Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Saving Audion Faces

Cabel Sasser:

Apple removed resource forks/PICT support in Catalina so we’re on the absolute edge of being able to rescue Audion faces from displaying easily ever again.

Michael Buckley:

[Audion faces are] an important part of Panic’s history that has been inaccessible to modern computing devices for well over a decade. Although they were cutting-edge technology when Audion launched 21 years ago, porting them to modern Web browsers was an involved process.


Les’s converter was mostly complete. It could already open resource files, extract images and their coordinates, and convert images from the PICT image format to PNG, an image format in wide use today. However, the code needed to be updated to run on modern versions of macOS. It used a few functions which have been removed from macOS since the converter was written.


However, HTML’s <canvas> element offers very little control over text rendering, and each Web browser draws the text differently. If you used Audion back in the day, the text on the page will not look exactly like you remember.

The second problem is that many Audion faces used custom fonts, and some of these fonts have been difficult to convert for the Web. Mac Postscript fonts also stored their font data in resource forks, and although there are many tools to convert these fonts to other formats, these tools fail to convert some of these fonts correctly.

See also: Audion & On on the new Panic podcast:

How did a fierce competition with a rival lead Steven Frank and Cabel Sasser to make a life-changing decision in a meeting with one of their biggest idols… and one of their arch nemeses? Plus: community and the cascading effects of the choices we make, 23 years later.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

I have nothing bad to say about Panic. They make cool stuff, have done so for decades now. Audion was an amazing app and I would prefer it over iTunes today.

In fact, because the Panic crew is awesome sauce, I used Audion quite a while in the early to fairly late 2000s because they released it as freeware and as a Low End Mac type of guy, I had computers that could run it for years.

Right, as to the topic, I love the care Panic took to preserve these pieces of software history. Audion faces are pretty dang neat. There was a whole library of them you could download at one point. Some user made ones were quite well done too.

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