How to: Update your Splasm applications

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Audiobook Builder 2.0.2 and macOS Catalina

Update, 7 PM EST, 10/15/2019:  Audiobook Builder 2.1 is out!  Head here for update details.

Update, 10:20 AM EST, 10/15/2019:  The original Audiobook Builder 2.1 submission to Apple had an issue so we submitted a fix yesterday afternoon.  We expect it to enter review soon.

Update, 12 AM EST, 10/12/2019:  We just submitted Audiobook Builder 2.1 to Apple for review, so it shouldn’t be long until it’s approved and out in the wild.

If you’ve updated to macOS 10.15 Catalina and tried to use Audiobook Builder 2.0.2 or earlier, you’ve probably hit an error when Audiobook Builder tries to add your audiobooks to iTunes.  iTunes isn’t part of Catalina – you’ll manage audiobooks in Books and music in Music – so you’ll need to follow these steps to get things going again:

  1. Open Audiobook Builder 2.0.2.
  2. Go to the Audiobook Builder menu at the top left corner of your screen and click the Preferences… menu item.
  3. If the Save to setting at the top of the window is set to iTunes Media Folder, pick something else.
  4. Make sure the Add to iTunes Library checkbox is unchecked.

That’s all you need to do to build audiobooks with Audiobook Builder 2.0.2 on Catalina. After they’re built, drag them from the location you set up in your preferences to the appropriate application – to Books for M4B audiobooks or to Music for M4A music tracks.

One other thing – the Add iTunes button and menu item won’t work, and dragging directly from Music will also fail.  Work around that by dragging the tracks you need directly from the Finder. To see your tracks in the Finder, select a track in Music, go to the File menu, and click the Show in Finder menu item. Drag from there to your Audiobook Builder project and you’re all set.

Audiobook Builder 2.1 is coming with fixes – we’re putting it through a final round of tests and plan to submit it to Apple for review later today tomorrow.  We apologize for the delay – a last-minute issue means we have to run some tests on El Capitan through Catalina – but we’ll get it to Apple as soon as we possibly can.  Keep an eye out!

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macOS 10.15 Catalina Compatibility

It’s October, the season of OS updates.  Oh, look at em!  There’s an iOS 13.1…!  No!  It’s a…13.1…2!  Waaaaait a minute…I see a watchOS 6!  On and on it goes, OS updates just a’streamin’ outta the mothership, with thousands of compatibility updates from developers not far behind.  And before you know it, sometime this month, could even be today, the latest macOS, version 10.15, nicknamed “Catalina”, will likely make its way onto your Mac.

Packed with goodies, Catalina also comes with a big ol’ gotcha:  your 32-bit applications won’t work one…bit.  Poof!  Even so, it’ll relieve you to know Audiobook Builder 2, CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2, Return Labels, and Griddle are already purring along in 64-bit awesomeness.  Just make sure you’re on the latest version of each and off you go.

The next big deal is iTunes.  Poof!  It’s fragmented into four smaller applications – Music, Books, Podcasts, and TV, with syncing now part of the Finder – like a vampyre dispersing into a cloud of so many bats.  Or rats.  Depends on the mood.  Anyway, that’s a hitch in Audiobook Builder’s get along, since it’s been joined at the hip with iTunes from the start, letting you add tracks from iTunes to your audiobooks and automatically adding your audiobooks back to your iTunes Library.  Hats off and a moment of silence, please, because things are about to change.  Not like, it’s all broke so let’s go home kinda change.  More like, you gotta swap from the aisle to the window seat kinda change.  And hey, window seats have their perks.

The rest of this is all about Audiobook Builder 2 on Catalina.  CheckBook and CheckBook Pro, Return Labels, and Griddle all seem to be just about right on Catalina.  We do have some fixes coming for CheckBook, but they’re general-purpose and not limited to Catalina so we’re more focused on Audiobook Builder for the moment.

Enter Music and Books

Like we said, iTunes is no more.  Catalina now manages your music in a new application named Music and your audiobooks will, henceforth, live in Books.  That means a few changes in Audiobook Builder, so we’re about to put a bow on version 2.1, which’ll handle all the details.

When you first launch Audiobook Builder 2.1, head to its preferences and you’ll find the traditional settings for saving your audiobooks in the iTunes Media Folder and automatically adding them to your iTunes Library have split into two sets of options – one for audiobooks and another for music.  When you build audiobooks, in the M4B file format, they’ll be saved according to the audiobooks settings.  When you build music tracks, in the M4A file format, they’ll be saved according to the music settings.

We’re gonna reserve this space right here to talk about a couple of things that have to wait for the final release of Catalina, depending on whether we can get one of our workarounds through Mac App Store review.

Anyway, there may be a little meantime between when you install Catalina and when Audiobook Builder 2.1 is ready.  You can still build your audiobooks with Audiobook Builder 2.0.2, though you’ll need to change a couple of settings and add tracks to Music and Books by hand.  It won’t hurt.

To start, open Audiobook Builder 2.0.2, go to the Audiobook Builder menu at the top left corner of your screen, click the Preferences… menu item, and eyeball the Save to setting at the top of the window.  If it’s set to iTunes Media Folder, pick something else.  Likewise, the Add to iTunes Library checkbox needs to be unchecked.

That’s it.  That’s all you need to do to build audiobooks with Audiobook Builder 2.0.2 on Catalina.  When they’re built, drag them from the location you set up in the preferences to the appropriate application – to Books for M4B audiobooks or to Music for M4A music tracks.

One other thing – the Add iTunes button and menu item aren’t gonna work, and dragging directly from Music will fail, as well.  Instead, drag the tracks you need from the Finder.  To spot your tracks in the Finder, select a track in Music, go to the File menu, and click the Show in Finder menu item.  Drag from there to your Audiobook Builder project and you’re all set.

Hang in there

That’s our Catalina compatibility story in a nutshell bit of long wind.  Please let us know at support@splasm.com if you have any questions and we’ll get on it!

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Tell Apple Books in macOS Catalina needs AppleScript support

Do you love creating audiobooks with Audiobook Builder, and especially love how it automatically adds your audiobooks to iTunes so you can sync them with your iPhone or iPad?  Well, iTunes is going away, so when you crank up  macOS Catalina this fall you’ll want your audiobooks to go to the revamped Books application, instead.  Books needs AppleScript support so Audiobook Builder can tell it all about your new audiobooks – so we need you (and you, and you!) to let Apple know you want Books to include support for adding content with AppleScript.  Just fill out Apple’s feedback form at https://www.apple.com/feedback/macos.html, enter “AppleScript support in Books” in the Subject field, and enter “Especially the ability to automate adding content.” in the Comments field.  Thank you sooooo much.  You’re doing us and a world full of Audiobook Builder-loving Mac folk a favor!

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Hey hey! Can you spare a 64-bit update?

As macOS 10.15 Catalina inches toward us from the distant horizon, we’re hearing a few folks need a 64-bit update to their favorite personal finance application or audiobook-building tool.  Well, you’re in luck, dearest Splasmata aficionado, because we’ve already made 64-bitness our business.

 

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro

CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2.6 and later are already 64-bit compatible, ready for macOS Catalina and beyond.  If you have any version of 2, these are free updates for you.  Here’s how to update:

CheckBook 64-bit update

CheckBook Pro 64-bit update

These updates might’ve passed you by, and that’s on us. A glitch between the software update checker we used in 2.5.8b5 and earlier and El Capitan and later could lead to a crash, so we couldn’t notify you without risking a tiny bit of data loss. The application will say you have the latest version, but you may have an older version without realizing an update is available. That includes some who suffered the great Mac App Store cataclysm of November, 2015, when some changes on Apple’s end prevented thousands of Mac App Store applications from opening. We gave out free copies of all our software for a few days there, including CheckBook 2.5.8b5, the latest version at the time, but, long story short, if you originally purchased from the Mac App Store, you’ll want to get back on the update track there.

 

Audiobook Builder

Audiobook Builder 1.x, sadly, would never survive the 64-bit leap, because of its QuickTime 7 roots, so we had to completely re-work its little engine that used to could so it can.  That took a lot of work and the result is Audiobook Builder 2 – which is roughly 3x faster, to boot.  The upgrade is 40% off for Splasm Store users, but if you didn’t get the super secret special instructions by email, just drop us a line at customerservice@splasm.com and we’ll get you fixed up.  There isn’t a way for us to provide a discounted upgrade to our Mac App Store users, but we’re happy to set you up with a copy from the Splasm Store.  Send your Mac App Store receipt to customerservice@splasm.com and we’ll send you the same 40% deal.

 

Everything else

Return Labels has always been 64-bit ready, so no worries there.  And then there’s Griddle.  Version 1.1, with sweet, sweet, 64-bit sweetness, is just about ready to go, so look for that free update soon on the Mac App Store.

Sadly, older applications, like Dasher and ViddyUp!, won’t make the 64-bit transition, but we’ll continue to offer them for download.  Brightness Control is a little up in the air.  Anyone out there want a 64-bit Brightness Control?  Let us know at customerservice@splasm.com!

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When Audiobook Builder says, “Unable to add the audiobook to iTunes”

macOS Mojave and later will ask you for permission the first time Audiobook Builder needs to interact with iTunes in some way, like adding the iTunes selection to your new audiobook or adding your new audiobook to iTunes.  If you get a message from Audiobook Builder that it’s “Unable to add the audiobook to iTunes”, you might’ve accidentally declined that request.  Here’s how to tell your Mac it’s OK:

  1. Go to the Apple () menu at the top left corner of your screen and click the System Preferences… item to reveal the System Preferences window.
  2. Click the Security & Privacy icon.
  3. Click the Privacy button near the top right of the window.
  4. Click Automation in the list on the left side of the window.
  5. Make sure the iTunes checkbox directly below every Audiobook Builder item on the right side of the window has a checkmark.
  6. Relaunch Audiobook Builder and try building again.

That should have you off and running.  Enjoy!

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