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

jAlbum Pro 12.6.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.6.4 - Create custom photo gall...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.16 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
Spotify 1.0.4.90. - Stream music, create...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
djay Pro 1.1 - Transform your Mac into a...
djay Pro provides a complete toolkit for performing DJs. Its unique modern interface is built around a sophisticated integration with iTunes and Spotify, giving you instant access to millions of... Read more
Vivaldi 1.0.118.19 - Lightweight browser...
Vivaldi browser. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind that users are... Read more
Stacks 2.6.11 - New way to create pages...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
xScope 4.1.3 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.7 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Labels & Addresses 1.7 - Powerful la...
Labels & Addresses is a home and office tool for printing all sorts of labels, envelopes, inventory labels, and price tags. Merge-printing capability makes the program a great tool for holiday... Read more

Discover Your Reflexes With Minimalist G...
Discover O, BYOF Studios, may look simple at first with its' color matching premise and swipe controls, but as you speed up the task becomes more daunting. [Read more] | Read more »
Here's Another Roundup of Notable A...
Now that the Apple Watch is publically available (kind of), even more apps and games have been popping up for it. Some of them are updates to existing software, others are brand new. The main thing is that they're all for the Apple Watch, and if you... | Read more »
Use Batting Average and the Apple Watch...
Batting Average, by Pixolini, is designed to help you manage your statistics. Every time you go to bat, you can use your Apple Watch to track  your swings, strikes, and hits. [Read more] | Read more »
Celebrate Studio Pango's 3rd Annive...
It is time to party, Pangoland pals! Studio Pango is celebrating their 3rd birthday and their gift to you is a new update to Pangoland. [Read more] | Read more »
Become the World's Most Important D...
Must Deliver, by cherrypick games, is a top-down endless-runner witha healthy dose of the living dead. [Read more] | Read more »
SoundHound + LiveLyrics is Making its De...
SoundHound Inc. has announced that SoundHound + LiveLyrics, will be one of the first third-party apps to hit the Apple Watch. With  SoundHound you'll be able to tap on your watch and have the app recognize the music you are listening to, then have... | Read more »
Adobe Joins the Apple Watch Lineup With...
A whole tidal wave of apps are headed for the Apple Watch, and Adobe has joined in with 3 new ways to enhance your creativity and collaborate with others. The watch apps pair with iPad/iPhone apps to give you total control over your Adobe projects... | Read more »
Z Steel Soldiers, Sequel to Kavcom'...
Kavcom has released Z Steel Soldiers, which continues the story of the comedic RTS originally created by the Bitmap Brothers. [Read more] | Read more »
Seene Lets You Create 3D Images With You...
Seene, by Obvious Engineering, is a 3D capture app that's meant to allow you to create visually stunning 3D images with a tap of your finger, and then share them as a 3D photo, video or gif. [Read more] | Read more »
Lost Within - Tips, Tricks, and Strategi...
Have you just downloaded Lost Within and are you in need of a guiding hand? While it’s not the toughest of games out there you might still want some helpful tips to get you started. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch Put Select...
Pleasanton, California based Zoho has launched Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch, a line of apps that extends Zoho business applications to let users perform select functions from an Apple Watch.... Read more
Universal Stylus Initiative Launched to Creat...
OEMs, stylus and touch controller manufacturers have announced the launch of Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), a new organization formed to develop and promote an industry specification for an... Read more
Amazon Shopping App for Apple Watch
With the new Amazon shopping app for Apple Watch, Amazon customers with one of the wearable devices can simply tap the app on the watch to purchase items in seconds, or save an idea for later. The... Read more
Intel Compute Stick: A New Mini-Computing For...
The Intel Compute Stick, a new pocket-sized computer based on a quad-core Intel Atom processor running Windows 8.1 with Bing, is available now through Intel Authorized Dealers across much of the... Read more
Heal to Launch First One-Touch House Call Doc...
Santa Monica, California based Heal, a pioneer in on-demand personal health care services — will offer the first one-touch, on-demand house call doctor app for the Apple Watch. Heal’s Watch app,... Read more
Mac Notebooks: Avoiding MagSafe Power Adapter...
Apple Support says proper usage, care, and maintenance of Your Mac notebook’s MagSafe power adapter can substantially increase the the adapter’s service life. Of course, MagSafe itself is an Apple... Read more
12″ Retina MacBook In Shootout With Air And P...
BareFeats’ rob-ART morgan has posted another comparison of the 12″ MacBook with other Mac laptops, noting that the general goodness of all Mac laptops can make which one to purchase a tough decision... Read more
FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone: Over 1.5 Mi...
FileMaker has announced that its FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone app has surpassed 1.5 million downloads from the iTunes App Store. The milestone confirms the continued popularity of the FileMaker... Read more
Sale! 13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro for $...
 Best Buy has the new 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1099 – $200 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price for online orders only, in-... Read more
Minimalist MacBook Confirms Death of Steve Jo...
ReadWrite’s Adriana Lee has posted a eulogy for the “Digital Hub” concept Steve Jobs first proposed back in 2001, declaring the new 12-inch MacBook with its single, over-subscribed USB-C port to be... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Client Systems Solution Specialist -...
…drive revenue and profit in assigned sales segment and/or region specific to the Apple brand and product sets. This person will work directly with CDW Account Managers Read more
*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
*Apple* Support Technician IV - Jack Henry a...
Job Description Jack Henry & Associates is seeking an Apple Support Technician. This position while acting independently, ensures the proper day-to-day control of Read more
*Apple* Client Systems Solution Specialist -...
…drive revenue and profit in assigned sales segment and/or region specific to the Apple brand and product sets. This person will work directly with CDW Account Managers Read more
*Apple* Software Support - Casper (Can work...
…experience . Full knowledge of Mac OS X and prior . Mac OSX / Server . Apple Remote Desktop . Process Documentation . Ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast pace Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.