Our today's pick for featured app of the day is Picsy for Windows Phone 8. Picsy adds amazing photo capturing capabilities to your Windows Phone and supports tons of features like, Burst mode (3 frames,3D anaglyphic, single shot, dual perspective shot, HDR Photo, image effects, self-timer, and a lot more). Picsy is developed by the team ReInvent and here's a quick interview of the team,1. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
We are a team of three undergraduate students from LUMS. However, only one of us is a Computer Science Major. The two electrical engineers in our midst, Qasim and Yasar, initially made a team for Imagine Cup back in 2011. The name ReInvent was inspired by the phrase ‘reinventing the wheel’, because we believe that with the help of available technology, we can substantially improve today’s world for the benefit of humanity. Our focus is on enterprise-level solutions for the emerging world.
Mutahir joined an year later – the skills and expertise of a dedicated programmer were sorely needed. As far as backgrounds go, Mutahir is “just a normal guy who enjoys programming and wants to make money.” Once upon a time he used to run a wildly successful tech blog but has since retired due to academic reasons.
A philosophy buff who is surprisingly allergic to Emma Watson, Yasar Qamar is normally working on documentation for the team’s projects when not reading thought-provoking articles on sensitive issues. While success has never been the best of his friends, he likes whiling away his time hoping to achieve something; not to mention that he finds it funny having to write about himself in third person. EDIT: Yasar has vehemently denied any allergic reactions to Ms. Watson whatsoever. He has, in fact, suggested quite the opposite.
Qasim is the jack-of-all-trades of the group. A globetrotter since his early days, he is deeply interested in just about anything. Qasim makes model aircraft, small robots and paintings as a hobby. He used to run a tech blog completely overshadowed by Mutahir’s, and given up on for the same reason as Mutahir’s. A former public speaker-turned-amateur programmer, he enjoys chess, reading classics and having lengthy discussions on sensitive issues (cue Yasar). He does not find having to write about himself in the third person funny at all.
2. How the idea of the Picsy came to you?
We were waiting for the go-ahead on one of our projects, and we decided to make a small WP8 application in the time we had. We were bouncing ideas one day when we realized that contrary to Android, there are very few quality camera apps on the Store offering more than just rudimentary options. What could go wrong?
3. Why did you decide to implement this idea specifically on Windows Phone?
Like I said before, the market for a camera app on the Store was wide open. In addition, the Windows Phone platform is growing rapidly in terms of market share as well as community acceptance, especially with the introduction of excellent new handsets running the OS. Stringent quality control of apps that are being uploaded to the Store is also another great plus – it raises the quality bar significantly for apps, which makes the Store a more appealing place to have one’s app available on.
4. What resources on Microsoft or community side you found most helpful while working on the app? Could you please take us on a quick tour to understand your application better?
The guys at Microsoft Innovation Center, Lahore, Pakistan were very helpful and kind enough to give us material and tutorials to help us get started on the Windows Phone platform. We must also mention that entire DPE team of Pakistan kept us motivated till the end. MSDN forums provided answers to most of our technical queries.
Picsy is a camera application at heart. The inspiration was to bring most different camera settings and features currently available only on dedicated cameras to the Windows Phone. Of course, we couldn’t do anything about the hardware, but we successfully managed to incorporate features like exposure control and shutter speeds. HDR and 3D anaglyphic cameras are neat, so we decided to offer modes supporting these options too.
5. What are your interests behind technology?
We believe that with the help of available technology, we can substantially improve today’s world for the benefit of humanity.
6. Any plans for news apps or projects in general?
We are currently working on Project C.U.R.E. It is a citizen healthcare solution aimed at improving maternal and child health by harnessing the potential of Community Health Workers with a smartphone-based data collection mechanism. It will allow viewing of various trends and other related statistics derived from the data collected, and incorporates emergency response capabilities that will enhance interdepartmental coordination. This will be greatly beneficial to executives from Government Health Departments and to all other policymakers working in related domains as it provides an accurate depiction of grassroots-level statistics. This can further assist in effective policymaking to identify and counter disease outbreaks. We envision our project as one of the foundations of a globally unified healthcare system, to which ends we are aiming for a five percent reduction in global maternal and infant mortality rates in the next five years.
7. What would you advise to Developers in the region who also would like to become Pakistan Hero?
In our humble opinion, innovation is always what counts. Consider the case of the average Joe who decided to dress up and hire bodyguards for a day. He duped the whole of Times Square into thinking he was some hotshot celebrity. The video of his antics is viral on social media. Strokes of genius like these are what really make things catch on in the world, because whenever you want to make something catch on, you are basically up against millions of others who are trying to do the same, and millions more who will or have tried to. Standing out against the competition is what takes the game.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that people are normally resistant to change. So whatever it is you are offering must be substantially different from what is already being offered for your product to be adopted by the masses. It could significantly improve on the quality of what is already being offered, but that has probably already been done. Or it could be something new altogether.
In short, if you have an awesome idea that nobody else has ever thought of, or even if other people have thought of it but haven’t implemented it, you are 90% of the way there. A decent implementation that doesn’t scare off users will do the rest.
8. Where the community can catch up with you online or offline?
We can always be reached at the team email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also come across us at LUMS or at one of the many nearby eateries.