27 Nov

Barcode Basics now supports Mojave’s Dark Mode

Users of our popular macOS barcode creator, Barcode Basics, can now choose to take advantage of dark mode support in macOS Mojave (10.14) or higher.

Dark mode is a dramatic new look in macOS that’s easy on your eyes and helps you focus on your work. Barcode Basics supports it fully, and we think it looks pretty smart.

As always, the update from the Mac app store is completed free. If you don’t already own a copy then click here for more info.

Let us know what you think!

Barcode Basics fully supports dark mode in macOS Mojave

11 Oct

Is your Barcode app ready for 64 bit?

Recently, we’ve had a few questions about 64bit apps and code signing. It seemed sensible to talk about them here, rather than keep repeating the same message!

64-bit applications

A number of users have asked whether our macOS barcode app, Barcode Basics is a 64-bit app. The short answer, is “yes”. But why does is matter? Well, all modern Macs have 64-bit processors. This means that apps designed to run on 64-bit processors will generally run faster and better than apps designed to run on the old legacy 32bit processors. So, why are people suddenly asking?

macOS displays this message if you try to run 32bit apps

Apple has been supporting both types of apps for quite some time, but has now announced that its current macOS (Mojave) will be the last to support 32 bit technology.

So it’s a good time to check that the apps you rely on are 64-bit, otherwise you may find yourself without them on the next major macOS release. To check whether an app is 64-bit or not, you could either contact the developer or follow these steps:

  • From the Apple Menu, select “About this Mac”
  • Click the “System Report” button
  • From the system report, scroll down to “Software” in the left hand sidebar, then click “Applications”
  • Select the Application you’re interested in and you will see a field called “64-bit (Intel)”
  • If you see “Yes” in the “64-bit (Intel)” field then the selected app wasdesigned for 64 bit.
  • More about 64-bit here: Apple info on 32-bit/64-bit app compatibility

    Code Signing

    We also sometimes get asked about code signing. Code signing assures you that an app is from a known source and hasn’t been tampered with since it was signed. Logically, if an app isn’t code signed then you can’t be certain where it came from or that something malicious hasn’t been done to is since it was created – a popular way of introducing malware.

    All apps purchased direct from the Mac App Store are code-signed (Apple simply rejects them if they’re not). However, apps from other sources (e.g. downloaded from websites) may or may not be code signed.

    Apps which are not code signed can still run on macOS, although you may get a warning when you try to run them, depending on your security settings. If this happens, you should think carefully about whether you trust the source of the app and whether you’re comfortable with the risks of running unsigned code.

    More about code signing here: Apple info about code signing

    Summary

    Barcode Basics is 64-bit compatible and fully code signed so you can be sure it will continue to work in the next macOS, and that it hasn’t been maliciously changed since it was signed by us. Here’s a comparison between Barcode Basics and it’s competitors:

    App Name64-bitCode SignedPrice Per User
    Barcode Basics

    Yes

    Yes

    $19.99
    MBC4

    No

    Yes

    $395
    Agamick Barcoder

    Yes

    No

    $97 - $195 (depending on functionality)
    Barcode X

    No

    Yes

    $386
    Barcode Producer

    No

    Yes

    $299
    iBarcoder

    Yes

    Yes

    $49.99
    Data correct at October 2018. Some prices shown were converted to USD using exchange rates at time of writing.

    While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

    Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
    Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
    Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

    24 Aug

    Automate barcode production on macOS

    We’re excited to announce the launch of a new version of Barcode Basics which includes support for Apple’s Automator app. This means that you can create barcodes in your own Automator workflows, services and even simple apps – without knowing anything about programming.

    Imagine creating batches of barcodes from numbers supplied in a spread sheet. Or creating a barcode directly from text selected in an email. Anything you can do in Barcode Basics, you can now do in an Automator workflow.

    Barcode Basics’ Automator workflow is included in every version of Barcode Basics, as standard. There are no hidden extra charges. And Barcode Basics is the cheapest way of automating barcode production by a long shot.

    For more information about Barcode Basics, or to pick up your copy head over to the Mac App Store by clicking the link below.


    Link to Mac App Store to purchase Barcode Basics - Mac barcode software

    09 Aug

    Ain’t no party like a barcode party…

    Barcode Party!

    Our macOS barcode creation app “Barcode Basics” hit an important milestone today. Since it’s release in late 2013, it’s now sold over 2,500 copies.

    Our vision was to make a barcode app that was affordable to the masses, yet still produced barcodes good enough for packaging, publishing etc.

    Five years later and Barcode Basics has matured nicely and is being used on a daily basis by freelance graphic designers, publishers and printers around the world. It’s still the only barcode app we’re aware of that ships with Automator actions as standard.

    We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to every last one of our users, to assure you that we will continue to develop and support the app. Now to figure out what exactly a barcode party entails…

    29 Jan

    Scan barcodes from your Mac’s screen

    We’ve relaunched an old favourite app, Onscreen Barcode Scanner this month with an update for macOS Sierra and High Sierra.

    Onscreen Barcode Scanner allows you to scan barcodes displayed on your Mac’s screen and see the number they encode. Using it is as easy as taking a screen shot! It makes a ideal partner to our flagship barcode product Barcode Basics.

    Onscreen Barcode Scanner’s main use is in packaging artwork so designers can check that the bars on the code actually match the displayed digits. It’s a great way of catching hard to spot barcode errors.

    We’d had to take Onscreen Barcode Scanner offline to do some work on it to make it compatible and it took longer than we thought. Apologies for that. It’s now back up and running, and the update is free through the Mac App Store for existing users. Hope you find it useful!


    Mac_App_Store_Badge_US_UK

    07 Nov

    We’re launching Priority Support Subscriptions!

    All users get free support for Ghostotter products. However, we understand that our software is business-critical for some users and they need a faster support response than other users.

    If that sounds like you then you might want to consider purchasing a priority support subscription (PSS). A PSS enhances the support options for your product with the following benefits:

    A faster response
    We always try to respond to support requests as quickly as possible. However, some users need a super-fast response. With a PSS, we will respond to your support request within 1 working day. (Normal response time is within 3 days).

    A dedicated support contact
    You will have a dedicated member of the Ghostotter development team who will be your first point of contact should you need help. NB. Contact will be via email and in English.

    Priority support
    Support requests from users with a PSS will be dealt with ahead of other support requests.

    Priority development requests
    Development requests (e.g. new feature requests) from users with a PSS will be prioritised ahead of other development requests. Be aware that not all development requests will be accepted.

    More Info

    04 Apr

    Automating barcodes on macOS using a service

    Many years ago now, I was the office barcode expert – in as much as I was the only person with a copy of any barcode creation software. Colleagues would email me frequently with lists of barcodes they wanted me to create for them. Sometimes the numbers would be in a Word file, sometimes an email, sometimes a text file – you name it.

    If only there was a way I could just highlight the text and make barcodes. Well, in those days, there wasn’t but luckily now we have Barcode Basics. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how use Barcode Basics to create a Service in Automator to create barcodes from selected text.

    NB. You can click any of the screen shots to enlarge.

    1. Launch Automator
    Make sure you’ve launched Barcode Basics at least once – that’s what installs the action we’re about to use. Next, launch Automator. You’ll find it in your Applications folder.

    2. Create a new service
    Click the “Service” option to make a new service.

    Services appear under the File menu of many apps in macOS, including Finder and allow you to add functionality from other applications.

    In our example, we’ll be adding functionality from Barcode Basics to any app capable of understanding text. So, make sure you set the settings up as follows.

    2. Configure your barcode settings
    Drag the “Make Barcode” action from the Actions library (the list on the left hand side of your Automator window) into your workflow and configure as necessary.

    3. Make a new email
    Next, drag a “New Mail Message” action (from “Mail” in your actions library) into your workflow. You can configure as much or as little in the “New Mail Message” action as you like. I’ve configured the subject and body.

    4. Save the service
    Next, press cmd-S to save your service and give it an appropriate name

    5. Give it a test!
    If you open any kind of text file (e.g. a Word file, a TextEdit file) you should now be able to see your action under its File>Services menu. Simply select the barcode numbers (which must be one per line), then run your action by selecting it in the Services menu. You should get an email with the generated barcodes as attachments.

    I hope this demonstrated just how easy it is to create a service to generate barcodes and add them to an email. Automation with Barcode Basics and Apple’s Automator software really couldn’t be easier. And, of course, you can use Barcode Basics as a stand alone barcode generator too if you prefer.

    I sure wish I had this back in my days as office barcode expert! If you haven’t given Barcode Basics a try yet, check it out at the Mac App Store.


    Link to Mac App Store to purchase Barcode Basics - Mac barcode software

    23 Jan

    Barcode Basics v4.0 released for macOS

    Its hard to believe that Barcode Basics is three years old this month – where did all that time go? The anniversary coincides nicely with the release of version 4.0 of our flagship macOS barcode generator.

    The main thing you’ll notice is the addition of a barcode preview window. However, Barcode Basics version 4.0 is also a complete, ground up rewrite. If you don’t notice too much of a difference then that’s a good thing – it means we got it right!

    So, why rewrite? Well, we wanted to restructure the app in a way that would make it easier to add some cool new functionality we have planned for coming releases. If you’re interested in producing batches of barcodes then we’ll have some pleasant surprises for you.

    As always, this upgrade is free for existing users of Barcode Basics.

    02 Aug

    Volume purchasing of software

    Apple Volume Purchasing Plan

    If you want to purchase software from Ghostotter e.g. Barcode Basics, Ai Auto Save etc on behalf of a business or organisation then here’s a tip. We’re hooked up with Apple’s Mac App Store, so you can take advantage of Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plan. The Volume Purchasing Plan makes it easier to purchase and distribute software in bulk for your organisation.

    At the time of writing, the Volume Purchasing Plan is available in the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.

    Of course, you can still purchase individual copies of our software from the Mac App Store in the usual way if you prefer.

    More info on Apple’s Volume Purchasing Plan

    07 Jul

    Do you know your BWR?

    We’ve recently had a couple of users of Barcode Basics (our mac barcode software) ask us what BWR is.

    BWR stands for Bar Width Reduction. This allows you to reduce the width of each individual bar in your barcode by a certain amount. A common mistake is to specify a BWR as a minus number which in fact leads to an increase in bar width.

    Of course, there are some rare occasions where you might need to increase bar width. However, remember that to reduce bar width, you need to have a positive BWR value.

    Why do we use BWR?

    The width of the bars in a bar code is important and needs to be precise to ensure they will scan properly. Depending on how you’re printing you bar code, you might find that the width of the bars increases when you print them. Think of how the ink spreads when you draw on tissue paper with a marker pen. This could result in the barcode not scanning properly.

    This ink spread is especially common in commercial printing using a traditional printing press, rather than the type of printer you probably have on your desktop. So, to make sure the printed bars are the right width, we reduce the width of the bars in our code by using the appropriate BWR value.

    How do I know what BWR value to use?

    For most types of digital printing, including desktop laser printers you almost certainly don’t need any BWR, so just set it to zero. If you can, make a code, print it and scan it to make sure it works (there are several good barcode scanners for iOS and Android phones). If the barcode scans then your BWR is fine. If not then you may need to experiment.

    If your code is going to be printed commercially on a printing press of some description then its a good idea to speak to the printing company and ask what BWR setting you should use. If they don’t know then alarm bells should ring – a reputable printer really should know that!

    Scanning your code

    There are several barcode scanning apps for iOS and Android on their respective app stores. You could also use a hand held scanner such as this one (click the image for more info):

    scanner

    …none of them will check your BWR, of course, but if you can successfully scan your printed code then your BWR was correct.

    While we have your attention, why not check out our flagship barcode app on the Mac App Store?

    Barcode Basics on the Mac App Store