Monthly Archives: January 2014

“Exactly what you want, in one ear and saved in Sono.”

Happy Pitch Day, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Team BadApp is super excited to see what all the groups have to offer, and we’re even more excited to present our recording app, Sono.

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Team BadApp on Pitch Day: DRose, Jenny, HJ, Andrew, and Leleeeee!

A bit about Sono:

Journalists know the frustration that comes from transcribing interviews, looking for the perfect quote. Students hate trying to remember a specific moment from lecture while cramming for finals, but keeping hours of lecture recorded is a huge pain.

With Sono, both of these problems can be solved.

We plan to create a utility app that allows journalists and students to have more control over their recordings with single-touch bookmarking during recording, and ability to organize cuts of your recordings instead of sifting through hours of audio.

Competitors:  Notability, Audiolio

> Audiolio has the timestamp down, but not the organization or the slowed-down playback. Focus is more on text annotation of audio notes. It is also available only on iPad.

> Notability is a much broader note-taking app, and is more complicated. It is more suited to iPad for drawing/annotating/etc., and the focus isn’t on audio.

How we will be different:

> Timestamp capability is directly on playback timeline, along with annotation function.

> Add timestamps from seconds ago, in case you miss something crucial.

> Cut audio into pieces so you can keep what’s necessary and discard the rest.

> Sync interviews with contacts, and/or place recordings in folders based on a story/source you interview often/whatever

> Full audio export

> Slowed-down playback to get that perfect quote

We can’t wait to get started on making this fantastic utility for students and journalists. We’ll have more updates for you next week!

Meet Newt

Depending on who’s being asked, the word “newt” could mean a variety of different things.

Some etymologists might picture this: Newt Definition

Perhaps some intelligent and slightly obsessed herpetologists would think of this:

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People born in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s would probably think of this:

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And apparently, Google Images thinks of this:

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But when us forward-thinking folk think of the word “newt,” we think of an up and coming iPhone app made by the people and for the people.

Watch the video of the birth of Newt here. 

When we spoke to Bobby Blanchard about how he came up with the name Newt, he said the idea sort of just came to him.

Bobby: I had a few ideas, most of which were awful and boring. When I started messing around with play on words, I looked at the word news and dropped the s and added a t. It sounded fun, cool and exciting. I checked with the app store and there wasn’t an app called newt. So it stuck.

Newt: Were you nervous to pitch the idea to the rest of your group?

Bobby: I talked with a few people before I pitched it to the group and they were surprised it wasn’t taken already. Professor Quigley liked the idea a lot, too, so I felt like it was a good enough idea to throw out there.

Why the name Newt? How do you think it will help the app in the future?

Bobby: In this game of marketing and sales, an app name is a big deal and a huge piece to the puzzle. In my opinion, one reason why Twitter was successful is because of all the play-on words. Their logo is a bird, they really branded their posts as “tweets” and they created a strong campaign that might’ve not been the same if they had a different name.

What did you have in mind for Newt’s logo?

I pictured the logo as an outline of a coiled Newt – perhaps some kind of a 3-D look to it – and the word “Newt” somehow incorporated inside the outline. I think coming up with a logo will be one of the toughest things, as we want to make sure it’s just right.

Bobby’s right. We started playing around with what our logo could possibly look like. So far, here is what we came up with.

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Yes Newt is our baby but, don’t get us wrong, we know it is still in the early development stage. In addition to reading our blog, track our progress this semester by following our Twitter account, liking us on Facebook and reaching out via email at newtapp@gmail.com.

A little background on Newt:

Here’s the deal. If newspapers aren’t already out of style, they are well on their way. This is sad for a lot of people. However, Newt’s idea is to preserve newspapers’ editorial content while changing the content’s platform.

What Newt does is actually quite simple. By providing the user with a morning landing place, such as a digital newspaper, Newt is designed to make mornings more efficient for the everyday person. Like your traditional morning paper, Newt includes information such as traffic and commute time, local weather predictions and timely information on current events. Unlike a newspaper, Newt includes live social media streams and customized news feeds, all while looking aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.

 

 

It’s Early Days

 By Jeremy Hintz

The Idea

The genesis of an idea is so uniquely human. It is this reason that no species has adapted and shaped its surroundings the way mankind has. A good idea inspires action. That’s how we, The Fab Five, recently rebranded as Jacce Apps, felt when we decided to develop Game Plan. We knew we had found a good idea, and we are now all inspired and excited to get started.

Think about some of the best game day experiences in college football: Ole Miss, Auburn, Nebraska, among others. These are all places known for being great places to spend an afternoon in the fall. Why is that? Is it because they have the best brats, the best beer, or even the best teams? No, it’s because they have the most tightly knit communities of fans, students, and alumni. This fall, Game Plan will be a catalyst for building upon what is already a large and passionate Longhorn fan base in hopes of creating a tighter community and a better game day at UT and beyond.

The App

We all agree the success of our app will be determined primarily by how effectively it connects its users: connecting tailgate hosts to those looking to pre-game, businesses to customers, and fans to their team. How exactly to go about this is, and will be, the task at hand for the next several months. The social “it” factor is difficult to capture, but doing so nearly guarantees rapid growth and a degree of staying power for your app. Therefore, we will be striving to make our app less event-centered (i.e. When and where is the tailgate? Which bars have deals?) and more social-centered (i.e. What tailgates are your friends attending? Which friends will go in on a group deal at the restaurant downtown?)

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  Because our app is seasonal in nature, we will have to rely heavily on connecting our users into a robust ecosystem, so that they feel as though it has become tough to participate in game day festivities year in and year out without the help of Game Plan.

Additionally, as with any app, design has to be a top priority. People like to use things that look nice and function intuitively. Design is what will really separate Game Plan from its competition, making it more user friendly and more pleasant to use in general than other options for partaking in game day fun. Another important KPI will be efficiency. Our app will be pulling large amounts of data in areas where there may or may not be stable Wifi. For this reason, we will need to make sure our app is running quickly enough that people don’t feel held back by loading screens and refresh times.

The Team

You were already introduced to the team last week, but how about taking a look at how the group is settling in? Many tech startups boast of the flatness of their organizations. Flat organizations are beneficial because they allow everyone’s voices to be heard and empower people to take risks. However, even startups have some form of hierarchy: one of the founders takes the lead and assumes the CEO role or an investor comes in and wants to see some structure in the way things are done. Thus far, Jacce could not be flatter. We are all coming up with great ideas, contributing in whatever way is necessary at that moment, and working hard to make our visions a reality. Our only job titles are classmates, and we are all equally invested into propelling Game Plan to the front of peoples’ minds when they think of college football game days.

Looking Forward

Jacce has a long road ahead to make Game Plan everything we know it can be. We are so excited now, but it’s early days. We know there will be obstacles we aren’t anticipating, and find friendscountless twists and turns along the road. While we can’t be sure of the problems that may lie ahead, we can be sure that we are ready to confront them. Jacce is ready to get its hands dirty and learn all there is to learn about making a killer app. Stick around for more updates on our progress!

Meet LID, creators of a new iPhone app Vote Smart

We are LID, a group of passionate coders and journalists, and today we are excited to announce our app to everyone. We are developing an app called Vote Smart that is a derivative of Project Vote Smart, which is a national non-profit organization based in Montana with a local office housed on the University of Texas at Austin campus at the Moody College of Communication.

Project Vote Smart is dedicated to providing voters with the most accurate information about electoral candidates and about the legislation. We as a team decided to build an app for them because they currently do not have an app. 74 percent of the people who took our app user survey indicated an app would keep them better informed about the political process and would encourage them to vote.

To build an app like Vote Smart, we needed a team that was equipped with the right mix of skills. Here’s a look at the people on team LID and the developers behind Vote Smart:

Chris Hume

Chris is a Computer Science senior at UT and he graduates this December. For Chris, it’s all about welcoming the user into the experience and he wants to do just that with Vote Smart. With his passion for design and development, he is definitely the coder for our app. You can learn more about him here.

Navin Ratnayake

Navin is a Computer Science junior at UT and he is passionate about mobile applications, which is actually THE perfect thing for us. Besides being crazy about apps, Navin is also interested in social media, web development and animation. He is beginning to learn Xcode. Click here to know more about him.

Heather Dyer

Heather is majoring in Broadcast Journalism at UT. She currently works at the Texas Senate as the Communications Assistant for State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, R.Ph. She is passionate about politics and eventually hopes to do some political reporting. Again, she is an asset to the LID team. Visit her website to know more.

Maribel Molina

Maribel is a multimedia journalism senior at UT and she was a former intern at the Austin American-Statesman. She loves news, photography and social media. She also knows Xcode. Learn more about Maribel right here.

Kritika Pramod Kulshrestha

Kritika is a master’s journalism student pursuing the professional track at UT with an undergraduate background in computer science and technology. With everyone asking her why she made a switch to journalism, she has only one thing to say – journalism presents her with a new challenge every day. It makes her happy. Simple. Her interests lie in fusing the power of technology and journalism to create multimedia stories that can effect change. She is passionate about writing, blogging and social media. Visit her personal website to know about her work.

Wait, we’re not done yet. There’s more.

Check out this cool infographic!

 

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We are CodeKite, the creators of WeatherVain.

We are so excited to finally announce the name of our project, WeatherVain, the app that will forever change the way you think about the weather.

However, before we dig into the details of our prototype, we want you meet our team. As you will soon discover, we are the most diverse group out there in that each of us comes from a different country. How amazing is that?

It has been a great experience getting to know each other, and we can’t wait to share our WeatherVain journey with you! In the meantime, you can follow us @WeatherVain.

So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, meet CodeKite:

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ck3Silvana Di Ravenna

Silvana is a photojournalism/French senior born in La Serena, Chile. She has worked as an independent photographer since 2009. Silvana currently works as a Staff Photographer for Longhorn Life and as a Photography Assistant/shooter for Reporting Texas. Silvana also loves languages, and currently speaks three (working on her fourth). In her spare time, Silvana enjoys writing, reading and playing dress-up with her daughter Augustina.

 

ck4Carlos H. Hernandez

Carlos was born in El Salvador, raised in Austin, TX. He works full-time and is the Web and Application Developer for the Center for Community College Student Engagement, a research and service initiative that is part of the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin.

Carlos received his B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin and is currently taking courses to complete his second degree in Computer Science. He holds a teaching certification in Bilingual Education and prior to working/studying at UT, served as the Migrant Program Liaison for Taylor Independent School District where he also taught fourth-grade bilingual education classes.

On his spare time, he enjoys studying the Bible, learning how to play the piano and being outdoors to play tennis or soccer.

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Jung Eun Yoon

Jung was born in Seoul, South Korea and was reportedly the country’s second smallest baby in history at the time, but she takes her dad’s claim with a grain of salt. Now a senior 21 years later, she is set to graduate in 2015. In her nonexistent free time, she likes to explore all facets of music through instrumental practice, study the bible, watch movies, develop websites, make graphics, and bake from scratch.

 

ckTehreem Fatima Syed

Tehreem was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She moved to the States four years ago. She is currently a junior, doing Bachelors of Arts in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. She spends a lot of her spare time reading, cooking and being by the lake.

 

 

 

ck1Cassandra Jaramillo

Cassandra Jaramillo was born in Monterrey, Mexico and was raised in southeast Texas. She is a sophomore multimedia journalism major at the Moody College of Communication. Cassandra currently works at the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence as an academic coach for journalism students. Outside of class, she interns with NBC affiliate KXAN News and is a reporter for Texas Student Television.

If she’s not working on a story, then she is out training for the next half-marathon or cooking up a healthy meal.

ck2Mark Coddington

Mark was born and raised in the frigid Midwest locales of Wisconsin and Nebraska, where he worked as a newspaper reporter for four years at The Grand Island (Neb.) Independent. He is now a second-year doctoral student in the School of Journalism and the editor of the school’s student-powered news features site, Reporting Texas. He writes each week about the latest in the future-of-news world at Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab. He’s also involved in collaborative research through the Digital Media Research Program and the Twitter Research Group. In his rare bits of free time, he likes to hang out with his wife and 1-year-old daughter and indulge in sports nerd-dom.

There you go! Now that you have met our members, we would like to give you a brief description of WeatherVain, an idea that was born out of a simple question.

Have you ever been surprised by the weather? One minute is hot, then it’s cold.  One morning it’s sunny, then it’s raining in the afternoon. It’s supposed to be mild, but somehow it feels cold.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your iPhone app notified you about sudden changes, and would alert you about temperature, humidity, winds, precipitation, and heaven forbid, sleet? Wouldn’t it be even better if that same app helped you create your own wardrobe archive, so you would always know what to wear and how?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could archive the clothes that you already own, so you could access and share your creations with other users? Wouldn’t you just love to have all these features at a quick swipe of your phone?

WeatherVain App Icon

WeatherVain App Icon

WeatherVain will do that and more! WeatherVain will revolutionize the way you check your weather.

No more logging into applications, no more caught in the rain without an umbrella, no more fashion faux-pas at the meeting.

With WeatherVain, you will always be fashionably prepared. Stay tuned for details!

Team CodeKite

Team BadApp, reporting for duty!

Over the two weeks we have all gotten to know one another, and brainstormed several really cool app ideas. We’re excited to share our process with you, but first things first: introductions!

We are BadApp [badass + app], consisting of:

Elena Carrasco a.k.a. Leleeeeee

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Leleeeeeeee is so many things that it’s hard to sum them all up in a bio. She has a heart of gold and ears like Dumbo. She’s always willing to listen, understand, and fuel the conversation. Her energy and drive brighten the room and her baby pictures bring great happiness to the group. Find her at KVRX, where she hosts a radio show with the coolest chilltronica music around. When she’s not jamming out, she’s wired in, hacking away at dirty bits and dirtier bytes.

Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

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Hannah Jane is a journalism junior from Austin, TX, and is also pursuing a CS minor. HJ has known she wanted to be a journalist since the fourth grade, when she had a very successful run as her family’s newsletter editor (circulation: 6 – don’t be jealous). These days, however, she’s aiming for a career in science journalism and interns at the Cockrell School of Engineering communications office. She previously wrote as a senior news reporter for The Daily Texan. In her spare time, Hannah Jane bakes cookies and pawns them off on the rest of the Badapp team.

Andrew Huygen

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Andrew is a fifth-year journalism senior from Spring, Texas (northwest part of Houston). He has spent the majority of his life coaching people on how to pronounce his last name, which for those of you who don’t know, it’s Hi-gehn. Yes, he’s related to the inventor of the pendulum clock, the namesake for the “Huygens Probe” and the co-proposer of the “Huygens-Fresnel Principle” — Christiaan Huygens. Yeah, you’re jealous, aren’t you? In his five years at UT, he has spent time in the Daily Texan basement, serving as an associate copy desk chief, Life&Arts writer and photographer. He is currently the associate editor and web editor at Longhorn Life, and also a reporting intern at KUT. Andrew has a deep love and appreciation for technology, design, good writing, music and film, and hopes to combine these interests into a career after graduation.

Daniel Rosenwald a.k.a. D Rose

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Daniel Rosenwald once bowled a perfect game. Blindfolded. When he’s not rescuing Pandas in the South Pacific, he’s quietly doing his math homework. He plans to bring excellence to the team and will only stop when he’s hungry. After he eats, he will come right back and continue to work, dream, and create. Daniel has experience in multiple fields of business including Wealth Management and Music Marketing, and so has experience working in a corporate environment. He also has a couple entrepreneurial ventures like being a campus DJ, a freelance graphic designer, and a free hug dealer. At the end of the day, Daniel is going to bring his expert computer science skills and big-picture mind to the table with BadApp.

Jenny Xu

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Jenny is a fourth-year computer science major and business minor from Plano, Texas. She has a passion for technology and design, and has experience in project managing a mobile app development team during her internship with Sabre Holdings. When she’s not in class, she likes to spend her time watching just about every movie in existence and playing video games.

Together, we are BadApp.

The brainstorming process has been very productive, but it definitely hasn’t been easy – there have been hiccups with deciding what direction we want to go in. However, we think we’re in a pretty good position; better to have too many good ideas than not enough, right?

Our ideas have included the following: an app similar to Pandora but including music and news; a local information app similar to Waze but for general goings-on in an area instead of just traffic; a recording utility that lets users bookmark specific points to go back to in their recordings and organize their recordings + full export capability; a local film app that lets movie buffs set preferences of their favorite directors/actors/etc. and sends them push notifications of film showings in their area; an app version of the awesome social news aggregator website Sprawler; and a UTilities app for iPhone that allows UT students access to their class schedules/bus routes/etc.

We have a few ideas that we are leaning toward right now, but until pitch day, who knows? Certainly not us!

This is Blackfish

Blackfish is two things: It is a documentary about the deadly consequences of keeping a killer whale in captivity and the group name of five students at the University of Texas working on an iPhone App.

Obviously they have nothing in common, at least not yet. But, like the movie Blackfish, we are hoping one day our app will achieve the same success and fame.

This spring semester, Blackfish is working on developing a mobile iPhone app that will recreate the morning paper. Just like the morning paper used to tell people everything they needed to know about the day, our app hopes to do the same. Our app will come with an alarm that will jolt people awake. As soon as people dismiss the alarm and open it, the app will tell them everything they want and need to know — the day’s weather, the commute to work, social media updates, calendar events and news updates from a variety of topics. People will customize what they want to the app to tell them.

Yes, news aggregation apps do exist. But none will be as personal as Blackfish’s app. And none have recreated the morning paper in all its glory either.

It’s going to create a wide set of skillsets to make this app work. Fortunately, we have the team to do it. Check us out below:

Tim Carroll:

Texas at Oklahoma State

When he’s not working on one of his personal side projects, Tim Carroll is thinking about his next side project. Carroll is our group’s expert in coding iPhone apps and he has a mountain of experience from working for various companies and himself. Carroll is the idea man, the entrepreneur and the ambition of Blackfish.

Joe Capraro:


Joe Capraro is our in-house photo and design expert. He also has a mountain of experience as a journalist, and has something most college students lack — experience outside of college in the real world. Capraro has worked as a software developer, a website developer and a journalist.

Jennifer Rundle:

Texas at Oklahoma State

Jennifer Rundle is Blackfish’s second computer science student and the group’s jack-of-all trades. She has walked in both the journalism and programming worlds and has experience with several different coding languages.

Katie Paschall:

Texas at Oklahoma State

The queen of all things social, Katie Paschall is our group’s Twitter and Facebook expert. She’s worked as a breaking news intern for the Austin American-Statesman. During her summer stint at The Daily Texan as a social media manager, she brought thousands of new likes to the Texan’s Facebook page and a new a voice to the Texan’s twitter account.

Bobby Blanchard:

Texas at Oklahoma State

With several semesters of experience of reporting at The Daily Texan, Bobby Blanchard knows the news world inside and out. He loves digging into large data projects, and focuses on covering politics and higher education. He also spent two semesters on The Daily Texan’s design desk, and is looking forward to redesigning the morning paper.

The five of us make up Blackfish — the team that will create the next morning paper.

Let the app developing begin

By Adam Beard

What’s great about the University of Texas at Austin is that if you want to study a certain field or subject, there are classes for just about anything. If you want to study journalism, there are classes for that. If you want to study computer science, there are classes for that. And if you want to create and develop an app with both computer science and journalism students, there’s even a class for that.

In the second stint of the Mobile News App Design class at UT, Professor Robert Quigley and Jeff Linwood, an Austin mobile developer and entrepreneur, have selected 13 journalism students and 13 computer science students to work toward building an iPhone app in one semester, with the ultimate goal of having our apps accepted in the Apple App Store.

On the other hand, another important goal is to learn from each other and make it a successful team-oriented project. Each team has a few journalism students and a few computer science students for the purpose of combining programming skills, writing skills and creative ways of thinking into one force that will create the ultimate app.

There are five different teams, but reports are saying that the real team to look out for is the Fab Five.

Consisting of two excellent journalists and three brilliant computer scientists, the Fab Five is a tenacious, young and ambitious group ready to take on the challenge of building an app that will have people whipping out their iPhones and heading to the Apple App Store to buy it. Here are some tidbits about each of individuals:

  • Elyana Barrera (5th year Journalism major): Elyana Barrera is a journalism student at UT. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Resound Magazine UT and has worked as a copy desk chief, associate news editor and life and arts editor for The Daily Texan. She is an actor and a writer, with her dream job being a featured player on Saturday Night Live. Barrera is also interested inapp development and is taking the class in hopes of learning more about efficient UI design.

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  • Adam Beard (3rdyear Journalism major): A hardworking, ambitious and driven young man, Beard aspires to work in sports one day as a broadcaster, writer, media relations person or marketing director. He was born in Long Island, New York, but grew up in Plano, Texas. His freshman year, he attended the University of Missouri, but ultimately transferred to UT to learn amongst the best. Beard loves sports, staying fit and movies. He took this class because he thought it would be a very valuable experience to work within a diverse team to create an app in the world where apps are becoming the new thing. He also just loves Professor Quigley.

  • Courtney Bohrer (2nd year Computer Science major): Courtney Bohrer grew up in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas and loves everything about it. On campus, Bohrer is involved in Texas Baseball Diamonds and Steel Dance Company. Bohrer hopes to eventually work in the mobile industry and is really excited to learn about the app development processthrough this class. She has also been cheering on the Longhorns at UT football games since age 1. As you will soon find out through the Fab Five’s app idea, this is just one of the reasons she is very excited to get started.

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  • Jeremy Hintz (3rd year Computer Science major): Hintz is an aspiring young engineer with a propensity for thinking and dreaming big. He has worked in the mobile sphere during internships with BlackBerry, Samsung, and Mutual Mobile, an Austin-based mobile software firm. He is looking forward to buckling down with a small team in order to build a brand new product from the ground up. In his free time, Hintz enjoys long walks on the beach, memorizing the digits of pi, and trolling Internet forums.

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  • Courtney Ross (1st year Computer Science and Linguistics major): Ross is a dedicated young student who works hard to one day become a software engineer at a major company. Ross is from Baltimore but is becoming a Texan through her time at UT. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching television, and swimming. Ross hopes to create a fantastic app that people, besides her family, use. Courtney looks forward to creating her first major app, while working with the incredible members of the Fab Five. She is excited for this journey and hopes you all will follow the Fab Five as the semester unfolds.

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It has been a little over a week since the team has formed, but many ideas sprouted from the minds of these bright students. Eventually, the Fab Five was thinking that it would be very cool if there were a way that everyone could know what events were occurring and where those events were occurring on game day for Texas football games.

Well very soon Longhorn fans, there is going to be an app for that.

While the Fab Five is unsure of a name or of the specific details for the app at this moment in time, the team has discussed that the app would feature a map that had different pins of where all of the tailgates were happening, what restaurants were providing “game day” deals before, during or after the game, and a feature that would allow people to post pictures and text blurbs about each tailgate or event that was transpiring.

This app could be a very interactive way of seeing where all the hot spots were pregame, during the game and postgame. UT football is a big deal, but the app may even branch out further in the development process to try to include more events than just football.

The Fab Five’s idea seems like a nice idea on paper, but the team knows it has work to do. That is what the semester is for, though. Throughout the next three or so months, the Fab Five will be coding, designing, communicating ideas and stretching their abilities and knowledge to create this tailgating-featured app. They have one message to all the readers, fans and supporters: “Be on the lookout for an app that will change game days forever.”

Coder or Scribe?

By Kritika Pramod Kulshrestha

The Beginning

 There has to be one right? Every story has a beginning. Well, here goes.

I was a computer engineer. Now, I’m a journalist with a tech background.

When I first began applying to journalism schools in the U.S., people questioned my decision, made me wonder whether I was truly being impractical and foolish in leaving a well-paying job with an IT consulting firm to venture out into a field that was rife with uncertainties and layoffs. I could never stand by my decision – to move halfway across the world from Mumbai to Austin – with complete conviction, but now I can, and only because I’m getting to do what I truly love to do – be a storyteller and work in an environment that helps me understand the relationship between technology and journalism through an innovative journalism course, Mobile News App Design. This course is one of the primary reasons I applied to UT and here I am, one year later, with my team members Heather, Chris, Navin and Maribel. I’m truly glad to be a part of this course and work with professor Robert Quigley.

So, who are we?

Heather Dyer
Kritika Pramod Kulshrestha
Chris Hume
Maribel Molina
Navin Ratnayake

See us right here?

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Of course, we also needed a name for our team. We couldn’t remain nameless, could we? Finding a name for our team was as difficult as finding the right sources for a news story. You see? I think like a journalist now, not like a coder. Finally, we did come up with a name. Drum roll please. We christened ourselves LID. It stands for Lorem Ipsum Dolor. It’s sounds Greek. Right? Well, actually it’s Latin and it means Team of Winners. Yes! We’ve begun this course on a very high note. We hope to keep it going for the rest of the semester.

The five of us come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and the journey we now embark upon is going to be filled with surprises, failures and successes.

Idea Phase

We spent the first week coming up with app ideas, which are definitely not easy to come up with. The ideas that we had ranged from creating a trip planner and news app for journalists to an app that helps with voter registration. Some ideas we debated on a little longer than others. We are still debating. We are still exercising our gray cells, and hopefully by next week, we should be ready to rock and roll.

See us right here? We are hard at work.

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We’ve already had our first group meeting in a restaurant. Next up, will be coffee shops, bars and any place that can fuel our minds and help us in our app development process.

We are a bunch of enthusiastic coders and scribes-turned-coders. All I will say now is watch out for LID!

To be, or not to be…

By Carlos Hernandez

That is the question! This, of course, is the famous phrase in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. I still don’t fully understand what that means, but working with my teammates Mark, Cassandra, Silvana, Jung, and Tehreem in the first few days, reminded me of that phrase. We needed to decide a name, and we came immediately into a disagreement, a conflict, the old yin-yang scenario…okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. It’s not like we were talking about life or death. It was only our team name! How hard could that be to decide? But this was the first light to what we could expect in the coming months…decisions, decisions, decisions.

We decided quickly. In less than 5 minutes “CodeKrite” was born. Sure, it made sense…right? It was a mix between coding and the ‘’father’’ of journalism Walter Cronkite. The only problem is that it was misspelled. According to Mark, “code + Cronkite would create Codekite, not Codekrite.” Our teammate Cassandra agreed, “I can’t believe we missed that!”

That brought up an unrelated question on my part, mostly because I’m a CS student: Why is Walter Cronkite the father of journalism? Were there not others before him that were great journalists? I have a lot to learn from my journalism classmates.  For example, I learned from Mark, “he probably wasn’t the father of journalism. There were tons of great journalists before him – Lincoln Steffens! Nellie Bly! Ida Tarbell! – but he was a great journalist, and just as importantly, he went to UT.”  How cool is that!

The original idea was to mix in the father of journalism and the father of computer science, but at that time none of us knew who the father of computer science was, until a few days later my other teammate Jung reminded us that it was Alan Turing. What about Charles Babbage or Ada Lovelace? I think in some ways identifying the “father” of any field would be questionable and up to discussion.

So going back to our name, I didn’t quite get the first name and in the process I came up with the name “CodeWrite.’’ Yeah, I know it’s very “CSish” as Tehreem explained, but I figured, CS students “code” and journalist students “write”. Jung pointed out that Silvana’s suggestion, CodeKite, was more creative and that CodeWrite was more logical.

It became the debate of the week. Which one would win? We had two in favor of CodeWrite, two in favor of CodeKite, and one undecided vote.

The problem was solved with the arrival of Tehreem, our sixth and newest member, who joined us two days later.

So thanks to democracy, we finally had the perfect name for our team, which is a creative symbol of how we all will be working.

So if the phrase goes to be or not to be, the answer is to be a CodeKite is to soar higher.

WalterCronkite