TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The MacTech Spotlight: Andy Kim, http://potionfactory.com

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Andy Kim, The Potion Factory

http://potionfactory.com


Tell us about your company:

Potion Factory. It's my own company now. It started out as a partnership back in 2005, but I've been running it solo as a LLC since 2007.

What do you do?

My official title goes back and forth between Owner and Programmer. I write code, design user interfaces, and make pretty graphics. I also work on the non-fun stuff such as running the company when I have spare time.

How long have you been doing what you do?

In April it'll be 5 years since I started Potion Factory. I can't believe that it's been 5 years already. I know that it's not long compared to some other veterans in the industry, but I've learned a lot during this time. It's been quite a ride so far. I never knew that there were so many people as enthusiastic about software as some of my customers out there.

What was your first computer?

The first computer I learned to program on was an Apple II, but the first computer I can call my own was an IBM clone with a 66 MHz 486 processor. It was a high-specced machine at the time with 8 MB of RAM, a hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and even a sound card, but the iPhone in my pocket can kick its ass now without breaking a sweat.

My first Mac, though, was a 17" PowerBook with a 1 GHz G4 processor. She's almost 7 years old now, but she's still going strong as a file server on my home network.

Today I use a 17" MacBook Pro, as I'm still a "one laptop" guy. This way I never have to deal with syncing multiple Macs and I can just take off whenever I feel like doing so.

What's the coolest thing about the Mac?

The spirit of innovation. To borrow a well-known phrase, Macs are insanely great. They are that way because Apple has been leading the push for innovation for decades. They're not only consistent in churning out revolutionary technology, but more importantly, they make the technology accessible and hassle-free. It's no wonder that there's a cult following of Apple products.

That said, the way they are running the application approvals for the iPhone is discouraging. I'm glad that their process enforces a minimum requirement, but rejecting or endlessly delaying an app because it competes with Apple's software really puts the dampers on 3rd party innovation. People like myself don't go in thinking about the best possible software one can write. You start by thinking of the best you can do within the legal—not technical—limits put up by Apple and choose a project that has the least chance of getting blocked. What if I want to make a better calendaring or email application? The rules say that I can't.

If they ever put in place the same procedure for Mac OS X applications, I can see a lot of developers leaving the platform, perhaps even myself included.

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

The way I've done it is to just come up with a project and work on it. It's easy to motivate yourself if you're making something that you personally need and the chances are that other people will need it too. If you're a programmer, don't worry too much about making money at first. Just work on something to get practice. Now, this is pretty much cookie cutter advice given by a lot of independent Mac developers, but it's an advice I wish I had taken 5 years sooner.

On the flip side though, running your own business is not for everyone. It's risky; you have to put a ton of hours into it; and you have to have that entrepreneurial drive to succeed.

Also, don't make crappy crap.

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

Every product that I've done has cool bits of computer sciencey technology in there. I've written a music tempo analyzer and a voice modulator. I've reverse engineered a few Apple APIs, including figuring out how to get audio samples from FairPlay protected songs. These tend to be the most fun stuff to work on from a programmer's perspective.

But the coolest thing I've developed on OS X is actually not included in any of my projects. For my most recent project, The Hit List, I wrote a Bayesian classifier that lets the application learn your tagging system. Once it has sufficient knowledge of how you tag stuff, it'll start suggesting tags to you. This was a lot of fun to work on and it took me about a week to polish, but in the end I abandoned it because it turns out that Mac OS X already comes with technology to do the same thing. So now I use the same technology that Mail.app uses to filter junk mail in order to predict which tag should get applied to new data.

Ever?

Hmm... Coolest tech thing ever? That's probably a joke program I wrote when I was in middle school. It made it look like it was formatting your hard drive. My friends didn't think that it was funny at all.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

http://www.potionfactory.com. You can check out all of our commercial products as well as a free one. For developers I also make available the code that runs our online store.

The next way I'm going to impact the Mac universe is:

By writing more kick ass software.


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

Fantastical 2.3.2 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
PCalc 4.4.4 - Full-featured scientific c...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
Alfred 3.2.1 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
OmniPlan 3.6 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Backblaze 4.2.0.990 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
AppDelete 4.3.1 - $7.99
AppDelete is an uninstaller that will remove not only applications but also widgets, preference panes, plugins, and screensavers along with their associated files. Without AppDelete these associated... Read more
Apple GarageBand 10.1.4 - Complete recor...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.8 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
iMazing 2.1.3 - 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
Little Snitch 3.7.1 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Galaxy on Fire 3 and four other fantasti...
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore brings the series back for another round of daring space battles. It's familiar territory for folks who are familiar with the franchise. If you've beaten the game and are looking to broaden your horizons, might we... | Read more »
The best apps for your holiday gift exch...
What's that, you say? You still haven't started your holiday shopping? Don't beat yourself up over it -- a lot of people have been putting it off, too. It's become easier and easier to procrastinate gift shopping thanks to a number of apps that... | Read more »
Toca Hair Salon 3 (Education)
Toca Hair Salon 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Winter comes to Darkwood as Seekers Note...
MyTona, based in the chilly Siberian city of Yakutsk, has brought a little festive fun to its hidden object game Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery. The Christmas update introduces some new inhabitants to players, and with them a chance to win plenty of... | Read more »
Bully: Anniversary Edition (Games)
Bully: Anniversary Edition 1.03.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.03.1 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: This game is officially supported on the following devices: iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch... | Read more »
PINE GROVE (Games)
PINE GROVE 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A pine grove where there are no footsteps of people due to continuous missing cases. The case is still unsolved and nothing has... | Read more »
Niantic teases new Pokémon announcement...
After rumors started swirling yesterday, it turns out there is an official Pokémon GO update on its way. We’ll find out what’s in store for us and our growing Pokémon collections tomorrow during the Starbucks event, but Niantic will be revealing... | Read more »
3 reasons why Nicki Minaj: The Empire is...
Nicki Minaj is as business-savvy as she is musically talented and she’s proved that by launching her own game. Designed by Glu, purveyors of other fine celebrity games like cult favorite Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Nicki Minaj: The Empire launched... | Read more »
Clash of Clans is getting its own animat...
Riding on its unending wave of fame and success, Clash of Clans is getting an animated web series based on its Clash-A-Rama animated shorts.As opposed to the current shorts' 60 second run time, the new and improved Clash-A-Rama will be comprised of... | Read more »
Leaks hint at Pokémon GO and Starbucks C...
Leaked images from a hub for Starbucks employees suggests that a big Pokémon GO event with the coffee giant could begin this very week. The images appeared on Reddit and hint at some exciting new things to come for Niantic's smash hit game. | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbished, n...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, now available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Refurbished 2015 models are available starting at $929. Apple will include a... Read more
Holiday sale: 12-inch Retina MacBook for $100...
B&H has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Twenty-Five Years Of Apple Laptops – A person...
Among many other things, the often tumultuous 16th year of the new century marked the 25th anniversary of Apple laptop computers, not counting the optimistically named 16-pound Mac Portable of 1989.... Read more
Landlordy iOS App Adds Support For Appliances...
Riga, Latvia based E-protect SIA is releasing major update (version 1.8) to its Landlordy app for managing rental business financials on the go. Landlordy is iPhone and iPad app designed for self-... Read more
Holiday sale, Apple iMacs for up to $200 off...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis for $50 to $100 off M...
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini: $899 $... 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* Retail - Multiple Positions- Trumbul...
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* Retail - Multiple Positions- Philade...
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* Retail - Multiple Positions- San Ant...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Products Tester Needed - Apple (Unit...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.