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The MacTech Spotlight: Robert Kuilman, http://halfduplex.net/

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 04
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Robert Kuilman, http://halfduplex.net/


Do you work for a company or are you self-employed?

I am a Business Administration Student at Twente University in the Netherlands. I used to be a Computer Science student but decided to switch when I realized it makes sense to focus on what you're not good at. As is every student I am always in need of money, so combining the knowledge from my Business Administration and Computer Science studies, I took to selling my software under the name of halfduplex.net, as that was the domain I already owned.

What do you do?

Being an independent developer I have to do everything myself. Development, promotion, accounting and customer support are all tasks that I am familiar with. This seems a bit much for one person to do, but it has its benefits. I always know what's going on with development, what the latest promotional activities are and will make sure customers get the best treatment possible. I might have to look for personnel when the business continues to grow, though.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I've been writing software since I was 8 or 9. It first started out in GW-BASIC on MS-DOS, and over time have progressed to writing Objective-C code. Those first lines of code didn't do anything useful, as any programmer can tell you. But it was tons of fun. It was mostly due to my dad who figured I could be doing something more constructive with my time behind the computer than play Pac-Man.

Your first computer:

My first computer to write code on must have been my dad's Amstrad PC 1640, running MS-DOS. It was a great machine and took all the ignorant and abusive stuff I threw at it as a young kid without complaining. The first computer owned by myself was an Apple Macintosh LC II, a great computer and fun to work with. One day in middle school I had to give a presentation on my hobbies. I just put the Mac in my backpack along with some magazines and went to school. The LC II's design allowed me to take it apart in front of class without any tools and explain in detail how it all works together. I aced the presentation.

Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?

These days I'm a Mac-only person, no doubt about it.

What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?

Respond to customer's needs and actively promote your product. I've worked with customers on some complex problems when using my software. This has improved my software a lot, which benefits everyone, and you'll see customers appreciate the extra attention they get. Promotion is essential because if no one knows you are out there, how will they find you? When I started sending out press releases and actively seeking out review opportunities the sales increased immediately.

Also, when you develop software for the Mac, make software that is Mac-like. A good interface and intuitive workflow will make a better impression than an application that scares users from the first minute by overloading them with options and a workflow that is very non-Mac like.

What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?

Back when OS X was still in its beta phase I wrote a P2P client much like gnutella and a little bit later, I wrote mail server software. Neither really came off the ground because of a lack of experience in, I guess almost every aspect of distributing software, but it was still pretty cool. Mac OS X's Cocoa allows developers to get results very quickly and try out a lot of crazy ideas, I love that.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

My primary product is Media Catalog, which you can download at http://halfduplex.net/ In 2005 I wrote the 1.0 release of Family (http://saltatory.com/) which is something I am still very proud of.

The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:

There are a lot of tasks you and I do everyday that can be done with a lot more ease. I can't tell you what my exact role will be, but I want to help getting that realized.


If you or someone you know belongs in the MacTech Spotlight, let us know! Send details to editorial@mactech.com

 
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