Under The Microscope

A Veritable Hiring Frenzy

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen a recent tweet announcing that we had not one, not two, but three job openings at present. We’ve received a good number of applications which we’re reviewing now, but we wanted to make sure anyone who was interested to apply saw this, so we’re posting here on the blog as well.

Mac Software Engineer

Come help develop on our immensely popular audio applications like Airfoil and Audio Hijack, or perhaps on something new! If you’re interested to work with some of the best Mac developers in the world, submit your application.

Senior Windows Software Engineer

We posted about this opening back in May, but as a Mac-focused shop, we don’t have a lot of readers who fit the bill. We’re still looking for the perfect Windows developer to help with the future of Airfoil for Windows. If that’s you, say howdy!

Part-Time Support Tech

This will be something of a new position for us. For nearly fourteen years, we’ve had a single person responsible for answering all customer inquiries. Now, we’re looking to add on, with a second person pitching in on a part-time basis. Help users make the most of our software.

Get In Touch

If you’re interested in any of the above, please head over to our Jobs page to learn more and submit an application.

Beta-Testing Airfoil for Mac’s Chromecast Support

Update (October 28th, 2016): Airfoil for Mac 5.5 and higher now offer support for Google Chromecast! Read all about it in the Airfoil for Mac 5.5 blog post.

Airfoil and ChromecastBack in March, we announced that our plans to support Chromecast devices in Airfoil. Users want to be able to send audio from their computers to their Chromecast devices, and we want to help. Just over a month ago, we showed off this working in internal builds. We’re currently wrapping up the last work on it, and so far it has been working quite well! Before our official release, however, we’re hoping to get some help stress-testing this new functionality. Interested?

Help Us Test

Update (August 19th, 2016): We’re all full up on testers for now, but keep an eye on this site, as well as our Twitter account. We’ll let you know if more slots open up, or just when the new Airfoil ships!

Rebranding Rogue Amoeba

We don’t have a new product or major software update to announce, but it’s an exciting day nonetheless. That’s because our website has just been overhauled for the first time in many years. We hope you’ll have a look!

Our last major update occurred way back in 2008, when we worked with Dan Cederholm on a design that has served us well for many years. That site grew and evolved as our company did, but now the time has come to modernize. Our designer Neale began that process earlier this year, when he introduced our new style of product page, one which aims to reduce clutter while still providing all the information customers might want.

Today, we’ve updated the frame of our site as well. You’ll generally find everything in the same place, but the site is brighter overall, and should be a bit easier to navigate. The new frame also includes a new company “identity”, which means a new look and a new logo. You can see the entire new site at rogueamoeba.com, and read on if you’re interested to learn more.

A Farewell to Arms

Our company has a strange name, and we extended that eccentricity to our original logo/mascot, Ammo. When creating Ammo back in 2002, we sought to marry the brashness of Rambo (“rogue”) with the silliness of a Gary Larson-style drawing (“amoeba”). Ammo served as a fun part of our visual identity, and an attention-grabbing one at that. Ultimately, we didn’t think too much about him after his initial creation.

Cartoon Ammo logo
Ammo the Amoeba

Over the years, however, we occasionally heard from folks expressing their distaste for our gun-wielding little mascot. Because these emails were quite rare, we made note of the feedback but kept our focus on continuing to improve our software itself. After all, a digital logo can’t do any direct harm. Physical guns exist in the real world, and disarming Ammo won’t change that.

However, over time the appeal of our cartoon logo has waned. As the list of gun tragedies has grown ever longer, our lighthearted riff has lost some of its humor value. Meanwhile, our products have matured into more professional markets, and we’ve wanted a more professional look to match. We decided that a new logo was in order, one with less firepower and more focus on audio.

The New Logo

When we founded Rogue Amoeba, we didn’t plan to focus on audio software, but that became our niche. Our new logo is intended to be a bit more professional, while also evoking some of that old time rock and roll.

New Rogue Amoeba logo

Neale went through many ideas to get to our final result. One of the goals was to evoke a moving, undulating microscopic creature, and inspiration came from several amazing images of amoebas (including this gorgeous image). The overall shape was then simplified through countless rounds of sketches. Neale said “the hardest part was getting the essence of a wriggling mass of protoplasm to also feel orderly and composed”, and that’s just not a sentence you hear often.

In addition to its amoeboid shape, the logo also features a “nucleus”, seen in the stylized “O” in the word “Rogue”. That “nucleus” provides a nod to our specialization in audio software, with its subtle speaker shape. It’s a touch that not everyone will notice, but it’s a detail we’re happy is there.

While we’re sad to see Ammo retire, we wanted something more cohesive and clean for our site. We love the new logo, and think it will better defer to the actual content of our site, allowing visitors to focus more on our products. After all, that’s the real point of our website!

Get A Stuffed Amoeba While You Can

Our bristly little mascot is no longer front and center on our site, but he’ll likely continue to appear now and again in some form. In fact, you might just find him in your mailbox! We recently dug out a leftover box of the plush toys we created way back in 2005, and we figured our customers might like to get their hands on them. So, we’ll ship a free plush Ammo toy to the first 100 people who make a new software purchase and then request a plushy.

Coming Soon?

Just place an order through our store, then request your free plushy through this form. If you’ve been considering picking up one of our apps, today’s a great day to do it!


Our site has changed, but our commitment to great audio software remains the same. If you haven’t seen our latest work, be sure to check out the improvements found in version 3.3 of our audio recorder Audio Hijack, the new Bluetooth speaker support in Airfoil 5, and our newest app, audio router Loopback. We’ve got plenty more in the works, including further updates for MacOS 10.12 (Sierra), Chromecast support in Airfoil, and much more. As always, stay tuned to this blog to get the latest.


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

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!


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

Sierra and Gatekeeper Path Randomization

At their recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced macOS 10.12 (Sierra), the next major version of the Mac operating system. Sierra is scheduled for official release in the fall, and we’re hard at work on getting our software ready for it. For now, however, we recommend that if you can’t live without our software — which we love to hear! — you should stick with 10.11 (El Capitan) or lower. We’ll be releasing fully compatible updates for 10.12 as soon as possible. For more detailed information, please see our Status page.

I’d like to take a few minutes now to talk directly to fellow software developers about Sierra, specifically about a new Sierra security feature called “Gatekeeper Path Randomization” (GPR) that has serious implications for software delivered outside of the Mac App Store. GPR is explained in the WWDC session video “What’s New in Security”, which you can view at https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2016/706/.1

As you’re likely aware, Gatekeeper is a security feature that has already been in place for several years. When enabled, Gatekeeper checks whether an app downloaded from the internet has been signed with a Developer ID certificate, which third-party developers such as Rogue Amoeba purchase from Apple. If the app is Developer ID-signed, then Gatekeeper allows the app to launch. If the app is not signed, then Gatekeeper will refuse to launch the app.

Last year, security researcher Patrick Wardle discovered a vulnerability in Gatekeeper called dylib hijacking. Wardle determined that if a Developer ID-signed app loads resources external to its app bundle via a relative file path, an attacker could package the app together with malicious external resources in order to work around the Gatekeeper protection. The app would pass the Gatekeeper check and be allowed to launch, after which it would load the malicious external resources. Wardle found that a number of popular apps, including some of Apple’s own apps, could be used as a vector for such an attack.

Gatekeeper Path Randomization is an attempt to avoid this vulnerability. It works by mounting a read-only disk image in a temporary path in the file system, copying the app onto that disk image, then launching the app from there. With the app bundle’s path thus changed, it will no longer find any external resources where it was expecting them, and thus the loading of malicious resources is prevented. For a more detailed technical analysis of GPR, as well as an investigation into some possible flaws in its implementation, see this series of more detailed blog posts I wrote elsewhere: App Translocation, Zero Day?, Undo.

The problem with Gatekeeper Path Randomization is that copying applications to a read-only disk image will break functionality in many, if not most, existing applications. Perhaps most notable, features like automatic software updates (via Sparkle or similar mechanisms) will no longer work. Apple may not view this as an issue, given that GPR will be disabled once the user moves the application out of the Downloads folder. However, many users run applications from the Downloads folder, never moving them. This is especially common when a user is trying out an application prior to purchasing it, and an app that doesn’t work as expected due to GPR seems certain to lead to lost sales. Worse, even if the customer moves your app to their Applications folder, it may continue to be broken, depending on how your app is packaged.2

We hope that Apple will make some small changes to avoid this unwelcome situation for our mutual customers. Because the vast majority of apps do not load external resources relative to the app bundle path, only a very small percentage of apps are vulnerable to the attack that Gatekeeper Path Randomization is attempting to prevent. Nevertheless, Apple’s current implementation for GPR affects all apps outside the Mac App Store, and the negative impacts will be felt far and wide. While we believe there are several changes Apple can and should make, a simple workaround would be to allow software developers to opt out of Gatekeeper Path Randomization. If an app does not load external app-relative resources, GPR provides no benefit. The app should thus be able to put a key in its Info.plist specifying that GPR should not apply to the app.3 We have filed a request with Apple to provide such a key (Radar #27018815 – “10.12 (16A201w) Apps need an Info.plist key to avoid Gatekeeper Path Randomization”), and encourage other developers to duplicate this Radar.

We support Apple’s efforts to increase security for all users on MacOS. However, this specific change will have a great deal of negative impact, while providing no security gain for the vast majority of apps. Users will be stuck with apps that don’t work (or update) as expected. The simple change we’ve proposed would still provide Apple with the desired security benefits, while removing the downside this will cause for users. We encourage you to test your software on 10.12 for possible problems, then file your own Radar with Apple detailing how Gatekeeper Path Randomization impacts your software.


  1. No login or developer account is required to watch the video; the information is available to the public. ↩︎

  2. For example, we ship Airfoil in a folder together with Airfoil Satellite. If you move that folder from Downloads to Applications, Gatekeeper Path Randomization will still be active. ↩︎

  3. The standard code-signing required for Gatekeeper would of course ensure that this flag couldn’t be tampered with. ↩︎

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