Our Next Project: Facebook

I’m happy to announce today that we’ve packed up our small Vancouver studio and will be making the move to San Francisco in the coming weeks to join the design team at Facebook.

For the past four years, we’ve worked tirelessly on creating truly awesome products with a focus on innovation and great design, and I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish during that time. Our flagship apps, Wallet and Pulp, have been used and loved by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Building these products has been a fun and exciting ride, but the time has come to move on to newer and bigger challenges.

Facebook is an invaluable service that we all use daily, and a company I believe is one of the most innovative and important around today. After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit. Simply put, there’s an opportunity at Facebook to have a big impact in many people’s lives. More importantly, Facebook is full of extremely talented people who will be able to help realize its full potential in the years to come.

Our products and services have not been acquired by Facebook, and while there are no plans for further development on them, Wallet and Pulp will continue to remain available for download and purchase in their current form, and support will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have. We’ll certainly be the first to let you know of any updates or changes here in the future.

A special thanks to all of our customers and supporters who have helped us grow and build the best products possible throughout the last four years. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

Dustin MacDonald
Acrylic Software

Introducing Pulp 2.5 for Mac and iOS

Pulp 2.5 is here! This is a major update to our favourite visual newsreader, with tons of behind the scenes improvements and new features. Here are a few of the biggest new changes:

By far the best new addition to Pulp is the brand new smart home page, a singular place to see all of the important stories of the day from across all of your feeds. Home page analyzes every article in Pulp and searches for trends – important stories that are being talked about by multiple feeds in your pages. By using a wide range of criteria like when a story broke and how many feeds are mentioning it, home page ranks and displays each new trend in an elegant and beautiful layout with large photos and previews. It’s an ambitious new feature that makes glancing at the daily news incredibly quick and simple, and will completely change the way you use Pulp.

One of our favourite features in Pulp is the shelf – a super simple and obvious way to queue up interesting articles you find to read later. But sometimes you’ll find a great story through a website you’re not subscribed to, or a link from Twitter or Facebook. Now you can save these articles to your shelf as well, simply by dragging in any web link, or using the new Save to Pulp extension for Safari and Google Chrome. Like all shelf articles, they’re ready for offline reading and synced across all of your devices.

We’ve also implemented support for syncing through iCloud, which will replace our existing Pulp Sync service. Simply sign in with your iCloud account and watch your data sync seamlessly across all of your devices. It’s really that simple.

You’ll find all of the same features on the iOS side, plus full support for the beautiful retina display on the new iPad. Learn more about all the new features on our site.

Finally, both versions are available on the App Store for 50% off (just $5 on the Mac, and $3 on the iPad!) until the weekend. If you’re not a Pulp user already, now’s a great time to hop on board.

Wallet for iPad is here

I’m happy to announce we’ve finally finished work on one of our most requested products ever: Wallet for iPad. Wallet for iPad sports a brand new user interface specifically designed to take advantage of the iPad’s larger display, and also happens to be one of our most gorgeous apps ever released. All of the same features found in Wallet for iPhone are available in the iPad edition, many of which are made even better, like quick navigation between entries and the brand-new inline editor.

What about pricing? Wallet for iOS is a universal app, meaning you only need to purchase once to receive both the iPhone and iPad versions. Existing customers can simply update through the App Store to receive Wallet for iPad absolutely free of charge.

Finally, this exciting update (3.0) also brings full iOS 5 support and a number of other fixes and tweaks to the existing Wallet for iPhone. We hope you enjoy the newly refreshed Wallet for iOS – I think you’ll agree it’s worth the wait.

Acrylic + iOS 5

With the latest and greatest release of Apple’s mobile OS now available, many have asked us about our plans for iOS 5 and iCloud in the near future. Here’s a brief update on what’s happening:

Pulp

Pulp for iPad 1.4 has been released, and includes many important fixes and tweaks, including full iOS 5 compatibility. This update also supports system-wide Twitter integration, so you won’t need to sign into your Twitter account before posting about the awesome article you just found. Check the Updates tab in the App Store to grab it today.

Wallet

We planned on having Wallet ready for iOS 5 on day one, but as it turns out, we’ve been working on something a little bit bigger than a simple maintenance update. This update will be released in the coming weeks, includes full support for iOS 5, and is a free upgrade for existing users. What else is new? You’ll just have to wait and see.

What about iCloud, the new incarnation and replacement for MobileMe? While MobileMe and iDisk have been given a death sentence, they will be around until June 30, 2012, even after moving to iCloud. That means MobileMe sync should function properly in all versions of Wallet until then. After that, you can use a free Dropbox account or WebDAV server to sync your data over the air just like with MobileMe. Hopefully we’ll have some news before then, though.

As usual, we’ll post here about this upcoming release and other announcements as soon as they’re ready. In the meantime, enjoy iOS 5 and all of the incredible new features!
Pulp for Mac 2.1 Now Available

Version 2.1 of the most innovative newsreader on the Mac is out now, enhanced and ready for OS X Lion! Here’s a rundown on some of the great new features you’ll find in this update:

• Full Screen Mode (Lion only)
News is best consumed without distractions, so it’s no secret that full screen mode and Pulp were practically made for each other. Click the new full screen button in the top right corner, and Pulp smoothly glides onto a beautiful wood desktop, free from stray windows and other distractions. In full screen mode, you’re given extra room to read and enjoy each article, and features like the shelf are more seamlessly integrated.

• Multi-touch Gestures (Lion only)
Pulp supports natural multi-touch gestures found in Lion, so you can swipe and scroll through multiple articles, and even directly manipulate the page curl.

• Push Sync (Lion only)
Pulp for Mac now automatically updates itself whenever you make a change on another Mac or iPad through Pulp Sync. This feature has existed in the iPad version since day one, and is now enabled on the Mac - thanks to Lion.

• Instant Resume
Never lose your place reading an article again. Pulp 2.1 automatically remembers its state when you quit, so the next time you launch Pulp everything is back exactly where you left it.

• Tweaks, Fixes & More
There are plenty of additional small tweaks and changes in Pulp 2.1, including Lion-style scrollbars, separate font sizes for articles and pages, revamped feed settings, bug fixes, and more. This is a must update for all Pulp users, even if you aren’t quite ready for Lion yet.

Pulp for Mac 2.1 is available now on the Mac App Store, and is a completely free update for existing users. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Acrylic on Lion

Here’s a quick update on our plans for the next great release of Mac OS X, Lion. Today, the current Mac versions of Pulp and Wallet have been tested and work great on Lion, so nothing will change when you upgrade your Mac tomorrow to Apple’s newest cat.

However, there are a couple of new specific Lion-enhanced updates from us landing later this month:

Pulp 2.1

Pulp 2.1 is a significant new update containing a number of new features and enhancements for Lion users, including an amazing full screen mode, push sync support, auto-resume, and more. Stay tuned for more details on this update once it’s released.

Wallet 3.2.4

This Wallet update contains a number of small Lion fixes and user interface improvements. Currently awaiting approval on the Mac App Store.

Both of these updates will be totally free updates for existing users when they’re released later this month. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the Updates tab in the Mac App Store!

Introducing Pulp for Mac 2.0 + Pulp Sync

The wait is finally over. The long awaited Pulp for Mac 2.0 is now available, bringing all of the great features of Pulp for iPad back to the Mac - including Magic Reader, integrated sharing, feed search, additional customization options, and more.

We’ve been working on Pulp for Mac for over 9 months, and couldn’t be happier with the result. For those of you who have used Times 1.0, Pulp for Mac is a substantial upgrade in both speed and customizability, and brings it up to speed with all the work we’ve done on Pulp for iPad.

But what would a great Mac and iPad pair be without great sync support? Pulp Sync is a new cloud-based sync service we’ve built specifically for Pulp from the ground up, letting you keep all of your articles, feeds, pages, and other data in sync between multiple devices. All you need is a completely free Pulp Sync account, and all of your changes will be synced seamlessly.

Learn more about Pulp for Mac, or download for just $9.99 (limited time introduction price!) exclusively on the Mac App Store.

Wallet for iPhone 2.2

Since releasing Wallet for Mac 3.2 with Dropbox syncing support earlier this month, we’ve received countless emails wondering when Dropbox support would also arrive in the iPhone version. While it’s a great addition to Wallet’s feature set, it’s admittedly of limited use without support for all devices.

The wait is over. Wallet for iPhone 2.2 is now available, bringing support for syncing with Dropbox. Like the Mac version, you can set it up just like MobileMe syncing. It’s totally seamless, and best of all, Dropbox is totally free.

By popular demand, we’ve also added support for attaching photos to individual entries. Add any photo from your library to an entry, and it will be securely encrypted along with your database. The attachment will even sync back to your Mac(s) and/or other devices.

So what’s next for Wallet? We hear this iPad thing is pretty cool…

Mac App Store + Wallet 3.2

We’re thrilled to announce that our beloved information manager, Wallet, is now available on the Mac App Store! We just barely missed the launch of the store Thursday morning, thanks to some unexpectedly long review times, but we’re fully behind it - and now offering Wallet through the Mac App Store exclusively. Expect to see Pulp for Mac to follow when version 2.0 arrives soon.

What does this mean for existing users? Not a whole lot; we’ll continue to provide free updates to existing Wallet customers until the next major version. If you choose to migrate to the Mac App Store version (re-purchase), you’ll get slightly more convenient updates and installs, and help us further support future development of Wallet.

You might have noticed that Wallet on the App Store is version 3.2, a brand new update with some exciting new features. Don’t worry, this new version will be pushed to existing users sometime in the next few days. But what exactly is new?

Introducing Wallet 3.2 + Browser Extensions

AutoFill has always been one of Wallet’s best features. With just your Wallet password, you can automatically fill login information for any website you’ve stored in the app. While Wallet has had this feature for a long time, there has never been a way for it to directly integrate with Safari, until now.

Thanks to Safari 5’s official support for extensions, we’re now able to put Wallet right in your browser. The results speak for themselves:

The Wallet extension also tracks sites you’ve logged into (but haven’t yet saved a password for), offering a way to instantly save both the username & password to Wallet for future use.

Don’t use Safari? There’s an extension available for Google Chrome too, which offers all the same functionality.

Wallet 3.2 includes a bunch of other new features as well, including Dropbox syncing (by popular demand!), and a refreshed user interface. As mentioned, it’s available on the Mac App Store exclusively for just $19.99, and existing users will receive the update for free shortly.

This is just the start of an exciting year ahead for us, so stick around for more news in the coming months. If you have any questions about Wallet and the Mac App Store, please feel free to contact us!

Thoughts on Sync

It comes as no surprise that one of the most requested features for Pulp has been some form of syncing, specifically with Google Reader. It sounds like a great idea: use Google Reader’s centralized service to sync all of your feeds and articles across multiple devices, seamlessly and instantly. After all, plenty of other apps do it already. What could possibly be the problem? There are actually two of them - let’s take a look.

A Poor Experience

Google uses the tried and true structure for organizing RSS data in Google Reader: folders and feeds. Many feed readers copy this same approach, making them more or less perfectly compatible with Google Reader. However, Pulp is much more complex, offering customizable pages, columns, and feeds with settings, styles, and more.

Why does this matter? Let’s say you add a new feed to Pulp on your iPad, and want it to show up in the same place on Pulp for Mac after syncing with Google Reader (a pretty standard request for any app that “syncs”). A few questions instantly arise:

  • Which page and column does it appear in?
  • What appearance styles and settings will it have?
  • Which of its articles have you already saved to the shelf?

Since there’s no way to preserve any of that kind of data on Google’s servers, Pulp has no answers to any of these questions, and never will. You would have to re-supply all of this information manually, requiring almost as much setup as simply adding the feed again. It’s a total nightmare - no one wants an app that only syncs some of your data.

Imagine repeating this for every feed, page, or shelf article you add or remove, on every device you want to sync to, and you’ll quickly see why Google Reader simply isn’t the right fit for Pulp.

Private API

We’ve all heard before that private APIs are bad. Apple rejects apps that use their own private APIs from being on the App Store. Private APIs are undocumented, unreliable, and more than likely to break in the future. In a nutshell, they’re great for developers looking for a cheap way to add instant functionality to their apps, but undeniably bad for end users.

Outside of the developer community, no one seems to know that the Google Reader API is completely private. It has never been announced as a public API by Google, despite having been “exposed” by hackers for many years. That means there’s no official developer documentation (the API itself is a complete mess), and any apps hooking into it are subject to break at any time without warning.

Nobody knows why Google has been silent on its Reader API. However, it seems likely that when or if Google decides to make the API public, it will include some form of monetization, probably in the form of inserted ads. After all, more and more apps are piggybacking off of Google Reader’s backend every day, completely for free. Alternatively, the whole thing could just be turned off entirely.

It’s hard to believe that so many popular applications are based on Google Reader when this is the case, but the truth is clear as day. Some actually rely on Google completely for feed parsing, on top of syncing. These apps might work for now, but they bear uncertain futures at best. That’s not the kind of thing we’re interested in supporting or selling to our users.

[On a side note, yes, we did cave a bit here and include an import functionality for Google Reader in version 1.1. However, importing feeds is not a core feature, and Pulp will still work great without it.]

What’s the Plan?

We hear you loud and clear. Syncing is an important feature for any data-sensitive app, and you’d like to be able to sync your feeds and articles in Pulp across all of your devices. However, Google Reader is clearly not the right answer for us.

When Pulp for Mac 2.0 arrives, it’ll bring with it support for wirelessly syncing with Pulp for iPad, as well as additional future products. Our thinking here is not to be lazy, but to make the best products we possibly can. We’re aiming for something that’s both seamless and easy to set up, and will be reliable in the future. We think you’ll understand when you see our final product. Thanks for reading!