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FrownOnMyMac Fills New Mac Niches

What?! Does something about this article seem odd, not as you remember, or too good to be true? Check the date it was published!

The smile at SmileOnMyMac isn’t as broad as it used to be. Following a contentious disagreement between founders Philip Goward and Greg Scown (apparently over whether the sound made by TextExpander is a “bloop” or a “pop”), the pair have parted ways. Goward remains in charge of the SmileOnMyMac stable of utilities such as DiscLabel and TextExpander, while Scown is branching out with a new spinoff company named FrownOnMyMac.

Scown’s initial lineup of programs is based on early code for which he still owns the rights. “I wanted to hit the ground running with applications ready for sale right away,” he said. The lineup includes the following applications, which are available immediately. Because of the age of the code, all three work under Mac OS 9, or in Mac OS X in the Classic environment (and thus aren’t compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard).

TextRedactor 1.2 — Billed as “the perfect tool for any serious writer,” TextRedactor encourages you to write the best prose you can manage. As writers we can attest that we often delete more words than we write during the revision process. TextRedactor takes that one step further, automatically deleting poorly written sentences once you’ve typed them. When you write a good sentence, TextRedactor’s proprietary language algorithm identifies it and keeps it onscreen for three minutes, during which time pressing Command-Option-Ctrl-7-P-M prevents the sentence from being erased. (A LazyType option in the program’s preferences can also automatically keep
your fifth, tenth, or thirtieth try without invoking the algorithm.)

New in version 1.2 is the capability to specify fonts other than Helvetica, the option to play a sound (“Splonk,” added to your Mac during installation) when the software does its redacting, and, anticipating popular request, a full-screen view for eliminating distractions. TextRedactor costs $41.09.

FaxPen PRO 1.0.2 — SmileOnMyMac’s PDFpen utility has been a godsend for anyone who needs to edit or view a PDF and can’t handle the overhead and feature bloat of Adobe’s Acrobat Pro. However, PDFs weren’t yet in wide use when Scown first developed FaxPen Pro.

FaxPen Pro takes existing PDFs, with their precise formatting and aligned text, and converts them into low-resolution TIFF images suitable for faxing. You can accept the software’s default values, or expand a sidebar to reveal sliders that control the amount of Text Alignment, Image Loss, Crumpledness, and even Cutoff (where the bottom of the sheet is excised). Scown also revealed a tip: when you hold the Option key, the Image Loss slider becomes the Coffee Stain slider, which controls the darkness of a random coffee stain applied to the image.

FaxPen Pro is ideal for computer-literate users who are in the midst of refinancing a mortgage, sending forms to the government, or engaging in other similar activities where the only acceptable format is fax. The software costs $41.09 for a single-user license, or $2,300 for organizations of 50 or more employees. An optional 1200 bps USB modem for directly faxing from your computer (Mac OS X 10.0 or later) is $1.08 plus shipping.

DisKLabel — The last item in the FrownOnMyMac lineup is DisKLabel, an easy-to-use utility for printing attractive dot-matrix floppy disk labels. “We all have lots of floppy disks stored away,” said Scown, “typically with no scheme for cataloging or even identifying what’s on them.”

DisKLabel reads the contents of a floppy disk (provided, of course, that you’re able to mount it using an external USB floppy disk reader) and creates a label listing the top six items (or eight items if you set the label font to Very Tiny) that can be applied to the surface of any 3.5-inch floppy. A separate sheet of paper contains the rest of the disk’s contents, and includes prominent marks to indicate where to fold the paper so that it matches the disk’s physical size.

DisKLabel is also compatible with HP’s advanced label-burning technology built into the latest generation of USB floppy drive readers. It uses a low-powered laser to etch the plastic on a diskette without a label attached. A typical label takes 150 minutes to burn.

New in version is backwards compatibility for 5.25-inch floppies (provided you can find a way to read them) and support for two-color printing. Through the end of 01-Apr-09, you can also download a bonus package that lets you also print labels for Zip disks. Like the rest of FrownOnMyMac’s programs, DisKLabel costs $41.09.

Why So Serious? So, what’s the story behind the dour company name? I caught up with Jean MacDonald, the now-professionally-bipolar marketing and PR contact for both SmileOnMyMac and FrownOnMyMac for more information. She replied via Twitter (she’s @macgenie):

The name is just poking fun at Greg's old company, there's no - well, not much - malice behind it. We thought FrownOnMyMac embodies the spi

After reaching Twitter’s 140-character limit, MacDonald declined to comment further.

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