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The MacTech Spotlight: Jamie Phelps, Epiphany Media

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Jamie Phelps, Epiphany Media

What do you do?

A little bit of everything really. I have an ongoing full-time contract with Agile Web Solutions where I do a lot of Ruby and Rails coding and help with 1Password and Knox development. I also do freelance web development and I have some indie development projects in the pipeline.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I started Epiphany Media in 2006 when I accidentally started making money from some web development projects that fell into my lap. Shortly after that, I left my graduate school studies behind and started a computer science program. In 2008 I began to contract with Agile Web Solutions and pursue my indie development.

What was your first computer?

The first computer I knew how to tinker with was a Packard Bell tower my grandmother bought me. It was a screaming Pentium 166MHz with MMX!

Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?

Definitely Mac-only now. When I was finishing up my computer information technology degree, I did some Windows development in C#.NET and did some SQL Server Reporting Services and ASP.NET development.

What attracts you to working on the Mac?

Initially, I was attracted to the Mac because of one piece of software: Accordance. This was when I was in graduate school studying the New Testament and the power and elegance of that app was enough to get me to buy a Mac just to use it.

Now, as a developer, the most attractive thing is the consistency. Even without looking at the documentation I can often guess method names for what I'm trying to do if I haven't done it before. The degree of care and thought that is clearly evident in the design of the frameworks and API is simply huge. It means I can write code and know that Apple has committed to supporting the thing that I'm using.

What's the coolest thing about the Mac?

The community. I can't count the number of times I have heard the following type of exchange: "Does anyone know how to [insert thing someone else probably already solved]?" "Oh, yah, I did that a couple months back. I'll email you the code." I have rarely encountered any suspicion or competition and folks have been so generous with their time and expertise that it's just simply the coolest thing to be a part of.

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

Be open, humble, and generous. Pay attention and learn all you can. Figure out who you are and who you want to be, and be true to that over everything else.

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

I co-wrote a bundle for TextMate for our customer support team that included the ability to search for users from our remote database to insert license information and other relevant bits of data. Then I rewrote the bundle as a generator script. When changes are committed or merged in, a git hook fires and regenerates the bundle including nested menus and some keyboard shortcuts.


When I was finishing up my degree, our final project was working with Sun SPOTs to build a wireless sensor network. I worked to build a graphical console to represent the incoming data in a C#.NET application. We used the SPOTs to build some simple cars we could control from another SPOT and for our final presentation, we built a track with various environmental changes such as a tunnel and hair dryer to show changes in ambient light and temperature that the car was sensing and sending back to the console.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

Also, I've worked on Knox and 1Password for Mac as well as

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

I am releasing my first independent Mac application in the Mac App Store. It's called Eureka and it helps folks quickly locate files. It will be at and @eurekaformac on Twitter. I have a few more ideas that I will be tackling soon as well.

Anything else we should know?

I'm at:

jxpx777 just about everywhere on the web

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