Black Ink 1.1

June 24th, 2008

I’ve just updated my Black Ink crossword solving app to version 1.1, bringing a dramatically improved printout quality, and a host of other small improvements:

Black Ink 1.1

  • Dramatically improved puzzle printing quality
  • Improved highlighting of active clue in clue list
  • Fix for crashing scenario when migrating preferences to a new Mac
  • Improved reliability of puzzle downloads
  • Fix some bugs with timer restarting after pausing
  • Updated default puzzle sources
    • New: Boston Globe Sunday
    • New: Little Rock Daily Record
    • Removed: Washington Post Sunday

It turns out printing is one of those features you can really start to obsess on. I am very happy with the improvements that have been made for 1.1, but just getting under the hood and having my hands dirty has taught me so much about how it can be improved even more.

Exactly what has gotten better with printing? For starters, the application does a better job of remembering your printing options (selectable from the Page Setup dialog). But the real joy is in the improved quality of the paper (or PDF) printouts you generate. The output is now much sharper and closer to “typesetting quality.” Finally, the layout of the clues list has been revised to offer more readable, flowing text that fills the width of the page more naturally.

For future updates, I’m looking forward to offering further refinements. At the top of my list is a preference for “handedness,” so you can print the puzzle grid at the appropriate side of the clues for your preferred solving hand. I also hope to increase the flexibility of clue and grid sizing, so that users with better or worse vision can get the most out of the printout feature.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think!

Update: Round version numbers are boring, right? If you already downloaded 1.1 be sure to grab the 1.1.1 update which fixes a really annoying issue with the very printing improvements I’ve highlighted here. In the hubbub of getting these new features in, I neglected to notice that for users who haven’t been incrementally using my private beta builds, the printing options would have been set to unfortunate default settings, which caused a nearly blank printout page :)

Many thanks to David Brown for spotting this and letting me know in the comments below.

5 Responses to “Black Ink 1.1”

  1. David Brown Says:

    Unfortunately, with 1.1, when I have tried to print (New York Times Premium and Think Daily), I get a page with the proper header and footer, but no puzzle.

    I’m running 10.5.3 on a 15″ MBP (Core Duo, not the spiffy Core 2 Duo).

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Uh oh – that doesn’t sound like a printing improvement :(

    Can you look in your page setup settings:

    1. File -> Page Setup
    2. Select “Black Ink” from the “Settings” popup menu at the top.

    I’m curious if the “Puzzle Grid” checkbox has become unchecked for you.

    Can you tell me whether you were printing with a previous version of Black Ink? I hope this is isn’t a widespread problem.

  3. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Ugh. I just reproduced the problem by clearing out my preferences and starting from scratch. Obviously this demands an emergency fix ;) Look for a 1.1.1 update within hours.

  4. David Brown Says:

    Yes, they got unchecked. I’m glad to see you have reproduced the issue — as a developer, my favorite bugs are the ones I can reproduce. :)

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Thanks so much for letting me know about this bug. As you will see in the addendum above, I did find the bug and fixed it. Hopefully we won’t have any other surprises!

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