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A picture of Jeff LaMarche

Jeff LaMarche

Author, software developer

in developer, mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Jeff LaMarche and I'm an author, software developer and one of the principals at MartianCraft, LLC. I co-wrote two books on programming the iPhone, contributed to a book on Mac programming and am currently writing a book on OpenGL ES. I also maintain a fairly well-read blog on developing for the iPhone and occasionally speak at Mac and iPhone conferences.

What hardware do you use?

I use a current generation unibody 17" MacBook Pro as my main machine. It's maxed out on RAM, has the faster processor, and the high resolution matte screen. Prior to the release of the iPhone SDK, I was a software consultant and travelled 48-50 weeks a year and got in the habit of using laptops all the time. I've been toying with the idea of getting a second monitor but I find it comforting to have the exact same setup at home as when I travel.

I also have a couple of iPhone and iPod touch models and an iPad, since most of my work is for the iOS, and a Nexus One that I've used to experiment with Android. I have 3 terabytes of external hard drive space that's mostly used as part of my somewhat paranoid redundant backup strategies.

I have an HP 1300 printer that's several years old and an Epson R1900 that I use for printing photos, but honestly don't find myself doing much printing at all these days.

And what software?

For both my contract programming and writing, I end up spending the bulk of most of my days in Xcode (and I'm really digging Xcode 4) assisted by Kevin Callahan's Accessorizer. I keep Apple's Activity Monitor open at all times with the floating CPU usage meters visible so I can tell how hard I'm making my machine work at any given moment.

For my writing, what I use depends on who I'm writing for. For Apress, I have to work in Word 2008. For PragProg, I write in TextMate (which I also use for lots of other purposes). For my blog, I use the excellent MarsEdit. My next most frequently used application, believe it or not, is I'm really comfortable with the various unix command line tools and with shell scripting and find myself defaulting to those tools for a lot of tasks.

I use Flying Meat's Acorn and Pixelmator for my raster image editing needs, Opacity for vector graphics, and OmniGraffle for creating figures and illustrations for my books.

My current book project is on OpenGL ES, and I'm using the alpha of Blender 2.5 a lot in the process of writing the book. It's really an amazing piece of open source software.

I use Skype for conference calls and calls with overseas clients, and am a somewhat obsessive Twitterer. I use Tweetie on my Mac and Twitterrific on my iOS devices.

For creating screencasts for my blog or for customers, I use iShowU HD, and on the rare occasion when I need to run a Windows application, I use Wine.

What would be your dream setup?

I think I pretty much already have it. I really like Apple's 17" laptops, especially the current unibody design. It's powerful enough and has enough screen real estate for pretty much everything I do and I can take it with me wherever I go. It allows me to create in a number of different ways, and that's what's important. We always want better, faster, newer stuff, but to be perfectly honest, I'm really quite happy with my machine. I would like a Wacom graphics tablet, though. Maybe I'll ask Santa for one.