The MacTech Spotlight: Boisy G. Pitre
Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 06
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight
The MacTech Spotlight: Boisy G. Pitre
What is your company?
Tee-Boy. I own the company, and we are located in the heart of Cajun Country in Southwestern Louisiana.
What do you do?
My designated title is "Lead Developer" but I also run the company and handle all aspects of the business. We focus on custom programming on a consultancy basis for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad platforms, but also have a portfolio of products that we sell on our website.
How long have you been doing what you do?
Professionally, I've been a software engineer for 18 years. If you count my first exposure to computing and learning how to program, it's more like 28 years. More recently, I fell in love with the Mac back in 2002 and started learning Cocoa and Objective-C then; I've been doing Mac programming now for 8 years. It's by far the best platform that I've worked on.
What was your first computer?
My very first computer was a 16K Tandy Color Computer 2 (a.k.a. CoCo 2) from Radio Shack, followed shortly thereafter by a 128K CoCo 3. At first I used a cassette recorder to store and load programs until I could afford a disk drive unit. The CoCo came with a built-in BASIC interpreter, and I later learned 6809 assembly language, then moved onto the OS-9 (Microware, not Apple) operating system. Most people are surprised when I tell them that to this day I still have fun with the CoCo, and even run a retro-computing hardware/software business with a friend. See http://www.cloud9tech.com. Years later, my first Mac would be a 700MHz eMac G4. It still works today.
Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?
I like working with Linux, and if it is absolutely necessary I can do Windows, but I would much rather work on Mac OS X. In fact, we're all Mac here at the office and also at the house. At home, we're huge advocates for the platform. My wife and I counted the number of folks that we've personally converted over to the Mac, and it's well beyond two-dozen and still going up.
What attracts you to working on the Mac?
Two things: simplicity and elegance. The Mac platform is frustration-free, beautiful to work in, and is a real pleasure to use. Apple has got it absolutely right in my opinion, and that is corroborated by the feedback that I get from others who have listened to my advice and purchased a Mac. I cannot tell you how many frustrating hours I have spent trying to get things done on other platforms, only to find the Mac does those same tasks effortlessly. Another benefit for me is that the Mac is built on such a robust operating system platform, BSD. It's almost a dichotomy that such a gorgeous and responsive user interface runs atop a powerful yet often-times misunderstood operating system platform, but Apple has the secret sauce that makes these two concepts gel so well. You cannot help but admire the engineering effort that went into integrating all of this.
What's the coolest thing about the Mac?
The coolest thing for me is that it "just works." It's really that simple.
What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?
First, I would say pay your dues by gaining some relevant programming experience. A formal education doesn't hurt either. If you're a prodigy, good for you, but a good grounding in theory and a lot of practice is a recipe for success. Second, always make your customer, client or employer's requirements a priority. Share their vision for their project and put your whole heart into making them happy with your work. Third, be passionate; it will show through your work and you will excel. Finally, be yourself. Don't be afraid to showcase your uniqueness and your personality. People want to work with other interesting people.
What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?
There are several things, but my coolest achievement was getting my Mac to act as a disk, terminal, and MIDI server to my CoCo 3 using a product I designed and wrote called DriveWire. I developed the initial server software in Objective-C and Cocoa and now my Mac does my CoCo's bidding. I actually presented a poster at the WWDC07 Scientific Poster Development Session showcasing a compiler project that I created on my Mac, and used DriveWire as the media platform for testing (see http://www.apple.com/science/poster/)
For fun, I've restored several vintage Coca-Cola machines, and reworked a crusty old Pac-Man arcade cabinet and put a PC running MAME inside, complete with working coin door and controls (it's the only thing that runs Windows here). Is that tech or what?
Where can we see a sample of your work?
With a name like mine, all you need to do is Google me, and you'll see link after link of things that I've worked on over the years.
The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:
Besides continuing to work on cutting edge software, I am interested in leveraging my experience on the Mac and iPhone platforms by writing technical articles for magazines (like MacTech). It's very rewarding to be able to use what you've learned and pass it on to others.
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