Tag Archives: clipstart

Clipstart 1.2 ships soooon

Now that I’m done “giving away a free iPhone”:http://twitter.com/manton/status/3370506213, I can move on to the next phase of my marketing plan: release new and better software! Crazy, huh? Clipstart 1.2 is nearly ready and I’m very proud of this release. There’s so much new stuff I could have called it 2.0.

Batch export. Select multiple videos and convert them to H.264, or optimized for iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV, and optionally run a script on the results. It can even create an HTML 5 web site and export in Ogg Theora format for Firefox and Opera users.

Twitter upload. Works with Yfrog to upload a video and post to Twitter. To include a custom tweet, use the “Upload with Options” command, just as you would add a description to a Flickr, Vimeo, or YouTube upload.

New tagging interface. Easy way to tag multiple videos from the keyboard. You can also now drag videos to an existing tag to apply that tag to the selection.

iSight capture. I wasn’t planning on adding this until later, but I think it complements the Twitter support well. Capture from the iSight and it records as H.264 and adds the video to your Clipstart library.

New toolbar and button style. I shouldn’t have used the round rectangle scope button style in Clipstart 1.0, so I decided to roll my own that fit well with the toolbar. It’s still not a standard toolbar but I hope to transition to one in a future version of Clipstart.

Change date for multiple videos. You can update the date for multiple videos at once, with the flexibility of changing specific portions of the date, such as just the year or month. Great for correcting dates from cameras.

AppleScript support. Just the basics for now, but you can get a list of videos, with tags and other metadata for each.

Plus some other fixes and Snow Leopard compatibility. I plan to release it in the next couple days, just in case Snow Leopard is released on the 28th as rumored. If you are interested in trying a beta and submitting some last-minute feedback, drop me an email at “support@riverfold.com”:support@riverfold.com.

Wii Transfer survey

Yesterday I sent out a newsletter to all my “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ customers. You can see the “text of the newsletter here”:http://www.riverfold.com/newsletter/2009/07.html. I wasn’t sure how effective this would be, but I immediately got a bunch of responses to the survey, and hopefully more interest in Clipstart too.

I decided against doing any specific tracking for number of views and links clicked, but there was an obvious spike in traffic for a couple hours as people clicked on the links in the email.

The survey results are about what I expected. Most people are buying Wii Transfer to watch movies and listen to music on their TV. I’ll use this feedback to simplify the user interface around these features, and prune back a feature set that had grown a little too fast for its own good.

Here’s a chart of the results so far:

Survey chart

I used “Campaign Monitor”:http://www.campaignmonitor.com/ for sending the newsletter, and as usual I’m very pleased with how simple they make this. I did a full customer export from my registration database and Campaign Monitor merged it with the existing list from my newsletter last year, weeding out duplicates and removing anyone who had already unsubscribed.

It’s like iTunes for…

Sometimes it seems like every app is trying to be “the iTunes for <insert subject here>”. I’ve worked on “an app that fits into this category”:http://www.vitalsource.com/software/bookshelf/, and there are countless more. iTunes 1.0 represents one of the biggest shifts in Mac user interface design we’ve seen — single window, source list, and smart groups.

While the iTunes UI is great for music, I’m not convinced it’s automatically great for all workflows.

“Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ goes out of its way to do something different, by twisting the traditional source list a little to promote tags as the most important part of the UI. At first I feared that some customers would find it worse, that the UI would fail and I would be forced to become more iTunes-ish for the next version. But I think only by trying something different can you hope to be better. I’ve been using Clipstart to manage my movies all year and the tag-focused UI really works, especially when you start building up your library and can search and find related tags across all your videos.

I released Clipstart 1.1.1 a few days ago with a bunch of bug fixes, and an “iPhone 3GS giveaway”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/press/3gs.html too.

Macworld review for WebSentinel

This month I’ve been lucky to have “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ featured in both the US and UK print editions of Macworld. It’s great to see the product in print.

Around 1996 to 1998 I worked for a small Mac software company called Purity Software. When “Ned Holbrook tweeted”:http://twitter.com/nedley/status/2639266306 that he had a collection of old Macworld print magazines, combined with having Clipstart’s review fresh in my mind, it jogged a memory that one of my products from Purity was reviewed in Macworld and I had always wished I had kept a copy. WebSentinel was a C++ PowerPlant app with a great UI for server products of that era (“screenshots here”:http://www.purity.com/websentinel.ws?page=exp — warning, Mac OS 8), though in hindsight it suffered from some annoying bugs and had trouble scaling. It turns out that 10 years later the review is nearly impossible to find online, but by following a series of broken links I eventually got a copy from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

I’m archiving it below. It ran in the December 1998 issue.

WebSentinel 2.0

Master of the Realms

By Jeff Davis

For Macintosh Webmasters who find their server’s built-in security limited and tedious, Purity Software’s WebSentinel 2.0 promises relief. This WebStar API (W*API) plug-in provides support for multiple database mechanisms and an attractive interface for an array of security services, including new features such as support for workstation restrictions, HTML log-in forms, and account expiration.

WebSentinel 2.0 extends the realms model of Web security common on Macintosh Web servers. Rather than applying permissions to a folder (such as the Logs folder), you set permissions for a group of URLs (the realm) that share some specific text (any URL that contains .log, for example). This method can be very powerful, allowing administrators to secure like files regardless of their location on the server.

In addition to standard HTTP authentication for realms, WebSentinel 2.0 supports HTML-forms-based authentication, allowing you to present personalized log-in screens. Webmasters can designate customized forms and no-access files for each realm. WebSentinel 2.0 even offers Redirection realms, so requests for certain URLs can be automatically sent to another page.

Once realms are defined, you grant access to users, groups, and workstations. In addition to simple user names and passwords, administrators can define expiration criteria for each user, consisting of a date, a number of days, or even a number of accesses.

WebSentinel 2.0 supports multiple “data targets” (back-end databases); you can save your information to more than one type of outside database, including those in Purity’s own Verona format and those in FileMaker Pro.

It took me about 60 seconds to install WebSentinel 2.0 on a Mac server running StarNine’s WebStar 3.01. After another five minutes, I had my users, groups, and realms up and running. Both the administrative application and Web-browser interface are attractive and usable, but a few very minor interface glitches exist. Although assigning access to users and groups is quite simple, WebSentinel 2.0 needs to offer an easier way to display all users and groups assigned to a given realm within a single window.

The security options all worked nicely, and there was no noticeable performance hit with ten users and realms. I did encounter problems when trying to use the plug-in with WebTen, due to an inconsistency with Tenon’s W*API implementation. Tenon has a patch that addresses these problems.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

Macintosh Webmasters will definitely find that WebSentinel 2.0 offers an elegant extension of WebStar’s realms-based security. But those dissatisfied with the whole realms concept should look to other options, such as Tenon’s WebTen, which offers built-in file and folder security.

RATING: 3 1/2 mice PROS: Elegant interface; authentication forms; multiple data targets. CONS: Lack of file and folder security; no easy way to view access by realm. COMPANY: Purity Software (512/328-2288, www.purity.com). $199 (upgrade from 1.0, $79).

December 1998 page: 62

A fan for your unreleased app

Every product needs a believer. Not on the product team, but outside. A champion beta tester. Someone who sees the potential and will offer such constructive criticism and feedback early on that if you don’t make the app perfect you will be personally letting them down.

This is so critical, that many products succeed or fail to reach 1.0 on this point alone. Without inspiration from your peers, it becomes difficult to push through “the dip”:http://sethgodin.typepad.com/the_dip/, the rough times in development when everything goes wrong and you can’t imagine how your app will ever see the light of day. Seek out that one person — friend, spouse, blogger, anyone — who will light a fire under you to ship a quality product.

Yes, I want to hear how much you like my app, but I also want to hear where it fails and frustrates you.

The feedback I’ve received for “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ is astonishingly well thought out and helpful. I like to think the app is attracting the best kind of customers: articulate and experienced enough to know what they want. If I could only implement half the suggestions to improve the app it will evolve into something great.

Of course, great beta testers only go so far. We still have to work really hard. “Merlin Mann said it best”:http://www.43folders.com/2009/03/11/kutiman: “The only person who can sit on your ass is you.”

Clipstart file actions

“Clipstart 1.1”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/ is out, with support for the iPhone 3GS, YouTube, and more. I’m really happy with the response I’ve received so far. The 3GS is such a convenient device for video that even people who weren’t taking lots of clips before now find themselves with a bunch of videos. That deserves a dedicated management app.

“Ryan Irelan”:http://ryanirelan.com/ asked me the other day if Clipstart would support a simple email option, for quickly sharing a video with family without uploading to a web site. This is a pretty good candidate for using Clipstart’s file actions, which allow you to process the selected video files with a script.

I liked how “Acorn handled this kind of thing”:http://flyingmeat.com/wikka/AcornExtraScripts, so I essentially lifted its file actions feature directly and put it into Clipstart, even down to the ACShortcutKey shortcut comments. Even though Acorn is for still images and Clipstart for videos, it seemed similar enough that you could conceivably take lightly-modified scripts from one app and use it the other, if they did not deal with the file’s contents.

Here’s the email script that will be included in Clipstart 1.1.1:


on run argv

    set filepath to item 1 of argv

    set old_delims to AppleScript's text item delimiters

    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {"/"}

    set path_items to text items of (filepath as text)

    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to old_delims

    set filename to last item of path_items

    tell application "Mail"

        set new_msg to make new outgoing message with properties {subject:filename, content:"" & return & return}

        tell new_msg

            set visible to true

            tell content

                make new attachment with properties {file name:filepath} at after the last paragraph

            end tell

        end tell


    end tell


Running scripts has been in Clipstart since 1.0. The implementation is pretty simple. I parse the available file action files to extract the executable path and any shortcut keys and modifiers, then dynamically create the menu items. When it’s time to run an action I use NSTask and friends to execute the program and pass the script file and selected movie path to it.

Instead of this:

/path/to/myscript.sh /path/to/movie.avi

Clipstart does it like one of these:

/usr/bin/bash /path/to/myscript.sh /path/to/movie.avi

/usr/bin/osascript /path/to/myscript.sh /path/to/movie.avi

I did this to not require setting +x on the file, but it also seems to be a more convenient way of processing command line arguments when run from osascript.

Clipstart for iPhone?

You know it has been a good conference when you come back inspired, with ideas and tools to build new things. No surprise that WWDC was like that for me, as it is pretty much every year.

Even before the keynote was over I was getting questions — which continued all week — about whether I had iPhone plans. At the very least, Clipstart 1.1 needs to be able to import videos off of the 3GS. “That’s in beta now”:http://www.riverfold.com/forums/topic.php?id=26. But what about a native phone app?

I’ve convinced myself over the last couple weeks, after listening to what people are doing with their phones and evaluating the existing applications in the App Store, that Clipstart for iPhone would be a very useful app. Video on the 3GS is a big deal. Eventually I can see a new top-level Video category in the App Store, and whoever is in that list is going to do very well.

“Neven Mrgan”:http://mrgan.tumblr.com/post/124025728/wwdc-2009 sums up the urgency:

“I’m sure Phil Schiller’s prediction of iPhone 3GS quickly becoming the most popular video-capable phone — if not the most popular consumer video device period — is right on the money. A message for those working on apps that help us shoot, edit, organize, and share quick, casual video clips: get ready to get busy.”

I’ll admit that after WWDC I panicked, thinking for a moment that I had to deliver Clipstart for iPhone immediately, and drop everything I’m doing to make that happen. I no longer believe that. The Mac version of Clipstart has a lot of potential and I can’t get too distracted from following up on that. But at the same time I will be expanding what I do on the phone, so we’ll see where that goes.

Introducing Clipstart

Last week I looked at the SVN log for my application in development and realized that I had started it exactly 1 year ago. While I wasn’t actively working on it every day or week during that time, that’s still a very long time for me to work on an application before shipping it. I knew I had to call the 1.0 done and push it out.

I was falling into that infinite 1.0 cycle where I could continue to improve the application forever without releasing it. The sooner I noticed that trap, the sooner I was able to correct course and get the app into the hands of real users.

The app is called “Clipstart”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/clipstart/. It’s for importing, tagging, and uploading home movies. I have high hopes for the app and a lot of fun stuff planned for the future.

As usual, a lot of people talked about the product even before I did. My thanks to Dan Moren of Macworld for “covering the launch”:http://www.macworld.com/article/140376/2009/05/clipstart.html before I even had a chance to spam him with a press release; to John Gruber for “posting about how he uses it”:http://daringfireball.net/linked/2009/05/04/clipstart; and to “Duncan Davidson”:http://journal.duncandavidson.com/post/102477678/clipstart and “Mike Zornek”:http://blog.clickablebliss.com/2009/05/04/clipstart-10/ for their write-ups. I also very much appreciate “all the retweets”:http://search.twitter.com/search?q=clipstart and goodwill from my friends on Twitter. Those meant a lot.