Archive for August 20, 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Acorn 5

Big upgrade to my favorite image editor:

Shape Processors are filters for shape layers, which will move and tweak and generate and adjust shapes for you. And best of all, they are non-destructive and stackable (just like Acorn’s filters).


This is a lot more snapping going on now. Snap to Grid, guides, shapes in layers, other layers, selections, canvas bounds, etc.


Levels and Curves joins all the other non destructive filters—this is pretty awesome. You can use Levels and Curves on shape layers, even combine in the same filters list, tweaking both at the same time, and add a Curves filter multiple times to the same image.


We fixed hundreds of minor bugs. Bugs 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.

And if you reported one of these bugs that was fixed in Acorn 5 and we haven’t already sent you a license—let us know and we’ll make you one. (See, another good reason to report any bugs you find—free stuff!).

Gus Mueller:

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 up again 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.

I like the way the documentation is done, e.g. Shape Processor, Levels, Curves.

There’s no upgrade pricing, presumably because of the Mac App Store:

For a limited time (until the end of September, 2015) we are offering Acorn at a sweet discount price of $24.99. This discount is available to both new users and previous users of Acorn. When October rolls around Acorn will bump its price up again.

Go 1.5

Andrew Gerrand (comments):

The compiler tool chain was translated from C to Go, removing the last vestiges of C code from the Go code base. The garbage collector was completely redesigned, yielding a dramatic reduction in garbage collection pause times. Related improvements to the scheduler allowed us to change the default GOMAXPROCS value (the number of concurrently executing goroutines) from 1 to the number of logical CPUs. Changes to the linker enable distributing Go packages as shared libraries to link into Go programs, and building Go packages into archives or shared libraries that may be linked into or loaded by C programs (design doc).


The only language change is very minor, the lifting of a restriction in the map literal syntax to make them more succinct and consistent with slice literals.

The standard library saw many additions and improvements, too.

Tonic: Data Visualizing REPL for Node

Tonic (via Wolf Rentzsch, comments):

Tonic has an entire host of object viewers to help you visualize your data. From high level views like graphs and maps, to low level hexadecimal inspectors, you can pick and choose the best way to look at your data after creating it.


Time traveling in Tonic allows you to rewind your work to a previous point and pick up where you left off. That's because your work is checkpointed after every execution.


Tonic has built-in support for ES7 async and await making it incredibly async friendly. Instead of fiddling with chains of callbacks, you can write your asynchronous node.js code in a linear and straight-forward way.