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

WhiteCap 6.7.1 - Visual plug-in for iTun...
WhiteCap is a sleek and sophisticated music visualizer and screensaver that features futuristic, wireframe mesh visuals with dynamic backgrounds and colors. WhiteCap contains thousands of visual... Read more
DiskMaker X 6.0 rc5 - Make a bootable OS...
DiskMaker X (was Lion DiskMaker) helps you to build a bootable drive from the official OS X installer app (the one you download from the Mac App Store). It detects the OS X Install program with... Read more
Lyn 1.9 - Lightweight image browser and...
Lyn is a fast, lightweight image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists, and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it delivers... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.2.1 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more
LaunchBar 6.9 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
LaunchBar 6.9 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.2.1 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more
Spotify 1.0.57.474. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
VOX 2.8.26 - Music player that supports...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
beaTunes 5.0.1 - Organize your music col...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This War of Mine gets a new ending and m...
This War of Mine just got a big new update, featuring free DLC that adds a new ending to the game, among other exciting changes. The update is celebrating the game's two-year release anniversary. Apart from the new ending, which will be quite... | Read more »
Summon eight new heroes in Fire Emblem H...
Nintendo keeps coming at us with Fire Emblem Heroes updates, and it doesn't look like that trend is stopping anytime soon. The folks behind the game have just announced the new War of the Clerics Voting Gauntlet, expected to start next Tuesday. [... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
iOS publishers are pulling out all the stops this week -- there's a huge number of seriously great games at discounted prices this week. Let's not waste any time and get right down to business. [Read more] | Read more »
The House of da Vinci (Games)
The House of da Vinci 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enter The House of Da Vinci, a new must-try 3D puzzle adventure game. Solve mechanical puzzles, discover hidden... | Read more »
Solve the disappearance of history’s gre...
Blue Brain Games invites you to indulge in an immersive hands-on 3D puzzle adventure in similar vein to The Room series, with its debut release The House of Da Vinci. Set during the historic period of the Italian Renaissance (when Leonardo himself... | Read more »
Age of Rivals (Games)
Age of Rivals 3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 3.3 (iTunes) Description: Deep civilization-building strategy in a fast-paced card game! | Read more »
Panthera Frontier (Games)
Panthera Frontier 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Angry Birds Evolution beginner's gu...
Angry Birds changes things up a fair bit in its latest iteration, Angry Birds Evolution. The familiar sling-shot physics mechanics are still there, but the game now features team-based gameplay, RPG elements, and a new top-down view. With all of... | Read more »
Sega Forever is for the retro game fans
Sega is launching a new retro games service titled Sega Forever, in a move that's sure to delight games enthusiasts with a bit of nostalgia. Sega's releasing five classic games for free. The titles include Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II,... | Read more »
The Little Acre (Games)
The Little Acre 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

ABBYY TextGrabber 6 for iOS Implements Instan...
ABBYY has announced the release of TextGrabber 6.0.0, an important feature update to the company’s productivity app developed for iOS and Android devices. TextGrabber 6.0 now offers Real-Time... Read more
vPhone, First Smartphone That Can’t Be Lost,...
Austin, Texas based Hypori has introduced the vPhone, a virtual smartphone that affords every business user the benefits of separate work and personal phones, conveniently delivered on a single... Read more
Save this weekend with 2016 refurbished MacBo...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros by as much as $590 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
New 27-inch 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, sa...
MacMall has the new 2017 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 2016 MacBook Pros available for up...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $400 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple Ranks 9th In comScore Top 50 U.S. Digit...
comScore, Inc. has released its monthly ranking of U.S. online activity at the top digital media properties for May 2017 based on data from comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform. * Entity has... Read more
10.5-inch iPad Pros available for up to $20 o...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for up to $20 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 64GB iPad Pro WiFi: $649 - 256GB iPad Pro WiFi: $749 - 512GB... Read more
Three Off-The-Beaten-Track iOS Apps That Dese...
One of the great things about using iPads and iPhones is the vast selection of apps available for most anything you want or need to do. The three outlined in this article have been in my core app... Read more
Apple No. 1 Spot In Gartner Top 100 Vendors i...
Gartner, Inc. has unveiled the top global 100 vendors in IT in 2016 based on their revenue across IT (excluding communication services) and component market segments. In the Gartner Global Top 100:... Read more
Clearance iMacs available for up to $300 off...
B&H Photo has clearance 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs available starting at $949, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $1999 $300 off original MSRP - 27″... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to 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
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple I...
…integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:Quantitative* Year over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant till v%u00E5r...
…ethics, integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:QuantitativeYear over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.