Monthly Archives: May 2014

The final buzzer sounds for the semester

Over the course of the semester, the Game Plan team is happy to say that it completed its goal of being accepted into the Apple App Store. We are all so proud of what the team has accomplished in such little time and are thankful to be in a class to have this opportunity in the first place. Demo Day was a blast for us, and we are thrilled to have won “Best Presentation,” as well as “Best Commercial App.” The success did not come easy, though. Each individual worked hard, and we all came together to make this possible. Here are some of the lasting comments from members of Game Plan:

Adam Beard, Journalism student: “I am beyond proud of what our team accomplished this semester. We really grew each and every step of the way, and I think we came together strong in the end as Demo Day approached. Our presentation at Demo Day was fantastic, and I think we got everyone excited about our app and the game day experience. The biggest takeaway for me, is not only the app and how it is in the App Store, but also the experience of working in a team where personalities between journalism and computer science students are so different. On top of that, none of us really knew each other at the beginning with the exception of Jeremy and I having gone to high school together. I am also proud of what we accomplished because of how young and inexperienced we were at the beginning of the semester. None of us had dealt with Parse, XCode, GitHub, Objective C or any of that. Now, we are much more advanced. The last thing I want to say is that the best part was seeing us come together, whether it be computer science students writing blog posts or journalism students trying their best to code, to become a fun-loving group. Game Plan forever!”

Courtney Ross, Computer Science/Linguistics student: “Looking back on this semester, I am really proud of what I accomplished as an individual and as a part of Game Plan. For starters, Game Plan in is the App Store! That alone is an amazing achievement for just one semester of work. I had very limited experience with iOS development, and it was a challenge to learn as I code. I had to figure out my own problems. All of my previous coding experience came from assignments given by my teachers and professors who had the solution. It was so valuable and rewarding to have a class push me to my limits and help me succeed. Moreover, we did not have much time to build a successful, functional app, so it was difficult at times to learn how to work in a team with people I had never met before this semester. Being a part of the team behind Game Plan was a wonderful experience, and I learned so much from working with each member on the team. Additionally, I met people I would not have had the privilege of knowing without this class. Journalism is a field I have always enjoyed, and the opportunity to work with journalism students was amazing. I was able to write a blog post, see the behind-the-scenes of social media pages, and simply discover the world of journalism. It is rare to find a class that allows you to create and innovate, but still push you to learn and grow while having fun. Mobile News App Design was one of my favorite classes I have ever had as I leave with innumerable lessons from amazing people to use in the future.”

Courtney Bohrer, Computer Science student: “This entire process has been such a unique learning experience. I feel that I have grown so much in both my knowledge of iOS as well as being part of a team. I have learned what it is like to dive into a huge project with a team of diverse personalities and little experience. I have learned the value in stepping away from the computer and communicating with the team about our ideas and where we needed help. I have also learned the extreme satisfaction in achieving something that at times seemed impossible. It may sound cheesy to say that this seemed impossible but at times, that was how it seemed. Every small feature on other apps seemed like magic tricks and the more we dove into the coding, the more we found out how little we knew. But we pushed through. We kept learning until the “magic” made a little more sense. While we are constantly faced with new things to learn, we are backed by the confidence of the things we have learned so far. Now each new task seems a little less daunting than the last. I am proud of everything our team has achieved this semester and looking forward to the future of Game Plan.”

Jeremy Hintz, Computer Science student: “Working on Game Plan has been an awesome experience. I have learned so much. I have gotten a look into what it really means to develop a product from start to finish. I’ve learned jumping in knowing nothing is exhilarating. I’ve learned about design and UI/UX. But most of all, I’ve learned the power of collaboration, especially cross-discipline. I’m so proud of the Game Plan team. Each and every one of us grew throughout this process in ways that will open up new and exciting opportunities down the road. No matter what happens from here with our app, I will always appreciate and cherish the time we spent together: the long all-nighters, the ridiculous but ultimately inspiringly passionate fights about even the most minute product features, the feeling of walking off the stage at demo day with a sense of pride in what we had accomplished together. The future is bright for Game Plan, and it begins right now.”

Elyana Barrera, Journalism student: “I won’t tell you what I’ve done this semester — you can see our work by downloading the app — instead I’ll tell you how lucky I am to have taken a class this innovative. I’d like to extend a personal thank you to Jeff Linwood and Robert Quigley for always being supportive of any ideas we had, no matter how crazy and far-fetched. I’d also like to thank Quigley for being a wonderful mentor throughout my college career. To my teammates: Even though we may have taken a while to find our bearings, we came through in the end to achieve the (nearly) impossible. I’ve learned so much, not only about creating apps and team building, but about myself and what I want to do after graduating as well. I’m so excited to continue working on this app and look forward to a fabulous future with Game Plan!”

As you can tell, we all learned and experienced so much this semester. We would like to thank Professor Robert Quigley, Jeff Linwood, Qian Wang, all of the guest speakers that came to lecture us, our classmates, our families, the judges and everyone that was involved throughout the semester. The app would not be what it is without your help and support. Good luck to the teams next semester!

Courtney Ross on Demo Day presenting App Store acceptance

Courtney Ross on Demo Day presenting App Store acceptance

Game Plan team presents on Demo Day

Game Plan team presents on Demo Day


What’s next for Sono?

We did it. On Demo Day, we wowed the crowd with our ideas and our product, Sono.

Were we disappointed that we didn’t receive a category award? Sure. But the real reward for all of our hard work was the amount of excitement people genuinely had for our product, and how much support we received after our public unveiling of Sono.

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The real reward was also in working and learning together as a team. We had our ups and downs just like all the other teams, but we got through all of them and put on a presentation that we are all tremendously proud of at Demo Day.





So what’s next?

Even with the summer approaching and our team members finding different full-time occupations, Sono plans to continue to love our young app and grow it into all it can be.

The new challenge ahead is going to be working together even when we might not have the ability to be physically together. It is commonplace to find the team’s group message bustling with questions, answers, and the occasional meme to keep the spirits bright. This medium may become even more essential in keeping Sono connected during the upcoming summer.

Ultimately, we are all better for having had the experience of being in this class. We can’t wait to get Sono into the app store and to continue turning our amazing ideas into reality.


(Extra special thanks to Cheri Linwood for the photos! See more of her photos from Demo Day here.) As always, remember to follow us on our Twitter and Facebook for more updates on Sono.


CodeKite is Flying Away

As the six of us step forward into the unforeseen future, the ultimate state of WeatherVain as a developing app remains uncertain. At first we promised each other to raise our brainchild together after the semester ended but reality took a tole on our dreams. Some of us will venture to cities thousands of miles away for internships, some of us will become Longhorn Alumni, and others of us have actual children to nurture. After accomplishing so much in such a small amount of time, however, at least we can all leave with a sense of fulfillment.


As a farewell of sorts, we decided that a collective message would be the best for our final blog post; we started as Team CodeKite and we wanted to mark the end of the journey together as well.


☁ Carlos:

Since day one, I told you guys that all deserve 5′s and up to this day, you still do. This time it was even harder to only put 5s so I wrote a little statement about each one of you. Best to all!

  • Cassandra did an amazing job on the videos and bringing great ideas to life. She’s such a talented person and has tremendous potential. We wouldn’t have done it without her.
  • Silvana did a superb job on all the writing assignments and videos. Her video in Demo Day really made the difference. She’s a wonderful person to work with.
  • Mark is an amazing editor and help the team come together. He’s extremely organized and without him, we couldn’t have done it. He made all the amazing Prezi’s presentations.
  • Jung made it happen. I was worried for a moment but her final push to develop the algorithm is what made our app Best Overall. As you can tell by the Demo Day, she’s an amazing developer and the best developer I have ever met. She worked her magic when we most needed it!
  • Tehreem was so focused on the project that she knew exactly what the group needed. She was co-project leader along with Mark and she helped us reach our final objective. See great thing coming from her soon!!!

CodeKite Team is the BEST TEAM OVERALL. We pull together to make the amazing WeatherVain APP! Cheers!

☁ Cassandra:

This semester was by far the most challenging semester I have had at UT. There were times I moaned and groaned and felt so stressed that my hair may fall out, but now I see it was all worth it. I believe our team had all of the valuable skills needed to be successful in this class. Team CodeKite had it all from coding, marketing, writing, design and filming.

I’d like to thank every single one of my teammates for always putting 100 percent into our app. Yes, at the end of the course, the class was just another requirement audited on our degree plans but we leave this year with something that most students cannot say that have accomplished.

  • Carlos, thank you so much for your patience and for working so tremendously hard this semester with Parse and the WeatherVain database. I wish you the absolute best working with the city of Austin– hit a sister up when you’ve got a news story scoop/pitch! Haha.
  • Silvana, I admire you so incredibly much. You are an incredible mother and journalist who is so lucky to have such a beautiful and precious daughter. Thank you for all of your creative ideas and beautiful WeatherVain video.
  • Jung, girl, you are going to kill it in the computer science/mobile app industry. Never lose your drive and I truly expect incredible things out of you in the future. Also, whoever gets to marry you is getting himself the ultimate wife. Smart, beautiful and can bake some bomb cupcakes.
  • Tehreem, you made this team stick together and stay together these past few weeks. You held a strong grip on the goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the semester and you never lost sight of that. I can already see myself interviewing you as the CEO of the next big tech company.
  • Mark, to the future DR.CODDINGTON– that sounds freaking legit. Dr. Coddington. You’re getting so close to finishing your Ph.D and I hope this semester didn’t make you too stressed. Thank you so much for always keeping our team in order and making sure that the work load get delegated. Please be the next UT School of Journalism director… hell, be the next BILL POWERS! I know you will be a tremendous professor and change the lives of the future students to come to the Forty Acres.

☁ Jung:

Told you guys we had nothing to worry about! :) Jung Yoon isn’t confident without reason.

  • Carlos: Thank you for being the base to our app, pun intended. You built the database rather quickly and allowed us to move forward. I really hope that you will enjoy your new job and that you will live a long, joyous life with your family.
  • Cassandra: You’re going places and we all know it! You are a fabulous reporter and you are one of the kindest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you for bringing patience to our team and for trusting the coders until the very last minute. Good luck with your internship this summer and see you in New York!
  • Mark: You are extremely wise and your daughter is lucky to have a father like you. Personally, you made me an even better communicator. You have this way of making everyone feel useful and relaxing them and I greatly admire that about you. Thank you for being the organizer behind our team and for keeping everyone glued.
  • Silvana: Since the original idea of a weather-fashion app was yours, you were the epitome of a client for our app. Thank you for giving me the invaluable experience of working directly with a client even before graduating. Also, your promotion video was amazing and you know how much I adore your daughter Augustina. I hope that she grows up to be just as strong and independent as you are.
  • Tehreem: With your patience to explain everything to the non-programmers, you were a great co-project leader. I just know that our friendship will last beyond the scope of this class. Also, if we both decide to go on with WeatherVain, we really do need to invest in walkie-talkies so that you don’t have to call me every 2 minutes in the middle of the night. :)

Thank you for making this entire semester such a great experience and thank you for trusting me.

☁ Mark:

It really was a pleasure to work with this group. Throughout the semester, there was so much work, so much stress, so many twists and turns, so many obstacles, so many seeming dead-ends. But through it all, we stuck together, worked through our conflict, (mostly) stayed calm, and made a seriously cool app. I’m so proud of each one of my group members.

  • Carlos was the workhorse. He put in so many hours working on Parse, solved so many problems along the way, and did it all without complaining or criticizing. All semester, Carlos put his head down and got stuff done, with an attitude that was always both encouraging and realistic.
  • Cassandra may have been the youngest person in the group, but she didn’t act like it. In addition to her top-notch video work, Cassandra contributed bunches of valuable ideas and was always eager to help get various tasks done. She is smart, creative, ambitious, extremely professional, and mature well beyond her years. TV news directors of America: Hire this woman!
  • Jung was the driving force behind the app, as everyone could see in Saturday’s presentation. She has an incredible ability to develop a vision to solve really complex problems, and then to translate that vision into reality. That’s really, really rare – most people are lucky if they can do one of those two things, but Jung can do both. She’s flat-out brilliant, and our team was lucky to have her.
  • Silvana was the passion behind our app – WeatherVain was her idea, and she continued to come up with a never-ending stream of ideas for it throughout the semester. Most of those ideas either found their way into the app or are in our future plans; that’s a testament to how good they were. Silvana was constantly expanding our vision of what this app could be and what we were capable of, and we were so much better off for it.
  • Tehreem was a reluctant leader for the group, but I can’t imagine a better one. She was the perfect mediator, always striving to listen and understand everyone else, then communicate things patiently and calmly in a way that all of us could agree to. She was the glue that kept the group together and kept the project on track – a natural-born leader.

☁ Silvana:

When Robert Quigley announced me that I was going to be part of this amazing class, I truly didn’t know what I was getting into it. However, I was thrilled and excited because I knew it would change my life for the better. It was something that I’ve never done before, and, let’s be honest, I love challenges! (One of my friends says that it seems like I always need to prove myself. And he might be right)

I was lucky enough to be randomly arranged with a group of teammates that are as passionate, as neurotic, and as perfectionist as me, because our app wouldn’t have made it otherwise. We all wanted the same: An amazing product that would set us apart and would awe the judges at the same time.

And we did it! Despite the hard times, despite the original differences, despite our ridiculous  changes of mood and ideas, we managed to create WeatherVain.

I would like to say, since I didn’t have the chance to hug you all and thank you in person, how lucky I feel to be part of this team. That Saturday when we won best app, when I saw our happy faces, I knew that we had created something special and meaningful.

Perhaps WeatherVain will become just a warm memory years from now, but I’m absolutely certain that I will never forget the process. I truly feel this creation will change our lives for the better,somehow. And trust me, I’m never wrong! (ha!)

You are all amazing, and I admire you all! You are the most professional group I have ever encountered, and it’s clear why Quigley chose you to be part of this class.

I wish you the best and hopefully destiny will bring us together again.

☁ Tehreem:

The more I reflect on this class, the more strongly I feel that if I were to be given a second chance , I would not change a single thing for this class. I would want to work with the same team,for the same app idea and the same situations/circumstances we went through. At the end, it all fell so perfectly in place for WeatherVain and Codekite. Each person from our team brought a refreshing perspective to the table and Weathervain is just an embodiment of all our efforts. I cant express how incredibly proud I am of CodeKite and our brilliant Weathervain. If I were to pick things I learned from this course in terms of teamwork, they would be as follows:

1. Communicate Effectively – In a team working together during a creative process, as dynamic as making an app, everyone has their own opinions and ideas about how they feel regarding design, implementation and functionality. I realized how hard it is for somebody from a non -technical background to understand(without getting overwhelmed) the amount of man-hours that go into putting those words in a computer and actually making it work. I tried to overcome it by explaining in different ways and bugging my extremely patient journalists till I was certain that they got each part of the app.

2. Be Patient  - During your (what seemed like never-ending) brainstorming sessions at each step of the way to making an app, there will be times when your brilliant ideas will be turned down. Don’t take it to heart or personal, think of it as though the idea that everyone liked was probably the best idea on the table and was picked up. There will be arguments and criticisms, one should take them in a positive light and be receptive towards them.

3. Trust each other – At the end of the day, you are a team and it is not a one man show. Everyone is motivated to build the best product and are giving their best. Trust each other and what each of you do.

4. Talk to Professor Quigley – If 1,2,3 and nothing works -Prof Quigley is the man.:)

I would like to thank Professor Quigley for making the dynamics of the class such that they encouraged freedom of creativity and expression that were absolutely crucial in making the amazing apps we all worked on. Thank you for your inputs and mediation that were absolutely needed. Thank you Jeff, for all your guidance and encouragement and our TA Qian for your help during Demo Day and helpful comments during the semester.

Finally, thanks and appreciation for my wonderful team:

  • Thank your Mark for being the leader that you were. Always so calm and laid back, always so understanding and getting me so well. Also,  making sure we got everything done in time for deadlines and demos. You are the “positivity” of WeatherVain and I want to admit that I was always looking forward to your turn for writing a blog.
  • Thank you Cassandra for being the awesome journalist that you are. As busy as you were between late night work shifts and classes, you rose to our expectations and did whatever you could do to help us, be it blogs, social media efforts or videos.You are the “voice” of WeatherVain.
  • Thank you Silvana for being the “persona” of WeatherVain. If it were not for your creative idea and arguing for it, WeatherVain might have not been here. Thank you for your efforts with Parse , with that awesome video starring beautiful Augustina and your constant efforts in improving the UI and functionality of the app.
  • Thank you Carlos for your endless hours and work you put in Parse. There were so many times we switched ideas and made you implement things again and again but you never complained. Thank you for boosting our morales and encouraging each one of us when we needed it most. You are the “motivator” of WeatherVain.
  • Last but not least, thank you Jung for the amazing creativity and confidence you brought to WeatherVain. Thank you for bringing the best out of us all. We were very ambitious in terms of what we envisioned for WeatherVain at the coding end, and as much as you were hard to convince when it came to design and implementation, came up with super design ideas and criticism, you always believed we could get it done. You are the “perfectionist” for WeatherVain. Also, thanks a lot for the “sugary” goodness you brought to class.:)

It warms my heart whenever I see WeatherVain boot up on my IPod. Cant wait until its in the App Store and everyone can download it. I feel very lucky to be a part of this class, my team and WeatherVain.


“Best Overall App” and “Most Original Idea” – while the two awards recognized our countless all-nighters and made up for all the difficulties we faced, we didn’t need them to justify our accomplishments. Merely being able to grow as people, as developers through this class was award enough. In no other class do you find such a talented, motivated, diverse group of students and instructors and we would like to congratulate every one for a successful year. We wish that we could share the “Best Overall App” award with each and every one of the groups.

To our hilarious classmates in Newt, thank you for always making us laugh with your humorous videos and your less than conventional app icon designs. To the sweet members of intELECT, thank you for always offering a message of support when we needed it most. You guys are amazing, having had to build an app within a few weeks. To our ambitious friends who created Sono, thank you for pushing us to be our best. You guys were definitely the most professional. To our spirited counterparts of Game Plan, thank you for letting your guard down and befriending us. To our always-prepared TA Qian Wang, thank you for constantly supporting us and making sure that we had all the necessary resources to create WeatherVain. Our Demo Day presentation would have been flat without your guidance. To the brilliant Jeff, thank you for taking out time in your day to be with us. None of our apps would have made it to the app store without you. To our kind and animated Professor Quigley, thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for believing in us and supporting us through it all. Thank you for bringing such an amazing, innovative class to campus. Thank you for everything that you do and know that it has made a difference.

And finally, thank you everyone who supported us – our families, our friends, the judges, and those who of you who attended Demo Day – for joining us in our journey and remember to Dress the Weather!

Love CodeKite, the creators of WeatherVain.

Let me show a few things… about intELECT!

intELECT. The app that makes politics easy.


From day one, politics has been on the mind of the LID team. After the bumpy and tumultuous ride that was working through Project Vote Smart to re-focusing and re-branding five weeks before Demo Day, it’s safe to say that our team is glad to have made it to the end of the semester in one piece and with an amazing product to show off.


There could not have been a better slot for intELECT to take at Demo Day than the last one. We felt like we were the buzz. “Have you heard that one of the teams had to re-do their app halfway?” That’s us! Better to have some buzz than none! Getting to see our classmates on stage and presenting their products made our team even more excited for our turn.


The great thing about LID is that we all have so many ideas. And just like the app we created intends to inform a democracy, we made a lot of decisions for Demo Day through simple votes. Should we do a live demo? Should we make a video? What videos should we include? What do we even wear?


As Justin Timberlake would say, “as long as I got my suit and tie, I’mma leave it out on the floor tonight.” Which is exactly what intELECT did as we walked into the auditorium in our black Washington wear to the sound of “Hail to the Chief.” We’ve already made an app in five weeks. What’s left to lose? Just as we envision a more honest government, we told the story of intELECT honestly. The struggle along the way of creating a product that properly functioned as we envisioned really resonated with the judges.


The team decided to hold off on announcing our release into the App store until Demo Day so we could share the news with the entire class at once. Along with Game Plan, two apps from the class can be downloaded onto iOS devices. We received a lot of comments about how impressive it was to build what we did so quickly, much less get it into the App store.


The judges were tough, but fair in their questioning and through some preparation and a Google Doc of how to improve the app already, we were able to answer questions about future features and usability of the app just perfectly.


Here are some of the comments from the judges:


“Great goal. I like the quiz idea!” – Debbie Hiott, editor of the Austin American-Statesman


“Great that team was able to get in the App Store after switching midway. Government 101 and quiz functions will help engage voters who are not political junkies.” – R.B. Brenner of Stanford University, incoming journalism director

“Great idea and definitely a problem missing a solution – until now. Simple, clear design.” – Brantley Essary


Demo Day was a blast. As for LID, each of us hopes to stay on and continue our little project. Stick around, because with the mid-term elections coming up, intELECT is going nowhere!


Download intELECT on your iOS device here:


Success at demo day for Team Newt

At the demo day last weekend, Newt was a complete success.

Judges awarded Newt the “Best Overall Design App” award, after Jennifer Rundle wowed the panel of judges with her expert commentary on UI/UX design. Bobby Blanchard also impressed the judges when he went into detail about how print design inspired the Newt design.

Newt was also a hit on Twitter — check out some of twitter action below. Thanks for following along this semester, and here’s to hoping Newt still has great things to come.