Sunday, January 11, 2015

Scythebill 11.0 - now in beta!

Scythebill 11 is here!  Or, rather, a beta version of Scythebill 11.  I’d love to get some early testing of this release before I announce it fully.  For one, the manual isn't yet updated;  for another, there's a couple of small things I'd like to improve.  So I'm not quite ready, but at the same time it’s got lots of new features and bug fixes.  (And it gives me the time to add one more big feature!)

As always, download here, and please let me know if you have any problems, let me know either on Google+, Facebook, or by email.

Full eBird data

First, eBird is now much better supported.  Previously, you could only enter “Incidental” sightings, with rather little data.  Now you can choose a protocol, attach checklist comments, set start times, durations, distances, and the “Complete checklist?” field, and it'll all be included as you export to and import from eBird.  All of this extra data makes its way into the now-enhanced Scythebill export files too.

You can also get an eBird file saved off as soon as you finish entering sightings, sparing you a series of extra steps.

Better editing of existing data

Second, there’s a much smoother experience editing data from your old outings.  Before, if you realized you’d made a mistake - missed some species, added some others incorrectly, forgot to enter a count, and so forth - you had to tediously find sightings one-by-one.  Now, just go back to Enter sightings, enter the date and location, click Next - and you’ll be right back where you were, with a full list of sightings from that visit.

Even better, there’s a little dropdown menu in the first Enter sightings page with your 10 most recently entered visits, so you can make fixes to recently entered data fast:

How you can help

If you download this beta, I’d hugely appreciate feedback - positive or negative! - about these two features:

  • Do they work as you expect?  Is anything confusing?
  • If you’re an eBird user, do these changes make life better?  Does anything fail to work?
  • If you’re not an eBird user, are these changes too intrusive?  Do you wish you could hide any of it?

Checklist fixes

These 4 countries now have fully reconciled checklists, including rarities:

  • Costa Rica
  • Iceland
  • Panama
  • St. Lucia

Zack W. did a huge job, reconciling checklists for 11 US states!  Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennesse, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin all are up-to-date with rarities set.


  • The 25th ABA Checklist update is applied (e.g. Purple Swamphen is now an “introduced” species in Florida)
  • The Water/Brown-cheeked Rail split is now correctly reflected in checklists.
  • Daniel H. found an error in the Panama checklist
  • Jochen B. pointed out mistakes in a number of countries
  • Paul H. saw problems in the Western Australia and Norfolk lists.
  • Niall P. provided some South African corrections.
  • Johan L. identified an issue with the Trinidad and Tobago list.

Other bugs

Several users found a (Mac-only?) bug - if you started Scythebill by opening a .bsxm file, instead of opening the Scythebill application directly, you saw an error message that your file was corrupt.  Files weren’t corrupt, and everything worked, but it was scary all the same.

In Show reports, when you create a date-based report “is after” and “is before” were wrong - if you asked for “is before 2010”, you got everything before 2010 and 2010 itself.  Now it does what it says.  Thanks to Steve C. for that report.

A nasty bug (Windows only) that could show an error dialog and lock up Scythebill altogether (you had to kill it with Task Manager) has been fixed (most likely - I couldn't personally reproduce it).  Thanks to Penny V. for reporting this.

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