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Picturesque 1.0.1

Acqualia (World of Worlds, Zac Cohan, Nik Youdale)
Rating: ☆☆

Zac Cohan
PO Box 193 Avalon Beach 2107
Sydney, NSW 2107
AU


Collateral damage:
$19.50 sent through PayPal
1-2 MB pure waste in disk free space
~/Library/Preferences/com.acqualia.Picturesque.plist

Zac Cohan and Nik Youdale started writing software in high school, writes Cohan in the Acqualia blog. Their first venture was 'World of Where' hosted at Cohan's domain http://worldofworlds.net. They changed their name and only recently (April 2007) came out with a killer app.

This one.

Quickly the Apple University Consortium in Australia got involved and subsidised their trip to the WWDC in June 2007. And Cohan and Youdale walked away with the design award for best student product. And it's a beautiful product too.

Picturesque is a 'quick and dirty' Photoshop targeted for bloggers. And whilst there's a lot of 'quick' about it there's not much 'dirty'. Cohan and Youdale studied the Apple website to see what type of image enhancements were most popular and put them all in the same package.

The application comes with a sexy black inspector for setting the background colour, the reflection, shadow and glow, curved corners, enhancing edges, and resizing images. Naturally you see all changes in realtime and you check and uncheck effects to toggle their use so there's no 'undo/redo' stacks involved, making the app a lot easier to work with than Photoshop.

And as Cohan and Youdale point out, this sucker loads in the same millennium: try launching Photoshop, then Picturesque, then make your image enhancements in the latter, upload them to your blog, keep your computer running, drive into Sydney and shop around, meet someone for lunch - and when you get home Photoshop will still be launching. Picturesque works fast.

Seriously: you can probably finish work on a single image before Photoshop's ready. And for enhancements like this Picturesque's a lot easier because there's no layer of undo/redo you have to work through.

Watermarks

The demo copy will imprint your saved images with a watermark until you pay for your copy. Naturally you could cheat and take screen dumps of your work without saving but for $19.50 it's mostly a no-brainer. And for an additional $9 you get all subsequent updates for free.

Inside the Package

Picturesque isn't the best packaged OS X application ever. It has at least 792 KB of junk you don't need no matter what: 2 .DS_Store files, 80 classes.nib files, 80 info.nib files, 24 framework header files, 6 data.dependency files, and 57 TIFFs that mostly were not compressed. That's a lot of overhead for a download that's only 1.2 MB (1,221,969 bytes) to begin with.

If you simply drag Picturesque 1.0.1 from your DMG window to /Applications as is recommended (and which Rixstep do not recommend) you'll have used 3.46 MB of disk space.

If you take ten minutes and remove the files listed above you'll get that down by .82 MB to 2.64 MB. If you further customise for your own use (removing Chinese files for the Sparkle framework and so forth) you'll get things down another 1 MB to only 1.64 MB or less than half the initial install.

Well Behaved, Sloppy Assembly

This is a well behaved app: not only does it work well but also it doesn't pull any of the stupid (foolish) tricks other apps try - no admin password, no hidden files, no junk in 'Application Support' - none of that. Uninstalling is simply removing the app bundle and its preferences file. That's it.

But while Picturesque is still on your disk you definitely have collateral damage: the authors of Picturesque are aware their product isn't the best packaged OS X application ever - and in fact learned how to do it better through this site - but so far seem to indicate they don't really give a damn.

Somehow it can't feel good as a customer to have to do work the supplier was supposed to do but you're stuck: you'll have to give that damn if you still want Picturesque.

Where Are the Downloads?

Quite a few sites and blogs are awarding free copies of this gem and it has won a design award from Apple - so where are the downloads? Two months into production and Acqualia seem to not have had more than 5,000.

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