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

Yasu 4.0.0 β - System maintenance app; p...
Yasu was created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks quickly within a... Read more
Skype 7.37.0.178 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
EtreCheck 3.0.5 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Amadeus Pro 2.3.1 - Multitrack sound rec...
Amadeus Pro lets you use your Mac computer for any audio-related task, such as live audio recording, digitizing tapes and records, converting between a variety of sound formats, etc. Thanks to its... Read more
NeoFinder 6.9.3 - Catalog your external...
NeoFinder (formerly CDFinder) rapidly organizes your data, either on external or internal disks, or any other volumes. It catalogs all your data, so you stay in control of your data archive or disk... Read more
WhatsApp 0.2.1880 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
Hazel 4.0.6 - Create rules for organizin...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a familiar... Read more
Apple iBooks Author 2.5 - Create and pub...
Apple iBooks Author helps you create and publish amazing Multi-Touch books for iPad. Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.26 - $39.99
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.8 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more

How to get past Vulture Island's tr...
Vulture Island is a colorful and quirky mish-mash of platforming and puzzles. It’s creative and fresh, but sometimes the game can throw a curveball at you, leaving you stuck as to how you should progress. These tips will help you explore smoothly... | Read more »
The new Clash of Kings is just for Weste...
If you’ve played the original Clash of Kings, you’ll probably recognise the city building, alliance forging and strategic battles in Clash of Kings: The West. What sets this version apart is that it’s tailor made for a Western audience and the... | Read more »
Frost - Survival card game (Games)
Frost - Survival card game 1.12.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.12.1 (iTunes) Description: *Warning: the game will work on iPhone 5C and above and iPad Pro / 4. Other devices are not supported* | Read more »
How to build and care for your team in D...
Before you hit the trail and become a dog sledding legend, there’s actually a fair bit of prep work to be done. In Dog Sled Saga, you’re not only racing, you’re also building and caring for a team of furry friends. There’s a lot to consider—... | Read more »
How to win every race in Dog Sled Saga
If I had to guess, I’d say Dog Sled Saga is the most adorable racing game on the App Store right now. It’s a dog sled racing sim full of adorable, loyal puppies. Just look at those fluffy little tails wagging. Behind that cute, pixelated facade is... | Read more »
Let the war games commence in Gunship Ba...
Buzz Lightyear famously said, “This isn’t flying, this is falling – with style!” In the case of Gunship Battle: Second War, though, this really is flying - with style! The flight simulator app from Joycity puts you in control of 20 faithfully... | Read more »
How to get a high score in Fired Up
Fired Up is Noodlecake Games’ high score chasing, firefighting adventure. You take control of a wayward firefighter who propels himself up the side of a highrise with blasts of water. Sound silly? It is. It’s also pretty difficult. You can’t... | Read more »
NBA 2K17 (Games)
NBA 2K17 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Following the record-breaking launch of NBA 2K16, the NBA 2K franchise continues to stake its claim as the most authentic sports video... | Read more »
Dog Sled Saga (Games)
Dog Sled Saga 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: A game by Dan + Lisa As a rookie musher, foster a dogsledding team whose skills will grow if they're treated right. Week by... | Read more »
60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure (Games)
60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure 1.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2 (iTunes) Description: 60 Seconds! is a dark comedy atomic adventure of scavenge and survival. Collect supplies and rescue your family... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1379 $120 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP - 21″ 1... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Amazon.com has the 13″ 2.7GHz/256GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $151 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.7GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro (sku MF840LL/A): $1348 $151 off MSRP Read more
Apple TVs on sale for up to $50 off MSRP
Best Buy has 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs on sale for $40-$50 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store... 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
Duplicate Sweeper Free On Mac App Store For O...
To celebrate the launch of Apple’s latest macOS Sierra, Stafford, United Kingdom based Wide Angle Software has announced that its duplicate file finder software, Duplicate Sweeper, is now available... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1174.99 $125 off MSRP - 13... Read more
Evidence Surfaces Pointing To New A10X Chip F...
Citing a job description for a Project Lead position at Apple’s Austin, Texas engineering labs, Motley Fool’s Ashraf Eassa deduces that development is progressing well on Apple’s next-generation in-... Read more
Check Print’R for macOS Allows Anyone to Easi...
Delaware-based Match Software has announced the release and immediate availability of Check Print’R 3.21, an important update to their easy-to-use check printing application for macOS. Check Print’R... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr. *Apple* Mac Engineer - Net2Source Inc....
…staffing, training and technology. We have following position open with our client. Sr. Apple Mac Engineer6+ Months CTH Start date : 19th Sept Travelling Job If Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions-Norfolk,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (...
# Lead Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 51829230 Detroit, Michigan, United States Posted: Sep. 19, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Lead ASC is an Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.