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NewsFire for Leopard

So far, Leopard is proving to be a quite reasonable upgrade in terms of not breaking existing software. However, as the days pass, a few issues are making themselves apparent. One problem I’ve encountered is that text shadows do not render consistently between 10.4 and 10.5, meaning that additional work is required to make things look the same between the two systems. I might post more on this later, because I’m reasonably convinced that it’s either a bug or a very strange design decision.

Another problem is that the new “set access for specific services and applications” firewall settings is creating issues by unexpectedly modifying the binary code of apps (by forcing a code signature on the unsuspecting binary). This has created issues for NewsFire as well as other third-party apps. Thus, during these early days I would advise using this setting with caution.

That said, these issues are certainly not insurmountable, and so today I’m releasing NewsFire 1.4 (v70) as a first pass attempt to refine the user experience on Leopard for the rare user experiencing issues.

Save $29Mac OS X Leopard, just $100 – amazon.com

Inquisitor for Leopard

It’s been quite unclear for many months what the status of Inquisitor would be upon the arrival of Mac OS X Leopard. The official word was that extensions like Inquisitor would be banned from the system, and while workarounds began to quickly appear on the scene, a more solid footing was always hoped for. Now that Leopard has shipped, the picture is more clear.

The short story is this… Inquisitor works. The shipping Leopard did not completely remove extensions, it simply has imposed stronger security conditions on them. Because of the new conditions, Inquisitor installations carried over from Mac OS X Tiger will not work. Any Leopard users will need to download and run the newly packaged Inquisitor 3.0 (v49) installer that has been rebuilt to accommodate the new Leopard environment, and after that Inquisitor should work just fine.

So, for now we should be all set. That said, I don’t doubt that Apple will create more headaches for us the next time around.

Save $20Mac OS X Leopard, just $109 – amazon.com

iTunes movie rentals… coming soon (?)

iTunes movie rentals, eh?

Xtorrent 1.1 – released today

I’m pleased to announce today that after weeks of testing, Xtorrent 1.1 is now available for download. This is a fantastic release that brings many significant features, including:
  • individual file selection, so you can pick only the files you need
  • file priorities
  • a refashioned downloads pane

For the speed-obsessed, Xtorrent 1.1 brings:
  • significantly faster searching
  • faster downloads

All in all, this is the most feature-packed, stable, fastest, and easy to use release of Xtorrent ever. I hope you enjoy it. I know I certainly enjoyed designing it. Thanks!

Attention bloggers: If you write a story about this Xtorrent 1.1 release, you will be invited to join the NewsFire 2 private beta later this year. This will be your chance to try out NewsFire 2 ahead of everyone else.

iPhone .png Decoding

Anyone who has delved into the internals of the iPhone’s OS probably knows that, for whatever reason, .png files on the iPhone are encoded in a manner that makes them unreadable by normal image editing programs. There is a tool out there to handle the simple conversion, but this tool is a two-step process, only handles one file at a time, and doesn’t come precompiled. I took a few minutes the other day to produce an modified version (precompiled universal binary and source code included) that recursively handles foldered content and perform all necessary conversions in one step.

The usage is straightforward. In the Terminal, type “./iPhonePNG <input>” where <input> is either a single .png file or a folder. If you’re providing a folder, iPhonePNG will first create a full copy at the path <input>-Decoded, and then proceed to convert every .png file in the folder, leaving you with a folder with all original non-image content preserved and all .png resources decoded into a readable format.

This certainly isn’t something that will be useful to many people, but I wanted the tool for internal purposes and since it doesn’t cost anything to release, I might as well make the modifications public.

Inquisitor 3, present and future

Inquisitor 3.0 (v43) is now available for download. This release restores instant search results for users using Google.com (US) as their search source.

This minor release aside, I’d like to talk about something a bit more serious. It’s been widely reported that Apple will be eliminating the Input Manager construct in Leopard, which is the mechanism Inquisitor uses to add its features to Safari. Quite simply, if the reports are correct, Apple will effectively be sounding the death knell for Inquisitor (and the many other popular application extensions users rely on).

For me, this is deeply saddening news. Inquisitor started as a crazy idea conceived of on an airplane, and has grown far beyond my expectations into a community with hundreds of thousands of loyal users. Inquisitor provides a unique user experience that streamlines the common task of searching the web, and using Safari without it feels like taking a step backwards. I had been looking forward to taking things to the next level through new features and further refinement of the Inquisitor user experience, but it now appears that my hands have been tied.

I realize that I’m but one person who has no ability to influence policy at Apple. That said, if you as an Inquisitor user feel disappointed by this, you should probably send some feedback to Apple, though I don’t know if anyone is listening.


Xtorrent 1.1 beta 2

Xtorrent 1.1 (v48) is now available for download. This is a minor release that addresses some issues found in 1.1 beta 2.

Xtorrent 1.1 Beta 2 – Performance!

Xtorrent 1.1 previewI’m pleased to inform everyone that Xtorrent 1.1 Beta 2 is now available for testing. This release is about three things… performance, performance, and performance! The search interface – the centerpiece of the Xtorrent experience – now fetches results 200% faster than previous versions (on my system, anyways). When one is engaged in optimization, a few percentage points of improvement would be a solid achievement. So naturally I am very thrilled with this new release. Xtorrent’s search interface is designed to save you time, and this performance bump makes it even more convenient.

The fetching of search results became so fast that it starting exposing other performance bottlenecks. I’ve spent much of the past week meticulously fine tuning these performance issues, in addition to the normal bug fixes. Xtorrent 1.1 is shaping up to be the most responsive, stable, and feature-packed version yet.

Xtorrent 1.1 Beta 1

Xtorrent 1.1 previewToday I’m very pleased to announce the that next major iteration in the Xtorrent is available for beta testing. Xtorrent 1.1 brings a number of oft-requested features like individual file selection, file prioritization, individual file completion status, and improved privacy options. Enabling these new capabilities is a newly refreshed user interface for managing downloads that more thoughtfully displays relevant information to the user.

Version 1.1 represents a new phase in the Xtorrent saga, and with many exciting features planned for the future I am looking forward to making Xtorrent into the preeminent torrent client on the Mac. I hope you enjoy it!

Please note, this release is considered beta software and issues may exist.

Xtorrent 1.0 (v44)

I’m pleased to announce that Xtorrent 1.0 (v44) is now available for download. This release brings performance and stability improvements. If all goes well, this will possibly be the last release in the 1.0 line (meaning the next release would be 1.1).


  • Comments Off on Xtorrent 1.0 (v44)
  • July 10th, 2007 10:51 pm