TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The MacTech Spotlight: Simone Manganelli

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Simone Manganelli


http://homepage.mac.com/simx/

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

Ellipsis Productions, that's the name of my software company.

What do you do?

My main "job" is being a geology grad student at Stanford University. I do work in the field of volcanology and geochronology; my current project is working on a new lab technique to extract gases from rock samples for Argon radiometric age dating. This is where I spend most of my time.

In terms of Mac OS X development, though, I make niche Cocoa apps that fulfill pretty specific needs that I have for myself, and then I release them publicly in hopes that other people have similar needs and will benefit from those same apps. I also assist in the porting of a couple of games to Mac OS X, and I'm an active developer for a Safari browser plugin called ClickToFlash.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I've been a grad student in geology for almost three years now, and I've been doing Mac OS X development since 2002. I actually got started with AppleScript Studio. I'd been moderately experienced in AppleScript since the Classic Mac OS days, and since AppleScript survived the Mac OS X transition, I figured that would be the best way to start making actual apps. I quickly ran up against performance problems with AppleScript Studio, though, and decided that I might as well learn Cocoa programming. After picking up Aaron Hillegass' awesome "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" book and going through most of the examples, I had a good foundation to start creating Cocoa apps.

Your first computer:

That depends on what you mean by "my" first computer. The first computer I ever touched? I was probably two years old when my dad was learning to program, and he had an old Sinclair ZX81 that attached to a TV which he used to program. (I think I ended up banging too hard on it and breaking it.)

First computer I actually knew how to use? A Mac Plus. I remember mostly playing games on it, like Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle. (Still a fan of those games, by the way, and the recently-released threequel Return to Dark Castle is pretty excellent, too.)

First computer I programmed on? A Mac IIsi. My dad had a book of pre-made programs in THINK Pascal (you know, that crazy programming language that used " dot pi" for its filename extensions?), and I dutifully reproduced the code from the book by re-typing it line by line into the computer, and then spent hours trying to figure out where I misplaced a semicolon or something. I think one of the programs was a racecar moving around a track. I was so excited as an 8-or-so-year-old kid to be doing something like that.

First computer that I helped purchase that nobody else used? The original bondi blue iMac. I still remember the new box smell after first setting it up. I think it's still going strong at the school where my dad works.

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

Mac-only. I can survive on Windows and Linux if necessary (and for working down in the Argon lab at Stanford, it is necessary, unfortunately). But I mainly live in Mac OS X and exclusively program for it. I have some experience in web programming too; I've created some web apps in perl and have programmed with JavaScript, too.

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

First, download the free OS X developer tools. Second, get Hillegass' "Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X" book. I can think of no better book that teaches good Cocoa programming practices and introduces Cocoa programming to novices.

Third, it's always valuable to gain experience by downloading open-source software and tinkering with it. You get to see how others program, which exposes you to new frameworks and techniques, and sometimes you can help out by improving little things and contributing back to the project. I've done this with D2X-XL (I helped improve the OS X port of the old Descent games), opentyrian (I created the Mac OS X port), and ClickToFlash (I've helped add a number of features to the plugin). It's educational *and* very rewarding. It also allows you to focus on aspects of programming that you like.

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

I think TuneTagger is probably the coolest app I've done so far. It was challenging from a UI perspective because the app needed to stay out of the way most of the time, but still be understandable and useful to the user. I still don't think I've gotten it quite right, but it's most of the way there.

I *do* get pretty excited about adding features to ClickToFlash, too, though. It's really awesome to have almost all of the Cocoa programming frameworks available to you in a Safari plugin. It's also probably the project that has the most widespread use of any work that I've done.

I also have a cool new weblogging app in development that works both on the Mac and on the iPhone. I don't know when those will be released, but I've been using a lot of new tech in Mac OS X that I hadn't yet been able to use in other projects, and it's my first iPhone project as well. I already publish my own weblog using my own app, so it's already very functional. I can't wait until I can do the same with an iPhone app.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

My apps: http://homepage.mac.com/simx/

My weblog (I post Mac programming tips, opinion, and development progress): http://homepage.mac.com/simx/technonova/index.html

D2X-XL: http://descent2.de/

opentyrian: http://code.google.com/p/opentyrian/

ClickToFlash: http://github.com/rentzsch/clicktoflash/tree/master

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

Well, I hope to fulfill a niche with my weblogging apps when I finally release them. But I'm also hoping to create some apps specifically for geologists, too; I have some ideas for apps that would be useful out in the field, and I don't think I've seen a single geology app on the iPhone at all.

Photo credit: Faruk Ateß

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

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Vienna 3.0.6 :5eaf312: - RSS and Atom ne...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
Kodi 15.1.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Bookends 12.5.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Chromium 44.0.2403.125 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 44.0.2403.125: This release contains a number... Read more
iMazing 1.2.2 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.2.0 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0.1 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Calcbot 1.0.2 - Intelligent calculator a...
Calcbot is an intelligent calculator and unit converter for the rest of us. Featuring an easy-to-read history tape, expression view, intuitive conversion, and much more! Features History Tape -... Read more
MTR 5.0.0.1 - The Mac's oldest and...
MTR (was MacTheRipper)--the Mac's oldest and smartest DVD-backup app--is now updated to version 5.001 MTR -- the complete toolbox, not a one-trick, point-and-click extractor. MTR is intended for... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.5.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more

Card King: Dragon Wars - Tips, Tricks an...
[Read more] | Read more »
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has brou...
Bandai Namco has released Pac-Man Championship Edition DX on iOS and Android, which features the classic arcade gameplay that we've all grown to love. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX can be enjoyed in much shorter bursts than the arcade versions... | Read more »
Cosmonautica (Games)
Cosmonautica 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Cast off! Are you ready for some hilarious adventures in outer space? | Read more »
Rescue humanity from a Demon horde in An...
Angel Stone is Fincon's follow up to the massively successful Hello Hero and is out now on iOS and Android. You play as a member of The Resistance, a group of mighty human warriors who have risen up in defiance of the Demon horde threatening to... | Read more »
Gallery Doctor (Photography)
Gallery Doctor 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Free up valuable iCloud and iPhone storage with Gallery Doctor, the only iPhone cleaner that automatically identifies the... | Read more »
You Against Me (Games)
You Against Me 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A simple game… You. Me. Claim, steal, lock, score, win! | Read more »
Yep, it's True - Angry Birds 2 is O...
The not exactly rumors were true and the birds are back. Angry Birds 2 has come to the App Store and the world will... well I suppose it'll still be the same, but now we have more bird-flinging options! [Read more] | Read more »
You Could Design Your Own Card for Chain...
If you've ever wanted to create your own item, weapon, trap, or even monster for Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, this is your chance. Auroch Digital is currently holding a contest so that fans can fight to the death (not really) to see which... | Read more »
Bitcoin Billionaire is Going Back in Tim...
If you thought you managed to buy everything there is to buy in Bitcoin Billionaire and make all the money, well you though wrong. Those of you who made it far enough might remember investing in time travel - and it looks like that investment is... | Read more »
Domino Drop (Games)
Domino Drop 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Domino Drop is a delightful new puzzle game with dominos and gravity!Learn how to play it in a minute, master it day by day.Your... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $81 off MS...
Adorama has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2218, $81 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more
Back-to-School with Tablet and Smartphone Acc...
Belkin helps you prepare for the coming school year with a wide variety of the latest mobile and tablet accessories to outfit both grade school and college students. The line-up includes charging... Read more
11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
Best Buy has 11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - 11″ 1.6GHz... Read more
iPad Air 2 on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
Best Buy has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online... Read more
Sale! 13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.5GHz/500GB MacBook Pro: $999.99 save $100 - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina... Read more
Sale! Save $100 on 13-inch MacBook Airs this...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Market Decline Continues, Ap...
The worldwide tablet market declined -7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) with shipments totaling 44.7 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data... Read more
TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT Powerline Featuring Ho...
Consumer and business networking products provider TP-LINK is now shipping its TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit that expands your home’s network over its... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2s available for up to $140 off the price of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB... Read more
Updated Apple iPad Price Trackers
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Hil...
Infrastructure Engineer - Apple /Mac Job Code: 1608 # of openings: 1 Description Our fortune 500 client is looking to hire an experienced Infrastructure Engineer to join Read more
Executive Administrative Assistant, *Apple*...
…supporting presentation development for senior leadership. * User experience with Apple hardware and software is preferred. Additional Requirements The following list Read more
*Apple* Bus Company is now hirin - Apple Bus...
Apple Bus Company is now hiring school bus drivers in the Pettis County area. Class B CDL preferred. Free training provided. No nights or weekends required. Flexible Read more
*Apple* Certified Mac Technician - Updated 6...
…and friendly, hands-on technical support to customers troubleshooting and repairing Apple /Mac products with courtesy, speed and skill. Use your problem-solving skills Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.