The Breakroom

Happy Anniversary, xScope!

November 14, 2023

By Webmaster

xScope 20 years!

Twenty years ago today, we released a new product.

To say that product has been a success would be an understatement. It’s been an essential part of a workflow for tens of thousands of folks. It’s also an app that has evolved with our desktop environments over the years: it predates responsive web design, Retina displays, deep color spaces, and even the iPhone with mobile design. A lot has changed over the years.

Back in 2002, the Iconfactory was a huge fan of Wolfgang Ante’s Screen Tools. As people who fretted over pixel level details, we relied heavily on this suite of utilities. And, of course, we wanted the tools to do more. It made sense for us to combine forces and come up with a new product: we entered into a partnership where ARTIS Software would handle the development and the Iconfactory would do the design, documentation, and marketing.

ARTIS Software got to work during the winter of 2003 in a beautiful place: a sunny apartment in the south of France where the balcony door was always open. Yes, it was Nice.

Wolfgang was joined by his brother Joachim who was building a game engine for a new Mac OS X title. The Ante brothers worked side-by-side on their respective projects while collaborating with colleagues in Copenhagen, Iceland, California, and North Carolina. An early example of how remote work changed everything.

It also turned out that both of them were working on tools for designers and developers, because that winter’s work produced a tool called Unity in addition to xScope.

xScope blossomed in this creative environment. These screenshots of the Loupe show the transformation that took place during 2003:

xScope Loupe in January (left) and November (right) of 2003.

The pinstripes were gone and replaced by a sleek new interface. It’s not often that you revisit a design from the distant past and think it looks good and modern. We are all still extremely proud of this work.

The next step was to give this new product a name. After several weeks of trial and error we landed on “xScope”. The “X” worked for both the operating system and the “examination” done by the tool. All the assets and websites were put in place and we got ready to launch with our unique tool with a unique name.

And then this little company from Cupertino decided to rename their Project Builder tool. Our unique name wasn’t so unique anymore: at least we used a lowercase “x”!

The Loupe tool from xScope v4 running on macOS Sonoma's desktop  - magnifying the xScope App icon
xScope Loupe running on macOS Sonoma in 2023.

As we mentioned above the functionality of xScope has evolved over the years. The screenshot above shows what the Loupe looks like in the version we’re currently working on (with improvements for macOS Sonoma and beyond).

The app’s icon has also changed considerably. Many of these variations were driven by the desktop’s own evolution. xScope has been through macOS’s pinstripe, brushed metal, translucency, and flat phases. You can probably guess the era for each one shown below:

The evolution of the xScope icon on the desktop from a bulbous white X to a sleek silver metallic form to two pieces of bacon and a fried egg to arrive at the current version, a sleek, light X in white and blue
xScope icons for versions 1.0 through 4.0, and a tasty breakfast.

And if you’re having trouble picking the era for “Eggscope”, don’t worry, you didn’t miss macOS’s awkward teenage years. It’s a long-time Easter egg (hold down the Option key until the Preferences Settings window opens, then pick EGGSCOPE DUH).

To celebrate this anniversary, we’re putting xScope on sale for a week. Use the promo code 20FOR20 to get the app for only $20 (a whopping 60% discount!). If you’re a professional developer or designer, and don’t have these tools at your disposal, now’s the perfect time to fix that!

If there’s still a macOS desktop in 2043, we all hope that xScope will be running on it. Here’s to the future! 🍻

Announcing Linea Sketch 4.3

November 7, 2023

By Ged Maheux

The latest update to Linea Sketch is now available! From textures to thumbnail cropping, version 4.3 is packed with clever new features to make sketching on your iPad easier and more fun than ever.

Textures Have Never Been Easier

We’ve created a variety of pre-defined seamless textures to let you quickly add visual interest and depth to your artwork. Open the options panel on any layer and tap the Textures icon to get going. Select from a range of choices including abstract patterns, architectural materials, crosshatching, and more. Then simply draw or paint a color into the layer with any tool. It’s as easy as that.

Side-shade a texture with the Pencil Tool or use the Watercolor Brush for weathered, rustic effects. Or use Clear Ink to erase the selected texture from your artwork. The Textures feature is super flexible and even works with Transparency Masking or the Fill Tool.

If you want to learn more about how to use textures in Linea Sketch, be sure to head on over to our YouTube channel. We’ve created a Textures Basics tutorial that gets you up and running quickly with Textures in Linea and covers what kinds of things are possible with this great new feature. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel while you’re there!

Canvas Resizing

You can now change the overall size and aspect ratio of existing sketches. Open any sketch, then tap More Actions (⋯) and Edit Canvas Size. Adjust the canvas based on screen size, aspect ratio, or use a custom setting to set whatever proportions you need. This comes in really handy when you want to continue working on a sketch on the iPad that was originally created on iPhone or vice versa.

Thumbnail Framing

With Linea Sketch 4.3 you’re no longer stuck with a thumbnail of your entire sketch. Now you can easily customize each sketch’s appearance in the Project view. Simply open a sketch and zoom into the portion of the drawing you want to focus on. Once you close the sketch, the thumbnail in the Project View will reflect this new framing for the sketch. It’s great for showing detail or highlighting a particular portion of a sketch in the Project View. Creating custom thumbnails enables you to decide how your work should appear and let’s you highlight the parts that are important.

Get Linea and Get Sketching!

Linea Sketch 4.3 includes many other improvements and fixes, including smoother results with the Blending Tool, improved autosave functionality, and more. Visit Linea’s version history page for the complete list of what’s new, and then head on over to the App Store and grab the FREE download of Linea Sketch. It’s where your ideas begin!

Beware: xScope & macOS Sonoma

November 1, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

We’ve been working on a compatibility update for xScope on macOS Sonoma for the past few weeks. The current version has been fine through the beta release, so we’ve been making minor tweaks and adding some performance improvements – certainly nothing urgent.

With last week’s release of macOS Sonoma 14.1 (on October 25th) things changed significantly. A new bug in the window server causes clicks in some of xScope’s tools to be “flipped”. This affects the Rulers, Guides, and Frames tools.

For example, when you click on the measurement arm of the Ruler, nothing is reported to xScope. Only clicking in the empty space below the arm will generate events. And since these events are “in the void” the app doesn’t know what to do with them.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a workaround for this issue. It’s a low-level bug and window server optimizations aren’t telling us about the clicks because it thinks we don’t need them.

If you are currently running macOS 14.0 or earlier (including Ventura), things are fine. If xScope is an important part of your workflow, DO NOT UPDATE to macOS Sonoma 14.1. (See below.)

If you have already updated, the only thing you can do at the moment is wait it out. We have submitted a bug report (FB13320473) with a sample project that should help Apple’s engineers get to the bottom of the problem quickly.

We’ll update this blog post as we learn more.

Please help us spread the word about this issue. If you know someone else who uses xScope, please give them the heads up. Thanks!

Updated November 1, 2023: This bug also affects Photoshop. If you turn off the application frame, clicks go through the toolbar. This video shows the behavior. Developers at Adobe are aware of the issue.

Updated November 8, 2023: The bug is fixed in the macOS Sonoma 14.1.1 release. All tools in xScope are fully functional and the issues in Photoshop have been resolved.

Triode 2.1 – Conjuring Magic

October 10, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

Hot on the heels of a major new release, there’s a new version of Triode with two big new improvements. Our Internet radio app just keeps getting more perfect with Shazam and data management!

Triode does its best to figure out what song is playing, but if you’ve ever been listening to a station without metadata, you might have used the Shazam app to identify a track. But doing so was awkward and didn’t work all the time (AirPods!)

We’re happy to announce that Triode now has Shazam built-in. On iOS, macOS, and tvOS, there is a button in the Now Playing view that lets you start song identification. Any matches are displayed and added to your track history for later reference. Super easy, and super quick!

A reorganized control panel on iOS lets you Shazam, start a sleep timer, or view a track history.

Also new in this release is the ability to manage your data. Triode has always put the customer first with our focus on keeping your data private. We’re now extending that philosophy with tools that let you take charge of your favorite stations and track history.

In the iOS settings, you’ll see a new Manage Your Data button that lets you extract the data. On macOS, you use the File and Station in the menu bar to perform the same operations. (This feature isn’t supported on tvOS because there’s no sharing or file management.)

The exported data uses a standard JSON format that can be processed by Shortcuts, scripts, or other applications. The export file can also be used to restore your favorites if something goes wrong with iCloud.

There are many other minor fixes and improvements in this release. See the product website for a full list of changes. And if this is the first time you’re hearing of Triode, check out the website and get your free download for iOS, macOS, and tvOS. Rock on!

WorldWideWeb 2.1

October 3, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

Our simple web server for developers continues to improve with version 2.1. In this update, we’ve implemented two new features that are often requested by PRO users.

On macOS, we added support for a reverse proxy. This lets you use WorldWideWeb as a frontend web server for a backend development environment. In simpler terms, this lets you use the auto refresh feature with code written in Ruby, PHP, or whatever framework you’re using.

We’ve used it for development on our own sites, and it’s pretty great to edit some code, hit Save, and have the browser automatically refresh and run that new code.

Every development environment is different, so make sure to check out the Proxy Configuration section of the app’s documentation (click the ? button on the main window). There are a bunch of recommendations and tips that will help you get the most out of this new feature.

On iOS, we added some Advanced Settings that were previously only available on macOS. This includes the ability to adjust the sound level while in the background (it can now be quiet or turned off completely). No more beeping while showing off your work on the iPad!

To make these changes, look for “WorldWideWeb” in the System Settings app. The app’s documentation explains how these advanced settings can be used (About > Product Manual > About WorldWideWeb).

Get your updates for iOS or macOS today. To learn more about the product, and how auto refresh makes working with the web so much more pleasant, check out the WorldWideWeb website.

Sketch Fearlessly This Inktober With Linea

September 26, 2023

By Ged Maheux

October rears its spooky, pumpkin-spiced head once again and with it comes our favorite way to flex our creative muscles – Inktober. The annual event encourages artists, both amateur and professional alike, to pick up a pencil, brush or stylus and channel their creativity each day in the month of October. It’s a great way to express and challenge yourself as we doodle and sketch our way through the official list of prompts.

This will be the fifth year we’ve contributed to the cause by creating a set of handy templates for Linea Sketch that outlines the prompts for each of the 31 days in Inktober. This year’s list of templates is ready for download and broken out by page numbers that contain the prompt for that day’s drawing. The templates are perfect for those who like to have a uniform set of sketches for the entire month or who want to stay tight and focused on their daily creations.

As they are every year, Linea’s Inktober 2023 templates are completely free, easy to set up, and should quickly get you on your artistic way. A few years ago we created a short video tutorial on how to get the templates into Linea Sketch for the iPad that will help guide you through the process this year as well. Be sure to check it out

Be sure to tag your posts on social media with #LineaSketch – we always share our favorite drawings over on Linea’s Instagram during the month of October so it’s a great way to step into the lime light! Apply new screen protectors and charge those Apple Pencils because October will be here before you know it!

Welcome, Wallaroo Widgets!

September 26, 2023

By Ged Maheux

With Interactive Widgets, Wallaroo 1.4 brings a whole new way to customize your home screens on the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS! There are also a handful of fixes and improvements that make using and enjoying your favorite wallpapers easier than ever.

Wallpaper Widget

Thanks to the new interactive widget, you’re no longer limited to seeing just one wallpaper at a time. Now you can customize each page of your home screen with even more of your favorite Wallaroo artwork by adding one or more Wallpaper widgets.

Decorate your Home Screen with Wallaroo’s widgets, or quickly change it with the built-in shortcut.

You can set each widget to show random wallpapers from any of Wallaroo’s categories such as Comics, Fantasy, Nature, Sci-Fi, and more. Or you can configure a widget to just cycle between all of your Favorites.

You’re not limited to only seeing the default version for each wallpaper, either – the widget can randomly choose any of the many variants available for each release. And when you’re feeling like changing the mood, tap the interactive refresh button to get a new wallpaper right away.

If you want more control, you can even configure the widget to display one specific wallpaper!


Each of Wallaroo’s wallpapers is really a complete set of artwork tailor-made for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Many releases also include multiple variants to cater to a wide variety of tastes. Every image in a wallpaper pack has portrait, square, and landscape versions which are all carefully designed for each device.

Previously, Wallaroo only used the size appropriate for the device you were using, but starting in version 1.4 you can view them all and pick the one you want with the new size selector. Now you can use the wallpaper orientation that works best for your setup. (It’s especially handy when you have a portrait display connected to your desktop!)

Screenshot of the screen size selector being activated on the Mac showing four choices: Default, Landscape, Portrait and Square.
Choose the aspect ratio that works best with Wallaroo’s new Size Selector.

While viewing a wallpaper on iOS or iPadOS, tap the name of the wallpaper in the top toolbar and choose which orientation you want to use. On macOS, the same menu is located in the upper right next to the “Set Wallpaper” button on the toolbar.

Better Shortcut

Wallaroo makes it easy to change your wallpaper by using a custom shortcut. Recent changes in iOS and iPadOS have made the shortcut a bit less reliable than we liked, so we’ve improved it.

The first time you set a wallpaper using Wallaroo 1.4, you’ll be asked to update the shortcut. Follow the prompts and replace your existing shortcut with the new one and you’ll be back in business.

The new shortcut detects situations where the wallpaper cannot be set (such as when a built-in dynamic one like Astronomy is being used). It’s also more reliable when setting the individual Home or Lock screens. And as an added bonus, using the Home Screen option will now set the wallpaper without blurring it.

And More!

We’ve also added a few quality-of-life improvements including a “Latest” category that makes it easy to see which releases have been recently added or updated, a trackpad gesture for swiping between wallpapers on macOS Sonoma, the ability to save wallpapers at full resolution on macOS, and a total count of wallpapers and variants displayed at the end of each gallery category. And, of course, we fixed some pesky bugs.

Be sure to get the latest version of Wallaroo today for both iOS and macOS. Check out the website to learn more about the product or view the details about what’s changed in the release.

Triode 2 – Improvements Everywhere

September 20, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

Announcing Triode 2 – a huge update to our popular Internet radio app.

We’ve packed the new version with improvements, including new support for Shortcuts and Widgets, improved Siri and CarPlay support, and a ton of tweaks and refinements across iOS, macOS, tvOS, and CarPlay.

Interactive Widgets

Triode now sports two different types of iOS 17’s new interactive widgets:

  • A controller widget lets you play and pause stations, view artwork, and see track info. It’s a quick way to answer “what’s that song?” from your Home Screen.
  • The stations widget shows your favorite stations or recently played items. Start listening to a new station or easily switch between them without ever leaving the Home Screen.
Triode’s new Interactive Widgets let you choose your favorite stations and control playback without ever having to leave the Home Screen.

These new widgets also work great with the new StandBy mode. And combined with Triode’s new Sleep Timer, your iPhone is about to become the best clock radio ever made.

Triode helps make your iPhone a great companion at your bedside or while you work.

The new interactive widgets will also be available on macOS Sonoma when it ships.


A screenshot of a Shortcut that uses Triode to play a station while you go to sleep.

We’re also bringing full support for Shortcuts actions to Triode:

  • Quickly find and play stations
  • Start, stop, or mute playback
  • Get information about what’s now playing
  • Start an automatic sleep timer

Use these shortcuts as automations to easily integrate Triode with your life. Turn on the lights and start some music on the stereo when you arrive home. Play your favorite station when the Driving focus mode begins. The uses are limited only by your imagination!


Speaking of your car, gear up for some great new additions to CarPlay:

  • Quickly start a station using the new Recent Stations list
  • Now Playing screen shows the station name (WQIF) in the Up Next position
  • Choose another favorite station by tapping Up Next button
  • A new mute button is included below the playback controls
  • Visual improvements to Triode when CarPlay is in light mode
Triode CarPlay interface showing Recent stations and Now Playing
Pick a station image and keep your eyes on the road, while the player shows that station at a glance.

If you love CarPlay like we do, your drive just got a whole lot better!

Apple Music

We’ve also integrated Apple Music more deeply into the app. Viewing an entry in Triode’s track history now offers options to open the show or play the track in the Music app. You can also replay the track without leaving Triode: perfect for those cases where you want to hear a great song again!

The sharing options when viewing track details also lets you add the song to a “listen later” app like MusicBox.

Interface Refinements

The cherry on top is the improvement to Triode’s visual appearance. Default station artwork and track info are more vibrant, and new choices for category icons are now available.

We also made improvements to the Dock icon on macOS – enable it by right-clicking on the icon, and Triode’s presentation will match the new visual default first introduced in Big Sur.

For a full list of what’s new, check the Triode version history.

Download Today

Triode is FREE to download and play. In-app purchases enable benefits like favorites and high-quality artwork. To learn more about the app, check out the product website.

You can download the update today for iOS, macOS, or tvOS (search for Triode in the App Store).

We hope you enjoy this new version as much as we do. Rock on!

New OS, New Apps!

September 15, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

Just a quick post to let you know about updates for our FREE Clicker and Now Playing Plus apps for both iOS 17 and watchOS 10.

Clicker, our little counter with a thousands uses, gets two new features on iOS. The first is an interactive widget that lets you see and increment your count on the Home Screen. The other is support for Shortcuts: which means you can now automate your counting, including running a shortcut using the Action Button on your Apple Watch Ultra.

We’ve also adopted the new look on watchOS 10, so the app looks completely at home on the new OS.

Now Playing Plus, which provides a watch face complication for Now Playing, gets a similar visual treatment and fixes a bug that could prevent the now playing view from appearing correctly.

Get your updates today and you’ll be ready for the new OS versions on Monday. And if you enjoy these little apps, make sure to check out our big ones! 😀

An Iconic Anniversary

September 6, 2023

By Craig Hockenberry

The original iMac in five colors.

The iMac recently had its 25 year anniversary.

In 1998, the Iconfactory was still a toddler. Our first website launched just two years prior, but by the time the iMac appeared, we were on our third iteration.

And that was enough time to figure out that folks loved customizing their computers. Especially the hard drive icons – over the years we’ve made hundreds of them.

Back in the late 90’s the networks we now take for granted didn’t exist. You may have had a few Macs connected together, but it was often quicker to copy a bunch of media to an external drive and walk it over to whoever needed the files (we called it sneaker net!). And forget about cloud storage – we were using 56 Kbps modems!

This environment made customization popular. The first reason was practical: you knew that the Klingon ship on your desktop was an external drive and so did the person who was offloading the files. But more importantly, that icon allowed you to express a little bit of your personality – that drive icon said “I’m a Star Trek fan”. Maybe you even talked about the latest episode of Deep Space Nine as the files copied over (networks weren’t the only thing slower than what we use today).

Then along came the iMac. A computer that looked like nothing else, and we all loved it. The originality of the design inspired a lot of things, including icons. A machine that looked that cool needed a desktop to match!

And as we celebrate the iMac’s anniversary, it has inspired us yet again with a fresh take on hard drive and folder icons:

Retro Mac HD icons fanned out, each in a color of the original iMac from Apple. The caption below the image reads "Yum."

Download the iMac 25th Anniversary Edition Icons

These icons got their start back in July when Talos Tsui bought some plastic plates in translucent colors. While the Bondi Blue colorway was all sold out, the fond memories were still available. After redrawing the original macOS hard drive icon, which wasn’t high enough resolution for today’s needs, Talos wrapped it in the colors of the original iMacs. And when going over-the-top isn’t enough, he decided to make icons that are an exact match of the current macOS folders!

Sadly, these icons also remind us how much more difficult it is to customize today’s computers. System integrity is a good thing, but it also takes the fun out of expressing ourselves with a desktop that looks exactly like we want. We’re doing our best to keep it alive, but there’s only so much we can do.

Thankfully, Mac users have it much better than folks on Windows. While we can still Copy & Paste in the Finder, on Microsoft’s platform it’s a long and arduous process with RegEdit. That also explains why we’re not including .ICO files in the downloads above. If you’re smart enough to dig around in the registry, you’re also smart enough to figure out how to use the included PNG files.

But when it comes to customizing our devices, there is hope! It’s all happening in our pockets and purses.

Apple sells a lot of cases and saw the popularity of this kind of personalization. Software to customize your phone arrived in iOS 14 with Home Screen widgets. Apps that gave your device a unique look were wildly popular.

Download FREE wallpaper today!

This move toward customization continued with Lock Screens in iOS 16. We were thrilled with this new feature and quickly developed Wallaroo to fill this niche with a constant stream of great looking wallpaper.

And now with iOS 17, Apple is bringing us Contact Posters and NameDrop – features that let you share your personality with others. “More personal and intuitive” indeed.

But our favorite thing in iOS 17 is Interactive Widgets. We can’t wait to show you how Wallaroo, Triode, and even Clicker have gotten more personal!

So while we’ve lost some customization options, we’ve also gained some new and important ones. And it all began when the iMac broke from the bondage of beige. Happy anniversary!