Under The Microscope

Archive for October, 2011

Airfoil and the Boxee Box

Do you own a Boxee Box? If so, you’re in luck, as it’s the newest device we’ve tested with Airfoil, and it works just great to receive audio from your Mac or PC. Sending audio to the Boxee Box didn’t actually require any updates to Airfoil, nor even a download of Airfoil Speakers. This compatibility is available with a simple update to the Boxee Box’s firmware.

The Boxee Box

The Boxee Box: No Stacking!

Getting AirPlay Receiving Set Up

When it arrived, our Boxee Box had some very old firmware. Updating this was easy though, with the built-in updater found in Settings. Once the new firmware (version 1.2) was installed, AirPlay receiving needed to be activated. This can done by going to the Settings, selecting Network, then choosing the Servers settings. The last item there is called (somewhat-misleadingly) Enable streaming from iOS devices. Once you turn this on, you’ll see Boxee appear in Airfoil:

Airfoil sending to the Boxee Box

Airfoil sending MOG’s audio to the Boxee Box.

The Result

The most important result of course is that, audio from your Mac or Windows machine flows through Airfoil and out to the Boxee Box. This works great, and enables you to send any audio from your computer. There are a couple drawbacks, however.

First and foremost, the Boxee Box does not play audio in sync with other outputs. If you just want to send from a Mac or PC to Boxee, great. But you won’t be able to include Boxee in a multi-output system if you want everything in sync.

As well, there aren’t a lot of frills here, however. When Airfoil sends audio out, we pass along metadata from supported sources (on Mac and Windows). For instance, here’s what the AppleTV shows when receiving audio from Spotify:

TV showing the Apple TV's display

Airfoil sending Spotify’s audio to the AppleTV

Unfortunately, with the Boxee Box’s current setup, you’ll get only a simple screensaver:

TV showing the Boxee Box's display

Airfoil sending Spotify’s audio to the Boxee Box

That said, the audio plays just fine, so it’s a promising start. If you’ve got a Boxee Box, just turn on AirPlay receiving, and you’ll be able to send it any audio from your Mac or PC using Airfoil!

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

Ed Wynne's portraitIt’s been something of a hiring whirlwind here at Rogue Amoeba, with the recent additions of Grant Farr and Jose Vazquez. Today, we’ve got yet another new face, in the form of Ed Wynne. Eagle-eyed readers will recognize Ed’s name from our About boxes, as Ed’s done a good deal of contract work for Rogue Amoeba over the years. He’s one of the brains behind the hijacker, which powers the audio capture used in Airfoil, Audio Hijack Pro, and Nicecast. Now, we’ve brought him on full-time to help us hack away.

You can learn all about Ed on our Staff page. He handles backend work (like the aforementioned hijacker), so you won’t see the results of his work directly. However, his code will continue to find its way into almost all of our products. We’re thrilled to have him on board.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Over at Businessweek, there’s a fascinating look inside Apple, focused on Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall. There are lots of interesting bits, but perhaps the one which stuck out the most was this:

Before the introduction of the iPhone, Forstall supported Jobs’s view that Apple didn’t need to create an ecosystem of third-party developers. Back then they figured the device would stand out for combining a phone with an iPod plus a superfast browser. For the most popular activities—watching YouTube videos, for example—Forstall’s team would simply partner with market leaders such as Google to create apps built specifically for the iPhone.

With as far as Apple’s come in just 4 years, it would be easy to be misled into the idea that they planned every step along the way.

Hola, Jose!

Jose Vazquez's portraitTwo months ago, we introduced our then-newest hire Grant Farr. Today, we’re adding to the Rogue Amoeba family again! Jose Vazquez is the newest face on our Staff page, joining us as a Mac Software Engineer.

Over the summer, Jose did contract work on Fission. Now, he’s expanding that work as his first assignment with the company, and building on some of the work Grant did previously as well. We hope to have more information to share on Fission in the future, but for now, we’ll just welcome Jose aboard!