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 Ate

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

5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »
How to navigate the terrain in Sky Charm...
Sky Charms is a whimsical match-'em up adventure that uses creative level design to really ramp up the difficulty. [Read more] | Read more »
Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »
PsyCard (Games)
PsyCard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers och Card City Nights, Progress To 100 and Ittle Dew PSYCARD is a minesweeper-like game set in a cozy cyberpunk... | Read more »
Sago Mini Robot Party (Education)
Sago Mini Robot Party 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: -- Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice -- | Read more »
How to get a high score in every level o...
Sky Charms is an adorable match three puzzler that provides a decent challenge thanks to its creative level design. It regularly presents something new, forcing you to think on your feet. [Read more] | Read more »
Apestorm: Full Bananas (Games)
Apestorm: Full Bananas 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Launch sale – limited time only!*** Fugitive Apes have taken to the skies in search of revenge after humans have... | Read more »
How to create bigger words in Spellspire
Words have power. At least they do in Spellspire,a game about blasting out magical attacks by making words out of a jumble of letters. And it's a lot of fun. But if you want to be the best, you're going to have to think tactically when you start... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller (and... Read more
Apple Beats Microsoft at Own Game; Amazon Pri...
First quarter seasonality combined with an overall disinterested customer base led to an annual decline of 14.7% in worldwide tablet shipments during the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16). Worldwide... Read more
Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more
Sale! Amazon offers 27-inch iMac, 13-inch 2.9...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.2GHz 5K iMac and the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $300 off MSRP, each including free shipping, for a limited time: - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD 5K iMac (model MK462LL/A): $... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Take $200 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (model MF839LL/A) at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099.99 $200 off MSRP Act now if... Read more
Apple refurbished clearance 15-inch Retina Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have refurbished 15... Read more
27-inch 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off M...
B&H Photo has 27″ 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1849.99 $150... Read more
What Does The Refreshed 12-Inch MacBook Tell...
A lot of commentators are complaining that Apple’s update of the 12-Inch MacBook last week is a bit of a damp squib. I don’t know what they were expecting, since it would be very unlike Apple to do a... Read more
Free Wittify Keyboard Now Available On The Ap...
A team of Harvard Business School students have announced that the Wittify Keyboard, a new app utility for iOS devices, is now available on the Apple App Store. The Wittify keyboard and application... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 48260200 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Posted: Apr. 22, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.