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

 
AAPL
$518.58
Apple Inc.
+0.62
MSFT
$40.13
Microsoft Corpora
+0.38
GOOG
$549.88
Google Inc.
+13.44

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
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
TurboTax 2013.r17.002 - Manage your 2013...
TurboTax guides you through your tax return step by step, does all the calculations, and checks your return for errors and overlooked deductions. It lets you file your return electronically to get... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.769 - Route planning for...
Note: While the software is classified as freeware, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development. TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Avail...
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Available on the U.S. App Store Right Now – Gogogogo! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Groundskeeper2 Review
Groundskeeper2 Review By Nadia Oxford on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLICE THOSE ALIEN SLIMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Putting aside some minor control issues, Groundskeeper2 is a fun and furious action/... | Read more »
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone (Photography...
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone 5.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $9.99, Version: 5.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! Starts Right N...
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! | Read more »
Snupps Review
Snupps Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: USEFUL LISTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Got a huge collection that you need to organize, or just want to share with others? Snupps has it covered... | Read more »
Toad Rider Goes Free for a Limited Time,...
Toad Rider Goes Free for a Limited Time, Starting This Week Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a...
Knights of Pen & Paper is Free for a Limited Time – Don’t Wait for a Natural 20, Get it Now! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review
R.B.I. Baseball 14 Review By Blake Grundman on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RETRO REVIVEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad What was old is new again, as the MLB attempts to taking baseball gaming back to its retro... | Read more »
Noodlecake Studios Places Mikey Hooks on...
Noodlecake Studios Places Mikey Hooks on Sale, Releases Sneak Peek Trailer for Upcoming Sequel Mikey Boots Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 16th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Cosmic Mechanic Review
Cosmic Mechanic Review By Blake Grundman on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLIGHTLY CREDIBLE MACHINEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Creatives folks love the opportunity to have their wits tested, but there isn’t... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more
Free Local Carrot iPhone App Helps Find Fresh...
I love fresh vegetables. I’m not a vegan, although I was for several years in the 1980s, but fresh vegetables and other whole foods are still my dietary mainstays as a matter of taste rather than... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Airs available startin...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. The following Airs are available today: -... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Add an iMac to your shopping cart, and B&H will offer an... Read more
Download our app, iTracx, for iOS and Android
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Education discounts shave up to $300 off the...
Purchase a new Mac at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and all... Read more
Save $50 on Mac mini Server
B&H Photo has the 2012 Mac mini Server on sale for $949 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
PhatWare’s “Ultimate Writing App For iOS” Ren...
PhatWare Corp. has announced it has renamed its new WritePro word processing app for iPhone and iPad: WritePad Pro. The decision to change the app’s name to leverages the strong brand awareness and... Read more
Full Resolution Photo Editor Tint Mint 1.0 Re...
California based independent developer, Jeffrey Sun, creator of the iOS app Modern Editor, has released Tint Mint, a new photography app for editing enthusiasts. The app costs a dollar, and it packs... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - SoHo - Apple (Uni...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Every day, business customers come to the Apple Store to discover what powerful, easy-to-use Apple products can do for them. As a Business Leader, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.