The MacTech Spotlight: Daniel Stødle
Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 05
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight
The MacTech Spotlight: Daniel Stødle
Where do you work?
I develop all my Mac software as an indie developer for Yellow Lemon Software, which is my own software company. I also work as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Computer Science, University of Tromsø here in Norway.
What do you do?
I develop tools and utilities for Mac OS X. I design, implement and test my own software, take care of distributing and marketing it, as well as—of course—giving tech support. I also spend much of my time conducting research in parallel and distributed systems, with a focus towards human-computer interfaces for high-resolution, wall-sized displays. I've built my own multi-touch (or actually, touch-free) interface for wall-sized displays, where a cluster of Mac minis is an essential piece of the puzzle.
How long have you been doing what you do?
I started out programming on a Macintosh LC back in the early nineties using HyperCard (which I still miss). After a few years, the local Macintosh User Group "MacinTOS" (*) funded the purchase of a license of CodeWarrior for me. This enabled me to learn and develop in C, and after a while I had my first application ready. I started distributing my software as Yellow Lemon Software in 1996, and have been doing it ever since.
(*) It's a pun based on the airport code for Tromsø, which is TOS. I guess puns are no good if you have to explain them though!
What was your first computer?
My first computer was a Commodore 64, which I used exclusively for playing games. I never got around to programming until I got the LC some years later. I still have my LC, and it is still working (at least it *was* working, last time I checked).
Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?
My main computer these days is a MacBook Pro, but I do a lot of development and work on Linux-based platforms too. The Mac usually ends up acting as the hub, with the code being cross-platform and compilable on both OS X and Linux.
What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?
Build something, and get it out there. Don't be shy - distribution can be a lot of fun, and very rewarding. Be prepared for both positive and negative feedback, and try to improve what you do from it. Don't get into this because of the money; rather, be motivated by creating excellent and cool software.
What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?
Without a doubt developing the 22 megapixel laptop; a system I developed as part of my Ph.D. in Computer Science. The 22 megapixel laptop pushed OS X to the max, creating 28 virtual displays that - to the window server in OS X - appeared as regularly attached displays. The development spanned everything from kernel-level code to display sharing, user interface and network code - in short, a lot of fun. Each of the 28 virtual displays was connected to a real display. The real displays (projectors, actually) are all part of the display wall at the CS-dept in Tromsø. The result was that I could actually use a desktop on my Mac with a resolution of 7168x3072 pixels, without having a single VGA/DVI cable connected to my MacBook Pro. The performance wasn't exactly stellar, though!
Where can we see a sample of your work?
My current software portfolio for Mac OS X consists of FolderGlance, Screen Sieve and Desktop Transporter, the latter which is currently being distributed by DEVONtechnologies. More information can be found at the company URL (given below). Samples of my academic work can be seen here, including a link to the paper detailing the 22 megapixel laptop:
Or directly on YouTube:
Keep in mind that the touch-free input system you see in these videos is made possible by a cluster of 8 Mac minis :)
The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:
With the release of FolderGlance 3, sometime this summer!
Anything else we should know?
I thoroughly enjoy Tromsø as a setting for my development activities. It is a beautiful city, located above the Arctic Circle in Norway. The combination of the light and surrounding nature makes for a great place to do development. Assuming you're not lured outside by the nice surroundings, of course - a killer for productivity.
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