TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The MacTech Spotlight: Keith Alperin, Helium Foot Software

Volume Number: 27
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Keith Alperin, Helium Foot Software

http://www.heliumfoot.com


What do you do?

I'm the founder, CTO, CMO, COO, CEO and CJO (Chief Janitorial Officer) of Helium Foot Software, which I started in 2007.

As my title(s) imply, I do just about everything! I hire contractors (designers, copy writers, etc.) as needed, but for the most part, it's a one man shop. Like a lot of indies, Helium Foot has two practices: product development and consulting.

While I've always fancied myself as a product auteur (or at least an impresario) the truth is that consulting is really what keeps the lights on. At SecondConference this past fall, there was a lot of discussion about what it means to be an "indie". Since then, I've been a lot more zen about my current place in the mac-o-verse and I'm focusing a lot more on my consulting practice this year.

How long have you been doing what you do?

I grew up in a house with computers. My dad use to bring home dumb terminals back in the 70s (complete with telex "displays" and acoustic coupler modems.) I wrote my first game with my best friend in 1984. We were 9 and 10. We wrote it in mbasic5 on a cp/m based Vector Graphic 4. It was called "Haunted Mansion" and before you label us prodigies, you should know that the entire game was implemented as giant tree of conditionals.

Fast-forward to 1996 and I had just graduated from college with a degree in molecular biology. Since my biology experiments always failed, I needed to find another line of work. The Internet was starting to explode so I took my degree in biology, my (very heavy) HTML reference book and my 60-watt smile into a job interview and emerged with a gig as a webmaster. I really came up through the web ranks and started to make the jump to the Mac in the year or so before I started the company.

What was your first computer?

Our first real computer was a Vector Graphic 4 (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vector4.shtml) which my dad brought home in 1982. He was a software engineer (he even studied computers at MIT before they had a computer science major) so we were definitely ahead of the home computer curve. We of course played games on it. We used its word processor (MemoWrite, a program so obscure that google seems to have never heard of it.) Most importantly, though, i started programming on it. My dad bought a book on BASIC that he read with us and we did the examples together. I was a little to young to really get the concept of variables and subroutines; but I could make it print a lot of lines of "KEITH IS AWESOME."

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

Just start! I spent a long time as a sort of cocoa dabbler who thought a lot about writing an app and starting a business. I read this quote from Daniel Jalkut of MarsEdit fame and it really inspired me (hat tip to Gus Mueller for posting it on his blog: http://gusmueller.com/blog/archives/2007/02/daniel_jalkut_on_macsb.html):

Therefore my advice and personal strategy is:

1. Just start. If you're dreaming of an app, stop dreaming, pick your self up from wherever you are right now and sit down in front of your Mac. With the advent of the App Stores, it's never been easier start up your own software outfit and focus entirely on your product (rather than worrying about web stores and serial numbers.) Find the time and start making something.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

My Mac products can be downloaded from my site at http://www.heliumfoot.com and GroceryList for iPhone is available at http://itunes.apple.com/app/grocerylist-the-fastest-way/id352712665?mt=8.

I also released some of the GroceryList source code at https://bitbucket.org/kalperin/hfuikit.


If you or someone you know belongs in the MacTech Spotlight, let us know! Send details to editorial@mactech.com

 
AAPL
$118.85
Apple Inc.
-0.15
MSFT
$48.10
Microsoft Corpora
+0.35
GOOG
$541.36
Google Inc.
+0.99

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Skype 7.2.0.412 - Voice-over-internet ph...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
HoudahSpot 3.9.6 - Advanced file search...
HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool built upon MacOS X Spotlight. Spotlight unleashed Create detailed queries to locate the exact file you need Narrow down searches. Zero in on files Save... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.3 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
iPhoto Library Manager 4.1.10 - Manage m...
iPhoto Library Manager lets you organize your photos into multiple iPhoto libraries. Separate your high school and college photos from your latest summer vacation pictures. Or keep some photo... Read more
iExplorer 3.5.1.9 - View and transfer al...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.3 - Discover and i...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
SteerMouse 4.2.2 - Powerful third-party...
SteerMouse is an advanced driver for USB and Bluetooth mice. It also supports Apple Mighty Mouse very well. SteerMouse can assign various functions to buttons that Apple's software does not allow,... Read more
iMazing 1.1 - Complete iOS device manage...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
PopChar X 7.0 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more
OneNote 15.4 - Free digital notebook fro...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

7 tips to get ahead of the competition i...
7 tips to get ahead of the competition in Dynasty of Dungeons Posted by Simon Reed on November 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playcrab has launched their action-packed new dungeon crawler, Dynasty of Dungeons, today. | Read more »
Monster Strike Review
Monster Strike Review By Campbell Bird on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BILLIARD STRATEGYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Collect monsters and battle by flinging them across the battlefield in this strangely... | Read more »
Proun+ Review
Proun+ Review By Jennifer Allen on November 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TWITCHY RACINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Twitchy racing aplenty in Proun+, an enjoyably tricky title.   | Read more »
Lucha Amigos (Games)
Lucha Amigos 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Forget Ninja Turtles, and meet Wrestlers Turtles! Crazier, Spicier and…Bouncier! Sling carapaces of 7 Luchadores to knock all... | Read more »
Record of Agarest War Zero (Games)
Record of Agarest War Zero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: HyperDevbox Holiday Turkey Black Friday Special Pricing! To celebrate the opening of the holiday season HyperDevbox... | Read more »
Raby (Games)
Raby 1.0.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.3 (iTunes) Description: ***WARNING - Raby runs on: iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini Retina, iPad Mini 3, iPad 4, iPad Air,... | Read more »
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (Games)
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** PLEASE NOTE: Oddworld Stranger's Wrath requires at least an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad Mini or iPod Touch 5th gen... | Read more »
Bounce On Back (Games)
Bounce On Back 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Dwelp (Games)
Dwelp 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: === 50% off for a limited time, to celebrate release === Dwelp is an elegant little puzzler with a brand new game mechanic. To complete a... | Read more »
Make Way for Fat Chicken, from the Maker...
Make Way for Fat Chicken, from the Makers of Scrap Squad Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 26th, 2014 [ permalink ] Relevant Games has announced they will be releasing their reverse tower defense game, | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Black Friday: 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 B&H Photo continues to offer Black Friday sale prices on the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac, in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP... Read more
Karalux Announces 24K Gold-Plated iPhone 6
Karalux, a Vietnam-based jewellery firm, has launched a unique 24 karat gold-plated iPhone 6 version with gold-cast monolithic dragon on its back panel. The real 24 karat gold plated enclosure doesn’... Read more
Black Friday: 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook P...
 B&H Photo has lowered their price for the 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro to $1159 for Black Friday. That’s $140 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model (except for Apple’s $1099... Read more
View all the Black Friday sales on our Mac Pr...
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. View Black Friday sale prices at a... Read more
Black Friday: 11-inch MacBook Air for $779, s...
 Best Buy has lowered their price for the 2014 11″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air to $779.99 for Black Friday. That’s $120 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale... Read more
Apple Store Black Friday sale for 2014: $100...
BLACK FRIDAY The Apple Store has posted their Black Friday deals for 2014. Receive a $100 PRODUCT(RED) branded iTunes gift card with the purchase of select Macs, $50 with iPads, and $25 with iPods,... Read more
Black Friday: 15% off iTunes Gift Cards
Staples is offering 15% off $50 and $100 iTunes Gift Cards on their online store as part of their Black Friday sale. Click here for more information. Shipping is free. Best Buy is offering $100... Read more
BEVL Releases Dock Tailored for iPhone 6 and...
Seattle based BEVL has released their first product: an iPhone dock that is divergent in build quality, rock-solid function and visual simplicity to complement the iPhone. BEVL is now accepting... Read more
Black Friday: $150 off 13-inch Retina MacBook...
 Best Buy has 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $150 off MSRP on their online store as part of their Black Friday sale. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available).... Read more
Black Friday: $300 off 15-inch Retina MacBook...
 B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $300 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.