CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.7.27

2.7.27 brings a fix for a crash that could prevent CheckBook from launching on some of the new M3 Macs, improves OFX/QFX imports when account details are missing, and has several user interface tweaks, including improvements to the To, From, Description, and Category boxes in Entries and Schedules. Update to the latest and enjoy!

 
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CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.7.25

If you just upgraded to macOS 14 Sonoma and suddenly

  • all of your CheckBook or CheckBook Pro Account icons are upside down
  • half of the buttons are missing
  • you get a crash when you try to create a new transfer
  • split line menus aren’t disappearing when you tab away from them
  • the Entry Font and Account Font menu buttons aren’t working right
  • the Accounts drawer has strange, green-ish corners

then you’re not crazy and you’re not alone – but you don’t have the 2.7.25 update we released on September 25th. Grab the latest and you’re all set:

 
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Life is like a staircase. And also soccer.

A soccer ball and a staircase.  Thanks DALL•E!
What DALL•E gave me when I asked for a soccer ball going down a staircase
 

This post is adapted from a message I sent to one of our users this morning. Since early 2021, we’ve gotten on the phone for an hour and a half about once a month. Sometimes, it’s CheckBook tech support. More often, it’s a lot of reflection and sharing our human experience. So, stuff like this.

This morning, my mom and I talked about how my kids are doing with soccer and how I’m explaining things as I coach the team.  One point was about how to explain to 6 year-old kids, and their parents, how no one turns into a superstar overnight.  Heck, you won’t even be decent at half of it after your first year – and almost all of us are in our first year.

So I told Mom, if you think of life as a staircase, where your skills or understanding level up as you climb, you’ll spend a lot of time on each individual stair and very little actually climbing to the next.  The time you spend on a stair is like how deep it is – and most of the stairs are far deeper than they are tall.  Sometimes, you feel like you’ve been doing the same thing on the same stair forever.  Other times, you might start to worry you’ve fallen back down a stair or two.  But then, you have to remind yourself you don’t really fall down so much as not give yourself what you need to be your best on whatever stair you’re on. Sleep, diet, other habits of just about every kind, who you hang out with, who you don’t, what kind of information you let your brain eat, what kind you don’t; the list goes on and on.

In some ways, I continued, life’s also a lot like soccer – you get out on the field, put a mental box around the position you play, and wait. “Oh, here comes the ball,” you might say. “Hey, it’s kinda coming at me but it’s a few feet out of my position so I’m just gonna let it go…” And, so, you miss a lot of the action. Why not run up to the ball, kick it around a bit, see what happens?

The point is, when you think you’ve got all your answers, whether you’ve just been running in place on the same stair for so long you’ve forgotten you’re on a staircase in the first place or you play a soccer position and don’t want to stretch out a bit for a ball that doesn’t care about positions at all, maybe you’re not meeting life where it’s at.  To play better, think outside of your position but don’t forget it, keep that next stair in mind even as you don’t worry too much about it.  And, give yourself what you need to play your best.  Sometimes, that’s a self kick in the pants.  Other times, it’s a self nod that you’ll get there when you get there.

None of this would make any sense at all to a 6 year-old, so I’m probably going to sell it with an analogy about how they’ve been eating at least three times a day, every day of their life (which, if you factor out their first year, is something like 5500 times), and they still make a mess.

Keep eating, reach for your own condiments, don’t sweat your messes. And clean up already.

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Apple OS Upgrade Season: 2023 Edition

Update, 9/29/2023: Audiobook Builder 2.2.7 is now available.

Update, 9/28/2023: Audiobook Builder 2.2.7 is now available for Splasm Store users and is awaiting approval on the Mac App Store.

Update, 9/27/2023: We apologize, folks. Audiobook Builder 2.2.7 is taking a little longer than we expected to clear some key tests. We’re shooting for the evening of 9/27 but it could slip until 9/28.

Update, 9/26/2023: Audiobook Builder 2.2.7 will be available the afternoon of 9/27.

Update, 9/25/2023: CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.7.25 are now available. Enjoy!

 

It’s that time of year once again, when the big decision, besides whether to upgrade your iPhone, is the age-old “.0 or .1?” Bless your heart if you don’t know what we’re talking about! In any event, macOS 14 Sonoma will be here September 26th, and so, our annual round of macOS compatibility updates is coming up. Read on to learn about any glitches, and plans to address them, in each of our applications.

Audiobook Builder 2.2.6 is displaying a few things upside down. 2.2.7 will resolve these issues by the end of September.

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.7.24 are displaying a few things upside down, missing a few button images, and Entry detail boxes (To/From, Description, and Category) don’t automatically close their menus when you Tab away. 2.7.25 will resolve these issues by the end of September.

PixelGriddle 1.1.2 doesn’t appear to have any issues, but we’re nixing a couple of bugs anyway. 1.1.3 will be out soon.

Return Labels 1.1.1 has a massive blinking text insertion cursor, because we zoom while you make changes to your labels and the completely new cursor system in Sonoma draws quite differently than in days of old. We’ll take care of that in 1.1.2, coming soon.

And that’s a wrap for the 2023 Apple OS Upgrade Season, folks. Please get in touch at support@splasm.com if you need any additional details. Thanks again for your support!

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Audiobook Smiles: The Chronicles of Narnia

Is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe an appropriate first “real” book for a six-year-old?

My father, Lee, didn’t seem to care.

A minister and lifelong superfan of C. S. Lewis, Dad handed me a used, musty-smelling copy and, probably, said something like, “You’re gonna love this.”  It was his way, as a walking encyclopedia with a vast knowledge of popular culture, to help my sisters and me discover our next musical or epic adventure in novel, film, or album form, rounding us out, you might say.  And so, while jotting notes for his next sermon, sipping piping hot coffee across a table at a McDonald’s in Jackson, Mississippi and chuckling a bit at my literary struggles, Dad helped when I called out words I didn’t yet understand.  “Dew?”  “The water on the grass in the morning.”  “Hag?”  “Like a witch.”  “Turkish delight?”  “Candy.”  He always had an answer.  What he may not have foreseen was how many hours I’d spend throughout childhood and beyond dreaming of six-year-old me’s idea of Narnian life:  always on the move, bow and arrow at the ready, eating whatever the land provides, introducing myself to every animal with the hope they’ll actually reply, generally staying just out of sight…

But back to our topic today:  there’s a great deal to be had on an epic set of audiobooks, voiced by some of the best, and just about guaranteed to delight all ages. You’ve probably already guessed which audiobooks I’m talking about – but keep reading because we’re still one more blog-ish anecdote away from the reveal.

So, as we developed Audiobook Builder 1.0, way, way back in 2006, I made a research purchase from the iTunes Store:  the early 2000’s audiobook of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as read by Michael York – a childhood hero of mine for leading a wave of youth from their caves of steel, concrete, and glass back to reality and old age in Logan’s Run. That purchase gave us just about everything we needed to figure out how audiobooks on Apple devices work and, if you’re an Audiobook Builder user, you know how that adventure turned out. Sadly, I never told my father that little bit. Wherever you are, Dad, now you know – and thanks again :).

And now, at last, the reveal. As I write this, there are at least 8 complete sets (31 discs!) of the entire The Chronicles of Narnia from that same early 2000’s production for under $20 shipped at Amazon – a plug for which we receive zero payola, by the way, because we’re not in it for those sweet, sweet affiliate bucks.  Besides Michael York, you’ll hear Kenneth Branagh, Jeremy Northam, Lynn Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Stewart, and Alex Jennings narrate the adventures of several children who meet many an amazing talking animal, human, giant, dwarf, witch – I could go on but you and I both know it’s the talking animals we love the most – as they learn of courage, sacrifice, forgiveness, redemption, and other fine virtues. You’d be hard-pressed to dream up a better way to teach your own kids lessons like these – short of being a real-life Narnian! – which is why my own kids get a chapter or two at bedtime, these days.

So, now that you’ve ordered your set, don’t forget you can convert these fantastic tales to audiobook files that work on just about any Apple device – iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more – with our Audiobook Builder. As always, drop us a line at support@splasm.com if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to help out!

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Secrets of importing amounts in text or CSV files

“My bank exports transactions but they’re all positive so there’s no way to import and get Debits…”

or

“My credit card charges are positive and the credits are negative, just the opposite of what I need…”

Star Trek’s Bones once said, “I know engineers, they love to change things.” And, having seen at least forty-two thousand more statement files than your average bear, we’re highly inclined to agree. We’ve borne witness to wacky date formats, data in the wrong field(s), deposits with negative amounts and debits with positive amounts, and even all positive amounts – no matter what kind of transaction. You name it, it’s out there. And, you’re probably reading this right now because you’re in it.

Enter CheckBook’s Import Options > Data Layout.

As you import a text or CSV file into an Account for the first time, you’ll want to set up that Account’s Import Options > Data Layout. That’s the bit at the top of the Import Options window, right after you select the file to import. Once you get this part right, you won’t have to touch it again unless your bank changes how they export. 🤞

Each row in Data Layout is the raw data for a single transaction, what will become a CheckBook Entry, while the columns are for the various details of each transaction. If you know spreadsheets, you’ll feel right at home. Banks usually export at least four columns per row: a date, amount, check number (if applicable), and some kind of half human language, half reference number mashup that might give a general idea of what the transaction was for. Some banks give a bit more, like a column for charges and a column for credits, or a column for a running balance. It just depends on how many Twinkies the engineers at your bank gobbled the day they specced their export project. What matters is you’ll need to tell CheckBook what kind of data is in each column so it can make Entries out of all that. That’s what the little menu buttons at the top of each column are for: you pick the type of data in the column, like Date, To/From, or Amount, and off you go…except for those amounts that don’t make sense.

Some banks really will give you all positive numbers, even for your debits or charges. Others do the aforementioned two-column deal for debit and deposit amounts. And credit card banks love to make charges positive and credits negative. No worries, though: you can tell CheckBook to flip those amounts around as needed.

 

If your bank provides a single column with all positive numbers

These banks usually include another column to tell you which rows are for debits and which are for deposits. In Data Layout, click the menu button above the column with all the amounts, click the Amount menu item, then put a checkmark in the Import Entries whose X field is Y as Debits checkbox further down the window. Now, the first menu button in that checkbox will be a list of column names. Click the first menu button, then click the name of the column that has the unique detail that tells you the row is a debit or a deposit. The second menu button will be a list of all the values in the column you just chose. Click the second menu button, then click the debit-specific value. For example, if your file has Date, Amount, Type, Check #, and Payee columns, you’ll set up the window like so:

 

If your bank provides two amount columns

In Data Layout, click the menu button above the column with all the positive amounts, then click the Positive Amount menu item. Now, click the menu button above the column with all the negative amounts, then click the Negative Amount menu item.

 

If your credit card bank provides a single column with amounts that are opposite what you need

In Data Layout, click the menu button above the column with all the amounts, then click the Flipped Amount menu item.

 

How’s that work for you? If you need a hand, we’re ready to help at support@splasm.com!

(And now you know the secrets. Blab them all you want!)

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