The Breakroom

Sticky Treats for Halloween

October 7, 2019

By Webmaster

Clicker in all its simplistic glory running on Series 4 Apple Watch

The days are growing shorter and the leaves on the trees have started to fall which can only mean our favorite holiday isn’t far away – Halloween. Anyone who’s visited the Iconfactory knows how much we absolutely love this spooky season.

The Iconfactory website has once again undergone its annual transformation to reflect our love for all things macabre. In addition, the assembly line goblins are hard at work cobbling together up all kinds of creepy treats for our Patreon subscribers. October will find them awash in holiday-themed wallpapers, avatars and icons so what a great time to sign up and support our efforts to bring you all the treats and none of the tricks!

And speaking of treats, we have something very special for you. Our first new sticker pack in three years! Skullmoji is a fun, light-hearted collection of skeleton stickers perfect for pasting into chats with family and friends this Halloween season. It joins the ranks of our other iMessage sticker packs and is available today for just 99¢ in the App Store. If you love emoji, be sure to check it out, you don’t want to get caught dead on your feet!

Lastly, don’t forget our huge cache of Halloween goodies we’ve amassed over the years, unlike candy they never get stale! We hope you have a spooky, safe and fun Halloween this year. Boo!

Linea Loves Inktober

September 25, 2019

By Webmaster

The official Inktober prompt list for 2019

It’s that time of year when artists the world over take up their pens, pencils, brushes, and digital styluses and participate in Inktober. Started by illustrator and animator Jake Parker in 2014, Inktober encourages people to draw 31 drawings in 31 days, one for each day in October.

People share their drawings on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and encourage others to join in the ink-laden fun. As of September 2019 Inktober had over 500k followers on Instagram with people contributing hundreds of new posts every day!

Digital drawing apps like Linea Sketch for the iPad make participating in Inktober easy and fun and this year we’re taking it a step further. We’ve created a set of free downloadable templates that you can easily import into Linea Sketch.

These templates are broken out by pages and numbered to contain the prompt for that particular day’s drawing. The templates are great for those who like to have a uniform set of drawings for the entire month of Inktober or who want to stay tight and focused on their daily creations.

Linea’s Inktober templates are completely free, easy to set up, and should quickly get you on your way to joining in on the inking fun. Check out our short video tutorial on how to get the templates into Linea Sketch for the iPad, and don’t forget to tag your posts with #LineaSketch – we’ll be sharing our favorites over on Instagram. Get your Apple Pencils ready. October will be here before you know it!

Clicker 1.2: More County for Old Man

September 19, 2019

By Craig Hockenberry

Clicker in all its simplistic glory running on Series 4 Apple Watch

After three years and tens of thousands of downloads, we’re pleased to announce a new version of Clicker, our popular Apple Watch app. Finally!

It’s a simple app that literally just increments and decrements a counter on your wrist, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. The most obvious change is support for the new complications on the Series 4 and 5 watches.

The new version allows you to set an optional goal for the counter. Combined with a ring complication, you can quickly see how close you are to finishing your laps, drinking enough water, filling your nightclub, or taking a break. Personally, I’m tracking how many swims I’ve done during the last year of my fifties.

There’s just one problem: I have no idea how well it works on the new Apple Watches.

Linea + iPadOS = BFFs

September 16, 2019

By Webmaster

Linea 2.7 with Rob McCallum illustration of future lady

Today’s update of Linea for both iPad and iPhone includes support for iOS 13, frequently requested features from our community of users, and makes sketching easier and more fun than ever. If you enjoy visualizing your ideas, getting work done, or just doodling, today’s update is right up your alley.

The Darkness and the Light

We’ve been working hard to make Linea fully compatible with Apple’s new operating system. One of the most compelling new features, Dark Mode, is now fully supported in both Linea Sketch and Go. In addition to tool, layer, and color palettes, the dark working environment has been extended to other parts of the app.

Linea's project view running in Dark Mode under iOS 13

This means that the project view, popovers, preferences, and related interface elements all look great when running with iOS 13’s new appearance. If you’re sketching in low light conditions, Linea running in Dark Mode is a welcome sight for sore eyes. We think you’ll be pleased.

One Is Good, Many Are Best

One highly requested feature from our customers has finally arrived – support for multi-page PDFs! With just a few taps, you can now export an entire Project folder of sketches into a single PDF document. Open the main Project view and tap the Project’s actions icon (⋯) and select “Export As PDF…” Linea collects all of the sketches and gives you options to customize the final appearance of the file, including margins, background color, and more.

Linea's project view running in Dark Mode under iOS 13

If you don’t want to save out an entire project, you can open the folder, use Select to choose individual sketches, and use the actions menu to generate your PDF. These all-in-one documents are great for presentations, putting together a storyboard, printing hard copies, or sharing your work with others.

Bigger, Better, Quicker

We’ve added a new feature that let ZipLines snap to 0°, 45° and 90°. This makes it a lot easier to draw perfectly straight lines at fixed angles, without the need for a grid or an enclosed shape. It’s super handy, but can be disabled in Settings if you choose.

selecting the new larger pen sizes in Linea

If you enjoy drawing with Linea’s pen tool, you’ll be pleased to know we’ve also added six larger sizes for sketching. To access these new sizes, open the pen’s options and flick the size indicators to page between sets. These new pens make inking and outlining large illustrations easier; they also work great for calligraphy.

Finally, comes the ability to set app-wide defaults for your canvas preference. The paper type, background, and template preferences from any existing sketch can now be used as the default for new drawings. Simply open an existing sketch and tap the sketch actions icon (⋯), then choose “Set Canvas as Default”. Linea remembers the setup and will use it from then on: quite a time saver!

One More Thing

We’ve also optimized Linea Sketch to work flawlessly with Apple’s newly announced 10.2″ iPad, so if you’re looking for a great sketching device at a great price, we’ve got you covered.

Don’t forget to check out our Tips & Tricks page for some great ways to improve your workflow. There’s also Sketch’s and Go’s version history pages for the complete list of changes.

If you’re not using Linea yet, today’s update is a great reason to get on board! Head on over to the App Store to download Linea Sketch for iPad or Linea Go for iPhone and you’ll be creating in no time!

It’s Hip to Be Square!

September 6, 2019

By Ged Maheux

Back in the day all of us here at the Iconfactory lived, ate, and slept customization. If there was a way to change the appearance of something on our desktops, from icons to wallpapers and even the Mac’s overall look and feel, we forged ahead and changed it. Indeed, we built our early business around the fact Mac users loved to change their icons, wallpapers, iPulse jackets, and lots more.

Times have changed of course, and Apple locked down many of the fun pieces of software we used to enjoy so much like Kaleidoscope, iControl, and CandyBar. But today we’re reclaiming just a tiny bit of that nerdy battlefield thanks to our most recent cross-platform updates to Twitterrific. We’ve had theme support in Twitterrific for years, but now we’re giving you the tools to create your own themes for both macOS and iOS, as well as the ability to share them with other Twitterrific users.

Ollie pulls out his glasses and pocket protector in the Nerdy Bird app icon

We’ve set up a Dropbox archive that contains all of the default themes used in Twitterrific. These themes make great starting points for anyone who wants to customize the appearance of Twitterrific’s timelines and windows.

To help make this process a bit easier, we’re also releasing the internal tool we use to create these themes. Nerdy Bird may not be a slick, polished app, but it gives you everything you need to open an existing light or dark theme, tweak it, and save it just the way you like. Themes can be shared on your devices by simply dropping them into the iCloud Drive > Twitterrific > Themes folder: they immediately become available on both platforms. Neat!

We’ve also included a repository where you’ll find a collection of custom Twitterrific themes contributed by a few brave souls who have already taken the plunge. We hope to grow the number of themes available in the weeks ahead, but there are already a handful to download now. If you’ve created a cool theme and want to share it with the Twitterrific community, write or tweet and let us know – we’ll add a special spot just for your creation.

There’s even a helpful online tutorial about Twitterrific theming from Ringgit Malaysia. He outlines the various colors that go into the creation of one of Ollie’s complex themes, so check it out!

We’re not gonna lie, creating a custom theme is a complex and challenging task. But if you’ve been bitten by the customization bug, like we were long ago, have no fear: you’ve got a fever, and the nerdy prescription is finally here. Have fun, play safe, and enjoy yourselves!

Twitterrific 5.4 and 6.0.5

August 28, 2019

By Webmaster

Twitterrific 5.4 for macOS showing off new and improved media handling

Twitterrific 5.4 for macOS has been released with support for viewing full images right in your timeline, Twitter’s new quoted tweets with images, a bunch of great new themes and app icons and more! On the iOS side, Twitterrific moves to version 6.0.5 and gets a cool new theme, Trogon, plus speed improvements and important fixes for some nasty bugs.

With these releases we have unified our themes across platforms which means you now have all of the same options on the desktop as you’ve been enjoying on iOS. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can even make your own theme files, drop them in Twitterrific’s iCloud Drive folder, and use them on every device.

We know that sometimes you still have to use twitter.com in Safari, so we’ve bundled Fixerrific with Twitterrific 5.4. Fixerrific is a Safari Web Extension that cleans up twitter.com and gets rid of the clutter. Once you install Twitterrific for macOS, head to Safari’s preferences and activate Fixerrific under the Extensions tab. This will hide Twitter Trends and the Who to Follow sidebar elements in the new Twitter design which lets you focus on your tweets.

Be sure to visit the Twitterrific website for the entire list of what’s new, then head to the App Store and download Twitterrific 5.4 and Twitterrific 6.0.5 today. Enjoy and thanks for your support!

The Curious Case of the Core Data Crash

August 26, 2019

By Sean Heber

Detective Heber hot on the trail of the Curious Case of the Core Data Crash

For several years, Twitterrific has been plagued by Core Data crash reports that I haven’t been able to figure out. It was so bad that nearly all of Twitterrific’s reports were from this framework. I knew I was doing something wrong, but didn’t know how to fix a problem I couldn’t reproduce. After lots of investigation on Twitter and Google, nothing ever turned up.

Worse, it got to the point where I mostly ignored this seemingly unsolvable problem.

Recently, there was a breakthrough. Three people used the new TestFlight feedback mechanism to report a crash on iOS. They also noted the app was in the background at the time. I had long suspected that was the case with this bug, but always assumed I was missing something important.

Rather than look at the crash reports inside Xcode’s Organizer as I usually do, I downloaded the report attached directly to the feedback report and took a look at the file. The stack trace matched the Core Data crashes I had seen many times in Organizer. No surprises there.

I was about to close the log in defeat when I noticed that the Termination Reason was something unfamiliar. Xcode‘s Organizer does not report the cause of termination — after all, one would assume the reason was BECAUSE IT CRASHED, DUH!

But here’s the thing: that assumption is totally wrong. iOS routinely terminates apps for all sorts of reasons, including using too much memory or taking too long to do background processing. I don’t know why this information isn’t included in Xcode’s Organizer, but it’s a critical piece of a debugging puzzle.

Naturally, the termination reason in the raw crash log isn’t some nice human-readable message. It’s a hex code and a cryptic string that maybe suggests which subsystem is responsible for it. Why make crash reports easy for the developers, right?

In this Core Data crash report the termination reason was: Namespace RUNNINGBOARD, Code 0xdead10cc. This nugget was something new I could search on the web for. Many of the results were just pasted crash reports with little attention paid to the significance of the termination reason.

But one result led to Tech Note 2151, with the code listed at the end under Other Exception Types:

The exception code 0xdead10cc indicates that an application has been terminated by the OS because it held on to a file lock or sqlite database lock during suspension.

Holy crap! I’ve been searching for this for ages and here, finally, was a clue! I started looking around the code in search of a trigger for this exception. I discovered that Twitterrific was sometimes closed while it was doing a network download and iOS left it running in the background long enough for the network request to finish. But not long enough for the database update to finish.

Due to incorrectly placed task markers, the background task would be marked done before it had finished saving the database. When things happened in the wrong sequence, iOS would unceremoniously kill the process — making it look like it had crashed somewhere inside of Core Data.

I spent several days reworking a bunch of old code to ensure that task markers were started and ended in the proper sequence, and to ensure that the task wasn’t marked as complete until after the entire process was done.

Lo and behold, this appears to have worked!

Prior to the fix, one recent build had over 90 crash reports from TestFlight in the span of just four days. Three days after releasing a new build to TestFlight, there were only 9 crash reports, and they were all caused by a simple bug introduced during refactoring.

So there you have it — another exciting tale of me doing things wrong for years. Remember kids, I’m a professional!

xScope, Catalina, and Screen Recording

August 16, 2019

By Craig Hockenberry

We just released a new version of xScope that adds compatibility for the upcoming version of macOS Catalina. You can update using the Mac App Store or with “Check for Updates…” in the xScope menubar. If you’re new to xScope, you can download a FREE trial from the product website.

The most visible change on Catalina is a series of new prompts for Screen Recording after you first launch xScope on the new OS. This slight inconvenience is a good thing, because there are a lot of bad things that could happen if an app abused this feature.

We have never stored the screen recording except by explicit user action, such as taking a screenshot. We have never performed any processing on the image that would extract your personal information. And we never will, so we hope you’ll grant us permission to use this feature.

The first dialog is a prompt by the app that explains why we need the permission:

xScope screen recording dialog in macOS Catalina

After you dismiss that dialog, you’ll see the new prompt from macOS. Click Open System Preferences to continue and give xScope the required permissions.

macOS Security & Privacy preference panel showing xScope with a blue check next to it

If all goes well, you’ll end up with blue checkmark next to xScope on this screen in System Preferences:

macOS asking to open System Prefs and grant xScope permission in Catalina

If you choose to deny permission, xScope tools like Rulers, Guides, Frames, Crosshair, and Text will continue to work, but in a limited fashion. It’s your choice and we’ll do our best to respect it.

For more information about this release, check out the version history. If you love the Doctor Who wallpaper in the screenshots above, it and many others are available from our Patreon account. Enjoy!

Linea on iPadOS: Hold Off for Now

June 24, 2019

By Craig Hockenberry

We’re all excited about the changes coming in the new iPadOS. The urge to install the new shiny is strong with this one!

But before you start your download, be aware that you’re likely to have problems with both Linea Sketch and Linea Go. Some early adopters have lost access to drawings and aren’t able to create new sketches.

We’re still trying to understand what’s causing this data syncing issue. It may be specific to Linea or a more general problem with iCloud. As we learn more, we’ll update this post.

If Linea is a part of your workflow, our current recommendation is do not install the iPadOS or iOS 13 beta.

Updated July 1st, 2019: We have released version 2.6.1 which blocks Linea from running on iOS 13. If you absolutely need to run on the new OS and are willing to take the risk of data loss, we can add you to our beta test. Please get in contact to set this up.

Updated July 2nd, 2019: The release notes for iOS 13 Beta 3 indicate that there are many known issues with iCloud. If you are using a beta of either iOS or macOS that’s connected to iCloud, you run the risk that the beta will delete information and the data removal will propagate to devices using production releases. If you have any device running a beta release, make sure you have a backup of your iCloud Drive. The easiest place to make this backup is on a Mac running Mojave.

Updated July 9th, 2019: These problems with iCloud are affecting many apps. If you have an iOS or macOS beta installed, we recommend that you disable iCloud on the device or login with a test account where you don’t mind losing data. Otherwise, you’ll lose data on your production devices.

Updated July 10th, 2019: We submitted a detailed incident report with Apple’s Developer Technical Support only to find out that beta releases are not supported. If you’re a customer using iOS 13 or macOS Catalina, this means app developers can’t get any direct help for these iCloud issues. All we can do is submit feedback and wait for the data loss to stop (FB6337265).

Updated September 5th, 2019: Our experiences with iCloud have improved significantly in the most recent betas. We’ve also heard reports that all of the server changes that were causing the issues have been reverted, so you’re back to using the same iCloud you had in iOS 12. We also have an updated version of Linea waiting for the final release of iOS 13.

For an honest look at our experience over the past few months, and recommendations for Apple to help prevent this kind of data loss, please see my blog for an in-depth report.

Introducing Twitterrific 6 for iOS

June 13, 2019

By Ged Maheux

Twitterrific 6 logo over a field of iPhones and iPads running the new app

Today we are proud to release Twitterrific 6.0 for iOS! This is one of the biggest updates of Twitterrific ever, representing over 50 bug fixes and improvements as well as a ton of new features. We’re very excited to get all of this amazing stuff we’ve been working on for so long onto your device and into your hands!

Media Unleashed

Now with Twitterrific 6, tweets or direct messages with a single photo, video, or animated GIF will display the attachment at its native aspect ratio. This means you can see the whole thing right in your timeline, without having to tap through to the media viewer. Tweets with more than one photo still show the attachments in a grid to help preserve screen space, but the layout has been adjusted to do a better job of making more of the photos visible (while still focusing on human faces, if possible).

Autoplaying video and animated GIFs

Seeing full-sized images on our tweets felt great and it was obvious that we needed to take things a step farther – so we added support for auto-playing videos and animated GIFs right in the timeline. When a tweet with an animated GIF or a video gets scrolled into view, Twitterrific 6 immediately starts playing it without you needing to tap anything. If the video has sound, an icon appears so there are no surprises when you tap through – we never autoplay audio!

Recently Twitter added the ability to attach photos, videos, and GIFs to quoted tweets, so we brought that functionality to Twitterrific 6 as well. These new, richer tweets will appear correctly in the timeline and you can post them yourself – simply quote a tweet and add your favorite reaction GIF!

To Boldy Go Where no GIF Has Gone Before

Speaking of reaction GIFs, in Twitterrific 6 we’ve made it easier than ever to find and attach them with our new built-in support for GIPHY. While composing a tweet, tap the GIF button to search for just the right snarky animation that captures how you really feel. We’ve even built in handy shortcuts for popular GIFs, memes and our favorite Swear Trek reactions – it’s only logical.

Searching for that perfect GIF in Twitterrific 6 is a snap

Twitterrific’s new GIPHY search in action.

After you’ve attached your GIF, photos, or video to a tweet or direct message, it’s helpful to add a textual description for people who use assistive technologies like screen readers. Twitterrific has supported this for a long time, but in Twitterrific 6 we’ve improved the experience. Tap the attachment’s thumbnail to see a large preview and type a description for it. If you’ve added multiple photos, you can hit the return key on the keyboard or swipe between them to annotate each image quickly and easily.

A Theme By Any Other Name

Twitterrific 6 is all about using Twitter the way you want to use it, so if you’re not a fan of autoplaying videos, you can turn them off. If you don’t want animated GIFs to autoplay, you can turn those off too. If you just want to see the username of everyone in your timeline and skip seeing their full name, you can even do that! We also added a feature that increases the contrast of text in the timeline by forcing it to use either full white or full black no matter which theme is in use.

Two of Twitterrific 6's new themes: Dove and Parakeet

Two of Twitterrific 6’s new themes – Dove and Parakeet

For those of you who want to customize things even more, we’ve added a total of five new colorful themes (two light, three dark) plus three more app icons. There’s also a brand new font available that will totally refresh your timelines: San Francisco Compact Rounded. If you’re feeling especially brave and adventurous, you might find even more customization options by poking around in iCloud Drive – but you didn’t hear it from us! 😉

Twitterrific 6 is a new product. It is free to use with banner ads and occasional purchasing reminders which can be completely removed by subscribing (either monthly or yearly). There are no sneaky free trials here – you have an unlimited time to try before you buy. If you don’t want to subscribe, we also offer a one-time purchasing option that’ll unlock Twitterrific 6 for the duration of its life (Twitterrific 5 had an incredible seven year run!). Scroll through Twitterrific’s development timeline below to see how we got from version 5 to the new and improved version 6.

86 Free Updates, 0 Paid Upgrades

Twitterrific 5's update history - over 6 years of development from 2012 to 2019

There are so many more improvements and bug fixes, including an expanded Twitterrific sticker pack for iMessage, accessibility improvements for Voice Over users, and much, much more. Be sure to visit Twitterrific’s version history page for the entire, huge list of what’s new, then head to the App Store and download Twitterrific 6 for iOS today. Enjoy and thanks for your support!