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The MacTech Spotlight: Jesse Grosjean, Hog Bay Software

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Jesse Grosjean, Hog Bay Software

http://www.hogbaysoftware.com


What do you do?

Everything at Hog Bay Software.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I've been working full time on Hog Bay Software since 2003. Before that I worked on it in the evenings and weekends, since around 2001.

What was your first computer?

The first real one was a 286 that we got when I was in 8th grade. In high school I helped write a grant (well I don't think I wrote anything, but I acted as an excited student) to get the schools first Mac. I was mostly interested in graphics design then... did a little programming in Macromedia director, but didn't really learn programming until college.

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

Mac only.

What is a utility that you use daily for your work?

I spend 90% of my time in Xcode and Safari. My favorite third party app is DeskShade... my desk is a mess, but I like to pretend that it's not.

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

I've also found it very useful to try to write a tagline and an elevator pitch for any project. That's before I start coding. For example with TaskPaper my pitch is:

"For Mac users who want an easier way to make lists and stay organized. TaskPaper is a simple to-do list that's surprisingly adept. Unlike today's complex organizers, TaskPaper lets you focus on getting things done."

It might sounds a little cheesy, but the goal isn't to turn yourself into a salesman, instead the goal is to get your project focused. If you can't describe your project in terms of an elevator pitch then it's probably not focused enough.

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

I wrote Piccolo, a Java framework for zooming user interfaces (ZUI's) http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/piccolo/. It was pretty cool, though it's showing its age a bit now. Right now my coolest app is TaskPaper. It looks really simple, but I think its basic metaphor is quite powerful and will serve as the base for my future projects. Plain text data, with parsed out structure at runtime.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

I do everything at http://www.hogbaysoftware.com. I also just launched http://www.writeroom.ws.

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

In the near term I don't see any new products, just new versions of WriteRoom and TaskPaper. Long term I have big ideas, but no elevator pitch yet, so I'm not focused enough and shouldn't try describing them. You'd just see lots of excited hand waving from a techie.


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