The MacTech Spotlight: Andrew Welch, El Presidente, Ambrosia Software, Inc.
Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 09
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight
The MacTech Spotlight: Andrew Welch
El Presidente, Ambrosia Software, Inc.
How long have you been doing what you do?
Ambrosia has been incorporated for 15 years... and I've been doing Mac software of one form or another for over two decades.
What was your first computer?
My first computer ever was an Apple ][+... and my first Mac which my mother purchased for me (after much begging) in High School was a Mac 512K "Fat Mac"... that's right folks... a whopping 512K RAM, and it'd boot from a 400K floppy disk that you had to swap in and out constantly between the System disk and the Application disk. Ah, those were the days.
Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?
We are a Mac-first company... we also do iPhone/iPod Touch products, we have ported some of our products to Windows, and we're licensed Nintendo Wii developers (though we've yet to do anything with it).
What attracts you to working on the Mac?
We've been Mac developers for a long, long time. We were doing GUI apps when GUI apps weren't cool... and we've built up a good bit of experience that I think pays off. One other thing I've noticed is that Mac developers tend to be perfectionists: it isn't enough to just get a product functionally correct, it also needs to work well, and look good doing it.
That's an aesthetic that I agree with.
What's the coolest thing about the Mac?
Right now the coolest thing is the rising popularity. We've been with Apple through the good times and the bad times... and the single best thing Apple can do for developers is to sell lots of product. They are doing that in spades right now, so that's always a cool thing for us.
In terms of what I think is cool about the Mac in general, it would have to be that it "just works" and usually works the way I'd expect it to. Just because I'm technically minded, that doesn't mean I want to try to puzzle my way through how to use a computer at the end of the day. Computers are just tools to accomplish a job; a well-designed tool is one that lets you get things done without getting in the way.
Macs tend to do that rather well.
If I could change one thing about Apple/OS X, I'd:
...pray that Apple hires more DTS staff to document some of the shiny new technologies a bit better. Apple is churning out some very cool stuff, but things like CoreAudio remain fairly under-documented.
What advice would you give someone trying to break into this field today?
Work on a small app that has special meaning to you it can be anything from a Widget to a full-blown Application. Make it the best damn product possible in the limited sphere you've chosen for it. Building a complete product from start to finish is a skill in and of itself, and one that can only be learned by doing.
What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?
I think the LivePreview technology we have in WireTap Studio is pretty damn cool and patent-worthy.
I did some very disgusting hackery in assembly back in the bad old days of MacOS "Classic" that made people's stomach churn. In a good way.
Where can we see a sample of your work?
http://www.AmbrosiaSW.com/ but it's not just my work, there are a number of people at Ambrosia who toil away to make fine handcrafted software!
The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:
We have some very cool ideas planned for the iPhone... I think it's a fun new platform for Mac developers to leverage.
Just a final note: Ambrosia Software is looking for experienced Cocoa developers to hire!
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