Under The Microscope

10 Years (And More) With Ed Wynne

In 2011, Rogue Amoeba made not one but two phenomenal hires. As a result, for the second time this year, I’m delighted to be able to write about an employee milestone. Today we’re celebrating our developer Ed Wynne!

Ed’s Impact

Ed joined us full time back in October of 2011, which means we’re now recognizing him for a decade full-time here at Rogue Amoeba. However, he’s actually been making a difference here at Rogue Amoeba for much closer to two decades. Thanks to his efforts on multiple short-term contracts, Ed’s code served as the underpinning for our audio capture long before he was hired on.

Ed’s work has remained essential into the present, as it powers our ACE audio capture engine. Users generally don’t need to know much about ACE, but it provides audio capture to Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Loopback, Piezo and SoundSource. Thanks to ACE, those tools can get audio from other apps on your Mac, for you to manipulate as you desire.

In recent years, ACE has taken on significance outside of Rogue Amoeba as well. The audio capture it makes possible is now used by many other Mac products, through our licensing program. ACE is incredibly consequential code, with a vast number of users around the globe. It has to work seamlessly, and thanks to Ed, it does.

When it comes to more user-facing efforts, Ed’s work as the lead developer on our audio routing tool Loopback is the most notable. When we celebrated Ed’s five year anniversary back in 2016, Loopback was still fairly new and unknown. Since then, however, it’s grown to be one of our most popular and impactful products. The product really came into its own with version 2, released in late 2018. That upgrade brought an intuitive interface to cable-free audio routing, resulting in an easy to configure tool that provides amazing power.

Ed’s energy making Loopback so user-friendly was well-spent, because when so many people around the world began working remotely in early 2020, the app saw a major uptick in usage. Loopback’s audio routing power allowed people to do more with video calls, helped with podcasts, and much more. Ed’s tremendous work made that power available and accessible to countless users around the globe

If you’re a fervent Loopback user, or have ever made use of Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Piezo, or SoundSource, Ed’s code has helped you.

That 10 Year Anniversary Award

Like Grant and Chris before him, Ed has received our custom 10 year award: a silver Rogue Amoeba logo hand-poured by company co-founder Quentin Carnicelli. On looks alone, it handily beats your standard acrylic office trophy. Better yet, as a precious metal, it has a lot more inherent value than your standard paperweight.

That’s Ed’s award (on an iPad/amoeba stand), next to a celebratory adult beverage. In the background? Well that’s part of Ed’s robotics workshop. When he’s not making amazingly powerful audio software, he’s working with the robotics team at the local high school. How cool is that?

Closing

Since nearly the very beginning of Rogue Amoeba, Ed has been helping Mac users with their audio needs. On behalf of both everyone here at Rogue Amoeba, as well as the many, many Mac users who’ve been able to do so much with our products, we offer him our humble thanks. We’re thrilled to have worked with Ed lo these many years, and we look forward to much more to come.

Neale’s System for CSS Animations

Late last year, our crackerjack designer Neale Van Fleet had a clever idea for doing motion blur with CSS. He eventually wrote it up in an article for CSS-Tricks, and the technique has now found use across the web.

Recently, he came up with more fun CSS trickery. While working on our website, Neale began to experiment with an assortment of animations. He ultimately created a clever system for these animations, which his new article “A Handy Little System for Animated Entrances in CSS” explores. You can learn more about the techniques by reading Neale’s article, and spot them sprinkled throughout our site.

On The Much Improved State of Macintosh Hardware

Back in mid-2018, there wasn’t a single Macintosh computer that was free of major drawbacks or otherwise ridiculously out of date. After yet another disappointing WWDC, I took to my keyboard to air some grievances, with a lengthy complaint entitled “On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware“. That post was written out of a deeper frustration with Apple’s failure to keep the Mac product line current.

A little over three years later, it’s time to do the opposite. With Apple’s announcement of new M1 Pro- and M1 Max-based MacBook Pros, they are more than halfway through their transition from Intel to their own Apple Silicon chips. The state of Macintosh hardware is now much closer to “Jubilant” than “Sad”.

Beyond the spectacularly powerful new CPUs, I want to make note of the more pragmatic improvements that have happened. Apple in 2018 was at the height of their quest to remove every port, selling a MacBook that offered a pitiful single USB-C port (which was also needed for charging). Other laptops were besmirched by TouchBars and faulty butterfly keyboards. Apple is not a company to change its mind lightly, but nevertheless they’ve corrected every single one of these missteps.

I’m not sure who exactly deserves the credit at Apple for all these improvements, but my hat is off to you, whoever you are.1 In 2018, we couldn’t recommend buying a single current Macintosh model. Now? You almost can’t go wrong. That turnaround deserves a round of applause.


Footnotes:

  1. Whoever it is, I’m guessing their name doesn’t rhyme with “Ronnie Five”.
    ↩︎

Grab Our Latest Versions for MacOS 12 (Monterey) Support

Apple’s official release of MacOS 12 (Monterey) won’t be arriving until next week, but our software is already compatible with the new OS. As you can see on our helpful Status page, all seven of our major Mac apps now have compatibility with Monterey. Just make sure you’ve got the latest versions of Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Farrago, Fission, Loopback, Piezo, and SoundSource, and you’ll be good to go on Monterey.

Be Cautious When Updating Your Mac’s Operating System

We always urge caution when updating your Mac’s operating system (and not just when it comes to beta releases). Apple has made the process of obtaining the latest version of MacOS very easy in recent years, but OS upgrades still come with a lot of changes under the hood that can cause conflicts. If you have any sort of mission-critical setup, taking your time in updating is a wise course of action.

While all of our software is now compatible with Monterey, more testing with the official release is still needed to check for changes from Apple’s earlier betas. It’s likely we’ll have additional updates in the coming weeks to fix issues that crop up. Taking some time before you update will allow kinks to be worked out and save you a lot of headaches.

A Note for Airfoil Users

Our home audio streamer Airfoil does have a few minor known issues on Monterey. The new OS includes a feature which makes your Mac appear as an AirPlay receiver, capable of having audio streamed to it. When this feature is enabled in the Sharing System Preference, Airfoil can see and send to your Mac just fine, but there are some rough edges.

We’re currently working on updates to improve things there. Of course, you can also run Airfoil’s free companion app Airfoil Satellite for Mac. This is our recommended way of turning your Mac into an AirPlay receiver. It even works on MacOS 11 and lower to boot.

Closing

That’s it for today. If you’re already on Monterey, or planning to update shortly, just make sure you have the latest versions of our apps. Beyond that, as always, stay tuned for further updates.

Our New Test Release System

Users frequently ask if they can sign up to beta test for us. While we don’t have a public beta program, we’re now introducing a new way you can try out changes to our products before the general public: test releases.

Test releases are the precursor to full, official releases of our software, and provide early access to new features and functionality. Though not recommended for those with production systems, these releases are vetted internally, and should be suitable for general use. Whenever we post a test release, you can be sure we’ll be watching feedback extra closely, so be sure to let us know how they work.

How to Access Test Releases

With last week’s update to Fission, every application in our product line now features the ability to access test releases. It couldn’t be simpler, as test releases show up right in the application’s built-in software update system. Once you enable the “Check for test releases” hidden preference, the software will look for test releases in addition to normal updates.

To do that, follow the directions here, or check out our snazzy instructional video on Instagram:

Once you activate the “Check for test releases” hidden pref, you’ll be alerted when a new test release is available for that particular application.1

Big Test Releases, Coming Soon

At the time of this publication, we don’t have any test releases available just yet. However, we’re hard at work on updates to support MacOS 12 (Monterey), and we plan to distribute those via the test release system first. We hope to have test releases with support for Monterey in the very near future.

Whether you’re already on Monterey, or if you’re just interested in getting the latest and greatest from Rogue Amoeba as early as possible, turn on test releases and stay tuned.


Footnotes:

  1. To access test releases for multiple Rogue Amoeba products, be sure to turn on the hidden pref for each application individually. ↩︎

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