're probably best sticking with 5.6.4. Of course, if you do find any bugs, please let me know so I can fix them for the final release!
- It's only currently available in English. Since I haven't finished changing things yet, the localisers haven't started working on the many translated versions quite yet. These will be ready as soon as possible.
So, what is so cool in this version that you might want to try it out now anyway? Say hello to dock themes!
I've completely rewritten the dock drawing code and added support for themes. In a nutshell, they are small files that describe exactly how your docks look, and they are very powerful. They take away the trial and error involved in making your docks look good - you just pick from a range of cool styles. You can still do things the old way if you want of course!
The main reason I'm making this available now is so that people who are interested in making theme files for DragThing can try it out and give me feedback ahead of the official release. But you might want to play with them too. See the "Appearance" section of the Preferences window for how to pick a theme. I'm responsible for the ten themes that ship with this beta, but I'm hoping some people with slightly more artistic ability will make new themes soon!
Oh, and this beta requires 10.3.9 or later, and is a Universal Binary for both Intel and PowerPC Macs, same as before.
If you have any comments, or want to make your own themes, send me an email at the following address:
Let me know what you think! And check back here regularly for updates...
11th November 2006
Some more imagery from the future!
Can you see what it is yet?
30th October 2006
Let the cryptic teaser imagery commence!
This Has Every Mac Enthusiast Salivating
(...perhaps not, but you try coming up with something better that fits those letters...)
13th September 2006
Just a quick update. I am working away on things, but I don't have anything to show for DragThing quite yet I'm afraid. Next up is likely to be a small PCalc 3.2 release which adds full speech support and various other accessibility features. When I was at WWDC last month, I was really impressed by the new speech in Leopard, and I wanted to experiment with it.
In the meantime, I've started a new promotion on our order page.
From today, if you buy DragThing and PCalc together, you can get them both for $34, saving $14 on the previous total price. Look for the "DragThing 5 & PCalc 3 bundle" special offer at the top of the order page.
20th July 2006
After five months of (mostly) not writing code, I'm back! My health has returned to a relatively normal state again thankfully, and I finally got back into my office chair last month and fired up Xcode again.
Yes, I know you'd love to see a big new DragThing release right about now, and to be honest so would I, but I lost a big chunk of this year to illness and recovery, and that wasn't exactly something I had planned on. So, go and play with PCalc in the meantime!
I'm off to the Apple developer conference at the beginning of next month which promises to be all about Mac OS X 10.5, otherwise known as Leopard. Hopefully we'll find out when it's going to be released. It should be interesting... If you are going to be at the conference yourself, do let me know!
29th May 2006
Wow, is it really two months since I last posted?
Just wanted to give people a quick update on my health. I got the CT scan - 8 weeks late! - and things seem to be generally okay now. I've been healing a little bit slower than the doctors expected, but it doesn't sound like I need an operation thankfully. I'm still a little tender, but mostly back to normal. I'm off all the painkillers, so at least my brain is working again!
Anyway, many apologies for the lack of updates and thanks again for your patience and support while I got better. Normal service will be resumed shortly!
30th March 2006
So, despite what I said in the last post, I went and did a little bit of work anyway! DragThing 5.6.4 is now available on the Download Page. This is primarily a bug fix release for Intel Macs.
I finally got to play with my new Intel iMac which arrived while I was in hospital, and found a number of bugs which I couldn't leave unfixed and still be able to sit and relax. The full list is here. Now that I've fixed them all, hopefully I'll now be able to have a rest and complete my recovery!
I've got another CT scan coming up in a couple of weeks, and that should hopefully conclusively say that I'm getting back to normal. My doctor is still talking about the possibility of an operation in June, but it depends on the scan results. In any case, I still seem to be improving, even as the painkillers reduce.
Saskia is still manning the support email and forums though, so let her know what you think of 5.6.4 at the usual address below. But if you find any more bugs, don't tell me for a little while :-)
21st March 2006
A quick update on my health for those who were worried!
The good news is that I seem to be improving - I came off the antibiotics nearly three weeks ago, and things haven't got any worse since then. That's a hopeful sign that the underlying infection has been dealt with, and I won't need to go back into hospital for an operation. I'm still on a lot of painkillers, but I'm slowly reducing them.
I'm not allowed to work yet, but I think I'll be able to start doing things again sometime next month. Saskia has been answering all the support emails and watching the forums in the meantime.
Generally, I'm feeling a lot better than I was, but I've still got a way to go. Thanks for all your patience and good wishes!
28th February 2006
Just a quick post to let people know what's been happening.
I've been rather ill recently - I just spent 16 days in hospital due to a nasty abdominal abscess (around 5cm in diameter) which has been pushing all my internal organs around. It's not exactly pleasant, but not life threatening.
Due to the position, the doctors don't want to operate for fear of damaging things in the process, and so were treating me around the clock with IV antibiotics to reduce the size as well as giving me lots of pain killers. If things don't work out with the antibiotics, I could still end up back in hospital again for an operation.
They think it started with a mild appendicitis which led to the abscess forming from the appendix. All I can tell you is that it hurts! I did convince them to let me examine the CT scans out of curiosity, but to my non-medically-trained eyes, it was just a big black blob next to some lighter blobs.
Anyway, as of last week, I'm back home again. The doctors say I have a three month recovery period ahead of me until I'm entirely well, and with the pain killers and antibiotics I don't have a lot of energy or lucidity during the day. So, I'm not going to be checking my mail or reading the forums too regularly, answering messages even less, and I'm certainly not allowed to be working! I'm hoping that it won't take me that length of time to get back into things, but I can't make any promises, and my focus at the moment has to be on getting better.
Saskia has assumed all the support duties for TLA Systems in the meantime, and I'm just in recovery mode for now. If you send us an email, we'll do our best to reply as soon as possible, but please be patient if it takes a little while longer than normal, or we don't have a fix ready right away.
Thanks for your understanding!
12th January 2006
Ready on day one!
5th January 2006
DragThing 5.6.3 is available now on the Download Page.
This release adds support for Macs with Intel processors, and is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5.
Because of changes I needed to make for the Intel support, DragThing now requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.3.9 on existing PowerPC Macs. DragThing 5.6.1 is still on the download page for people who are running earlier systems.
You also might want to check out the new version of PCalc 3 with improved Intel support which is available today as well.
Enjoy! Let me know what you think on the DragThing Forums!
22nd December 2005
Expect a small - free - DragThing and PCalc update shortly. I have no idea what the man himself is planning to announce, but best to be prepared and all that! Suffice to say that if net scuttlebutt is correct, I'll be ready on day one as usual...
27th October 2005
Some more blatent TLA Systems cross-promotion - there's a small PCalc 3.0.1 update now available that adds parentheses support amongst other things. Enjoy!
13th October 2005
As promised, PCalc 3 is now available!
Three is the magic number...;
Head over to the new and shiny PCalc website for more details. Rest assured that all this exciting new technology will be coming to a DragThing near you too.
26th September 2005
A quick status update for the curious.
For the last two months I've been in R&D mode working away on some new technology that will be shared between DragThing and my other apps - and, as happened five years ago with DragThing 4, the first fruit of this new code is going to be a brand new version of my calculator PCalc!
PCalc 3 should be ready for release in the next couple of weeks. More information soon...;
22nd July 2005
As promised, a public beta version of DragThing for Intel-based Macs is now available!
To be absolutely clear, if you don't have access to the Developer Transition Kit prototype hardware, there is no reason at all to download this pre-release. But if you do, and are interested in helping me test DragThing running on Intel, you can download a copy here:
(no longer available, just use the latest version which now has final Intel support)
This is a pre-release version, and as such shouldn't be considered fit for general use.
Please send all feedback relating to this beta to the following address:
If you would like to be notified when new beta builds are available, please let me know at that address, and I'll add you to the beta testing mailing list.
15th July 2005
DragThing 5.6.1 is available now on the Download Page. This release works round a bug introduced in Mac OS X 10.4.2 which stopped DragThing windows from coming to the front properly.
I'd recommend that everybody using DragThing on Mac OS X 10.4.2 updates to this release.
Also, I put the following statement on the Intel version of DragThing in the PR I sent out about the release:
"We are also happy to report that DragThing is running natively on the prototype Intel Mac hardware. It took less than two days of work to take the existing code and modify it to support the new architecture. In addition, the existing PowerPC version of 5.6.1 works perfectly under the Rosetta environment.
TLA Systems intends to support both PowerPC and Intel versions of our software for the long term, and will not charge existing registered users of DragThing 5 an additional fee to obtain a native Intel version.
Indeed, we expect to offer a universal binary of DragThing 5.6.x next month as a public beta for other developers and users who have access to Intel Macs today."
I hope that reassures some people!
13th July 2005
I'm currently investigating a small issue with DragThing on Mac OS X 10.4.2.
When DragThing is in the background, command-tabbing to DragThing or clicking on its icon in the Apple Dock sometimes doesn't bring DragThing's windows to the front.
The workaround for now is to either switch off the "Show Trash on Finder Desktop" option in the Trash section of the Preferences window, or to switch on the "Float window" option for the Trash in the same section. DragThing should work normally then.
I believe this is a bug in Mac OS X, introduced in 10.4.2, and I'll be working with Apple to figure out how to fix it or work round the bug as soon as possible. If necessary, I'll release a small 5.6.1 update to address it.
In happier news, DragThing is now running natively on Intel. At the moment, 99% of the actual functionality is working perfectly, but the About box graphic is purple :-) My own prototype machine should arrive before the end of the month, so expect some more news around then.
10th June 2005
Just thought you might like to know that DragThing is already compiled as a Universal Binary for Intel and PowerPC. It took me around two hours with the latest Xcode 2.1, the day after the WWDC keynote announcement.
Compiling is not the same thing as fully working though. I expect that will take me at most a week or two of work after I get the prototype Intel hardware, which is supposed to ship to developers very soon. I'm considering having a public beta available at that point, so watch this space!
As always, DragThing will be ready for action on day one, and I fully intend to support both PowerPC and Intel versions for the forseeable future.
Let me know what you think on the DragThing Forums.
23rd May 2005
I'm back. It will take me a while to get through my inbox, but normal service will be resumed shortly!
19th May 2005
I'm going to be away on a short break for some well-needed rest and relaxation, starting today. I'll try to check my mail and the forums in internet cafés while I'm away, but it's likely that I won't be able to reply to either in a timely fashion until early next week.
Apologies for any delay, but I haven't had a break in years!
5th May 2005
I'm a few days late I'll admit, but there's still time to celebrate!
It was ten years ago that DragThing 1.0 was released to the world so I've put together a little page entitled "A Short History of DragThing - Ten Years Of Tidying Up Your Desktop". The are secrets contained within, some never before revealed! Check it out here.
29th April 2005
Happy Tiger day! The cat is finally out of the bag...
As usual, DragThing is ready on day one (actually on day minus seventeen in fact!). The latest DragThing 5.6 has full support for Tiger, and takes advantage of new features like the Spotlight based Smart Folders in the Finder.
I would recommend that all new Tiger users install version 5.6 if they haven't done so already. This is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5, and $12 for people who bought older versions.
12th April 2005
Now that Apple has finally announced Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", I'm pleased to announce DragThing 5.6!
But unlike Apple, I won't make you wait 17 more days :-)
Smarter than the average dock...
DragThing 5.6 is now available on the Download Page. Here are the highlights:
- Full support for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", including displaying the contents of Smart Folders and numerous other improvements and fixes.
- Support for VoiceOver and other assistive technologies.
- Rebuilt with Xcode 2.0.
- Improved image previews, now including clipping files and icons.
- Support for online bug reporting direct to the developer using Zonic BugReporter.
The full list of changes is available here.
And the best part? DragThing 5.6 is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5! Otherwise, it costs $12 for people who bought DragThing 2 and 4, and $29 for new users. Five and ten-packs are also available at $99 and $149 respectively.
DragThing 5.6 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. 10.4 or later is recommended.
Let me know what you think on the DragThing Forums!
29th March 2005
What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?
3rd February 2005
I'm trying out a spot of cross promotion with Peter Lewis of Stairways Software. The idea is that he's going to offer a $5 discount on DragThing to his users, and I'm going to do the same with his Interarchy FTP software for you guys. We're hoping to stir up some interest in each others' products for mutual benefit :-)
Of course, it helps that I've used Interarchy for years - back since the days when it used to be called Anarchie. Whenever I have a large FTP or web download that I don't trust to my browser, I always fire up Interarchy. Plus, pretty much every version of DragThing that has been released has been uploaded to my servers using it.
As well as the basic file transfer functions (and the not so basic ones, like mirroring), Interarchy also has a number of network diagnostic tools which I find work a lot better than those in Apple's Network Utility.
And please let me know if you find these kind of offers interesting and I'll investigate doing more.
14th January 2005
Welcome to 2005! Time to update those copyright notices! May 1st this year will mark ten years since DragThing 1.0 first shipped. Wow...
I'm just starting to work on a new release now that I've had a few weeks rest since 5.5 (and 5.5.1) shipped. Apple didn't announce at Macworld when Tiger is going to ship other than the vague "first half of 2005", but I'm going to try and have a new version of DragThing ready on day one as usual.
If I was running pre-release versions Tiger already, I would almost certainly be under Apple NDA and couldn't talk about it :-)
21st December 2004
I've just released a minor update to address a couple of problems with 5.5. You can get 5.5.1 on the Download Page now.
Here's the list of changes:
- Fixed a problem drawing certain layer styles correctly.
- Fixed a problem dragging clipping files.
- Fixed a problem opening URLs and running scripts from folder contextual menus.
- Fixed a problem that sometimes caused the wrong items to be opened from folder contextual menus.
- Fixed a problem with the "Never Hidden Applications" and "Excluded Applications" lists.
- Fixed a problem with alert windows opening in the background when the Dock icon was hidden.
- Fixed a problem opening "Readiris Pro".
- Fixed a problem with the clipping window font and size settings not working on 10.2.
- Fixed a crash editing text clippings on 10.2.
You can discuss this release on the DragThing Forums.
9th December 2004
Whoosh... Boing... Whoa...
This is the biggest update to DragThing since version 5.0 was released over a year ago. Notable changes include:
- Full support for spring-loaded folders. You can now drag items from the Finder over a folder in a DragThing dock, wait or press the space bar, and then continue dragging into subfolders or to applications in that folder. Dragging attachments or clippings into folders is supported too.
- Cool visual effects when switching between layers including fades, zooms, spins, and wipes. Is it at all useful? No. But is it cool? Yes!
- A restricted "Classroom Mode" designed for using DragThing in a lab, classroom, or home environment. With this enabled, you can't change any docks or settings - or even quit DragThing - without the administrator password. Special educational site license pricing is also available. Contact me for more details.
- Another special mode that hides DragThing's icon in the Apple Dock, and turns DragThing into a background-only application that blends in with the OS and can't be switched to, hidden or accidentally quit.
- Editable text clippings. You can now use DragThing to store small notes, or edit existing clippings you have in your docks.
- Permanent Process Dock items. Like that other dock.
- Lots more. There are over fifty improvements in DragThing 5.5. The full list is available here.
But wait, I hear you say, that sounds like a lot of changes. Is this a paid upgrade? No. DragThing 5.5 is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5. Otherwise, it costs $12 for people who bought DragThing 2 and 4, and $29 for new users. Five and ten-packs are also available at $99 and $149 respectively. DragThing 5.5 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, 10.3 or later is recommended.
I hope you like this new version. Let me know on the DragThing Forums!
18th November 2004
I've seen that before somewhere...
2nd October 2004
A little teaser image of something I got working yesterday. The next release won't be ready for a while as I'm still working on a number of other things, so just consider this a progress report :-)
If you have any suggestions for other things you'd like to see in the next version, head on over to the DragThing Forums and let me know!
9th September 2004
I've released a small 5.3.1 update. You can get it on the Download Page. This version mainly fixes some problems with the unread mail count feature introduced in 5.3.
The full list of changes is here.
Two important things to note:
- The Eudora unread count display has been disabled by default. If you had hundreds or even thousands of messages in your inbox, checking for the number of unread messages made Eudora very slow to respond. This problem only affected Eudora users. If you normally only have a small number of messages in your inbox, you can reenable Eudora support again using this patch.
- Due to a bug in Entourage v.X, trying to rebuild the mail database or switch identities while the unread count display is switched on in DragThing may cause Entourage v.X to crash. Switch the "Update application icons" popup menu to "Never" in the Advanced section of the DragThing Preferences in this case. This bug has been fixed in Entourage 2004.
Discuss this release on the DragThing Forums!
2nd September 2004
DragThing 5.3 is now released! You can get it on the Download Page.
"What's new?", I hear you ask...
- This release adds the number one user requested feature - displaying the number of unread messages on the dock icon for Apple's Mail application. It also adds the same functionality for Entourage, Eudora, Mailsmith, NetNewsWire, and PowerMail.
- DragThing's contextual menus can also now display application specific commands such as "Play / Pause" for iTunes, and "Get New Mail" for all the mail applications listed above. Other commands can be easily added using AppleScript.
- Clipping support has been improved, including display of styled text, and commands to convert clippings into plain text, and turn clippings into URL items and vice versa.
- Also new is "instant gratification" purchasing. You can now securely pay using a credit card without leaving DragThing, and get your registration details downloaded directly into the application.
- We've also introduced discussion forums - if you want to get help, suggest a feature, report a bug, or just chat to other DragThing users, head on over.
- Over a dozen other new features suggested by DragThing users.
- Lots more!
This is a free upgrade for people who bought any earlier version of DragThing 5. Otherwise, it costs $12 for people hwo bought DragThing 2 and 4, and $29 for new users. Five and ten-packs are also available at $99 and $149 respectively. DragThing 5.3 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
Special mention should go to the cool cats at Bare Bones software, who very nicely added extensive support in version 2.1.3 of Mailsmith for configuring the unread message count that is displayed by DragThing. Go and buy a copy of BBEdit 8.0 to thank them - which also includes the amazing new "Leave room for DragThing docks" feature :-)
See you on the DragThing Forums!