Under The Microscope

Archive for March, 2023

Properly Displaying Ancient Interfaces

As part of the unveiling of our Historic Screenshot Archive, I made some fun images to post to our social media accounts. Making those images was tricky, because interfaces were much smaller in the pre-Retina era. Here is how big a screenshot and app icon from 2002 displays on a Retina screen of today:

A very small and ancient screenshot
Screen resolution has increased so much that a once full-sized app window is tiny on modern displays.

The above screenshot of Audio Hijack’s main window, at a bit over 400 pixels wide, is smaller than even app icons of today, which can be as large as 1024 pixels wide.

I needed to scale the screenshot up by many hundreds of percent to be a useful size for a social media post. Enlarging with interpolation, however, turned the pixels into an ugly blur:

Enlarged with Lanczos interpolation, usually great for photos, this screenshot is too blurry.

So instead, I did a two-step dance. First, I exported the screenshot enlarged to 1000% using blocky nearest-neighbour interpolation. Next, I dropped that in my design app and resized it down to the size I needed:

This is more like it!

To be clear, we only ran this process on the social media images, like this one:

The social image for Audio Hijack. The effect is hard to notice at this size, but at some of the larger sizes it makes a big difference.

The screenshots you’ll find in the actual archive are unmodified. But thanks to this little trick, I could display old screenshots in all their pixely glory, even on Retina screens.

Come Visit the Rogue Amoeba Historic Screenshot Archive

20 years ago today, on March 3, 2003, Rogue Amoeba released Audio Hijack Pro 1.0. This was a crucial event in the company’s history, as sales grew substantially, taking Rogue Amoeba from a hobby to a viable business.

On this anniversary, it seems fitting for us to unveil something else special: the Rogue Amoeba Historic Screenshot Archive. It’s an in-depth collection of images and information about key versions from our 20+ years in business, and we think it’s well worth a look.

Read on for more details, or just click above to enter the archive.


For many years, noted Mac collector Stephen Hackett has done wonderful work with the MacOS Screenshot Library. The library offers screenshots of the Mac’s operating system dating back to the Mac OS X Public Beta in 2000, and we’re such fans that Rogue Amoeba has sponsored it for several years now. It‘s often helpful as a reference, but it’s also simply enjoyable to look back at the way things once were.

Amazingly, Rogue Amoeba’s own story dates back nearly as far as Mac OS X’s. We opened our virtual doors in 2002, and since then, we’ve shipped nearly 1,000 different versions across our product lineup. Given that amount of history, we thought it would be both useful and fun to document our own products.

Late last year, we asked Stephen if he’d help us spin up our own archive. He was up for the challenge, so we provided him with a pile of important releases, and he set to work documenting them with his array of old Macs. When Stephen was done, he provided us with a large collection of screenshots, sorted by product and version.

Ancient, pinstriped screenshots of Airfoil 1 and Audio Hijack 1

Our team then curated these images and built a way to show them off. We created galleries for each product and dug up details and stories about each individual update. It was a lot of work, but the end result feels weighty, a worthwhile repository of much of our company’s history.

Come On In

Now, the full archive is ready for viewing. There’s a whole lot of fun history to read about and of course fascinating images to see. Grab some crudités and a beverage, then step inside:

Visit the Archive →

We hope you enjoy seeing the evolution of our products over two decades and counting. We plan to keep the archive updated with future versions, so don’t hesitate to share your feedback.

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