What It Takes To Build An App

Users often think of the mobile app programmer as being one or two people in their homes, writing code for a few weeks, then releasing their content on the world. Moden mobile apps requires a team of people, as with any software project. Today’s guest is Joan Wood, VP of Product Development for Jigsaw Informatics. Jigsaw develops mobile apps for IOS. These apps: ZapVM, Pingz, and Reclarity, enable users to easily create voice-annotated slideshows using only their phones.

(Full disclosure: I worked with Joan at Jigsaw for about a year, prior to my current day job).



Pingz lets you create voice and graphically annotated slideshows, rendered to video.

Creating a complex mobile app involves creativity, planning, teamwork, and execution. Joan shares her experiences creating several mobile apps in her role at Jigsaw. Along the way, we learn a bit about Pingz, Jigsaw’s app for creating voice-annotated slideshows, which can include graphical highlights and effects. You can create your own Ken Burns-style mini-show. Once created and edited, your creation is rendered to video. It looks simle on the surface, but is pretty complex under the hood.

Joan talks about the evolution of the app, including how the more complex ZapVM app evolved into Pingz. She discusses the creative inspiration in how people would “show-and-tell” from their mobile camera roll. What if that show-and-tell could be captured and widely disseminated? She applied additional inspirations from her experiences in video production and game development.

We also talk about the pitfalls and pluses of distributed teams, tools used, and how her background growing up in a multi-cultural family helped shape the development process.


I share my experience troubleshooting a bizarre internet connectivity problem that had nothing to do with my ISP, my PC, or my router. I also talk about AMD’s latest foray into capturing the hearts and minds of PC gamers everywhere. Eric goes further down the headphone rabbit hole, diving into the esoteric world of DACs and headphone amps.


I found Rise of the Tomb Raider, the latest iteration of the adventures of Lara Croft, engaging and great fun. It’s a step up from the rebooted Tomb Raider of 2014, not a bad game in its own right. But I’d really like to know who taught Lara her mad Ninja skills…


SyFy’s The Expanse: the best SF show on television today.

Season 1 of The Expanse wrapped up in dramatic fashion. I’m sorry to see the season end, and looking forward to season 2, which doesn’t arrive until 2017, alas. The Expanse is a superb example of how visual media can differ from the source novels, yet still retain the character and flavor.

Meanwhile Eric wraps up his viewing of Amazon’s own The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. He deems it “pretty good”. While he like the book more, the TV series gets his “worth watching” stamp of approval. Eric’s also been trying to get back into Obsidian’s Pillars of Eternity without much success — maybe because he’s been distracted by playing Eve Valkerie on his Oculus VR DK2. Eric also loves the Apollo 11 Experience in full VR mode.

Finally, Eric’s gotten his son, Nick, into the Harry Potter series of novels and movies, and is reminded of just how powerful a shared universe can really be.



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