An Embarassing Glimpse Into the Past

There’s no charge for entry.

Over at my day job, we unveiled something very cool today: The Rogue Amoeba Historic Screenshot Archive. It’s a repository of screenshots of our products dating back to 2002, along with details and stories about many of our biggest updates. Putting together the archive was quite an undertaking, but as I wrote in our announcement post, the end result feels weighty and worthwhile. It’s quite gratifying to be able to look back on our work, which now spans more than two decades.

It can also be humbling and amusing, and thus worth writing about on this mildly-popular humor site. Start with a look at this 2003-era screenshot from our now-retired broadcast app Nicecast:

A screenshot of the very first version of Nicecast

It’s really something. Of course, it’s got pinstripes, which were the style at the time. It’s also got a drawer, an interface element that has long gone the way of the dodo. But what I notice most are the speed recommendations, which include a suggestion for how to broadcast from a 28.8 modem. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Next, take a gander at the “Timer” section from version 1.0 of our recording tool Audio Hijack Pro:

A screenshot of a poorly aligned pair of time fields

If you look closely, you’ll see that the “Start Time” and “End Time” fields aren’t properly aligned, with “End” riding multiple pixels high. Development tools at the time just didn’t provide much help with things like that. While talking to my co-founder Quentin about it, he said “Theres some amount of ‘I’m happy I got this to work at all’ going on too. That Time field was beyond my ability to code in 2003”. It was a very different time.

Speaking of time, I’ll close by noting my favorite thing I’ve spotted thus far. Audio Hijack has long provided optional limits which can be used to end a recording automatically. Here’s how the current version looks:

An “End Recording” option which can be activated via a checkbox, and then configured to X amount of time.

Now let’s compare it against a nearly 20-year-old version of the same product, when this functionality was first introduced:

An “End Recording” option which can be activated via a checkbox, and then configured to X amount of time.

As you can see, rather than providing a checkbox to turn this option off as we do now, the default setting was “Stop recording after Eternity”. “Eternity”! It tickles me so.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to see and mock. Head over to the archive if you’re interested, and let me know what embarrassments you dig up.