The MacTech 25
Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: Industry Influence
The MacTech 25
The 25 most influential people in the Mac technical community.
by Dean Shavit
On The Meaning of Influence
WWDC is a gathering of many ambitious developers, savvy system administrators, Macintosh consultants, technical writers and journalists together with Apple's own development and IT engineers, where ideas are exchanged in a highly-charged atmosphere. It's where the "curtain" that separates the technologists of Cupertino from the "rest of us" who make their livings working with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server is drawn aside for one busy week. Among the thousands of attendees are a couple dozen people whose work helps shape the technical agenda for everyone else in the industry as well as arc of the discussion. Many such threads of thought, inspiration and conversation begin at WWDC and end up embedded in the software people use to do their daily work or in a network design or deployment.
Influence is measurable by many facets, and this group of twenty-five accomplished individuals, accompanied by the seven honorable mentions that were kept off of the main list by "the rules," represents a wide range of technical talent, communication skill, teaching ability and community-building expertise. The MacTech 25's gifts are also frequently accompanied by a heaping helping of wit, a killer sense of humor, and an often an extreme willingness to help others.
It's not easy to categorize these folks, but there are some loose categories that can help us understand why and how the MacTech 25 are helping shape our professions. The Old Guard are folks who were influential Mac folk before the advent of Mac OS X. The New Guard are folks were where influential after the advent of Mac OS X. The Hackers look for ways to wring the most out of Mac OS X either by spreading knowledge of how to do so or by writing scripts or tools. The Modders are busy creating tools that modify Mac OS X in significant ways to enhance it or overcome perceived shortcomings. The Press is the press. The Authors write books about the Macintosh. The Teachers share their knowledge, whatever that may be. The Coders are the developers that make using Mac OS X worthwhile, because without software, we'd be nowhere.
Hot Cocoa and a Cool Cowboy Hat
Want be a Mac OS X Cocoa Developer? Well, you have to start somewhere, and it seems that 99% of those who have successfully made it recently in the Cocoa coding business cut their teeth on Aaron Hillegas's book Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X. Despite its draught-horse title, people code like the pony express after reading it, and by sheer number of recommendations and homages paid, there's little doubt it provides a lucid and friendly entry-point to what can be a somewhat daunting set of tools. Aaron worked for NeXT and then Apple before founding Big Nerd Ranch, which provides world-class training for Mac OS X and Unix developers. Aaron also co-authored Advanced Mac OS X Programming with Mark Dalrymple as well as parts of the Mac OS X client for AOL, along with a few "other" projects along the way for companies like Nortel Networks, and the United Parcel Service.
Member of: the new guard, the authors, the teachers
Adam and Tonya Engst
TidBITS and Books on the E-Prarie
In the publishing industry, it's somewhat difficult to assign the label of "pioneer." Of course, there's Johann Gutenberg, the inventor of moveable type and namesake of the Gutenberg project, a repository of 17,000 e-books in the public domain (http://www.gutenberg.org). If there's a Gutenberg(s) in the Macintosh Technical community, it's Adam and Tonya Engst, the dynamic duo that produces TidBITS (http://www.tidbits.com), a weekly e-zine that's been continuously published in various forms (hypercard stack, etext, html) since 1990. As editors and publishers of the highly successful "Take Control" ebook series, Adam and Tonya have not only made the transition from the old-guard to the new-guard, but managed to maintain (and even advance) their standing and contribution to the Macintosh technical and end-user community. Adam and Tonya are currently active in groups like MacNotables (http://www.macnotables.com), and as contributing editors to magazines such as MacWorld.
Member(s) of: the old guard, the new guard, the authors, the press, the teachers
Mac OS X Hacker Numero Uno
Someone has to wear the crown of top Mac OS X Hacker, and no one who has visited Amit Singh's website-- http://www.kernelthread.com (now superseded by www.osxbook.com) would argue otherwise. It covers a amazing range of Mac OS X topics including command-line tools, an open contest to explain a flaw in the Mac OS X kernel, how to turn the sudden-motion sensor in a Powerbook into a game controller, as well as side-splitting anecdotes such as his misadventures at the local Apple store when picking up his Powerbook and being bullsh_tted by a Genius. Amit recently acquired a MacBook Pro and promptly whipped up a daemon for controlling infrared input to complement his other tools like HFSDebug and SMSRotateD, (which rotates a Powerbook or Macbook's display if you stand it on its side). He's currently tinkering with the ambient light sensor, so I'd expect a keyboard light show that strobes with the iTunes visualizer any day now. Amit's book Mac OS X Internals, a 1650-page exploration of Mac OS X was just published by Addison Wesley, after he worked on it in his as a hobby while employed at the IBM Almaden Research Center prior to accepting a position with Google in May. As Josh Wisenbaker (also of the MacTech 25) so aptly put it, "Everything Amit writes is required reading."
Member of: the new guard, the authors, the hackers, the modders, the coders, the teachers
A Little Script of This . . .
If you've got one Xserve and a terabyte of data to manage, then your day-to-day responsibilities might be pretty routine, but when you're managing an Xserve G5 Shake render farm for a crew of animators working on a Hollywood feature animation to be released by Walt Disney studios, you're truly into high-powered and big-budget computing. Andrina Kelley has been working with Macs since 1985, but it's her UNIX system administration and scripting language skills (Python, tcl) that have quickly become legend, as she's shared her experiences with high-performance computing as a contributing editor to online Mac OS X Server Community and e-zine afp548.com and in presentations at MacWorld and WWDC sessions. Also a storage expert, Andrina manages over fifty terabytes of data while working at C.O.R.E Feature Animations (taking care of over 200 Macs) which just released its first full-length animated feature, The Wild, in which Andrina's name appears in the credits for "administrator: Apple Systems."
Member of: the new guard, the hackers, the teachers
The Merry Prankster
Known for his unflappable persona, razor-sharp sense of humor and world-class prose, Andy Ihnatko goes about the business of reporting developments in Macintosh Technology with a sense of play that few "serious" journalists would allow themselves. Yet Andy is a very serious journalist indeed. As technology columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, he reaches one of the largest readerships in the country, delivered the keynote address at MacWorld Boston, is author of The Mac OS X Tiger Book and The Mac Xcode 2 Book (which is a great primer for high-school students learning to code) among others, and develops AppleScript Studio applications as well as Automator actions such as his "The Tactical Heads-Up Display Workflow!" presented at MacWorld which printed a map upside down and backward to reflect on the inside of car windshields. Some of his finest efforts can be found on his blog "Yellowtext" part of his "Colossal Waste of Bandwidth" web site. Among them is a wonderful anecdote about getting a query from an Apple publicist asking if he'd be willing to interview Steve Jobs, and what it felt like to wait for the call that never came.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the authors, the press, the coders, the teachers
MacFixIt.com was one of the first Macintosh technical mega-sites. Started in the mid-1990s, MacFixit is now part of TechTracker Inc., and remains one of the pillars of the Mac web, with an amazing trove of archived information available for an annual subscription of $24.95/year. For many who need to support Macs in schools and corporate America, Mac Fixit is a must-have. Since 2002, Ben Wilson has been the Editor of MacFixit.com, leading the site during the Mac OS X age and continuing the long tradition of excellence established by MacFixIt founder Ted Landau. Currently, Ben produces the "AQuickFix" podcast series www.macfixit.com/quickfix.rss, and ensures that MacFixIt remains on the cutting edge of troubleshooting and break fix news for its half a million readers.
Member of: the new guard, the press
The News Dude
For as long as the Internet's been around, people have debated how and when it would fulfill its potential as a news delivery medium. As more and more Internet news junkies adopt RSS (real simple syndication) feeds as the mechanism for delivery, they need software that collects that news into a single window for easy digestion. Brent Simmons of Ranchero software is the author of NetNewsWire, one of the best RSS aggregators, which won him an Eddy award at MacWorld, an O'Reilly Mac OS X Innovators award, and a spot in last October's "Night at Adler," organized by Drunkenbatman of http://drunkenblog.com which featured several of the MacTech 25. Not only does Brent and Ranchero software facilitate reading Internet news, his other well-known product is MarsEdit, which helps bloggers create the news in the first place. And where did Brent get his start in Cocoa programming? By reading Aaron Hillegas' Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X, what else?
Member of: the new guard, the coders
MacWorld Pivot Man
In the Macintosh technology world, there's a small but talented group of journalists whose voices are well-known, respected, and authoritative members of the mainstream press. It also seems that many of these voices are either cultivated by or flock to the most mainstream of all Mac periodicals: MacWorld. One just doesn't get to write for MacWorld these days; you have to be "somebody" first. Dan's currently MacWorld's Senior Editor, writes the MacWorld "Gems" column and is the Senior Reviews Editor at Playlist, as well as a contributing editor and columnist (and former editor) of MacFixIt. He will be speaking in MacMania 5, a cruise (http://geekcruises.com) that also features speakers such as Steve Wozniak. Over the years, Dan has written or contributed to a number of popular Mac books, and created one of the first "eBooks" a decade ago. When not writing about Macs, gadgets, iPods or audio, he spends his time with family or shooting hoops.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the press, the authors
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the press, the authors, the teachers
Honey, I Found the Manual!
When you've invented a way to market something that's so right and appropriate sometimes that brand name often becomes synonymous with your name. For David Pogue, that brand is "The Missing Manual." So appropriate in terms of both the need it fills and the promise of what it delivers, the phrase "Missing Manual" also captured a fundamental shift in expectations regarding both the bundled software that ships with your Mac, but also whose responsibility it is to teach you how to use that software. David Pogue sensed that shift, and timed his "Missing Manual" series perfectly, capitalizing on its success by creating his own brand-within-a-brand (the Pogue Press in Partnership with O'Reilly). Old-guard fans will remember David for his Mac Secrets collaboration with Joseph Schorr, widely considered to be one of the finest pre-Mac OS X books for Mac power users. David's battle with tenosynovitis (akin to carpal-tunnel syndrome) hasn't slowed him down one bit, and his search for hardware and software solutions to a medical problem has been fascinating. In addition to being the mastermind of the Pogue Press, David is also a technology columnist for the New York Times.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the press, the authors
To say that someone who made the MacTech 25 is a "blogger" puts them squarely into the new guard of the MacTech 25. To say that John Gruber is a blogger is to miss the point entirely. John is as good a writer as anyone who writes books or for the print media, it's just that his chosen medium is electronic and web-based, completely focused on the technology that makes it possible. Occasionally, he'll also strike a chord that resonates across the whole Macintosh community, as he did when he proclaimed: "The Location Field [of web browsers] Is the New Command Line," or my personal favorite: iLife '06 From the Perspective of an Anthropomorphized Brushed Metal Interface. "Safari: Hey. Brushed. What's up? Brushed Metal: Ah, you know. In the neighborhood, figured I'd stop by. Tried calling you, but kept getting your voicemail. Safari: (bemused) It's like eight in the morning. Brushed Metal: Really? Wow, I thought it was like ten. (Holds left wrist out.) Lost my watch . . . "
Member of: the new guard, the press, the coders
The Long, Long, Long, Article
John Siracusa did us all a huge favor in April of 2005 when he published his highly detailed, insightful, amazingly well-researched and seminal article on Mac OS X 10.4 on http://www.arstechnica.com. Those of us who are developers might have dipped our toes into the documentation, but John Siracusa bathed in it, apparently for many months. The result was a summary of changes in Mac OS X that was just the right thing for all of the tens of thousands who read it. His treatment of extended attributes for ACLs, the mds (metadata service) that powered Spotlight, and launchd, just to name a few, brought these new technologies into focus for nearly everyone who cared to read about it, telling us how they worked without having to wade through the morass of Apple's developer documentation. You can catch up with John as he lobbies hard for things like garbage (memory) collection for Objective-C applications on his blog "FatBits" http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits.ars as well as the replacement of the Mach (XNU) Mac OS X Microkernel with something (anything) better.
Member of: the new guard, the press
Johnathan "Wolf" Rentzsch
Mac OS X Modder Numero Uno
If you created an open-source project that allowed other programmers to do spectacular things with Mac OS X that even Apple's own developers didn't think possible, would you deserve to be crowned "king of the modders?" If you're the Johnathan "Wolf" Rentzsch, and you came up with mach_star (http://rentzsch.com/mach_star/), which allow programmers to both override (mach_override) the kernel as well as inject code into another running process (mach_inject), then the answer is "Meh." OK, well, the answer is really a resounding "absolutely," but the more you get to know Wolf by his writings for Apple's Developer site or IBM's Developerworks (http:// www.ibm.com/developerworks), his own RedShed software site (http://redshed.net) or his appearance at Drunkenbatman's "Evening at Adler," the more you find yourself saying "Meh" to things just like he does. Mac_star makes the magic of Desktop Manager and Virtue Desktop possible, as well as recent iterations of software such as Allume's Stuffit and The Missing Sync. It's currently unknown how many developers use mach_star, but since Wolf made it open-source, anyone can wield this powerful tool. Currently, Wolf works as a developer gun-for-hire, but also leads the Chicago CAWUG (Cocoa and WebObjects User Group). Of his notable contributions to the community in 2006: an article in TidBITS that led to the method of creating an external drive than can boot both Intel and PowerPC Macs.
Member of: the new guard, the press, the coders, the modders, the hackers
2005 and 2006 have been spectacular years for Josh Wisenbaker. He went from an underappreciated systems engineer at an Apple Specialist in North Carolina to a Senior Engineer at a Fortune 40 company - Lowe's home improvement stores. Previously, Josh was known "macshome" the sidekick of Joel Rennich and co-editor of AFP548.com, the online Mac OS X Server community and e-zine. Just as John Siracusa might have had the most-widely read article on Mac OS X, there's no doubt that Josh's article on Mac OS X Server 10.4, published on afp548.com the day it was released, filled the exact same role for the technically curious server admin, followed by articles covering launchd and ACLs in depth. Some say that "timing is everything," and it seems that Josh's timing couldn't be better. Just when Joel Rennich became consumed doing integration work in his new position as a Consulting Engineer for Apple, and couldn't produce as many articles for afp548.com, Josh stepped up to the plate and has hit home run after home run. He's gone from "helping" at WWDC and MacWorld Sessions to a being a speaker in his own right, and is now one of the most visible Mac OS X Server gurus on the Internet. In 2005, Josh was offered, and accepted, an invitation to join the Steering Committee of the Mac Enterprise Project, http://www.macenterprise.org.
Member of: the new guard, the press, the hackers, the teachers
I looked up to and learned from Michael Bartosh, as did many of my colleagues. Unfortunately, he passed away during the voting for the MacTech 25 as the result of a tragic accident while he was on a business trip in Tokyo. Michael was the author of Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration from O'Reilly, which I consider not only the best Mac OS X Server book in existence, but also the product of a mind that understood Mac OS X Server (from an integrator's viewpoint) better than anyone else I knew. Michael answered everyone's questions on many listservs. He also lived hard and played hard, liked to eat chili after a night out on the town and had a Powerbook with so many dents and dings in it that it looked like he'd used it as shield to protect himself from a rockslide. If the MacTech 25 had started in 2002, Michael would have made the list even then. There's no doubt he would have made the list every year for as long as he wanted his knowledge to stay relevant, and if you knew him, you'd know he would've done anything to stay ahead of the curve that he helped create by playing a major role in the creation of Apple's Mac IT Training curriculum as an Apple Certified Trainer as well as the ACSA certification exams themselves. Michael was only twenty-eight when he passed, but he was lucky to discover his calling at an early age. He was our Mozart, and Mac OS X Server was his instrument.
Member of: the new guard, the authors, the hackers, the teachers
The Batlight Is Lit
A year and a half ago, when Macs with Intel processors were just a glimmer in the eyes of rumor-mongers, a product appeared which titillated many of us. It was called CherryOS, and claimed to allow the owner of a PC to install and run Mac OS X in a virtual machine. Upon cursory examination, it became obvious that CherryOS contained unacknowledged code from PearPC, a popular open-source project. Enter Drunkenbatman, blogger supreme. Already known for organizing online events such as the RSS roundtable through his blog http://www.drunkenblog.com, he put together an online expose of Maui-XStream (the company behind CherryOS) that is simply amazing in scope and breadth, as it not only follows the story to Hawaii, but also to India. Drunkenbatman also specializes in-depth interviews with other members of the "indie" Mac OS X Developer community. In October of 2005, he organized the amazing "Evening at Adler" in Chicago, attended by Mac OS X technologists from all over the country. Among those in the MacTech 25 featured in the event were Wil Shipley, Jonathan "Wolf" Rentzsch, Brent Simmons, and Rosyna Keller. Lately, though, Drunkenbatman or "DB" as he's sometimes called, has simply vanished, leaving a blank white page on his blog. We've left the Batlight lit, because we want him to come back. No questions will be asked.
Member of: the new guard, the press, the hackers
Because Everyone's a Hotrodder at Heart
Without hardware, where would we be as Mac users? It's sometimes easy to overlook (not so easy to overclock), while trying to wrap one's head around the complexities of the various layers of Mac OS X, just how important (and fun) Mac hardware can be. From the challenges of flashing off-the-shelf video cards to the teeth-gnashing quest to find a SCSI adapter for under $1000 dollars, to finding out just which G3 and G4 processor upgrades perform the best, how to replace your Core Duo or get rid of that yucky thermal paste, www.xlr8yourmac.com has been the place to go to read about others' experiences before plunking down your dough. Mike Breeden is the one who's runs the show of this Mac technical megasite that's been going strong since 1997.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the press
Under the Hood Down Under
There's few Mac OS X admins that tackle problems with the skill and ingenuity of Nigel Kersten, who is the Senior Technical Officer for College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney Australia. Recently, Nigel wrote a revealing article on AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) for http://afp548.com that investigated the nuances of the tweaking the AFP client and optimizing AFP server performance through tuning kernel parameters and redirecting home directory caches to the local hard disk. His recently released application, Sir Admin, provided the first GUI for the relatively complicated cyradm ACL manager for Cyrus (the imap/pop mailbox server for Mac OS X). Nigel has also kept the admin community on its toes with scripts for home directory quota management and even relocating portable home directories to another partition so that laptops can be easily re-imaged without losing user data.
Member of: the new guard, the hackers, the teachers, the press
Your World Scripted!
There are proprietors/founders of many online communities represented in the MacTech 25: afp548.com, www.xlr8yourmac.com, macfixit.com, macosxhints.com, and macintouch.com. I will however, admit that my favorite, at least for the past year, has been Ray Barber's Macscripter.net. Many communities help out with the "how to" portion of things by posting articles or examples, but Macscripter.net is inhabited by so many skilled and helpful scripters that one could almost write a complex and full-featured AppleScript or AppleScript Studio Application just by posting a series of the proper questions in the right sequence on the MacScripter forums. Because people share "snippets" of actual code, for the most part, you're always closer to the answer than you think, and sometimes just a heartbeat away from a breakthrough. Recently, Ray built on his success with Macscripter.net by launching a new project: http://macdeveloper.net, a "marketplace for businesses to post outsourced projects to a pool of quality Mac developers in a reverse auction styled environment."
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the teachers
The Human Touch
Another proprietor of a successful online Mac technology community is Ric Ford, of http://www.macintouch.com, which has been in publication since 1994, making it one of the oldest Mac megasites in existence. Cleverly, Macintouch still relies on a very old model to keep itself interesting and fresh: it "takes" news from its own readers by email submission, then posts that news, opinion, or review by simply stating: "Macintosh reader so-and-so notes that. . . . " followed by the text of the email. In these days of RSS feeds, syndication, banner ads and those awful unsubtle "IntelliTXT" ads with the double-underline, Macintouch.com captures the essence of community without the bells and whistles, gizmos and gadgets, with no frills and an editorial touch for elaboration by juxtaposition, rather than by exposition. By simply placing news submitted by actual Mac users in carefully organized and timely topics, Macintouch makes magic for its readers every day, without trying too hard, and with the guiding touch of real human beings.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the press
Software That Doesn't Suck
BBEdit (www.barebones.com) is has been/still is the editor of choice for so many Mac programmers, web developers and scripters that it's literally as legendary as the Clarus the dogcow. If you don't know what "moof" is or have never heard of Clarus, then you have as little a chance of being a old guard Mac professional as I (in my early 40s) have of learning to shred on a snowboard or grind down a handrail on a skateboard. BBEdit was one of the first interactive editors. You could, for example, open a web page directly from a site, edit it, save it in place, and see the results immediately, with the ease of using an FTP program, rather than stepping through screen after screen of a convoluted site configuration wizard. Today, BBEdit not only previews HTML pages, but will also preview the results of a shell script or scripts in other interpreters, all the while keeping the list of files you're working on in a handy drawer, also providing a unique command-line to GUI bridge that allows sysadmins to edit UNIX configuration files in place. It also still gracefully mediates the sometimes difficult collisions of linefeeds and linebreaks, the old way of doing things and the new. Oh, it still zaps gremlins.
Member of: the new guard, the old guard, the coders
I Haven't Tested This One Yet
Another beloved Macintosh online community is http://www.macosxhints.com, which, like Macintouch, is powered by contribution from readers, but with a unique twist: readers submit a "hint" which can take the form of a power user tip, a low-level hack, or even a script in just about any language. The objective(s) are obvious--learn your Mac, enhance your Mac, extend the functionality of your Mac, learn to do something on your Mac in a whole new way. As you can imagine, it can be crazy trying to keep over eight thousand individual hints organized by category and type, not to mention by version of Mac OS X. Rob Griffiths has not only manages the circus, by has mastered the circus of MacOSXHints and even takes the time to test the individual hints himself, while writing a column for MacWorld and his own blog http://www.robservatory.com. Also, some knowledgeable web developer types secretly blame Rob for elevating Geeklog, the content management system which powers Macosxhints.com (and now afp548.com) to somewhat mythical status.
Member of: the new guard, the hackers, the press
Userland Heir Apparent
There are certain people that make themselves valuable through their posts on other people sites, and Rosyna Keller is one such person. At this time, it's also unclear as to whether or not Rosyna occupies the same plane of existence as the rest of us. It seems that Rosyna has some sort of professional relationship with the good folks at Unsanity (http://www.unsanity.com) the creators of the APE Application enhancement system, is credited with writing specific Unsanity applications. To quote Drunkenbatman of drunkenblog.com about Rosyna's appearance at the Evening at Adler: "It's really, really hard to describe The Rosyna, but I suppose "Anime-loving, sexually-androgynous opinionated programmer for Unsanity, currently responsible for FontCard, Silk, Menu Master, CEE PEE YOU, etc." might work." If there's some common-sense spankin' to be done to a blogger or comlunist out there, Rosyna's there to do it.
Member of: the new guard, the modders, the coders
Clever Quipper Here
No matter your entry point into the world of Macintosh, you've come across Scott Knaster's influence. Jack of all trades, master of all, he's written or co-authored dozens of books on wide-ranging Mac topics. Turns out, they typically turn into Mac best sellers too. A former Apple employee (from the 68000 days), Scott has a wealth of anecdotes from his contacts too numerous to imagine. Let's put it this way - Scott may be the only person to have held positions at Apple, General Magic (!) and Microsoft for at least 5 years each. Of course, he is so widely recognized because he brings his infectious humor and charm to every task he undertakes. If you're looking for Scott these days, you'll find him writing even more books, speaking at MacWorld, and enlightening us with random life tidbits at his blog (http://foodisworse.typepad.com/this/). Scott influences just about everyone in the Mac community either directly through his writing, teaching and speaking, or indirectly though his vast array of contacts in the Mac universe.
Member of: the old guard, the new guard, the hackers, the coders, the authors
Pimp My Code
Anyone making a list of the top ten Cocoa programmers outside of Apple would have to include Wil Shipley, who founded the OmniGroup and now founder of Delicious Monster, maker of the Apple-Design-Award-Winning (2005 Best User Experience) Delicious Library, which, among its dozens of amazing featues, uses an iSight camera as a bar code scanner. Wil lives in Seattle, drives a red Lotus Elise, and in addition to Delicious Monster (www.delicious-monster.com), also runs a site called "Pimp my code" where he shares his deep knowledge of Cocoa with anyone who cares to read it: http://wilshipley.com/blog, and it's good reading--witty, interesting, full of history and time-saving wisdom. Wil's won a total of seven Apple Design awards, the equivalent of the Academy Award for Mac OS X programmers and is a role model for several generations of aspiring Cocoa programmers, even though he probably wouldn't want to be one. Wil gave an inspirational talk to students at WWDC 2005, participated in Drunkenbatman's Evening at Adler, and started programming using Project Builder for NeXTstep in 1989.
Member of: the old guard, the new guard, the hackers, the coders, the authors
If you've been around the Mac long enough, you may remember some of the early Mac programming books--few and far between, with good ones being even more rare. You may also remember that more than one was written by Dave Mark. The popular "Macintosh Programming Primer" series was one of the first books many Mac programmers of today remember picking up. If you're new to the Mac, you may have purchased an e-book from Spiderworks, Dave's new publishing company formed along with Dave Woolridge. Spiderworks' books cover topics relevant to the Mac today, webbing-in authors old and new, including titles from Dave himself and Danny Goodman, just to name a few. Dave's influence is evident from the top-notch authors he draws upon to write relevant material that teaches the new generation of Mac hackers.
Member of: the old guard, the authors, the teachers, the press.
Trolling for Servers
A common thread amongst the honorees here is their willingness to share their knowledge. In 2002, Joel set up an entire site to do just that. Helping to "change the world, one server at a time," afp548.com is the destination for frustrated OS X server admins everywhere. A former photographer at United Press International, Joel left his post to form his own consulting company where he spread his Mac OS X Server experience as a travelling Apple Certified Trainer. After tackling deep and esoteric issues on afp548, his high profile landed him a new job as a Consulting Engineer with Apple Computer. Joel travels the world to set up and secure new networks as well as and rescue existing ones. Of course, he continues to share tips, scripts, and answers questions at afp548 using his handle, MacTroll. Joel has helped introduce many Mac OS X sysadmins to pushing the bounds and not simply relying on the stock tools that Apple provides.
Member of: the new guard, the teachers, the press
That's Not Going to Work
Some people just seem to be everywhere you turn. Omnipresent, if you will. John Welch fills that role in the Mac community, and is a talent writer with a unique penchant for pointing out the sometimes asinine assumptions certain computer companies (Apple, Microsoft) make in their corporate computing strategies. A strong presence on the Mac OS X Server list and the Mac Enterprise lists, John also writes for MDJ, IT Enterprise, MacTech and maintains his own blog at bynkii.com and is a regular speaker at MacWorld. John approaches all of this with a practical, common-sense style, and the ability to drop his opinions like precision-guided missives cultivated, perhaps, in his 6-ish years in the US Air Force. All this and he manages to keep up with the demands that overseeing IT operations for Kansas City Life Insurance place on him. You'll see John's influence clearly in long threads on mailing lists where his well-reasoned comments sway more than a few to see things his way, or at least be open to new opinions. Oh, and did I mention that he hates Star Wars with a vengence? Hates it, he does.
Member of: the old guard, the new guard, the press, the authors, the teachers.
If anyone "owns" Mac IT, it's Mike Bombich. While other sysadmins have dabbled in AppleScript Studio to make simple graphical interfaces for scripts, his backup and cloning utility, Carbon Copy Cloner may have been downloaded nearly one million times, and works amazingly well for end-users and sysadmins alike. His other major project, NetRestore, which started out as a simple front end for slinging ASR images over Netboot, has become a rich mass deployment and computer management system that recently gained the capability of imaging dual boot computer labs. NetRestore as also become one of Apple's worst-kept secrets--shunned from certification curriculums and the Mac OS X Server Admin Guide, it is simply used by everyone. Mike also shares his source code, which has been invaluable for AppleScript Studio programmers as a reference of how things "should be done." And, if that weren't enough, he also publishes some of the most widely read technical articles and hosts the premier community focused on Mac OS X Deployment at http://www.bombich.com. For the last four years, Mike has worked for Apple, while remaining amazingly productive at his "hobby," all at barely thirty years old, if that.
Member of: the new guard, the coders, the hackers, the teachers
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
Seems to be that people either know of Schoun, or they don't. In either case, you've probably been downstream of his influence in one manner or another. Unlike some others in this list, outside of a post here or there, he's not very active on mailing lists. Nor has he set up a web presence that aims to give you every detail about the Mac. However, that is more than made up for in his speaking (MacWorld, WWDC, MacRetreats, etc.) and authoring and editing (Peachpit's Visual Quickstart, Apple's Pro Training series, articles for MacTech and others). Also, you may have taken one of the many Apple certification courses that he teaches as CEO of his training company, IT Instruction (http://www.itinstruction.com). Sound busy? You bet! So, if you're Schoun, what do you do with the slices of non-work time? "Cleveland is my home. Outside of the Mac community, I lead a quiet, simple life. I enjoy my family and watching baseball. I've been to most of the stadiums across the United States and Canada in my travels. Cleveland still has the best park for Baseball (Jacob's Field)."
Some people go broad with their skill-set. Others go deep into one. When it comes to QuickTime, Tim sits in the latter category. A sixteen-year veteran of Apple Computer, he holds the position of Senior Software Engineer in the QuickTime group. A frequent speaker, author of two books, QuickTime Toolkit, Volume One, and QuickTime Toolkit, Volume Two, you'll also find Tim fielding questions from beginner to advanced on many lists, Apple and third party. Prior to his programmer role, he authored several of the original "Inside Macintosh" series of books - serious exercise material. If you need to wrap a streaming Flash-based audio sample in QuickTime and display it through your Cocoa or Carbon app, Tim can surely point you in the right direction. Since QuickTime is a cornerstone of the Mac experience, Tim holds an important place in our list: by guiding programmers old and new in the ways of QuickTime, he ensures that we'll all see more of the media-rich applications that we're accustomed to and rely on.
Member of: the old guard, the coders, the press, the teachers
Dean Shavit is an ACSA (Apple Certified System Administrator) who loves to use a Mac, but hates paying for software. So each month he's on the hunt for the best Open-Source and freeware solutions for OS X. Besides surfing for hours, following the scent of great source code, he's a partner at MOST Training & Consulting in Chicago, where he trains system administrators in OS X and OS X Server, facilitates Mac upgrade projects for customers, and writes for his own website, <www.themachelpdesk.com>. Recently, he became the surprised father of an application: Mac HelpMate, available at <www.machelpmate.com>. If you have questions or comments you can contact him: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.