Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Journey of App Development

Well, it's been quite the journey.  

I conceived of a new business and personal app about 2 years ago, and when no one else invented it, I decided to take the plunge myself about 4 months ago and I'm pleased to announce that it has just now been uploaded to the app store and is awaiting approval.  Iphone and Android platforms are in the works.  

I can hear you all asking now -- What?? You developed it first for BlackBerry? What was I thinking??

Well, since it's an app that I really wanted, and since I am a committed BlackBerry user, like most of BB uers are :), I naturally had to develop it for BlackBerry first.  Plus, it integrates a lot of native BlackBerry capability so I assumed it might also be the most challenging.

So I'm not going to tell you about the app just yet, until it is live and available for purchase, but I do want to share some Pinnacle Thoughts with you on the app development process that I have learned along the way. 

I have discovered there are four stages to developing a fully interactive app, not the kind that is basically a miniature web page.  

The four stages are:
1. Conception --- Dream and drawn out how the app will work. Write a features and benefits page. Start searching for names, urls, logos, trademarks and competition. Run it by your most trusted friends.

2. Production --- Hire an App developer and maybe someone who has been through the process before and can speak the technical language.  Utilize a non-disclosure agreement.

3. Place --- upload the App on the online stores.  This is quite a detailed process with many linear steps including getting a business payment system, proving your identity and taxation status, making applications to become a vendor, producing the rights to all third-party content, get the app reviewed and approved, and much, much more.

4.  Promote --- Start writing the marketing plan including public relations and paid online media strategies. Set a budget and make sure your promotion is true to the functionality of the app as completed.  Not all ideas can always be implemented for each platform.
I am working on parts of steps 3 & 4 and looking forward to blogging a bit more about the experience once it has launched on all three platforms! 
Stay tuned!! 
If you've developed an app, what was your experience like? Which of the four steps was your favourite and least favourite? Did i miss a step?  Please add your comments below, I just may do this again!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Girl in Town Makes Twitter Pages Dynamic

Pinnacle Communications Twylah webpage screen shot
Twylah is about to get famous for her amazing talent at bringing together one's Twitter stream into an exciting dynamic webpage that automatically groups and presents your tweets by topic, letting followers know what you're all about.

This creates a better brand experience for business, non-profits, and individuals resulting in more followers, engagement, and click-throughs etc.
Your tweets show up with links and pictures intact. You can pin three of the trending topics to the navigation bar so they are always clickable.  You can also hide up to 10 topics so they don't show up, which is good for older, less relevant tweets.  
Three cool features available through Twylah:

  1. PowerTweet button can be dragged to your browser window so you can quickly and easily tweet any web page you're on.  Fast content!  And for each PowerTweet, a custom landing page is created that includes all the links and text of your tweet. Followers can click that backlink and see your dynamic webpage. Your followers get easy access to more of your related tweets, increasing their engagement.  
  2. Widgets to create clickable Trending Tweets buttons or thumbnails of your themes are available in Twylah's Resource section, making it easy to embed attractive links on your business website.
  3. It's free. Whether for your business or your own personal account, Twylah can help create your brand by telling your whole story.

To check out other Twylah webpages (celebrities, companies, musicians etc) or to request your own, click here:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Free QR codes and Short Links are Big with Bitly

Ever get links inside emails that are so long they wrap around and around? All too often they don't work.  If you want to shorten a web page address, use  Unlike some  other url shorteners, bitly tracks click-throughs and creates QR codes too! And for more prolific or public entities, bitly lets a corporation brand its own shortener.  While that gets technical, here's two introductory 60 second videos to get you started.

First, an on-screen demonstration of how to use bitly to shorten long webpage urls:

And, this second video shows how to get a QR code from the shortened link. 

 Organizations can use QR codes on business cards, ads, and brochures for example to allow people with smartphones to quickly get online to the business's offer page, video or website.

With Bitly, shortening links and making QR codes are simple, fun and free to do!
Businesses don't need an advertising agency to create a QR code.  To learn more, read my previous post on QR codes.

To create these videos I used the Camtica Screen Recorder Software which is the webpage url featured in the bitly video above. I downloaded the software and put these together intuitively without reading more than the page featured above -- so it's really simple to learn and use.  I did have to do a few takes though to get it right because I was ad-libbing! And Camtica can also take a video of the presenter speaking as part of the screen shot, but I chose not to do that for this demonstration. Maybe next time!

Basically, Camtica easily lets you record any desktop activity with voice, webcam and animated mouse clicks.  I really liked the yellow highligher around the mouse. A nice feature.  The resulting video can be saved in various formats including AVI and WMV.  I also uploaded these two demos to YouTube.  So Camtica is a great way to:
  • To create professional screen recordings, demonstrations, presentations, screencasts, tutorials and more
  • To generate effective videos that help you train, teach, sell and more
  • To create demonstration videos for any software programs
  • To show customers how to use your product
  • To create on-demand interactive training, tutorials for school or college class
  • To create a set of videos answering your most frequently asked questions
  • To share your recordings on YouTube, and other videos sites
It also:
  • Records entire desktop, selected rectangle region, dynamic region around mouse cursor, webcam
  • Records anything on the screen including windows, objects, menus, full screen and rectangular regions
  • Records desktop screen with audio and webcam together - personalizing your videos by including a webcam movie of yourself over * your desktop at any position
  • Records video chats, Skype video calls, games, flash movies played on sites
  • Offers Free lifetime updates and upgrades
I am looking forward to using it more in the future, but now I need to turn my attention back to work!  Thanks for reading and commenting, and letting me wish you a Happy 2012!