Saturday, December 30, 2006

Xslimmer in

Two days ago we had an interview with Stuff MC, from, for the Spanish version of the podcast. During the interview, we comment on the creation process of Xslimmer, future possibilities and we talk about the Apple world in general. If you are interesed, you can check it out here.

There will be an English version in the future. Until then, we wish you a very happy new year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Season Greetings

The last 2 months have been very intensive. We launched the first public beta of Xslimmer on November 1st. Since then until now, we have had several different releases, 10 in beta, 6 non-beta. Beta releases were mostly oriented to issue resolution, while non-beta have been dedicated to adding new features to the product. Today, in addition to what was included in the very first version, Xslimmer includes:

* Dock-drop feature
* History log window
* Restore function
* Report function
* Growl support
* Direct Slim feature
* Revamped Preferences
* Improved Window animations and transitions
* Other UI improvements
* Many performance improvements
* Panther compatibility

We continue with our roadmap, which includes quite a good number of additional features, and some major new functionalities, like the ability to strip languages.

This is not all. During this period, we have executed 3 different marketing actions. We started with the GiftZOT bundle (at MacZOT), then a MacAppADay one-day feature and the AppZapper/Xslimmer Christmas bundle.

Hundreds of emails, many hours dedicated to the website, particularly its backend and much, much more. Seeing the results, it clearly has been worth it. Pedro and myself would like to thank you all for the support and feedback you have provided us.

We hope you enjoy a very happy Christmas and a great new year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Making History

Making Xslimmer's history functionality took a little bit more than what was initially scheduled. The basic reason was that new ideas kept coming while we were designing its window. From these new ideas, we implemented the possibility to restore a backed up application and the possibility to report issues with applications slimmed.

Additionally, we took a while to design the window. In its initial conception, the history window had only text, and too much information. Little by little we transformed it into something like this:

While this image was pretty close to the final version of the window, there were still many little details to take care of. First, the color buttons. These did not look completely right to the eye. In addition, they did not behave too well while one of the apps was selected. Second, the sorting buttons in the segmented button were not showing correctly. Third, I had made it so that when an application was restoring, its restore button would show a spin progress indicator, so the window did not really need one. Finally, the window was in need of some gradient.

As a result, we kept working, and the window was almost ready a few days later:

Still solving the segmented buttons bug in Cocoa was going to take quite some code. Louie commented: "I know how to solve that bug: get rid of the buttons, and make the table headers the sort buttons". That is what finally went into 1.1.4:

So, tell us what you think!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


OK, so finally we shifted priorities and launch Panther compatibility prior to the Slim History. Both are demanded, but we thought that being able to use Xslimmer in Mac OS X 10.3.9 would allow many more people to enjoy it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


These last few days have been a bit different. Initially, we had plan to work on getting 1.1.3 out by today. In 1.1.3, we intend to include a "Slim History" window that will allow you to review all the applications you have slimmed, your overall savings over time and the possibility to recover an application from its backup, if you did had the backup option turned on during the slim process. In addition, from the Slim History window you will be able to report any problematic application in an easy way to us.

While I worked on the Slim History, Pedro was working on Panther compatibility. We believe that being Panther compatible, will Xslimmer useful for a much wider audience. It is tricky though. First, we are using Intel machines for our development, so we have had to buy a PPC machine in order to work on this. This machine will allow us to ensure that we get to that desired Mac OS X 10.3.9 compatibility, and will also permit to better test our releases in the PPC platform. Second, Panther does not have some of the fine 10.4 methods, so some parts of the code are being rewritten.

During the last week though, we have been busy in getting people to know that Xslimmer exists. We contacted Brian Ball some time ago to promote Xslimmer via MacZOT. When he got back to us, he suggested to include Xslimmer within the GiftZOT 1.0 bundle. After the mystery bundle was unveiled, our Web site traffic increased significantly. Clearly, it is a signal that tell us that Xslimmer is starting to get known. Right now, we are planning another couple of marketing actions, that will happen within the next 2 months.

Right now, I am going back to work on Xslimmer's 1.1.3 Slim History.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Xslimmer 1.1.2 has been released

After the release of the first non-beta of Xslimmer we have been quite busy. Lots of emails with questions, suggestions, and so on. Now we are back with our implementation roadmap, and today we have released version 1.1.2.

In this new version you will find the dock-drop feature: applications can now be dropped to Xslimmer's dock icon, making it even easier to slim them down. Apps can also be dropped on the application icon. This was requested by several people since the application was made known. In addition, we had still to optimize one heavy-duty loop. This optimization has also made it into this release, along with an optimization into checking applications dropped against the blacklist. Finally, we introduce some changes into de animation between windows that should make them smoother, particularly in PowerPC systems.

And now, to work on 1.1.3. Take care.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Xslimmer is Out!

That is right! We got there. After 20 days of public beta, we are ready to launch commercially. From this moment, you can buy a license of Xslimmer, and, for a limited time only, is just $6.95.

Thanks go to all people who have helped us during the testing period.

Monday, November 13, 2006

1.0.8.RC2 is out. 1.1 Coming soon!

We have a new version of Xslimmer out. Unless we get any last minute surprises, it will be the last beta version. Next Saturday night, the night of the 18th to the 19th of November, Xslimmer 1.1 will be launched.

This will be the first commercial version of Xslimmer. To support our launch we are planning different marketing actions. First of all, we will have, for a limited time, an special introductory offer. For this period of time, a full license of Xslimmer will cost only $6.95. In addition, we are also planning different limited time offers whose deals are being worked upon with different Mac sites. You probably know who they are. If you want to suggest to us any special action, you are more than welcome.

Getting there, at last!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Xslimmer 1.0.7.RC2

We have released a new version of Xslimmer, 1.0.7.RC2. With the previous release, 1.0.6.RC1 we believe to have achieved significant application stability. The new release will build upon that, featuring:

- Speed boost: 3x app analysis speed after drag.
- Reduced memory consumption: Previously, applications with a significant amount of files could take up several megabytes of memory. Due to this, dropping a significant amount of apps onto Xslimmer could end up filling up the system's memory, forcing the Mac to paginate, thus becoming very slow. In 1.0.7 each application will take only a few kilobytes. I tested it with 240+ apps, and memory consumption did not even increase by 1 megabyte.
- Centralized application blacklisting: New system to prevent slimming applications that fail to behave correctly after slimming due to integrity checks. This new system will differ from the current protected applications scheme. The protected application scheme will be for you to voluntarily protect whichever app or path you want to protect. The blacklist system will be able to gather the latest information from the Internet, and protect apps known to fail.
- Projected application size: You can see how much space you will save before actually slimming.
- Slight GUI modifications.

As these changes are pretty significant, version 1.0.7 is now our second release candidate, or RC2.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Getting there

It's only been a few days since we launched the public beta for Xslimmer on November 1st (at 3am :-) These days have been extremely busy for us, much more so than expected. We had tested the application under the most varied circumstances, a closed beta programme had been conducted with a few friends, and we were pretty confident that everything was completely under control. In our minds we had secretly planned to sit back and count the downloads, just like what the Netscape people did in the good old times. That's a joke, of course. Since Xslimmer was announced, we began receiving a lot of feedback from users, and new bugs that had not been noticed before were uncovered. So, our testing had not been enough. Big thing. As developers we already knew that much, and the beta had been prepared with that purpose in mind. So we set to work at a frantic rate to try and solve everything, nail down all details and polish all corners. Too bad we also have our day jobs. And our families. And relatives that insist on celebrating their birthdays, and friends that have newborn children that have to be visited. No fear, writing software is fun. It's not nearly as bad as it was for the Netscape team: I've actually slept 8 hours in the past 3 days - summing them all up together, that's it.

What this translates to, in practical terms, is the release of several application updates. As of this writing, the latest version available for download is 1.0.6 RC1. More than 2,000 copies of Xslimmer have already being downloaded, and thanks to the people that have chosen to participate in this beta, some important bugs have been uncovered. Fixes have already been applied, and we hope they will never surface again. At this stage, the most important bugs have already been solved:

- Crash after dropping DivX Player 1.0.1.
- Crash when selecting "Preferences" while applications were being analyzed.
- Dropping a huge number of applications caused Xslimmer to fail, displaying an error message stating "Slim operation failed".

Apart from those, many smaller cosmetic bugs have also been fixed, and even some improvements have been implemented.

Bug fixing has been an important task we have been performing these days, but it has not been the most time-consuming one. What has taken most of our time is the testing of applications that users have reported problems with, after they had been slimmed down. We already knew that some applications check themselves upon startup for integrity, security, anti-piracy or other legitimate reasons. That's why we included the option to "blacklist" or protect applications whose binary files should never be handled. With more than 4,000 applications already available as Universal Binaries, and more than 2,000 Xslimmer downloads, the variety of cases we have had to review these days is huge, and we are constantly updating the list of protected applications.

Even though we believe Xslimmer is now stable and reliable, we are aware that some people have experienced problems due to some applications not working properly after its use, and not because of defects in Xslimmer itself. Having said that, we were the ones that chose to create a tool that may not work with a small number of applications, and therefore we feel we have to make every effort to address this situation. As a consequence, we have decided to work on this area extensively, in order to provide the best experience possible. We are still considering some details, but expect to find in future versions an streamlined way to gather results from other users. This will allow our users to check how the applications they want to slim worked for others. We are excited about this feature which, we believe, will provide a lot more confidence!

To conclude, we would like to thank all those that have submitted their feedback to us. We have received praise, bug reports, and many other comments, all of which are useful and encouraging. As our small way to say thank you, we will draw 10 for-life licenses among those that have provided us with any type of feedback.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Comments on Glenn Wolsey's Review

As far as we know, Glenn Wolsey has been the first site to provide a mini review of the Xslimmer application. Thank you for that, Glenn!

The small review seems to have caused some confusion as Glenn asumes it is for Intel Macs only. Probably the selected screenshot has caused this. Here is a PowerPC one:

So, to clarify: Xslimmer works both for Intel and PowerPC Macs. If you have a PowerPC Mac, the part that gets eliminated from the slimmed apps is the Intel one. That is why Xslimmer is a universal app. You can use Xslimmer to slim it self if you want to. To check what processor architecture Xslimmer has detected you open the about window:

In addition, as it is not mentioned, I want to point out that Xslimmer has a feature by which you can drop apps from a mounted image (.dmg). It will install the application for you and then, pressing slim, you can slim it right away. Thanks to this you can save an step in installing new apps you want to slim.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Xslimmer v1.0.4 - Beta License Key

In order to improve your testing experience, we have included a license key in the new beta release of Xslimmer. If you did download Xslimmer before version 1.0.4, you can visit our home page at and download the key directly in there. The key is valid until November 15th.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Public Beta is Out!

Xslimmer public beta has started! Please download your copy and tell us what you think and if you encounter any issues. We are really willing to hear your opinion about the application we have been developing for the last few months.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Private Beta Ends Tomorrow

These last few days have been a bit different. While the private beta was out, we have dedicated ourselves to write documentation (FAQ, Help), creating the Web site, ready marketing details, as well as improving little things in Xslimmer that have been suggested by the testers.

In addition, from the beta test we have gathered several new ideas to implement in future releases.

Tomorrow we shall build a new release of the application, getting ready for the open beta period. Hopefully, tomorrow night, Halloween, will be the start of this new and final stage towards the application launch.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Private Beta Is Out

We have delivered the first beta to a few selected people. We are very excited and willing to hear their comments. Hopefully nothing major will come out, so we should start the public beta period next weekend.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ultimating Details

Yesterday we made our appcast available. That is the information that allows Xslimmer to know if there is a new version available. As a consequence, we realized that in some cases the "last updated" date within the preferences was a bit too long.

We also dedicated ourselves to finalize some aesthetical aspects of the application, like some windows transitions that happen very seldomly, but did not look too nice.

We are now finishing the creation of the dmg file, along with the Web and documentation setup in order to start the public beta very soon, hopefully, within this week. But before we do that, we are going to allow a selected group of beta testers to try it out first. These are people we know and trust, and we are sure that will provide interesting feedback in order to improve both the application and the documentation.

We are getting there!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Got that bug

Last night we had some bug that kept us awake for a long time. What happened was that the application was booming randomly after re-registering it (something that is not supposed to happen very often, if at all). Pedro signaled that was probably GUI related, he ended up being right.

In order to nail the bug, I was using Xcode's debugger. Unfortunately Xcode's debugger did not show up any information about processes being run. I made some changes to the code, and by temporarely eliminating some pieces I finally managed to get to the offending code statement. It was around 2am.

I read the statement a few times. I could not make out what was happening. I did some more testing. Finally, I looked at the local variables. Found something wierd. We had an string that had an invalid pointer. What was the reason? 2:30am and I was still tracing code. Made some more changes. Finally, around 3:10, I found it.

The bug was due to the fact that at some stage, in one of our classes, we were retaining twice the same variable. We actually ment to retain 2 different ones, so the one that was not retained ended up causing the invalid pointer. As we were using KVO methods to assign a value to that variable, so it would be shown in the GUI, the hold thing exploded.

Fixed, we are getting there.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

End of Xslimmer's Development; Start of Beta (soon)

After several months of work, we have finally finished the Xslimmer app. We are now producing the documentation as well as the Web site for it.

Xslimmer is an application that will allow users of Mac OS X to recover disk space in a very simple way, without having to give up to anything. How is that possible? Well, this first major release will allow you to get rid of foreign architecture code in the installed universal binary apps. This allows the applications to continue working as they did, but taking less space. For future release we have many other ideas that we want to incorporate to Xslimmer.

By the end of this week, we will be releasing the first public beta version. If you are willing to try it, please go to and download your copy. We are willing to hear from you at

Sunday, October 15, 2006

We are getting there!

This is how the initial version of Xslimmer used to look. We thought we were almost done. Every aspect of functionality we wanted to add for v1.0 was there. Then we met Louie Mantia. He redesigned the interface, and a month later, we are still working to get it right. We have changed the look significantly, hoping users will like it better. Soon you will be able to judge for yourself.