iOS Simulator and Little Snitch 3.5

If you’re an iOS developer, this will make you very happy: Little Snitch 3.5 greatly improves support for iOS Simulator apps in every regard.

First and foremost, apps and processes that run in iOS Simulator are now easily recognizable by their name. For example, the iOS version of Safari is shown as “Safari (iOS)”:

Paths to iOS Simulator apps are clearly marked with a prefix. For stock apps like Safari, Maps or an iOS system daemon, Little Snitch will show “iOS Simulator” followed by the full path to the app’s or process’ binary. That path will be somewhere deep inside the Xcode app bundle, as can be seen in the Network Monitor’s inspector:

Here comes the interesting part: What about apps that you as an iOS developer create and then test in iOS Simulator? If you ever poked around the file system and tried to find out how Xcode and iOS Simulator manage your apps on disk, you probably discovered a path that looks like this:

~/Library/Developer/CoreSimulator/Devices/97F0609B-D9D5-4B8B-A56E-170254F30F6B/data/Containers/Bundle/Application/A3CE365D-E348-439B-871A-A2884409831B/Test.app

Every app you test resides in a directory somewhere inside your home directory’s hidden Library folder whose name is a random unique identifier (UUID) that is generated for every combination of iOS version and iOS device flavor you test against which contains another random unique identifier and then your app. To top it all off, different versions of Xcode have different directory structures for all this (the above example is from Xcode 6).

In previous versions of Little Snitch all this caused problems because rules in Little Snitch are created for a process at a certain path. This means if you create a rule for an app, it only works as long as the path stays the same. Now, iOS Simulator apps don’t play nicely with this because every time Xcode and iOS Simulator decide to use a new path, you’d get a Connection Alert from Little Snitch when your app tried to do some networking.

Little Snitch 3.5 solves this problem by becoming aware of which apps on your Mac are actually run in iOS Simulator and whether they reside in one of iOS Simulator’s random container paths. For such apps, a rule’s path is automatically shortened to something like “iOS Simulator → Test.app/Test” and it just works regardless of what the exact path is.

There’s nothing special you have to do as an iOS app developer. Rules can be created like any other rule using the Connection Alert, Network Monitor or Configuration.

As a bonus, when creating a new rule in Little Snitch Configuration you get a list of all the apps that are currently installed in any of your iOS Simulator configurations, allowing you to create rules very easily:

Despite adding all of these improvements to Little Snitch, we made sure this convenience doesn’t open up any security holes whereby a malicious app could trick Little Snitch into allowing network access by just moving itself into an iOS Simulator container directory.

You can download the latest version of Little Snitch – including the latest nightly build that contains all this iOS goodness – on our Little Snitch download page.

The Sixth Sense

Lots of Smiles

As a longtime LaunchBar user, you probably know them all — LaunchBar’s five superpowers: Abbreviation Search, Browsing, Sub-search, Send To and Instant Send.

With LaunchBar 6.1, we are proud to introduce a sixth superpower: Staging.

Staging is a technique that allows you to create multiple selections in LaunchBar and to act on all of these items at once. Here are just a few examples:

  • Select multiple files and send them via email.
  • Or archive them into a ZIP file.
  • Or move them to the Trash.
  • Select a couple of songs or albums and play them in iTunes.
  • Select a series of emoji, and insert all of them in one go.
  • Send one or more files to multiple email recipients.
  • Launch a bunch of apps at once.
  • Open a number of web bookmarks.
  • Perform a web search on multiple search engines simultaneously.
  • etc.

How to create a multiple selection in LaunchBar

LaunchBar collects items that participate in a multiple selection in a so called staging area. You can add or remove (stage or unstage) items with a few keystrokes.

For example, just as in Finder, you can press ⇧↓ to select a number of adjacent items. The total number number of staged items is shown at the right edge of the bar, and the staged items themselves are marked with a somewhat lighter highlight color. Note that the selected item (dark highlight color) is implicitly staged (more on that later).

Adjacent Items

Multiple selections are not limited to adjacent items, though. You can stage additional items individually, even from completely different locations:

Scattered Selection

Shortcuts to create and modify multiple selections

The following shortcuts are available to add or remove items from the staging area:

  • ⇧↓ and ⇧↑ stages or unstages a range of adjacent items.
  • ⌘↓ and ⌘↑ toggles staging of the selected item.
  • Comma stages the selected item.
  • ⌘A stages all items in the current list.
  • ⌫ unstages the selected item.
  • Escape or ⇧⌫ clears the entire staging area.

You can also stage/unstage items with the mouse:

  • ⌘-Click toggles staging of the clicked item.
  • ⇧-Click stages/unstages a range of items.

Implicit staging of the selected item

The selected item (the one with dark highlight color) is always part of a multiple selection. It’s therefore not necessary to explicitly add it to the staging area.

For example, to send an email to two people, John and Paul, you just type “JOHN,PAUL” and hit ↩. Typing “JOHN” selects the first recipient, typing comma adds it to the staging area, typing “PAUL” selects the second recipient, and since Paul is implicitly staged you can immediately press ↩ to create an email to both contacts.

Acting on multiple selections

Once you’ve staged multiple items, you can act on these items pretty much the same way as you do with single items. Press ↩ to open them, press ⇥ to send them to an action, move them to a folder, and so on.

Here are a few examples:

  • Press ↩ to open multiple apps, files & folders, contacts & email addresses, bookmarks, emoji, snippets, songs, albums, etc.
  • Press ⇥ to invoke Send To, then select a target:
    • Select an app to open files with that app.
    • Select one (or more) contacts to send files as email attachments.
    • Select a folder to move or copy files to that folder.
    • Select the Compress (ZIP Archive) action to … well … create a compressed ZIP archive.
  • Invoke actions on multiple selections, for instance:
    • Move to Trash (⌘⌫)
    • Duplicate (⇧⌘D)
    • Eject (⌘E)
    • Copy (⌘C)
    • Get Info (⌘I)
    • Show in Finder (⌘↩)

Inspecting and reviewing staged items

Whenever there are items in the staging area, the number of staged items is shown in a badge at the right edge of the bar:

Staging Badge

You can quickly show a list with all currently staged items by pressing ⇧→.

(Wait! Wasn’t ⇧→ the shortcut for Info Browsing? You’re right. We’ve changed the Info Browsing shortcut to ⌥→ in order to get a more consistent, easy to remember set of staging shortcuts).

While this list of staged items is visible, you can press ⌫ to remove items from the staging area. And you can press ⌥↑ or ⌥↓ to rearrange items in the list. This is useful when the order of items is relevant, e.g. in case of songs (when you wish to play them in a particular order) or contacts (when you want a recipient to be first in the To-field of an email).

Automatic clearing of the staging area

As soon as you’ve acted on a multiple selection, the staging area gets cleared automatically.

If you wish to reuse a previous multiple selection again for some other action, you can retrieve it from LaunchBar’s Recent Items list (⌘B).

Note that the staging area also gets cleared whenever you leave the LaunchBar interface (e.g. when you switch to another application), even if the staged items haven’t yet been used for any action. This is to make sure that when you later get back to LaunchBar, it’s in a predictable “clean state”, so you can type e.g. “⌘Space SAF ↩” to launch Safari without having to worry that this also unintentionally opens any previously staged items.

But same as before, you can type ⌘B to retrieve the previous multiple selection from the Recent Items list.

Start staging today!

We think that LaunchBar’s new staging capabilities are great way to further help you improve your productivity. So have fun with this new superpower, and — as always — keep your hands on the keyboard!

LaunchBar 6 Released

LaunchBar-6

LaunchBar 6 is ready for prime time!

This new version packs a lot of great new features, including a completely redesigned, themeable user interface, extensibility via custom, script–based actions, suggestions for Google and DuckDuckGo, live Calendar input feedback, new indexing rules like Emoji or Finder Tags, Info Browsing for accessing an item’s metadata and so much more.

The best way to find out what is new and what has changed is by visiting the new LaunchBar website and reading the release notes. Or you can download LaunchBar 6 and try it out yourself!

You can use LaunchBar for free as long as you like with all features available. After 30 days, LaunchBar will occasionally nag you to consider a purchase, but all features will remain fully usable without any restrictions.

As always, we offer reduced upgrade pricing if you have a LaunchBar 5 license. For those who bought LaunchBar 5 on or after March 24th, we have great news: You’ll get a free upgrade to LaunchBar 6.

At this point we want to thank all of our beta testers for helping us out over the course of the last months. With your truly awesome feedback you helped us track down bugs and think of features that we wouldn’t have come up with by ourselves. (FYI: The final version of LaunchBar 6 still includes the “Send LaunchBar Feedback” action, so don’t stop using it!)

Along with this release we redesigned the Objective Development website. Some pages still have the old design but those will be updated soon (there are only so many hours in a day).

If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know on Twitter or use the “Send LaunchBar Feedback” action directly in LaunchBar 6.

Announcing LaunchBar 6 Beta

LaunchBar 6 Teaser

We are proud to announce that a new major version of LaunchBar is coming soon.

At Objective Development, we’ve been hard at work on LaunchBar 6 for quite some time adding features, improving designs, refining usability and squashing the occasional bug. Before we release it to the public, though, we invite you to join the LaunchBar 6 beta program to give it a test run and help us find any remaining issues.

Head over to the LaunchBar 6 beta page to become one of our selected beta testers. At first, we will only send out a restricted number of access codes, but as the beta phase goes on, more testers will be able to get their hands on the new version.

To answer what will probably be some of your most frequently asked questions:

  • The beta testing phase will go as long as necessary, so we can’t announce a date for the final, public release yet.
  • LaunchBar 6 will be the first paid LaunchBar upgrade after more than four–and–a–half years, but we haven’t decided on the price yet.
  • A free trial version will be available.
  • If you bought LaunchBar 5 on or after March 24th, 2014 you will receive the LaunchBar 6 upgrade for free.

In the coming weeks, we will share more information and screenshots about what’s new and what’s improved.

We’re excited to show you what we’ve been up to and can’t wait to hear what you’ll have to say about the all–new LaunchBar! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on Twitter or App.net.

Little Snitch and LaunchBar are ready for OS X Mavericks

Are you ready? We are.

Two days ago, Apple released OS X Mavericks for free on the Mac App Store. That’s great news for all Mac users.

We have even more good news for our customers: Little Snitch 3.3 and LaunchBar 5.6, both released earlier this month, are ready for OS X Mavericks. Also, both are free updates for existing customers of current versions.

Go ahead and download them here:
Little Snitch download
LaunchBar download

Where’s Little Snitch 3.2?

Those of you who pay close attention to Little Snitch’s version numbering might have wondered why there’s no Little Snitch 3.2, but a Little Snitch 3.3.

If you payed really close attention over the last few months, you might even wonder why there were a total of six Little Snitch 3.2 nightly builds (a.k.a. beta versions), but no Little Snitch 3.2 final release. (The release notes for these nightly builds even mentioned fixes related to OS X Mavericks!)

So why did we jump from Little Snitch 3.1.3 straight to Little Snitch 3.3?

The answer to these questions is pretty simple: Apple made us do it.

They didn’t call and ask us to artificially inflate the version number or anything like that. It’s just that when you download and install the new OS X Mavericks from the App Store, it specifically checks for Little Snitch “version 3.2” and earlier during the upgrade. If the OS X installer finds such a version, it moves it to the “/Incompatible Software” folder and you get an alert telling you this version of Little Snitch won’t work on that version of OS X.

To work around this, we just had to increase the version number to anything higher than 3.2. Otherwise, Little Snitch would have stopped working when you upgraded from OS X Mountain Lion to OS X Mavericks.

This isn’t an attempt by Apple to block Little Snitch or anything like that – they could do things that are much more effective than that. Instead, this should be seen as Apple making sure no software that wasn’t tested against the newest OS X release can cause troubles. And isn’t that nice?

Little Snitch 3.3 Released

We just released Little Snitch 3.3 with a lot of improvements and a brand new welcome window that automatically opens after you restart your Mac to complete Little Snitch’s update:

Little Snitch Welcome Window

New users can find a concise overview of Little Snitch’s components in this window and long time users may also find a thing or two that they didn’t know about. You can access the welcome window at any time in Little Snitch Configuration’s Help menu.

Additionally, this update is ready for the upcoming OS X Mavericks release.

Check it out!

LaunchBar Action to list Safari tabs

OK, I admit it: I’m a messy person. I use things and leave them lying around. I open nearly every link in a new Safari window or tab – and leave them all lying around…

After a short time I have dozens of Safari tabs and no way of visually finding the one a need right now.

But hey – I have LaunchBar! There must be a way to use LaunchBar to navigate through the pile of Safari tabs and instantly pick the one I need.

And there is – well, there is now:

By clicking this link you can download a set of two LaunchBar Actions (written in AppleScript) that will let you display and sub-search a list of all open tabs in Safari – and then open one of them.

LaunchBar SafariTabs Action Screenshot

Installation

  1. Unpack the downloaded ZIP archive – you will get two Actions: SafariTabs.scpt and OpenSafariTab.scpt
  2. Put the two Actions in:
    ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions/

    (where ~ is your home directory)
    This can be a bit tricky as it’s not easy to navigate to your home directory’s Library folder. One way to do this would be to select your home directory in LaunchBar, then press cursor right while holding the Option key (this will list all files/folders in your home directory – also the Library folder) and continue from there…

  3. Now you should see the SafariTabs Action in your LaunchBar index.
    (the OpenSafariTab Action will also be visible but is only used behind the scenes)

Usage

When simply opening the SafariTabs action in LaunchBar (selecting it and pressing Return) it will list all open Safari tabs. You can then sub-search this list or simply use the cursor keys to browse it. Opening an item in the list will open the corresponding tab in Safari.

For each Safari tab the list will show its title and for the currently selected entry also (to its right) the URL. If you want to see the URL beside the title for all entries (not just the currently selected one), you need to set the “Show Details” preference setting to “Name and Details” (in the Appearance preferences of LaunchBar). Note: When sub-searching only the title is considered.

You can however also use the Action in a different way: Instead of opening it right away using Return, press the Space bar. This will open a text input field in LaunchBar. You can enter a search string there and then press Return – only the tabs matching that search string will then be listed. Note that for this search the title and the URL are considered.

Maybe this LaunchBar Action is also useful to you, even if you’re not as messy as I am…:)

Take Control of LaunchBar

Take Control of LaunchBar

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to it or if you’ve been a power user for more than ten years: there’s always something to learn about LaunchBar.

We’re proud to announce the release of Take Control of LaunchBar, an eBook written by Kirk McElhearn of Macworld and TidBITS fame.

Head over to the new LaunchBar eBook page for more information on the book and how to get it.

Happy reading!