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The MacTech Spotlight: Manton Reece, Riverfold Software

Volume Number: 27
Issue Number: 01
Column Tag:MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Manton Reece, Riverfold Software


What do you do?

I'm a software engineer. I build Mac and iPhone e-book software for VitalSource Technologies, and I'm the founder and solo programmer at Riverfold Software. I have two Mac products, Clipstart and Wii Transfer, and a new iPad app for Twitter called Tweet Library. I also co-host a podcast with indie developer Daniel Jalkut called Core Intuition where we talk about the business and everyday life of software development.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I started writing apps for the Mac about 16 years ago, first in the Pascal programming language, then later in C, C++, and now mostly Objective-C. It's been fascinating to watch the Mac evolve, through the dark days when Apple was "doomed” and you were crazy to develop software for the platform, to the modern era successes of Mac OS X and the iPhone.

What was your first computer?

The first computer I actually owned was a Macintosh Classic running System 6.0.7. It was underpowered compared to the Mac cutting edge even at the time, but it was affordable and, to me, amazing. I used it for school work, dialing up to BBSes, and tinkering with code. My main computer has been a Mac ever since.

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

As great as the Mac experience is, it's not perfect; there are plenty of problems that still haven't been solved well. Find one and build a solution for it, either as your own independent product or as a free tool that can serve as your resume. Whether it's a template or script or app or design, showing people what you can do will open up new opportunities. Start a blog and don't worry if it's a small audience. If you share what you learn you'll be giving back to the community and demonstrating your personality and skills with future employers or customers.

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

I like the work I did on Wii Transfer, which streams media to the Nintendo Wii. It used a few different technologies—web server, media conversion, Flash widgets, iLife integration, Bluetooth—to achieve something that was difficult to do before. The lesson I learned making Wii Transfer is that not everything has to be brand new; sometimes building a product is just taking a few small "easy” pieces and combining them in a clever way.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

My Mac and iPad apps are available at: http://www.riverfold.com/

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

I've found I can only work on a few separate applications without spreading myself too thin, so for 2011 my goals are pretty modest: take everything I've already built and make it better. I'm also intrigued by the Mac App Store and hope to have at least one app there by the time you read this. We don't know exactly what impact the App Store will have on the Mac software market, but it's exciting that it will likely be a very big deal.


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