What's New in Spell Catcher X version 10.2
Spell Catcher X version 10.2 contains many new features and enhancements. Please choose Spell Catcher Help from the Help menu in the Spell Catcher application for more information and details on using these and other Spell Catcher features.
Ghostwriter: Safety When You Haven't Saved
By popular demand, Ghostwriter is back! For those of you that are unfamiliar with Spell Catcher 8, Ghostwriter saves what you type while you type it, making it possible to recover your work after a crash or other similar disaster. A new Ghostwriter pane in Spell Catcher's Preferences window controls the various Ghostwriter-related settings.
The Ghostwriter Advantage
Spell Catcher's Ghostwriter has a major advantage over other key-logging software - it's built on top of an interactive writing tool, so keeps a much more accurate picture of what's actually in your document.
Ghostwriter in Spell Catcher X saves what you've typed at certain well-defined times to try to ensure that what gets saved in a Ghostwriter file matches what's in your document, complete with any spelling corrections and shorthand expansions. This means that it should be easier than ever to reconstruct document contents, as keystrokes are only written after interactive corrections or expansions have been made. This means that any corrections and expansions are "accounted for" in the Ghostwriter file. No need to sift through log files containing unreadable characters and backspaces, as they are automatically accounted for and processed before keystrokes are saved to a Ghostwriter file!
Two Ways to Save
Ghostwriter organizes the files it saves your keystrokes in by date, then by application name. You can choose to have Ghostwriter save a single file for all the text typed in a particular application on a particular day, or to save a file for each document window that you type into. So finding that paragraph you typed two days ago in your favorite word processor is a simple matter of navigating a Finder folder or two.
You can easily keep the number of Ghostwriter files down to a minimum - both in numbers and content - by specifying how many days its files should be kept around, and the minimum size of each file.
Ghostwriter respects the secure text entry features that Mac OS X provides. Ghostwriter will never record your keystrokes in the login window or any standard authentication window. Ghostwriter will never record any passwords or other sensitive information typed into a standard Mac OS X secure text input or password field. Most modern applications will use OS X's secure text entry features, but be aware that some older applications will not. It's best to check with the developer of any application you use that requires you to enter sensitive information, to see if they are using these secure text entry features. Some applications "roll their own" password fields that may not be as secure as the standard OS X ones.
But Wait - There's Much More!
Ghostwriter is only one of Spell Catcher's many talents. Read on to find out what else we've added in this version alone. Or just Download Spell Catcher X and try it for free for 14 days!
Internet Look Up - Online Dictionary Servers
If you can't find what you're looking for in the Thesaurus or Dictionary Definitions, or are in search of even more results from the Look Up command, why not consult the Internet? Spell Catcher X 10.2 can look up definitions and matches from the numerous online Dictionary (DICT) Servers that are available on the web. More information about this type of server can be found online at http://www.dict.org/.
More resources are available online, including client and server software, tools, databases, and source code. See DICT.org's Resources page: http://www.dict.org/links.html, and read the Additional Resources section in the Look Up chapter of Spell Catcher's online help book.
Note that the content and availability of the various DICT servers on the Internet cannot be guaranteed, as they are not associated in any way with Spell Catcher X or Rainmaker Research Inc.
Dictionary Server Documents
When you first run Spell Catcher X 10.2, a default Dictionary Server document that accesses the dict.org server is created to get you started. As with other editable Spell Catcher X reference documents, you are free to create as many Dictionary Server documents as you'd like. Choose Dictionary Server from Spell Catcher's File → New menu. Enter the address of the host server you want to use, then click the Sync Databases button to download the available databases from the server. You must be connected to the Internet to do this, and to perform Look Ups from a Dictionary Server.
Information about the server itself is available by clicking the blue Info button. Information about a particular database can be viewed by selecting the database and clicking the Database Info button. In both cases, a drawer appears with this information after it is downloaded from the server.
Some servers have a large number of databases available. To help you manage what appears in the References drawer in the Look Up window (see below), the “In Look Up?” checkbox lets you specify which databases you are actually interested in. As usual, each database (and the Dictionary Server document itself) can be included or excluded from a particular Look Up by setting its “Use?” checkbox. The “Use?” column in the Dictionary Server document window and in the Look Up window's References drawer are functionally equivalent.
All Dictionary Servers support some form of word matching in addition to definitions. If the Display alternative words if no definition is available box is checked, then Spell Catcher asks the server for matching words (using the default strategy - for those that are interested). Depending on the word you are looking up, a large number of matches may be returned. This may result in a “too much information” scenario when it comes time to navigate through the results in the Look Up window. Unchecking this option may help with information overload.
As always, help tags are everywhere! Hover the mouse over any item in the window for a concise explanation or for more detail.
Changes to the Look Up Window
A number of changes and enhancements have been made to the Look Up window, primarily to support Dictionary Server access:
If there are no results for a look up from any given source (Dictionary Server database, Thesaurus or Dictionary) nothing is displayed at all in the Look Up window. Previously, the title of the reference with a caption that nothing was found would be shown.
To easily determine whether a look up source produced any results, they are displayed in blue as click-able “links.”
Double-clicking a Dictionary Server document in the Look Up window's references drawer will open the document for editing. Right-clicking a Dictionary Server document will display a contextual menu with Open and Remove items. Choosing Remove is the easiest way to remove a document from the list (this will not delete the document from your hard disk, however!).
Because results from a Dictionary Server are retrieved from the Internet, and are dependent on your network connection's speed and all the other factors involved with accessing Internet resources, you will notice that results from a Dictionary Server will appear in pieces as the information is retrieved. Connection status is now displayed to the right of the Replace button to provide feedback on the queries made to each server.
NOTE: The “Use?” checkbox for the databases on a Dictionary Server works somewhat differently than how it works for top-level documents (Thesaurus, Dictionary Definitions, Dictionary Server). Specifically, the state of the “Use?” checkbox is stored in the Dictionary Server document itself - and as such, changing the state for a database modifies the document it is contained in. Additionally, while changing the “Use?” state for the top-level Online Dictionary Server item changes the state for all documents of that type (this is no different from the behavior for Thesaurus and Dictionary Definition documents), changing the “Use?” state for a Dictionary Server document will not change the state for any of its databases.
Pop-up Suggestions List
Spell Catcher X 10.2 offers an alternative to the traditional Suggest Spelling window for displaying and choosing corrections during interactive checking. You can now choose to display a pop-up list of suggestions near the error itself. This is a lightweight and easy-to-use way to make corrections that is ideal when you don't need all the features available in the Suggest Spelling window (which you can always open when needed).
There are new preferences in the Interactive pane of Spell Catcher X's Preferences window to tailor the way this works. You can set the delay before the pop-up list appears so that you can either keep on typing (perhaps manually correcting the error) and never see the pop-up list, or pause briefly to see the suggestions if you need Spell Catcher's advice to correct the error.
Note that this feature requires that the application you are using supports inline text input from an input method correctly (more specifically, the application must be able to tell the input method what the screen position of the insertion point in an active inline input area is). Most modern OS X applications fall into this category, but some older ones (like AppleWorks, which shows the floating bottom-line input window, and many Java apps, which simply do things wrong much of the time) do not. You can still use the familiar Suggest Spelling window with these “unaware” applications.
Complete via the Input Method
Completion comes to Carbon applications and to Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar)! In applications that support input methods well enough for the suggestions pop-up list, you can get the same (if not somewhat better) word completion features that were previously only available in Cocoa applications. The user interface is somewhat different, but a nice improvement is that the completion window stays open while you are typing the word, and the list narrows down appropriately. It's also possible to have the completion window open automatically after a specific number of characters have been typed. Completion is many Cocoa apps required you to choose the Complete command to continue completing a word that you were still typing.
It's now possible to choose which completion items appear when you manually invoke the Complete command, or when completions are automatically shown. Because these are independent settings, it's possible to have different completions appear in each case
Completion and Shorthand Glossary Expansions
Completion with Shorthand Glossary items is now much more intelligent, answering requests coming from those that wanted a way to find the shorthand when they couldn't remember the exact abbreviation for an expansion that was known to exist. Now, a prefix match is done and all potential expansions are displayed in the completion list. So if you have similar abbreviations then you'll see all potential expansions you can choose from. Let Spell Catcher remember thousands of shorthands for you!
Completion - Improvements to “Matching Words”
Previously, the U.S. English Dictionary Definitions database was used to supply matching words in U.S., British and Canadian English. We realize that Apple's built-in speller does a better job supplying matching words to the Complete command, and does it in all the languages it supports. Spell Catcher will now try to “call through” to Apple's speller to get matching words for the Complete command. This removes the English language-only limitation. On Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), even though Cocoa completion is not available, the Complete command in Spell Catcher's input menu does work, but will use (as before) the U.S. English Definitions Dictionary to supply matching words in English languages. Additionally, matching word completions can come from your own Learned Words and Compiled Learned Words files.
Completion - Improvements to “Matching Address Book Cards”
New settings are available for the various Address Book completions. You can specify how you want names formatted, and which (by label) e-mail addresses, phone numbers and addresses should appear.
In addition to being able to import Spell Catcher 8 and Spell Catcher Plus format files, Spell Catcher X 10.2 can now open, read, edit and write these files directly. This is useful for those that want to move and/or share their Learned Words and Shorthand Glossaries with Spell Catcher running on OS 9 or Windows.
Note that Spell Catcher is not a multi-user, record-locking, networked, synchronizing database application! We therefore advise against having the same file open by two different copies of Spell Catcher (for example Spell Catcher 8 running on Classic and Spell Catcher X sharing the same file). If you attempt to do this, the results are, well, unpredictable and undefined! Make copies of the various Learned Words or Shorthand Glossary documents you want to share, and make sure each Spell Catcher application opens their own copy.
Sorting and Searching in Reference Document Windows
It's now possible to sort by entries, abbreviations and expansions in the various document windows. In Shorthand Glossary windows on OS X 10.3 and later, there is a search field in the toolbar where you can filter/search on the contents of expansion text.
In Shorthand Glossary document windows, you can now change the state of the various checkboxes when multiple entries are selected. The checkboxes are set to the appropriate state (on, off, mixed) according to the settings for the selected items.
Re-Organized Input Menu
The input (checkmark) menu has been re-organized so that the spelling and suggestion-related items are at the top, since these are used and referred to the most often (by most users, anyway). We've also added the “New Shorthand for Selection” command that's Spell Catcher's Services and Dock menus to the input menu.
Relative Date/Time Expansions
A new option available for your custom Date/Time formats makes it possible to specify an offset (in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years) that should be applied when the expansion is made. This is handy if you need to write a letter today, but make it look like you wrote it yesterday (procrastinators rejoice!).
You choose an offset to apply to a Date/Time format while creating a new shorthand in a Shorthand Glossary document window, after inserting the basic Date/Time format.
If the default choices aren't good enough, a custom offset can be created. Here you can specify the exact offset down to the second!
Any reference document that have a label assigned in the Finder are now drawn much like the Finder does. This is done in all windows that display a list of references (Spelling References, Find in References, Look Up, Edit Macros…).
- Major performance improvements to both the input method and the Spell Catcher application in almost all areas.
- Punctuation checking has been enhanced, and should detect most common mistakes (and offer reasonable suggestions for them).
- Playing of error alert sounds now uses Core Audio (instead of QuickTime), improving performance, reducing CPU usage, and delays before the first sound is played and between playing sounds.
- Added the Save a Copy As… command to the File menu (useful for exporting or saving to another document format for use with Spell Catcher 8 or Spell Catcher Plus).
- You can now create a new Modify Selection Macro from the Spell Catcher application's File→New menu.
- Double-clicking an application in the Preference window's Applications drawer now launches it (provided it can be located).
- Literally hundreds of other improvements, in every area of the program. No feature has gone “untouched.”
- Finally tracked down and fixed a rare problem where the input method would use U.S. English as the current language regardless of your Spell Catcher Language preferences. This was caused by communication time-outs between the input method and application, usually when logging in after a Restart when a large number of processes or applications were opened at login time.
- Fixed a problem where some word pairs were considered to be mixed-case words, and therefore ignored if you had the Spelling preference to Ignore Words that are mixed-case turned on. For example, when the first word of a word pair was lower case, and the second word was capitalized, even if one of the words should be considered an error it wouldn't be if you were ignoring mixed-case words.
- Fixed problem in French and Canadian French where shorthands would not expand if the quote or punctuation following an abbreviation was “smartened.”
- Convert fractions wasn't working if the preference to Ignore Internet addresses was off.
- Numerous other less obvious and less annoying bugs were squashed.