Under The Microscope


Archive for January, 2022

Rogue Amoeba’s 2022 Status Report

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Rogue Amoeba’s status report, hot off the virtual presses. This annual post offers a look back at the previous year, as well as a preview of our plans for the future.

Let’s start by reviewing some major Rogue Amoeba happenings of 2021.

Updates Galore

A casual user could easily have missed it, but we shipped 59 updates last year, and every single one was free for existing customers.1 We’re always hard at work updating our seven main products with both new features and bug fixes. The release notes for your favorite Rogue Amoeba apps can prove a very enlightening read:

Per-Product Release Notes

While major updates are perhaps the most eye-catching, steady progress over time is also extremely powerful.

Major Updates

Speaking of major updates, here’s a bit more detail on two from last year.

SoundSource 5.3

As you may already know, SoundSource provides powerful audio control on your Mac. It gives easy access to your system sound settings, as well as per-application audio adjustments, and the ability to add effects to any audio.

With SoundSource 5.3, we added quicker device switching with easy keyboard shortcuts, improved audio effects support with easy effects bypassing and crash-proof Audio Unit hosting, and enhanced Undo support. If you ever find yourself wrangling audio on your Mac, you need to check out SoundSource.

Fission Updates

Our easy-to-use audio editor Fission saw some key changes last year. First, after extended frustrations attempting to ship an update through the Mac App Store, we ultimately released Fission 2.7.1 as a direct-only release.

With that change, we decided to exit the Mac App Store completely. Our products continue to be available for direct download and purchase, just as they always have been. We also helped transition users from the Mac App Store version to our direct version, at no additional charge.

Toward the end of the year, we shipped a major update to Fission’s resampler in version 2.8. Conversions which require a sample rate change now enjoy much higher quality.

App Underpinnings

We also spent a good deal of time working on the backend of all our apps. This sort of infrastructure work is important to keep our products in a good state of repair. To help when issues occur, we overhauled the way debugging works, cleaning up unnecessary logs and options in all of our products. The debugging window is now more accessible, with a new “Quit and Relaunch for Debugging” option that can be accessed by pressing option in the app’s Help menu.

While most users will never use the debugging window, we hope every user sees and uses our update mechanism. The built-in updating in our products makes it easy to stay up-to-date with our latest versions. In an effort to be less obtrusive, we overhauled and simplified the interface for those updates.

Like compound interest, incremental improvements like these really add up over time.

Enhanced Support Resources

We’re also always looking to improve our support resources, to enable you to get the most out of our products. To make it fast and easy to find answers to common issues, we moved application manuals online, where they’re easily linkable, searchable, and updateable. We’ve also continued expanding the content found in our Knowledge Base, with helpful articles on all manner of common tasks. If you have a question about any of our products, make our Support center your first stop.

Of course, we also have a top-notch support team ready to assist. In addition to long-time employees Chris and Robert, we hired on Aaron Wasserman in April. All three work hard to help you make the most of our products. If you don’t find the answer you need in our Support center, reach out directly for a fast and friendly response.

A Pair of 10 Year Anniversaries

In 2021, we had two employees reach a major milestone. Way back in 2011, we hired both Grant Farr and Ed Wynne, and they’ve been with us ever since. Grant’s 10 year celebration came first, with Ed’s anniversary following a few months later. As those linked posts express, we’re honored and grateful to have worked with both of these talented programmers for over a decade. If you’re a user of any of our products, you’ve undoubtedly been positively impacted by their impressive work.

Updates From Apple

Apple had a very busy 2021 as well, and that led to plenty of work for us. Most notable was the release of MacOS 12 (Monterey). This was first announced during WWDC in June, but as always, we strongly advised users to wait for the official OS release. Updating our products for the new OS is an intensive process, one which can take months.

Nevertheless, we always aim to beat Apple’s release date. This year we managed once again, with preliminary support for the new OS available October 18. Two months later, after a second round of testing and updates, we were pleased to declare our entire lineup production ready.

Apple’s Mac hardware updates in 2021 were also worthy of note. Back in 2018, Quentin penned a widely shared post rightly bemoaning the then-sad state of Mac hardware. Since that time, Apple has managed a remarkable turnaround, driven by their own Apple Silicon chips. Quentin celebrated that as well.

Our New Test Release System

After years of hearing from generous users looking to beta test our software, we recently unveiled a new system called “test releases”. These are pre-release builds, posted in advance of an official release. By putting the update in front of a small group of test users, we can stress-test new features and catch lingering bugs. We initially used this for some final testing for Monterey, and we’ve made good use of it since as well.

Though not as vetted as an official version, test releases are generally fit for daily use. If you’re interested in early access to new features and updates, it’s easy to opt into (and out of as well). Get started by reading this Knowledge Base article.

Today, we’re going to pull back the curtain a bit more than we usually do, to tell you about three upcoming releases. We hope to ship all of the following in the first six months of 2022.

An Overhauled Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV

Last month, to keep things rolling for Airfoil users, we posted a small update to Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV. This is one of our least known apps, initially created in 2017 at a time when Apple had broken AirPlay receiving on the Apple TV. When that was eventually fixed, the app became less necessary. However, HomePod-related bugs in tvOS 15 have again made Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV rather useful.

The 1.1 revision to this app was posted as something of a warmup for a larger update. We’re currently hard at work on version 2.0, and it’s a big update. With it, Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV will be on par with our other Airfoil Satellite versions for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

Screenshot of Airfoil Satellite for Apple TV

You can check out Airfoil Satellite in the Apple TV App Store now, and watch for the free version 2 coming shortly.

Farrago 2.0

Since its release, Farrago has established itself as the Mac’s premier soundboard application. It’s become a key tool for podcast creators and live performers of all stripes, as well as a much-loved part of our Ultimate Podcast Bundle.

This year, we’ll be shipping a major upgrade: Farrago 2.0. Here’s a sneak peek:

Screenshot of Farrago 2

We’re working on adding some of the most requested features, including things like lockable sets, smart sets, Stream Deck integration, basic audio editing, and much more.

If you’re a Farrago 1 user and you’re interested to beta test version 2, we’d be glad to have you. Click to send us an email with your full name and Farrago 1 license key, and we’ll be in touch.

Major Updates to Audio Hijack

Our flagship product Audio Hijack has been around for almost 20 years now, and it’s more popular than ever. We’re currently hard at work on some impressive new features. The most noticeable change is an interface update that features a new Light Mode:

Screenshot of Audio Hijack Updates

We’re also working on manual block connections, so you can customize your pipeline exactly how you want it. Powerful new blocks, including a new five-input mixer, will give you even better audio control. For the first time ever, sessions will be able to run all the time, in the background.

Perhaps the single most notable change, however, is something making a return from years back: scripting support. In the years since Audio Hijack Pro 2 was replaced by Audio Hijack 3, we’ve never stopped getting requests for some type of scripting to make a return. After much research and experimentation, we’ll soon be providing a from-the-ground-up JavaScript-based scripting system, as well as Shortcuts support.

We can’t wait to see how you make use of scripting, as well as other new features coming to Audio Hijack. We’ll have more news on Audio Hijack in the coming months.

More to Come

That’s a quick glimpse at just some of what you can expect from us this year. We’re excited to show you these updates and much more, very soon.

Hear the Latest From Rogue Amoeba

We offer several convenient ways to get our latest news:

We have big things planned for 2022. As always, stay tuned.


Footnotes:

  1. On a related note, we think our upgrade policy is worth a read. It details how we strive to be fair to our customers while also running a viable business and continually improving our products. ↩︎

Making Digital Confetti Accessible

Back in 2018, I wrote a post examining the evolution of the License windows found in all of our products. At the end, I highlighted a fun animation we’d recently added, which featured some no-cleanup-required digital confetti.

Fast-forward a few years, and I received an email from friend-of-Rogue-Amoeba Allison Sheridan. Allison is a prodigious user of several of our products, using them to create a variety of podcasts over at podfeet.com. She often has valuable feedback and questions, but the subject of this particular email really intrigued me:

An email with the subject line “Confetti needs sounds”, from Alli

While “Confetti needs sound” sounds amusing, her email detailed a valid issue she’d found. While discussing the accessibility of our products on the American Council for the Blind’s streaming radio show “Magic Mac”, she realized that our digital confetti wasn’t accessible. When unlocking our products, sighted users see the animation above, but nothing was provided for the visually impaired.

We work very hard to make our software accessible, and the Golden Apple award Audio Hijack received from the AppleVis community fills us with pride. So after reading Allison’s email, I opened a ticket in our bug tracker for further discussion. In short order, our designer-turned-sound-designer Neale had created some possible sounds to consider. We kicked around an assortment of ideas.

This was the first stab, which I found a bit too high-energy:

This next one sounds like a great “Sent Email” sound, but that’s not what we needed:

Should unlocking our software convey the sense of mystery and wonder felt when a hidden object is suddenly revealed in a video game? Perhaps not.

New wave meets “The X-Files”. This wasn’t it either.

Ultimately, this was our winner:

It’s soft and subtle, but it still conveys a positive note. Importantly, it’s low-key enough to avoid interfering with any work you’re doing with our tools.

Lee had previously worked on the current iteration of our HTML License window, so he stepped up to get audio playing as desired. In just a few short days, we’d gone from a user suggestion to a full implementation. Once we shipped the next round of updates to our lineup, this change was present in all our products, making even our unlocking animation accessible to all.

Hear for Yourself

You can experience the latest in software innovation by purchasing any of our powerful audio tools, then unlocking it with your license key.

If you’re a long-time user of one of our great apps, who unlocked your copy many moons ago, fear not! You can re-unlock the software by taking advantage of an internal testing function.

      1. Be sure you have the latest version of your Rogue Amoeba app (Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Farrago, Fission, Loopback, Piezo, or SoundSource).

      2. Open the application, but make sure the License window is not open.

      3. Hold down the option key as you select “License…” from the application’s main menu.

The License window as follows, with your key already waiting to be submitted:

Audio Hijack's license window, ready to be unlocked

Click the “Unlock” button, then bask in that sweet sound of success. The digital confetti will fire off, and your personal party will begin then rapidly end. Whee!

Closing

We work tirelessly to make our tools work well for all users. This particular change is a small touch, but it’s yet another way we can show that no user is a second-class citizen.

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