Amar Sagoo

16 April 2024

Introducing Exercised

Like many people, I like to have an idea of whether I’m phsically active enough to maintain my health. I used to rely on my phone’s automatic step counting, with the well-known (and in my case aspirational) goal of 10,000 steps per day in mind.

However, when I went swimming – one of the more conscious efforts I’ve made to stay fit – my phone would never find out, sitting oblivious in a locker while I breathlessly flailed up and down the pool.

A smartwatch can be with you more of the time, but I’d have to remember to start recording a session before I begin, choose the type of activity, etc. Perhaps a watch might detect a swim automatically, but what about when I do archery? My device would think I’m mainly standing around for a couple of hours, when in fact I’m using about 3 times more energy than that. And all of this assumes that I’d even be willing to buy and wear a smartwatch in the first place, which, as it happens, I’m not.

In short, more comprehensive fitness tracking seems to make greater demands on your memory and your patience than I’m sure many of us are able to muster.

13 March 2024

Designing Tachyo

There is no shortage of software metronomes in this world. I imagine that many people pick it as an exercise when learning to design or program, believing it to be a nice and simple task.

Yet despite this abundance of options, I didn’t find one that I was satisfied with. They all somehow missed the mark, not so much in terms of functionality, but in terms of usability and quality.

So I set out to create Tachyo, a new metronome for iOS. But getting there turned out to be an even deeper design and implementation challenge than I had anticipated.

3 November 2023

Introducing Tachyo

Tachyo is a new metronome for iOS. It’s my first new app in 15 years, and also my first project after going fully independent earlier this year.

Tachyo screenshot

Now, you may ask if there aren’t already enough other metronome apps out there. There certainly are many. But, as is so often the case when I look for software, I haven’t found any of them to be quite satisfactory.

Beyond the obvious functional requirements (and my personal ones are actually quite basic), there are a number of usability and quality requirements that I think tend to get ignored.

1 August 2023

Goodbye, Google. Hello, World!

When I joined Google in 2011, it felt like I was realising a dream. I had been working primarily as a software engineer, with my design activities limited to an unofficial portion of my job and to personal projects in my spare time. Google provided an opportunity to be a full-time interaction designer working with very clever people on widely used products, in a fairytale-like work environment.

But time changes things, including your perspective. In the last 12 years, Google got a lot bigger, making it a very different place to operate in. Also, not everything may turn out like in your dream – for instance, my field (UX) hasn’t developed into the rigorous, science-based discipline I had hoped it would. And, perhaps most significantly, I got to know myself better, learning what I enjoy and what frustrates or stresses me. So a new dream began to form.

Licensed 1.5.1

I’ve just published a minor update to Licensed, my free app for storing software licenses. It fixes a bug where the contents of the Notes field were not legible when using macOS’s dark mode. Download the latest version here. You can read more about the previous update to version 1.5 in this blog post.

Also, I now gratefully accept donations, in case you enjoy my free apps and would like to support me in developing more in the future (more news on that soon).

1 July 2023

Tofu 3.0

Tofu started as an experiment 20 years ago. It was based on a hypothesis that long lines of text and vertical scrolling made it challenging to read on your computer. Arranging text in columns seemed like an elegant way to address both the movement and the line length.

I was amazed at how well the solution was received. Of all the apps I’ve made, Tofu has been the most popular. It’s also the one people missed the most after I announced in 2014 that I wasn’t planning to update it again, especially when the last version became incompatible with macOS releases beyond 10.14.

As requests for an update kept continuing even into 2023, I finally decided to update Tofu to run on modern Macs. I also took the opportunity to make many improvements to usability and layout, increase performance and fix bugs. The result is Tofu 3.0.

27 November 2022

Licensed 1.5 (and Tofu news)

In 2014, I announced that I was not planning further development of my Mac and iOS apps. I have a couple of updates on that.

Licensed 1.5 now available

One thing I still intended to do was update Licensed, my Mac app for managing software licenses. That update is finally here. I’m sorry it took so long.

My main motivation was to add an export function, so that you could get your data into other tools such as a spreadsheet, and finally say goodbye to Licensed if you were still relying on it.

But it also turns out that technology moves on in 14 years (yes, that’s how long it’s been!), and the app couldn’t even run at all on recent versions of macOS. So that became the first problem to address. Licensed is now built to run on macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) through 13 (Ventura). This update also increases the chances that Licensed will work with future macOS versions.