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Activity Timer - What's new?
updated Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Intro -Minor updates of 3.2 - Release of 3.2 - Release of 3.1 - Minor updates of 3.0 - Release of 3.0


To see if you need to update, compare the date under Help | About with the date at the top of this page. With the latest version you can automatically check for updates. To update, Download Activity Timer and run the installer.


Do you wish to have your attention drawn to major updates to Activity Timer - or to be told about any new utilities released? If so, send an e-mail to to say you want to be on the Activity Timer list and / or the new utilities announcement list.


Minor Updates of version 3.0

November 14th 2012 -Oct 14th 2008 -Oct 7th 2008 -Sept_27th 2008

Minor update - November 14th 2012

Minor Bug fix - see the Bug fixes page

Minor update - October 14th 2008

23rd December 2010 - some users may get an error message LP5 when the program starts. Just did an update to fix this. This doesn't change the date of the program.

Improved layout of the menus. Also has More / Less versions of the menu like the windows - with a smaller menu with the options you are most likely to need, also to help get Newbie users off to a quick start.

Very minor improvements in the user layout.

Very minor Bug fixes - see the Bug fixes page


Minor update - October 7th 2008

Minor Bug fixes - see the Bug fixes page


Minor update - September 27th 2008

Minor reorganisation of the Projects Options window.

Bug fixes - see the Bug fixes page


Version 3.2 release

September 13th 2008 - Release of Activity Timer 3.2

Since this is a new version update, users of the free version automatically get a new test drive of the full version, to try out the new features.

New features include:

  • Support for Unicode (font for skin, project names, etc)
  • Automatic backups - Projects | Automatic Backups
  • Distinguish tasks for projects - This is useful if your projects typically have various sub-tasks - Projects |Distinguish Tasks for Projects (shareware).
  • Report time worked for any period - Reports | Days worked for Date Range (shareware).
  • Report time worked per week for any period - this is useful if you need e.g. to quickly bring up a report of the time worked for each week for the last four weeks for each project - Reports | Days worked for Date Range (shareware)
  • Show cost equivalents for the times, calculated at user set rate per hour - Reports | Options for Days worked for Date Range (shareware)
  • Option to show tables in Activity Timer before you show them externally - Reports | Show tables in Activity Timer first
  • Show a splash screen for the end of session or eye protection alarms - which can be any image, or a web page, which means you can also include movies for the end of session or eye protection alarms - just embed your movie in a web page and you can then use it as an alarm - Alarms | Configure Splash - eye protection (shareware).
  • Show progress in the screen border for the eye protection and end of session alarms. This is particularly useful for the eye protection - as you have a progress type indication of how long to rest your eyes for - Alarms | Eye Protection Alarms - (More version of the window) | Show alarm progress in border. (with Flash Screen switched on)
  • Prevent monitor power down and screen saver when the leisure time windows are visible - this is useful if the leisure activity window is e.g. watching a movie on your computer Alarms | Disable Alarms for Window Titles | More .
  • Improved layout of menus and windows, and many small updates and additions
  • Support for Wine under Linux - now tested under Wine and programmed to deal with particular issues that arise in Wine. See Wine Compatibility for details.
  • The language file has a much more thorough coverage than before. It covers almost all the text that is used in the program, as well as all the menus, buttons etc, permitting a more thorough translation of the program into your language. It also now supports unicode translations - Main | Start Up - Language - General Opts.
Wine compatibility for Activity Timer:

This is for users who run Activity Timer in Linux using Wine. It is basically compatible except that

  • The images for the skin and splash alarms currently have to be bitmaps (extension .bmp). If you use jpeg or gif images - you need to convert them to bitmaps. You can just save the bitmaps as files with the same name as the original images and extension .bmp - then they will be detected automatically and used in place of the jpeg or gif. I have reported this, see bug id 14710 - so it may get sorted out when the bug is fixed.
  • No check marks show up for radio buttons with the textured background. As a work around, if you have textured skins, all the radios are automatically converted into check boxes, which do work okay under Wine with the textured background.
  • The list of programs currently running for e.g. Alarms | Disable alarms for WINDOW TITLES... shows up blank in Wine. This means that you can't use the features to disable the alarms if a program is running, or treat particular windows as leisure activities, or automatically change project when you use a particular window
  • The transparent effect "clear buttons" for the skin are very slow to refresh - so the preset is to have this feature switched off. See Skin | Clear Buttons. This means all the buttons for the skin will show in the preset windows colour for buttons, usually grey.
  • The textured buttons may appear in the preset colour (usually grey) when you first show a window. The textures appear after you resize the window, minimize and restore it, or move another window over the top of it. You will only encounter this bug if you switch on Skin | Clear Buttons.

Be sure to report any other Wine compatibiility issues you may encounter and I will investigate and either fix Activity Timer to work with Wine, or program a work around for them if possible.

(NB I did an upload on sept 12th as well, and the 13th Sept upload fixes some very minor bugs in that upload mainly to do with the Wine compatibility feature, e.g. added the Show radios as check boxes in Wine check box to the Skin window).



Version 3.1 release

April 2nd 2008 - Release of Activity Timer 3.1

Since this is a new version update, users of the free version automatically get a new test drive of the full version, to try out the new features.

New features include:

  • Main | Associate titles or processes with projects - automatically change project depending on which processes are running or the titles of windows you have open
    (shareware feature).
  • Main | Window Titles or processes to treat as leisure - Pause whenever a particular process is running or window is shown with a particular title. (shareware feature)
  • Projects | Times worked per week or for dates - show the total hours worked for each project between any dates - or the hours worked in each week during the time period. Week for the purposes of the time period can start at any day of the week. (shareware feature)
  • Projects | Options for costs, totals and weeks - Show costs for the work done based on an hourly rate. You can also show a break down of the total hours for the entire period for each project, and the totals for each week. Week for the purposes of the time period can start at any day of the week. (shareware feature)
  • Main | Opts for Idle, day start etc | Ignore short active or rest - if you take a break for less than say five minutes, or change briefly to another project (e.g. recorded automatically because of the option to associate window titles with projects) then this time period is counted as part of the time worked for the current project. (free feature)
  • Projects | Active and Rest Periods - shows exactly when you worked on every project during the day. You can also change which project any time period was recorded for - or change a recorded rest period to an active period (e.g. because you were at a meeting during that time period). (shareware feature if you want to change the times for the recorded time periods - you can add or subtract times manually as a free feature)
  • Projects | Active and Rest Periods Earlier Day - shows exactly when you worked on every project during any previous day (i.e. any day since this option was added to the program). Again you can change the project shown for any work period or make a rest period into an active period. When you are satisfied with your changes here, use the Update Databases button, and your changes will be applied to the project databases for that day - and the total times for the projects updated to match your changes (shareware feature if you want to change the times for the recorded time periods - you can add or subtract times manually as a free feature)
  • Actions | Log mouse or keyboard idle - mainly for debugging - this may be useful for diagnostics if Activity Timer doesn't behave as expected in any way.
  • CPU load reduced - significant reductions in the amount of CPU cycles used by the program in normal use.
  • Main | Start up options, language, general opts | Save data every [5] minutes - you can configure how often Activity Timer saves all the data - this is relevant if your computer crashes or you get a power cut - if for instance Activity Timer saves the data every five minutes, then it will always be up to date to within five minutes. (free feature)
  • Main | Start up options, language, general opts | Check for activity every [500] milliseconds - configure how often Activity Timer checks to see if you are using the mouse or PC Keyboard - which is how it checks to see if the computer is in use. (free feature)
  • Main | Start up options, language, general opts | Make copies with check sums (recommended) - you can now configure whether this is done or not. Also the check sums have been extended to the project databases. This helps if by chance the computer crashes or you get a power cut just at the exact moment when Activity Timer is in the middle of updating one of the databases for the day roll over. Either the original or the copy with the check sum should still exist when the computer next reboots so it should automatically recover from the situation. Helps prevent loss of data for Activity Timer. N.B. tip - for backups or off-site backups of your data - the easiest way to do it is to backup the entire Activity Timer install folder, as the program itself isn't large. (free feature)

Updated features include:

  • Main | Window Titles or processes to disable alarms for - Now disables the alarms rather than silences them - means all the visual alarms are stopped too. You can still optionally just silence the alarms for a particular process or window title and keep the visual alarms running (free feature)
  • Main | Treat screensaver as idle time always - now preset to switched on. May be useful in some situations where you can use the keyboard or mouse with the screen saver, or where mouse movement or key presses don't stop the screen saver. E.g. maybe your screen saver only stops when you press a particular key or enter a password. If someone else presses a key on the keyboard - Activity Timer might log that as an activity period. (free feature)


Bug fixes

see the Bug fixes page


Minor Updates of version 3.0

Mar 3rd 2008

Minor update - March 3rd 2008


Skin | Space out controls in windows. Lets you space them out if you have lots of screen space, or you can go back to the way they were originally to crowd them together if you have less space or want to fit as many windows as possible into the display.

Menu | Main | Programs to silence alarms for or treat as leisure. This is useful if you use the same computer for entertainmen, e.g. to play DVDs, and for work - or have programs that play sounds or for some other reason want to be able to have the alarms silenced when particular programs are running.

You can set any program as a leisure activity, or as one that requires silence. The leisure activities are treated as idle time so don't count towards the current project. The ones that require silence are treated as activity, but the alarms never sound when they are running.

You can identify the programs by their title, or by their process name, and to help with this, there's an option to list all the visible windows running. You can also specify the complete name or just a part of it.

Actions | Log Idle time. This may be useful sometimes for diagnostics.

Opts | Treat screensaver as idle time always . This could be useful if for some reason the screensaver triggers activity. This shouldn't normally happen as Activity Timer only counts it as activity if keys are typed or the mouse is moved. However it does no harm, except maybe a small extra increment in the amount of CPU the program uses. So preset to on - but you may want to switch it off if not needed.

Opts | Mouse Sensitivity in pixels - this can be useful if you have a mouse with a bit of jitter in it which triggers the activity sensing in Activity Timer (a possible reason for it to get triggered during a screen saver if it is set to a higher sensitivity than the screen saver or if the screen saver is set to ignore mouse movement). It may also perhaps be useful in a situation where the mouse gets joggled a little from time to time, if you don't want small movements of the mouse to count as activity.

Bug fixes

see the Bug fixes page


Version 3.0 release

January 2008 - Release of Activity Timer 3.0

New features include:

  • Pie chart and bar chart versions of the projects list.
  • Option to describe the current project and the type of activity for each day (adds extra columns to the All Projects database).
  • Better organised windows, including summary window for the alarms with separate windows for detailed configuration of the eye protection and end of session alarms.
  • Menus for all the windows - makes it easier to navigate between them.
  • New option "Modify time for today"
  • Option to show the main window - or the chart or projects list - whenever the mouse is in a corner of the screen. It auto hides as well when you move the mouse away.
  • Many new skins. Skin now has option to reflect texture at seams (makes seamless skins possible with e.g. photos etc) and to use XP themes for appearance of buttons etc - also can now set a font for the skin.
  • Random skin feature
  • Option to auto end the session if mouse and keyboard are idle.
  • Click and drag number changes - click on any number in the user interface and with the mouse button held down, drag up or down (out of the text field) to change the number.
  • Other minor feature updates
  • Added an automatic updater - so you can check automatically to see whether there are new updates available for the program (see Help menu).

Bug fix


Thursday Dec 24 2004

Added a projects list window which lets you quickly change between projects. Added a check box to let it not start active. Added an option to remove all the times of less than one minute from the database. Reorganised the buttons - now there is a separate Projects Summary option with the various options for the database including the one to remove days with less than (say) one minute shown as worked. Fixed a bug that may be related to using the program in different time zones.

The alarms window now shows a drop list of tunes which you can select from, so you don't have to use the Browse button to go to another tune in the same folder.

Bug - the alarm should stop when a screen saver starts up (since the screen saver might play music itself). It wasn't doing that - fixed. Also one of the colours of the flashing border was always white in stead of the user selected colour - fixed. Also if you minmimised it to the task bar (rather than the system tray) then it wouldn't auto minimise and restore when you click on its icon as a program normally does in Windows - fixed.

Wednesday November 26 2003

Added skins, such as the wood grain skin shown in the screen shot.. Added an option to silence the alarms to the right click menu and play buttons to play them in the Alarms window.

Saturday September 6 2003

Some work on the tool tips help. Tool tips extra help window now has a right click copy / paste menu which it didn't have before..

Fixes a bug in the tool tips that can cause a fluttering hourglass when a window is first shown and another one that can cause access violations for users with Windows 98 + Explorer 5.x. See the Fractal Tune Smithy Bug Fixes page for 5th Sept. for details.

Friday August 29

Added New Session and Pause to the right click menu for the icon.

Bug fix

Tuesday August 26

Added an End Session button to the interface. This sets it to not working and also stops the alarm / tune. If you just set it to not working using the radios then the alarm or tune continues playing so you need to stop the alarm as well. So the idea is that normally you stop it using End Session if you have stopped work.

Added an Alarms folder with alarms played as repeating notes on various midi instruments such as telephone ring, bells, glockenspiel, also things like bongos and drums that one mightn't normally think of but are fun. Indeed also applause, and the midi seashore sound. Repeated plucked note played on Orchestral Harp too. So a random alarm from that folder can be fun to hear.

Added Alarms | Show UK style dates - lets you show the dates as dd/mm/yyyy instead of mm/dd/yyyy

When the end of session alarm sounds, now the right click menu for the tray icon shows End Session and Stop Alarm options (Stop Alarm was there before actually but at the bottom of the menu just above Quit so easy to miss).

Bug fix

Thursday August 21

Tool tips, with extra help for some of the tips.

Wednesday August 14

Pauses the alarm when you pause work - or if it pauses automatically because you are inactive - before would just keep flashing until you switch it off.

Doesn't pause it during the eye protection reminders however as the idea is that you look away for as long as the screen or icon keeps flashing. Will pause it during eye protection reminders if you have a tune playing as you can then look away for as long as the tune plays.

Monday August 11

Changed name to Activity Timer because it can be used to time things that one might think of as hobbies etc rather than work, or for eye protection reminders only, so the old name of Work Log is too restrictive a name to use.

Friday August 8

Bug fix

Sunday August 3

Installer will close Activity Timer if you have it already installed and it is running when you do the install - so it can be replaced. Before you had to close it yourself.

Bug fix

Friday August 1

Added a new Stop Alarm option to the Alarms window - use it if you want to stop the alarm at the end of session but continue working. This also appears in the popup menu you get if you right click on the tray icon or minimized window.

Some bug fixes.

Thursday July 31

Some bug fixes.

Wednesday July 30

Activity Timer is now year 2038 compliant - the present 32 bit build will work fine right to the end of this century and beyond. See What is the Year 2038 problem? . Developers: to find out why Activity Timer is now 2038 compliant even as a 32 bit build see my time64 C library

A couple of bug fixes.

Tuesday July 29

Now you can flash the screen as well for the alarms - this makes a rectangular flashing border around the edge of your screen - click on it to dismiss it.

Added option for an eye protection reminder for a minute or two several times an hour - and you can play a short tune for this as well as flash screen or icon.

Also you can set colours for the flashing screens by choosing from the one hundred and forty so called "Netscape colours" that are guaranteed to be shown as intended in most browsers - but it is also a nice standardised list of named colours which is the reason it is used here.

bug fix

Saturday July 26

Now you can set an alarm for the end of the session - set the icon to flash, and set a tune to play. The tune can be in various formats: mp3, midi, Sun au, waveform audio, or you can play a CD audio track (of course the CD has to be in the drive at the time for that one).

Friday July 25

Added option to minimize to the system tray, and the icon pie chart.

Version 1.0 (first release) Friday July 25 2003


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