Monthly Archives: October 2007

Wii Transfer 2.5.2 and Leopard

Happy Halloween! “Wii Transfer 2.5.2”: is now available. This is probably one of the most difficult bug fix releases I’ve done. Full changes are in “the release notes”:, but the biggest stuff includes fixed Leopard UI glitches and a new 2-pass encoding that should result in much more consistent movie streaming quality. Along the way I touched most of the corners of the product, including many hours of trial-and-error debugging the Flash FLV player component.

While testing Wii Transfer on my TV the other day I had a moment to reflect on how this product has evolved. What started as a one-weekend hack has grown into something quite a bit more complex. It has a few rough edges, sure, but I’m proud of this little app and how I’ve been able to put a simple UI on all these different technologies (embedded web server, HTML/JavaScript/Flash UI, MP3 and FLV conversion, iLife integration, etc). I have a few new features planned and in various stages of development, but I think the just-released 2.5.2 is going to start a trend of refinement; there’s a lot I could do to improve the movie conversion and streaming experience before introducing anything radically new.

So, Leopard. I had originally planned to just wipe my old Leopard seed partition on the MacBook and test the GM, but at the last minute I dove full in and did an upgrade install on my primary machine, the Mac Pro. I have nightly SuperDuper clones just in case, but the upgrade was completely smooth. It’s a great OS foundation and I can’t wait to see what other developers have been working on.

Wii Transfer on macZOT

After I shipped Wii Transfer 2.5 I decided to start spending a little time promoting the product. Every month or so I’ll do some small thing to improve sales. Last month that was a “press release”:, followed by the “ad on The Talk Show”:, and next month I’ll be giving away a brand new Nintendo Wii as a holiday promotion.

Today Wii Transfer is on sale at “macZOT”: for the incredibly low price of just $9 (half off!). To be honest I have mixed feelings about these kind of promotions, and the first time macZOT approached me about it I declined. I worry that it can reinforce a message that all software should be cheap — that even $19 is too expensive — but on the other hand it’s great exposure to an audience that might not otherwise hear about Wii Transfer.

Lisa at macZOT has been great to work with, letting me set the price (even though I get a small fraction of what a normal sale would be, I felt it was important to do the promotion to its fullest and go below $10), and making sure macZOT pings my backend script so that serial numbers go out to customers right away. I know people can be frustrated if they have to wait to receive the product, and I also have a new serial number lookup form on the site that ties into all of this quite nicely.

It’s a fun experiment. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing Wii Transfer but thought it was too expensive, head over to macZOT to pick up your copy. The “discussion page”: will probably have some comments too.

Lowbrow Monster Mash

Late notice, but I’ll have a watercolor piece in tonight’s Monster Mash art show at the Lowbrow Emporium on South Lamar. If you’re in Austin, drop by between 7 and 11pm and say hi. (Address and other details on “the poster by Jason Chalker”: The art is from participants and friends of the Austin Sketch Squad, some of whom will be doing live art at the show. There will also be free beer and candy!

I snapped a “photo of my desk with art stuff”: while I was preparing for the show. I forgot to scan the final art, which sadly didn’t come out nearly as nice as my first sketch, but I’ll get a picture of that tonight. It was fun to work on and a nice break from late-night programming this week.

Welch on iPhone ringtones

Ambrosia Software’s “Andrew Welch in a TUAW interview”:

“The tack they are taking with the ringtones, though, is not ‘We’ll provide such great ringtones that you’ll want to buy from us’ but rather ‘This is all you’re ever going to be able to use, too bad if you want to use something else.’ I think they took a winning formula, and got it entirely backwards.”

This is the most disappointing part of what Apple is doing. Even with the iTunes Store, when they had to lock down the songs to appease the music industry, they still thought about the user: songs on 5 machines, unlimited iPods, multiple iTunes accounts on the same machine, great selection, and effortless buying experience. I can wait for a real iPhone SDK (WWDC 2008 please Apple kthxbye), but Apple of all companies should not let corporate deals needlessly cripple the ringtone user experience.

The Talk Show ad and porting to Windows

Episode 11 of “The Talk Show”: is up, and I’m happy to say that “Wii Transfer”: is this week’s sponsor. Even if you’ve been subscribed since the first show, click over to see the new site design by “Airbag Industries”: It’s beautifully done and I tried to create an ad graphic that feels at home there.

For the Wii Transfer ad text I included “Only for Mac”, partly to discourage any Windows listeners from clicking and to set expectations that Wii Transfer is not a web site, but also because after a decade of being ignored I think Mac users like to be reminded that there is a bunch of great software just for them.

Earlier this month “Daniel Jalkut wrote about the unlikelihood of MarsEdit for Windows”:

“I love writing software for the Mac. If I had to write software for another platform, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as interested in doing it. Heck, I might work more on becoming a musician, or a designer, or one of the other many trades that I have an interest in. For that reason, the chances of MarsEdit for Windows are almost nil.”

I love that Mac indies are receiving so many “what about a Windows version?” requests. I get similar emails every couple weeks about Wii Transfer for Windows, and luckily there are a couple Windows or open source alternatives that I can point people to. (Some of them are even cross-platform and available for Mac, but they are of the “double click this Java .jar file” variety, so I don’t generally consider them direct competition.)

It used to feel strange getting these requests. I would respond with “maybe” and “unlikely”, suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen but leaving open the possibility, as Daniel did when he said “almost nil”. Then I realized — who am I kidding? — I’m never going to port this to Windows regardless of demand. Never. “With the right team”: I enjoy working on cross-platform apps, just as I appreciate meetings, planning, and the other formalities (in moderation) that come with a more corporate environment. But Wii Transfer isn’t about any of that; it’s my vacation from the real world, and on my time I use and build for Macs.

Also read the Airfoil for Windows section of “Ars Technica’s interview with Paul Kafasis”: from February.