Apps We’re Developing

Currently we are finishing a Restaurant POS app with a Mac, Windows and Linus GUI. The differentiators of this app is that is networks will all platforms so that elegant Macs can be used in the front of the house, while less expensive Linux or Windows servers can be used in the kitchen and back office.

Our time-billing app is in beta testing. It allows users to track tasks – which sounds ho-hum. But this app lets users quick-tap to change tasks. The tasks keep an ongoing log of the time spent per task.

One of our new clients (in California) asked us to write a video app to capture public speakers. The client presents public speaking seminars for professionals. The app allows multiple takes and copies the student’s videos to their flash drive at the end of the class. The tricky part was making sure the app worked with a wide variety of cameras.

This seems to be the month of video projects. A video animation company in Israel asked us to fix their Java app that was abandoned by their last contractor. The application allows a team to comment on a video project by attaching  notes to specific video frames. This is a cross-platform app that is working great! A very fun project.

We also secured a client in Atlanta who programs BMW and other German performance vehicles. As you may know, most cars today, are dependent on a computer chip to control the vehicle. Fine tuning the software in these chips can yield better performance. Being in the Ann Arbor area (yet near Detroit) we know a lot about cars. However, the Germans are tight-lipped about the secrets of programming their vehicles. This client has asked us to write software to allow car enthusiasts to be able to re-program their own vehicle (with guidance from the client). As such, this software has a B2B and B2C component. The B2B component focuses some software features on BMW dealers that want to offer re-programming as a service.

One small app that I programmed for myself, was Hunks-Of-Text. I constantly find myself pasting he same code into a project or the same paragraph in to email. So Hunks-Of-Text allows me to save all these paragraphs to a file and paste them by just double clicking. The app stays on-screen but minimized. It will be for sale later this month (or likely free).

Until next month,


Your Own Smart Phone App … on Your Client’s Phone.

Your Own Smart Phone App … on Your Client’s Phone.

Business cards get filed, promotional stuff gets tossed, but people take their phone with them EVERYWHERE.

Phone facts:

  • People put apps on their phone and rarely take them off.
  • Your app icon will remind phone owners about your business.
  • People love useful apps, and apps that make their life easier.
  • Everyone likes sharing fun & useful apps with friends – why not your own app.

Does your business have something of value to offer …
A laser toner supply business made an app that lets customers order toner when low.
Key Benefit – the customer does not need to search for cartridge numbers from a
website. The app knows the customer’s printers. So ordering is easy.

Home Depot has an app, Lowe’s does not. People shopping in Lowe’s can check for
lower prices at Home Depot. But someone in Home Depot can’t do the reverse.
For large purchases, Home Depot can take customers from Lowe’s.

A consultant has a Magic Eight Ball app with customized responses. In “fun mode” the Magic Eight Ball app generates random guesses to problems like “the future looks bright.”
Key Benefit – while fun, the app also can connect customers to the consultant’s
website for real answers to common business questions.

If you have a website, apps can let customers see and send info faster than using a browser. Retail shop owners can send specials to spark sales. Service businesses can keep customers informed and provide useful info. Prospects can use your application to sample your product – and later buy or contact the sales person.

The benefit is that your application is seen every time the person scrolls through their apps – even if your app is not chosen. What a great branding tool!

For under $500 you could have an app to connect to customers, get new clients and drive sales to your website.

Typical app prices

  • Helpful apps that calculate, quote or generate simple reports … $100.
  •  Fun quizzes, surveys and trivia facts finders … $150.
  • An app to connect people to your website … $150.
  • Let people set appointments for your services .. $200.
  • Offer coupons or specials when you need extra sales … $250.

How it works:
We upload the app to the Apple Store and Android Marketplace so your customer can get it. You get a link to email friends, clients, and prospects. We take care of the technical support for your users – and give you training.

[email protected]
Programmers: Eric * Sean * Kathy * Chris
Technical Writer: Dale

Lightbolt develops new Android / iPhone prototyping process.

September 16, 2011

Developing new Android or iPhone apps can be problematic because many problems only show up during end-user testing – or worst – after release. The Lightning prototyping process allows end-users to test the app during development instead of after. This saves development time and cost.

The process works by letting end-users test and develop the GUI and business logic in a familiar environment – their desktops! As the end-uses make changes, they work out usability issues (also known as human interaction issues). Thus, the developers concentrate on coding the application once the GUI and business logic are completed.

This splits the development in two – literally. Allowing each group to do what they do best. Programmers code, end-users choose the layout and perfect the business logic.

The Lightbolt prototyping system comes from the success of Model Driven Architecture (MDA) which is normally used for large software projects. In MDA, the software developers wait until the end-users have a working prototype – even if just a paper mock-up and flow chart. Once the Model (of MDA) is done, the software developers take over and code it. Thus, as the name implies – the Model Drives the Architecture.

“I’ve been using MDA since 2006 with great success,” Eric a software engineer with LightBolt said. “First at ProQuest where it saved $10,000 0n a project, then later at Ford where it saved my project while others were cut due to the economy.”

The result of MDA is software that passes user-testing faster and with the highest end-user acceptance when compared with other software development methods (SDLC, SCRUM or CMMI).

Now LightBolt has figured out how to make the benefits of MDA available to small software projects and smart phone apps.

Why Android PWM app

Here is a project Chris just completed!

Why Android PWM?  Android PWM is a useful tool, which can generate pulse width modulation signals on the go with various frequencies and duty cycles.

It’s useful for controlling motor speeds, or other devices.  Three channels may be operated simultaneously.   It utilizes inexpensive Arduino hardware.   And with less than $100 you can build yourself a PWM generator controlled by your phone.  How cool is that?

Android PWM is an application to control the Arduino Uno Pulse Width Modulation digital output pins  3, 5 and 6.  Some assembly is required.  Aside from this Android application available on the Android Market,  an Arduino Uno, a USB shield,   the Microbridge framework and the android-pwm sketch program must be installed.

Android PWM uses the MicroBridge ADB connection between Arduino and Android.

Pin 3 has the following frequency selections: 30.5 ,  122.1,  488.3,  976.6,  3906.3, 31.25 kHz
* Pin 3 uses a separate timer than Pins 5 and 6.
Pin 5 & 6 have the frequency selections: 61,  244.1,  976.6,  7812.5,  and 62500 Hz.

Read more about  it here!

Come tell us your app idea!

Got an idea for an app? Come share it with us and discuss the possibilities. We will be hosting an App Idea Night – twice a week in Ann Arbor! Just across from the Realm Theater (formerly Showcase Cinemas).

At the developer’s night you can come a met us, discus your idea and explore the possibilities – FREE. That’s right, no consulting fee!

I’ll update this post with the time and day of the week when we finalize the details. So … stay tuned!


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