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
$102.13
Apple Inc.
+1.24
MSFT
$44.87
Microsoft Corpora
-0.14
GOOG
$571.00
Google Inc.
-6.86

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Microsoft Office 2011 14.4.4 - Popular p...
Microsoft Office 2011 helps you create professional documents and presentations. And since Office for Mac 2011 is compatible with Office for Windows, you can work on documents with virtually anyone... Read more
TextWrangler 4.5.10 - Free general purpo...
TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator's tool. Oh, and also, like the best things in life, it's free. TextWrangler is the "little brother" to... Read more
BitTorrent Sync 1.4.72 - Sync files secu...
BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync unlimited files between your own devices, or share a folder with friends and family to automatically sync anything. File transfers are encrypted. Your information... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5.2 - FTP and SFTP browser....
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Tinderbox 6.0.3 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Mobile Convolution (Music)
Mobile Convolution 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Invaders! From Outer Space Review
Invaders! From Outer Space Review By Rob Thomas on August 27th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RETRO NOSTALGIAUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s a shame that Invaders! doesn’t offer deeper gameplay, as this retro-inspired... | Read more »
Spooklands Review
Spooklands Review By Jennifer Allen on August 27th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ONE-TOUCH SHOOTERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad One-touch simultaneously controls your direction and your weapon in this unique arena shooter.   | Read more »
Heroes of Order & Chaos Add Twitch I...
Heroes of Order & Chaos Add Twitch Integration, New Heroes, and More Posted by Ellis Spice on August 27th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Foodie Yama Review
Foodie Yama Review By Jennifer Allen on August 27th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BRIEFLY HOOKSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Foodie Yama will draw you in for a brief while, and you’ll never be entirely sure why.   | Read more »
Spotify Connect Turns One, Now Supports...
Spotify Connect Turns One, Now Supports New Devices Posted by Ellis Spice on August 27th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Rise of PicsaStock and How You Can M...
We all take plenty of photos, right? That’s the joy of having a reasonably powerful camera in your pocket, thanks to your trusty iPhone and a bevy of similarly useful apps. Wouldn’t it be great to make some money out of those snaps? While your... | Read more »
Appointment With F.E.A.R Review
Appointment With F.E.A.R Review By Jennifer Allen on August 27th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CAMP DELIGHTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ever wanted to be a superhero? Appointment With F.E.A.R is a fine way to live that dream... | Read more »
Indie MOBA ÆRENA’s 2.0 Summer Update Bri...
Indie MOBA ÆRENA’s 2.0 Summer Update Brings New Missions, Skins, and a Champion Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 27th, 2014 [ permalink | Read more »
Ultra Drift Review
Ultra Drift Review By Rob Thomas on August 27th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ULTRA DULLUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ultra Drift is fine in concept, but the execution runs head-first into the wall. And so will you. Over and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

The iPad’s Real Competitive Challenger (Not S...
It’s been my contention for some time that the iPad is suffering from something of an identity crisis, and I suspect that may be a factor in slackening sales this year. Apple can’t seem to decide... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Life Inventory iOS Apps – Learn to Know Thyse...
James Hollender’s Life Inventory apps s are now on sale with 20% off thru Labor Day, 09/01/2014. This is a great opportunity to get started on that Moral Inventory you’ve been putting off doing for... Read more
Pocket Watch, LLC. Reveals Cloud Server For P...
Beaumont, Texas based Pocket Watch, LLC. has announced the availability of its new ActivePrint Cloud Server Powered by Raspberry Pi. With this small standalone box almost any USB printer or available... Read more
902it Simplifies Area Code Changes For Nova S...
The east coast Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are phasing in 10 digit telephone dialing, to be fully in place by November, in order to accommodate a second area code to... Read more
Boomerang iPad Stand Mounts Your iPad Anywher...
Boomerang, a Mountable Stand with Multiple Viewing Angles, is now available for iPad Air. Boomerang combines several functions that aim to expand your iPad’s potential in one, elegant product. The... Read more
Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $10...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt Display (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
Apple offers free $25 iTunes gift card with p...
The Apple Store is offering a free $25 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a $99 Apple TV for a limited time. Shipping is free. Read more
Apple’s 2014 Back to School promotion: $100 g...
 Apple’s 2014 Back to School promotion includes a free $100 App Store Gift Card with the purchase of any new Mac (Mac mini excluded), or a $50 Gift Card with the purchase of an iPad or iPhone,... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
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* 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
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.