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August 21, 2015

Apple's yearly Mac OS release is coming down the tracks, scheduled to crash into everybody sometime this fall. One of the great new features of El Capitan is a completely new "modern" version of the Core Image framework. Acorn uses the heck out of this framework, and does some interesting things with it.

Which is to say that there's some interesting bugs associated with Acorn and 10.11.

I've spent a good amount of time this summer finding bugs and reporting them to Apple when I can create a reproducible case. Apple has been good at fixing some of these as well, and I've been cleaning up places where Acorn was playing fast and loose with the Core Image in ways it probably shouldn't have been.

Acorn 5 shipped with a bunch of these fixes, and Acorn 4.5.6 is currently being worked on as well (we didn't forget about Acorn 4 just because 5 is out the door!).

So the current status is: there are a couple of known issues (like auto levels crashing), but both Acorn 4.5.6 and Acorn 5.0 are working pretty good on 10.11. However- if you encounter any bugs with it, we'd love to know about them. Let us know if you find any: support@flyingmeat.com

August 20, 2015

Acorn 5 is out now, and it even comes with a 14 day trial so you have no excuse not to try it.

We worked hard on it, and we think it's pretty awesome. We're biased of course, and you can check the release notes for the full details, but here are three of my favorite new features:

New Thing: The Shape Processor. It's a collection of non destructive filters that work on vector shapes instead of pixels.

flower

In the example above we start with the white shape on the left, and then combining four filters together to make the flower on the right. Here's what the settings look like:

flower

If this looks a lot like the filter that Acorn already has… well, that's on purpose. Shape processors are of course non-destructive and save along with Acorn's native file format. So you can save your image, open it back up, and tweak the settings as you'd like. You can make some really fun stuff with it and it turns out to be super useful for lots of things.

New Filters: Curves and Levels. But wait - Acorn already has Curves and Levels, right? Yes, but in Acorn 5 they are baked into the existing filter chain. So now you can add Levels to your Curves and then a blur and then why not add Curves again after that and finish with a Drop Shadow filter? Then save the file and open it upagain and remove the second Curves because that's just too much what were you thinking? And then you realize Curves and Levels are now non-destructive and that's amazing.

Boom.

Hundreds of Little Things: We fixed hundreds of minor bugs and annoyances. Little things that built up over the years that very few people ever encountered, like "the shortcut key for zooming in doesn't work when the keyboard layout is set to Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘". So we fixed pretty much all of those. It took months and months of work, it was super boring and mind numbing and it was really hard to justify, and it made Acorn 5 super late. But we did it anyway, because something in us felt that software quality has been going downhill in general, and we sure as heck weren't going to let that happen to Acorn. So we took a long break from adding features and just fixed stuff.

There's lots more of course (snapping, crop improvements, soft brushes for clone/burn/etc, shape tool improvements, more blend modes, image meta-data editing, Photoshop brush support, etc). So grab Acorn and start playing with it right now.

And I'll go back to answering emails and helping people out.

July 9, 2015

Apple is pushing out a public beta of OS X El Cap (10.11) today for folks. There's always bugs in beta software (otherwise it'd be a final release, right?), so expect to see them if you play with these new bits.

How does Acorn run on 10.11? Pretty good! We've found some issues though, and we've got them fixed in the latest builds (which will be 4.5.6 eventually). So if you're playing with 10.11, please grab that version of Acorn.

And of course- if you find any issues we don't know about, let us know!

June 15, 2015

We've just pushed up Acorn 4.5.5 for direct customers, and the App Store version will be on its way in a couple of weeks (hopefully sooner though - maybe it'll fly through the Apple app review process?).

This release is mostly bug fixes, but it also includes a sharing extension which will work on 10.10 Yosemite. This extension works great with the Photos app, which doesn't have the ability to work with other applications via an "Edit In…" (which its older siblings iPhoto and Aperture had). The sharing solution isn't perfect, but it's the best solution for the time being.

You might have also noticed things have been very quiet around here lately. We've been heads down, working hard on some great new stuff for Acorn. And we hope to show it off sometime in the near future.

January 30, 2015

We've just pushed out Acorn 4.5.4 for direct customers (ie, customers who purchased Acorn from our online store). We submitted Acorn 4.5.4 to the App Store yesterday, but because of the usual delays at Apple, it'll probably take a week or more for it to show up there.

So hang tight, it's coming.

This release includes a handful of bug fixes, so make sure to update when you get a chance.

The release notes are available as always.

January 26, 2015

Jason Snell on Six Colors: Resize and upload images with Acorn and Transmit

"The script loops through every file selected in the Finder, opens them in Acorn, resizes them to the two sizes (or their equivalent sizes if they’re vertical rather than horizontal images) and saves out JPEG files, then uploads them via Transmit. It’s quick and dirty—if anything in the file’s name or path contains a period (other than the filename itself), it won’t work."

January 24, 2015

Things have been relatively quiet lately over here at Flying Meat, but that doesn't mean we haven't been doing anything. Quite the opposite actually.

For the past couple of months, I've been diving head down into project oak, which is the cleanup of all the little bugs that have built up in Acorn over the years (for those keeping track, I'm 70.4% of the way there). These aren't data loss or crasher bugs, but little things that haven't been super important and I've been putting off to work on more important things. Bugs like "Zoom in shortcut doesn't work with Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘ keyboard layouts", and minor Quick Look things that could be better. Chances are, you probably aren't even aware of what the list contains. Minor things. But they build up and eventually have to be knocked down.

However, some of these bugs are requiring complete rewrites of parts of Acorn, so most of the project oak work has been happening on a non-public branch, and won't see a public release for quite some time. Major rewrites means major time baking.

However, a few of the fixes have been showing up in the 4.5.x series when it makes sense, so that's been good.

I've also been fortunate to get a couple of great bug reports over the past couple of months which helped me track down the few remaining mystery crashers in Acorn. These are crashers that I've seen reports of, but been completely unable to reproduce. Well, thanks to the wonderful individuals who wrote in with reproducible steps, I've gotten these fixed and ready to ship in Acorn 4.5.4. This means that the Acorn 4.5.4 beta is the least crashy version of Acorn ever. At this point, I'm not aware of any known crashers for Acorn.

But if you know of one, please let us know.

Software is our craft, and we take pride in it. Fixing minor bugs isn't super sexy, but it helps us sleep at night.