Under The Microscope


Archive for the ‘Employee Milestones’ Category

10 Years With Grant Farr

Today, it’s time for us to commemorate another employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate our developer Grant Farr. Grant joined us as a Mac software engineer way back in the days of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and he’s been doing tremendous work ever since. He’s now reached a full decade with the company, and we want to honor him.

Grant’s Impact

Long-time readers may recall the occasion of Grant’s five year anniversary, back in 2016. At that time, I focused on two major projects Grant had led development on: Piezo and Audio Hijack 3. It’s worth following up on both of them.

Piezo was created to make recording on your Mac a breeze. Nearly a decade after it was introduced, it still does just that. Piezo hasn’t needed massive updates over the years, because Grant has kept it working and looking great. It remains an easy-to-use tool that might be our most fun app.

Rogue Amoeba’s flagship product, however, is Audio Hijack. Long before he joined us, Audio Hijack 3 was conceived as a complete rewrite of Audio Hijack Pro 2. That project struggled for years, as it was so big that no one ever got a good grasp of it. It passed through three other developers before Grant took the reins.

When Grant took over, we quickly began to see steady progress, and we were finally able to ship Audio Hijack 3 in 2015. That update was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback, a testament to Grant’s stellar efforts. Audio Hijack has received substantial updates in the years since, while remaining bullet-proof, to ensure you get the recordings you need.

After shipping Audio Hijack 3, we wanted to explore an idea we had during development; a way to easily initiate sound effect playback. This ended up growing into its own complete product, Farrago. Using many of user interface lessons learned in Audio Hijack, Grant built Farrago nearly from scratch. It’s proven to be a great addition to our lineup, one that’s particularly popular with podcasters.

Speaking of podcasting, there’s still one more product Grant impacted, and that’s Loopback. He doesn’t work directly on our audio routing tool, but his code helps power it just the same. In the course of developing Audio Hijack 3, Grant created “GX”, an internal interface framework. Loopback’s lead developer Ed Wynne refers to GX as “insanely great”. It enabled Ed to create the easy-to-use wire-based interface of Loopback 2.

As you can see, Grant’s contributions obviously go well beyond his most notable work on Audio Hijack. In the past decade, he’s had a major impact on four of our seven current products and his work is used by tens of thousands of users every single day. Impressive!

Our 10 Year Anniversary Award

As we showed off in last year’s post celebrating Chris, rather than a boring and bureaucratic acrylic trophy, we provide a silver Rogue Amoeba logo hand-poured by company co-founder Quentin Carnicelli:

Despite a worldwide increase in the demand for silver, Quentin was once again able to fire up the melting furnace to craft Grant’s award. He even captured a very cool look at the back of the object, as it lay cooling in its mold:

After receiving his award, Grant noted how satisfying it is to hold. We don’t want his hands to get too tired to type, though, so we also sent along a nifty stand. Twelve South sells it for use with iPads, but it doesn’t say it can’t be used to display precious metals.

Closing

With all the products Grant has impacted, it’s likely you’re using at least some of his work. While Grant graciously noted that everything we do here is a team effort, his impact has been a big part of the success of more than half of our lineup. For over a decade now, his solid code has pushed the state-of-the-art at Rogue Amoeba steadily forward, providing useful audio utilities to countless Mac users around the globe.

Photo credits: A, B

So on behalf of both the rest of the Rogue Amoeba team, as well as the users of every product you’ve worked on, thank you, Grant! We greatly appreciate all you’ve done in the past decade, and we can’t wait to show the world what’s next.

Half A Decade Looking Great

It’s once again time to celebrate an employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. Today, we want to honor our designer Neale Van Fleet, who recently hit the five year mark working with us. We’re beyond delighted to celebrate his tenure thus far, which includes countless contributions.

Neale’s Work

As the sole designer here at Rogue Amoeba, Neale is in charge of just about everything visual. Whether it’s artwork for our blog posts, the design of our web site, or the user interfaces of our applications, you’ve definitely been touched by Neale’s tremendous work.

Since joining us in 2015, he’s made every single one of our products better. That works has included the creation of tremendously well-received new designs for apps including Loopback:

and SoundSource:

Neale also took charge of our company rebranding, an important effort which produced a more polished logo and brand that still retains a sense of fun.

Neale has also overhauled nearly every corner of our website, added helpful introductory tours to every product we make, powered our Instagram account, and so much more.


A small sample of images from the Rogue Amoeba Instagram account

He’s even written articles for this very blog, and those posts are some of my favorites. In particular, I love his reviews whenever we unveil a major new design, such as his recent look at “The Design of SoundSource 5”.

Neale has produced stellar work while being a great teammate. What more could we ask for?

Looking to the Heavens

Speaking of stellar, let’s briefly discuss Neale’s anniversary gift. To celebrating a five year anniversary, we like to find a personalized gift that will mean something to the recipient. While working on his Everywhere School project, Neale made particular note of some astronomy streams he’d watched with his son. On top of that, Neale and his family recently acquired a small cabin out away from his home city of Montreal.

Those two things inspired us to find what we hoped would be the perfect gift: A top-notch telescope.

Happily, this gift turned out very well indeed. While Neale already had a borrowed telescope, it was low-end, and needed to go back to its owner eventually. Now, Neale has a vastly superior telescope to call his own. It even features a computerized stand, which solves one of the most annoying problems of using a telescope, aiming it at tiny objects millions upon millions of miles away. It should provide many years of stargazing delight.

Closing

Since joining Rogue Amoeba, Neale has had a dramatic influence on the appearance and feel of everything we do. Whenever I step back and look at our website or our products, I’m blown away by the level of quality and attention to detail that are a direct result of Neale’s efforts.

Speaking for both the Rogue Amoeba team, and our entire user base, thank you, Neale! We’re delighted with what you’ve done since joining us, and we hope for many more fruitful years together.

P.S. We’re Still Hiring

Once again, a celebration post is coinciding with job openings here at Rogue Amoeba. In addition to the Mac software developer we’ve had open for a bit (we’re taking our time there), we also have an open role for a new Support tech, which we’d like to fill soon.

If you’re interested in joining our team, see our Jobs page, then get in touch. We just might be celebrating you in a few years.

A Decade (!) With Chris Barajas

Today, I get to do one of the best parts of my job, because it’s time to commemorate another employee milestone here at Rogue Amoeba. Our technical support guru Chris Barajas recently reached a full decade with the company, and we’re tremendously pleased to celebrate the occasion here.

Chris’s Impact

In 2015, when we marked Chris’s five year anniversary, I talked about the challenging nature of tech support:

Technical support is a demanding role here at Rogue Amoeba…In addition to providing helpful and polite responses, there’s a great deal of problem-solving required. Tracking down bugs and issues based on reports from users is also a key part of the job.

That’s all as true now as when it was written. In fact, our product line has expanded, and it’s now more powerful than ever. Helping customers understand our products, and use them to their fullest extent, continues to require both patience and keen insight.

However, Chris’s role here at Rogue Amoeba has also grown. In 2017, Support switched from a one-man show to a team, when we hired a second full-time tech. Chris has led the support team well, and been instrumental in pushing Rogue Amoeba forward. With his guidance, the support team has adopted a more modern backend, updated multiple internal systems and tools, and written new policies based on years of experience.

Many things have changed since Chris was hired in 2010, but his passion and advocacy for our customers has remained unwavering. His dedication to always seeking to make things better is an inspiration.

An Artifact of Our Appreciation

Long-time blog readers may recall that after five years with Rogue Amoeba, employees are presented with a custom challenge coin. For a ten year anniversary, we wanted to go even further. Companies often give employees some sort of mass-produced award when celebrating a milestone. That’s nice enough, but we wanted to do better.

With that in mind, we decided to create something different and distinctive:

Yes, that’s a silver Rogue Amoeba logo-shaped token of our appreciation. It was hand-crafted by our own CTO Quentin Carnicelli, in his shop. He dreamed up and implemented the entire project.

Crafting the Artifact

Now, Quentin’s very modest about the whole thing, but I’m happy to speak for him. His initial idea was to have an object created by a jeweler or metalsmith. However, after talking to multiple candidates, the desired size was simply too big for them. As you might expect, most jewelers are focused on making rings and other small objects.

Instead, faced with a fast approaching deadlined, Quentin decided to roll up his sleeves and do things himself. To start, he acquired a melting furnace, which is sure to come in handy if fondue parties make a comeback. However, according to Q, the melting is the easy part. Building the mold on the other hand, takes some effort. In this case, that meant getting a vector file from our designer Neale, then CNC plasma cutting our logo shape out of 3/8″ steel plate. Another 1/4″ steel plate formed the back, to which the logo’s rings were attached via interference fit pins.

After the mold was ready, it was time for some test pours. Several test pours were done in lead before Quentin was satisfied the project was viable. At that point, melting down of the silver commenced. In total, four more pours were done before the correct pour speed and mold pre-heat temperature were achieved.

After the silver cooled, it was polished to give it a nice texture and sheen. Rather than the smooth perfection of modern jewelry, however, the end result has the quality of a piece of old-time bullion.

We certainly hope Chris enjoys this physical representation of our appreciation. It ought to make for quite the conversation piece. Worth noting, however, is that the object also has actual value. Just in case Chris ever falls out of love with Rogue Amoeba, this artifact can be melted back down to pure silver, and sold for a healthy sum. Try doing that with an acrylic trophy!

Closing

If you’ve emailed our much-lauded support team in the past decade, you’ve undoubtedly benefited from Chris’s hard work. Whether you received a reply directly from Chris or worked with our other support techs, Chris’s influence was present. Because the support team is an integral part of the development process here at Rogue Amoeba, that positive influence also extends to customers who’ve never needed to contact us for help at all.

So on behalf of both the rest of the Rogue Amoeba team, and all of our customers, we thank you, Chris! We’re grateful for the work you’ve done this past decade, and hope for many more fruitful years to come.

P.S. We’re Hiring

This post is meant to show our appreciation for Chris’s fine work, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also note that we’re currently looking to expand our team. We’re hiring a Mac software developer, and you can read more over on our Jobs page. Come join Chris and the rest of our tremendous group. You might just wind up here for a decade!

Making It Tick: 5 Years (And More) With Ed

For the second time this year, we’re delighted to celebrate a five-year anniversary here at Rogue Amoeba! This is always a treat for me, because it’s a chance to put one of our great employees in the spotlight for a bit. Today, we’re honoring Ed Wynne, who joined Rogue Amoeba full-time back in October of 2011. Since then, he’s been helping to make our products the best they can be. In fact, he was doing so for many years before he came on full-time as well.

Ed’s most visible work is actually our newest product, Loopback, which allows you to route audio between applications and around your Mc. While Ed has been working for Rogue Amoeba since 2011, this app marked the first time he handled the front-end of an application. Loopback has proven even more popular than we expected, and we’ve been pleased to see Ed’s skills develop in this area after many years working behind the scenes.

It’s in our back-end code that Ed has made his biggest contribution. From the recording done by Audio Hijack and Piezo to the local audio streaming Airfoil allows, and even broadcasting to the web with Nicecast, audio capture is an integral part of our apps. The Instant On component used for much of this audio capture has long been Ed’s domain, and he’s worked long and hard to make Instant On powerful, robust, and as close to flawless as it can be.

Even before Ed joined us full time, he did contract work on our audio capture code. For over 13 years, Rogue Amoeba has been using Ed’s work. In the past five years things have really improved, however, as Ed has been able to devote his full efforts. When things work right, users barely notice, but we certainly pay attention internally. From reduced latency in audio capture to far fewer bumps surrounded OS updates, we’ve got a lot of reasons to be thankful to Ed.

Most recently, Ed was instrumental in adding support for Chromecast to Airfoil for Mac. He’s also hard at work on updates to Loopback, so you can be sure he’s not done making things better yet. We hope our users will continue to be delighted with Ed’s work for many years to come.

Nerding Out

When an employee reaches the five year mark with us, we like to find a gift especially for them. For several years, Ed’s been working with his son and daughter on various robotics competitions. If you’re thinking of Battle Bots, you’ve got the general idea, anyhow.

To help him in these endeavors, we provides a gift certificate to SparkFun Electronics, one of the best electronics retailers out on the web. While Radio Shack may have gone the way of the do-do, the internet has fortunately stepped in to provide places to purchase all the bits and pieces needed for electronics projects.

Even more fun is the Flir One thermal imager we got for Ed. Below, you can see our old friend Ammo using a Flir to diagnose a problem.


“Yup. There’s the problem.”

The Flir One attaches to an iPhone (or an iOS device), and turns it into an infrared camera. This can show overheating components in a robot, which windows are drafty and in need of repair, and even find leaks behind walls. Or you can just point it at a dog to see which parts of your canine are the hottest. In Ed’s own words, “this is so much better than the plaque my last employer gave me after 5 years!”

Dog picture
Cold Nose

In addition to these gifts, there was also our traditional custom card and 5 year challenge coin as well.

Coin and Card
Custom Card

Thank You!

I’ll close by again publicly expressing our gratitude to Ed. The work he’s done to help our products, particularly in his last five working full-time for Rogue Amoeba, has been tremendously appreciated. Thank you for all you’ve done, Ed!

Previously

We’ve previously celebrated the five year anniversaries of six other employees here at Rogue Amoeba:

Farr’s Five Years

Rogue Amoeba is well into its fourteenth year of selling software for the Mac, and we continue to be privileged to work with a tremendous group of employees. In 2010, we celebrated our first employee’s five year anniversary with the company. Now, we’ve recently had our sixth such celebration! Grant Farr recently reached his five year anniversary of joining Rogue Amoeba, and we couldn’t be more pleased. It’s extremely gratifying to be able to employ the talented folks we do, and to have them stay with us for many years.

While programmers here frequently move between products, Grant’s work has been heavily focused on our two audio recording applications: Piezo and Audio Hijack. Grant’s first task when he joined us full-time in 2011 was creating and shipping Piezo. This gorgeous little application was originally created so that we could bring the ability to record audio from other apps to the Mac App Store. Due to various changes in Apple’s App Store policies, Piezo eventually had to leave the Mac App Store, but it remains available for direct purchase. Every day users take advantage of its charmingly simple interface to record audio on their Macs.

Piezo Screenshot
Piezo

After Piezo was released, we embarked on our long journey to releasing Audio Hijack 3. The development process was hardly short, but Grant’s resolve never wavered as he steadily guided us toward that fantastic release. When Audio Hijack was selected as the 2015 Mac App of Year, it was clear Grant’s hard work was well worth it. Since then, we’ve returned to smaller, more frequent updates, and Grant’s led us through Audio Hijack 3.1, 3.2, and the recent version 3.3.

Audio Hijack Screenshot Screenshot
Audio Hijack

We’ve still got plenty more planned together for Audio Hijack, as well as exciting new projects for the future, so Grant is sure to provide much more for users to love.

Safe and Exciting

When an employee reaches the five year mark with us, we select a gift especially for them. Grant’s an avid sport rider, taking his motorcycle to the track to really push the limits. He’s shown us some great action shots taken by others, but we thought he could do even better. So we presented Grant with a new GoPro and helmet mount, to capture video as he races around the track. We also gave him a gift certificate to purchase a brand-new helmet to go with the camera.

Helmet Image
A Helmet With Attached Helmet Cam

We’re now eagerly awaiting the first images and videos from Grant’s new toy.

In addition to the aforementioned gifts, there was also our usual custom card and 5 year challenge coin as well.

Coin and Card
Custom Card and Challenge Coin

Thank You!

We always appreciate receiving praise from users via email or Twitter, and Grant deserves a tremendous amount of the credit for everything folks love about both Audio Hijack and Piezo. We often share those kind words internally.1 Now, however, it’s a great time for us to express our gratitude to Grant for all he’s done to make our products top-notch over the years. Thank you, Grant, and we hope to share your hard work with the world for many years to come!

Previously

We’ve previously celebrated the five year anniversaries of five other employees here at Rogue Amoeba:

Our Software