Monthly Archives: April 2015

Demo Day is Upon Us!

Things are looking up for BRiDJ as the semester comes to a close.!Our final video is complete and we have finished preparing our presentation for Saturday. Our team also has some fun merchandise in store! And even bigger news: WE’RE SUBMITTING TO THE APP STORE TODAY!

After 2 trips to Walmart, (and getting approached by a really creepy guy) six printers, and five hours later, Darice and Brittany were finally able to create t-shirts for the team and demo day. We also got a couple of banners made of our logo that we’re planning to display in the belo lobby. We’re planning on bringing some goods to demo day to set out on our table that people can use our app to post a listing. We even got stickers printed!

On the coding side, Jeremy and Roman spent a lot of time refining the app. While doing more user testing, we encountered a few bugs that needed to be reevaluated. Thankfully, all those bugs are now squashed! Roman and Jeremy also did some work where inappropriate users will be suspended from the app if they post listings that violate our terms of service. Users can now favorite posts and see their posts, upload a profile picture, and delete their listings. UniTrade also has a search function now! HUZZAH!

After all the long hours of stress and work, team BRiDJ is extremely excited to show off all of our hard work. UniTrade has been our baby for the past few months and we’re eager to introduce it to the rest of the UT student body.

It’s the Final Countdown!

What a semester this has been. Can you believe we only have one and a half more weeks of school left? Neither can we! Teacher’s Pet has been working tremendously hard the past few weeks to ensure we have a successful app we are all proud of. Demo Day is only a few days away and we are about ready to present. We still have a few things to polish and finalize in the next few days, but we are happy to announce we have submitted profsUT to the App Store and are waiting for a response. The suspense of waiting for your app to be submitted is real!

Each group member has put endless hours into this project in order to meet all of our goals for Sprint 4 and to be ready by Demo Day. Zac and Miles have spent lots of long nights putting final touches into the frontend and backend. This app wouldn’t be successful without those guys, so we owe them a tremendous amount of recognition! Bryant has been working on the design of the app, making sure everything looks nice and pretty. He’s also helped edit the professor videos with the journalism students.


Condensing 30-40 minute interviews into 2-3 minute videos has been difficult to say the least, but Mercedes and Landon have enjoyed editing the videos. They’ve come along very nicely. Out of about 40 professors we were able to interview 28. We think that’s a very respectable number considering some didn’t respond to our multiple emails. We’ll be putting some long hours in the editing lab the next few days to make sure we get most of the videos done by Demo Day. We’re also sharing the videos on our YouTube channel once we get confirmation from professors. As for our social media accounts, we have come up with a trivia game called #GuessTheProf where students have all day to guess who the professor is with the help of fun facts and a picture. We were hoping to gain more interaction with our followers by doing this now during registration and continue for the next couples of weeks to follow.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our updates. We need to get back to work on finalizing everything within our app, so we’ll let you go. We hope to see everyone at Demo Day this Saturday! Please come check us out and support all of the groups in this class.

Pre-Demo Day PR

Demo Day is literally right around the corner! We’d like to take a brief moment and thank all of our loyal followers for sticking with us this semester, we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. To show our thanks, we’ve left a present to show our appreciation, our fourth and final promo video.

This week we decided to change it up some. Instead of blabbing on and on about upcoming updates for choreBoard in lieu of D-day, we decided to get choreBoard some real PR experience by answering some questions for Burnt X, a student-run UT publication that specializes in covering campus news.  Enjoy!


Our team and app name is one and the same: choreBoard! Nope, that’s not a typo. The capital B is 100% intentional.

What is your app and what does it do?

Our app was designed as a means to ease tensions and avoid passive-aggressive exchanges between roommates over the pressing need to get household chores done. We focused our efforts on creating a funny to-do app that sends out push notifications - or “snarky remarks” as we call them – to people who haven’t completed the tasks they’ve scheduled for themselves. Instead of relying on actual people, we decided to create an innovative way for the app to say it for us, and naturally humor was our ‘go-to’.

The humor is what really makes choreBoard unique, and it’s a voice we’ve kept up on our web presence throughout the duration of the semester (shameless plug for @choreBoard across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!). Our slogan is, “A chore app that takes the person out of personal, throws in a dash of snark and keeps tensions low between roomies.” C’mon, who doesn’t need this?

What inspired your idea for it?

When we were first trying to figure out what kind of app we wanted to create, we ran into a lot of problems. We couldn’t figure out how to make something that people would actually want to use, and how to take our ideas and actually build something from it. That’s when we decided to turn to Journalism Professor Robert Quigley, who is teaching Mobile Apps Design this semester. Professor Quigley advised us that the best way to figure out what to build was to come up with a problem and attempt to solve it. So that’s exactly what we did.

To be honest, we can’t remember when we had that specific “A-ha!” moment, where choreBoard originated from, but we were probably just sitting around complaining about dirty dishes at home and realized that this was our problem to solve.

Did you guys come up with any terrible app ideas before deciding?

We did have the idea to create an InstaTwitter app, which would’ve been a compilation of the two social platforms. Unfortunately, that didn’t really amount to anything, as it never went past verbal discussion. As choreBoard was our first and only baby to make it to development, we couldn’t be more proud. We wish we had more embarrassing stories about initial app ideas that flopped, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

What has been the hardest part of developing your app?

Do you know how hard it is to stand out in a competitive start-up app environment? On UT-Austin Facebook groups alone, there’s daily spam from desperate app developers, trying to push their products. Everyone wants to be the next Instagram or Snapchat, but we’ve always been pretty humble in our vision. We just wanted a working app that did what we claimed it would. When you’re building an app, you get pretty attached to it. You think your idea is the best, most marketable thing ever. There’s a lot of self-bias to get past.

The biggest challenge we faced was finding creative ways to get people to care and understand the hard work put into the marketing and promotion of our app. We hadn’t expected that at all. We learned just how hard it is be a self-promoting development team. It’s definitely one of the many influential aspects to take away from this entire process.

What has been the best or most rewarding part of working on this project?

The finish line, duh. After a semester’s work, seeing the tangible result of a clean, functional and finished product that we’re now working on updating is beyond satisfying. Like with any creative work, it’s great to see an idea solidify into a reality. From a practical standpoint, it’s such a perfect time to release choreBoard to the public because household chores always stack up as people get bombarded with final assignments. We know we’ll be using it in our own homes. 

What have your limitations been in developing your app? How would your app be different if you had no limitations?

Time, no doubt about it. If our team members were start-up employees, and we all had a 40-hour workweek solely dedicated to app design, development and branding, that would’ve been our ideal environment to build choreBoard in. But the reality is, we’re four college students with conflicting schedules and a gazillion other projects and/or assignments to get done, so it was a lot harder to put together time to build, design, brand and most importantly promote our app.

At the beginning of the semester, all of the app teams were starry-eyed and hopeful about the features we wanted to include in our apps, but as the semester came to a close we realized we had to narrow our focus. If we had more time to dedicate to the app, we could have included all the features we had wanted to such as, incorporating Venmo so that users could easily split bills, but that’s what updates are for.

What advice do you have for people who want to develop an app?

We can’t stress simplicity, aesthetic appeal and usability enough. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s own perception of how things should work in an app. Whereas, you may think that think that a specific feature is obvious, others users might interpret it differently. That also applies to which font looks best and your eagerness to want to race forward with it. Everyone wants to implement originality into their app, but sometimes it’s best to go ahead and use something standard that been used before, simply because people more comfortable with it.

Even if you do decide to stick with your original buttons, icons or screen-swiping gestures, always remember to put a tutorial in your app to show users how to use it, and add in a help section. Although design elements are often up to personal preference, it’s the smaller things on an app’s interface that is necessary to make it intuitive. You don’t want users to think they should be clicking something, when they really should be sliding across it.

Remember, user testing is key to app development!  We’ve learned how important it is to go out and get feedback from people who may or may not potentially use your app in the future. Even the simplest comment or criticism could completely change the way someone views your app. Always double-check with others, even if that just means a quick Facebook poll or asking the friend or stranger sitting next to you to offer their opinion.

Favorite moment working together as a team?

We’ve had a lot of fun bouncing ideas off of each other to come up with snarky remarks to match the list of chores we created. It was definitely entertaining and helped take some of the stress of building off. Sometimes we’d burst out laughing in class and even get the professor in on the joke. That type of comic relief is absolutely necessary now that we’re in final crunch-time mode before Demo Day.

Brace Yourself…Demo Day is Coming


It is hard to believe how quickly the semester has flown by. We’ve had plenty of struggles, but also plenty of victories. Overall, we at Peanut Butter Coding Time are extremely pleased with how our app has progressed into something we can really be proud of.

This past week, finishing touches it kind of an understatement. We kind of underestimated the amount of small things that go into our app that need attention. We did a bunch of small adjustments in order to enhance the app so that it is as flawless as possible when demo day gets here.

One of the main things we have also been working on is our final video. It is our most extensive video thus far and it takes you through step-by-step directions on what the app is and how to use it. We worked extremely hard on this video to get all the views ready so we would be able to have an extensive explanation of exactly what our app does.

Additionally, we have spent a large portion of our time this past week getting our presentation for demo day ready to go. We have worked hard on making sure that we know exactly what we’re saying and when we’re saying it. We know that in order to have a presentation that stands out we must be prepared for anything and everything thrown at us.

Our presentation entails a lot of explanation of how our app grew from a small idea with a pretty awful design scheme to something that we are really proud of and are not only willing, but also excited to show off. We will take the audience through our journey this semester and explain all that went in to making our app.

Other than that, I won’t expand much more. I guess if you want to know what we’re going to say at Demo Day, you should show up! May 2nd, Belo Center for New Media, 1:00 PM, second floor auditorium. I really don’t know what excuse you have that could be good enough to miss this fantastic event.

If you haven’t already, please RSVP on Facebook or through Eventbrite. We would love to see you there!

Echoed talks to burntx

This week we talked to burntx, a newly formed branch of Texas Student Media, about the progress we have made on the Echoed app. Since Demo Day is just around the river bend, we decided our interview with them would be a good way to update everyone before we unveil our final product to the world! Enjoy.

burntx: What is your app and what does it do?

Echoed team: Our app is Echoed, it’s basic function is recording phone calls. It has a few features that make it stand out from other call recording apps in the marketplace:  Echoed records incoming AND outgoing phone calls, allows users to find quotes in recordings based on conversation keywords, and is easy to navigate.

burntx: What inspired your idea for it?

Echoed team: Three of the five people on our team are journalists, so they constantly need to record phone calls with sources. They realized a long time ago that recording calls on an iPhone was just an inconvenient process. Faith Ann and Andy had tried several apps. One of their biggest problems was that these apps made you merge calls when you wanted to record and then the calls were dropped or the recordings didn’t save. You just don’t want to risk having that happen during an important phone interview. But the safer option was just as difficult; you had to put your cell phone on speakerphone and find another device or software to record the conversation.

burntx: Did you guys come up with any terrible app ideas before deciding?

Echoed team: We had plenty of bad app ideas! Honestly we just brainstormed and considered every possible idea that came to mind. We had an idea for an app that was like a Tinder for gamers. Another idea was an app that showed how many seats were available at nearby coffee shops. Most of the ideas we tossed were technically impossible with our resources.


burntx: What has been the hardest part of developing your app?

Echoed team: One of our original goals for the app was transcription. We wanted to provide a transcript of every phone call recorded. At first this seemed like a feasible task, we knew Google and Twilio had public APIs that we could use. However we soon discovered that these services would only transcribe voicemails or would only transcribe 15 minutes worth of audio. Other APIs were extremely expensive. The best APIs were private and companies wouldn’t allow us access. It was just problem after problem. Eventually we had to ditch transcription. Instead we decided to work with an API called Clarify that allows users to jump to keywords in their audio files without having to listen to the whole thing. We figured it would still allow journalists to get as quotes as quickly and efficiently as a transcript. In the future we are definitely going to revisit transcription though.

burntx: What has been the best or most rewarding part of working on this project?

 Echoed team: It has been so rewarding to see the excitement journalists have shown for this app. We have had excellent feedback on Twitter and in person, which is very encouraging. We know journalists see the value in this app.

burntx: What have your limitations been in developing your app? How would your app be different if you had no limitations? 

Echoed team: Our two biggest problems have been our extremely busy schedules and difficulties with transcription. All of the people on the team are taking full course loads and this app could be a full time job, so it is hard to find time for all of us to work together. We have already talked about our transcription problems. So if our app were perfect, it would have flawless transcription and prettier design. But it is awesome as is- the fruits of hard labor pay off!

burntx: What advice do you have for people who want to develop an app? 

Echoed team: Set specific deadlines for every single task. There are so many things to do to get an app working properly- you can’t fall behind. If something is not working out, move on to other tasks. Do not let one problem delay your progress.

burntx: Favorite moment working together as team?

Echoed team: We really just like seeing each other every Monday and Wednesday in class. It is the only time all five of us are really able to see one another and the collaborative atmosphere is great. It gets the creativity flowing.

We did a thing

Demo Day is a week away. Yeah, we’re wondering where the semester went too.

Some fellow UT students are profiling all the teams in anticipation for Demo Day, and they asked us to fill out a questionnaire for them, which we graciously did because we’re wonderful people with a lot of homework to avoid. If you want to read the entire profile, head on over to, but in the meantime you can read our answers and get some juicy (get it. Juice) deets on your favorite app team.


1. What is your app and what does it do? Petwork, basically an app modeled after the UT pets page where users can post photos of their pets without feeling like they’re bugging their friends/followers with constant posting.

2. What inspired your idea for it? We are all pet owners and like harassing our pets into being in photos for our social media. We really liked the UT pets page, where it’s basically a community of people just bonding over their pets, so we kind of modeled the app after it.

3. Did you guys come up with any terrible app ideas before deciding? No, we are practically perfect in every way. That was a Mary Poppins reference. We toyed around with the idea of making an app for grocery shopping that would have a social media component built in, good for roomates and communal grocery shopping, which was Vicky’s idea. I (Sami) wanted to do something with shelter animals, like a Tinder for shelter pets but there’s already an app out there with literally that exact functionality, but these ideas took up only like a day or two. We settled on Petwork pretty quickly after that.

4. What has been the hardest part of developing your app? The beginning. After all the bonding and ice breaking exercises were done and we had teams set up the professors basically just kind of set us loose, so we had carte blanche on this whole universe of possibilities for app making and then when we finally had the app idea it was actually even harder to start, because you have to sit down and plan out each and every window and what it’s going to look like and what does what and what leads to what. You don’t know exhaustion until you’ve been sitting in CMA, which is always freezing, drawing wireframes for hours. After that it was relatively smooth because at least we had a direction we were going in.

5. What has been the best or most rewarding part of working on this project? That one time Quigley brought kolaches. I think we all learned something new in this process. One of the things that kind of set us apart from the rest of the groups from the very beginning was that none of us had any iOS experience, besides owning/knowing how to work Macs and iPhones. Vicky and Xiaorong did all of the actual coding for the app, while Rachel and I (Sami) worked out the design and handled communications side (it was a really good balance, we had that part down), we had some basic coding experience and knew about APIs but not really anything major so we learned basically how you even go about building an app, like the fact that XCode is a thing that exists, and Parse and the frontend and backend. And Vicky and Xiaorong had never used any of the Adobe Suite programs before, so when we were coming up with all the designs they got like a crash course in Photoshop and Premiere, for all the videos we had to make for class. Also we did get to hang out with some pretty cute cats and dogs, which is always great.

6. What have your limitations been in developing your app? How would your app be different if you had no limitations? Ha. Well, if we’d had no limitations we’d essentially have Facebook for pets. I would say time was our biggest limitation, we all have ridiculously busy schedules, so finding time to meet was a big thing, plus finding time to make everything we wanted the app to do. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to incorporate everything we initially wanted into the app, we had to kind of decide what we were going to scrap or put into the “add if we have time” pile, and as the semester wore on that those piles grew. We still ended up with a pretty great product, and it actually worked out really well because I think if we’d kept all of those functions it would essentially have been a copy of Facebook or Instagram but with a pet focus, which wouldn’t really serve a purpose so I think we ended up where we needed to be.

7. What advice do you have for people who want to develop an app? Keep it simple. Realize you will have to cut a lot of things, and things you didn’t want to, although this one is manageable depending on your time frame. That’s another one, set your time frame, know what you have to do in how many days and plan accordingly, and account for other things in your life, especially if you’re a college student. Also, if you decide to go out into campus and ask random people to user test for you, take baked goods and target the people who don’t look like they have places to be and people to see. The trick is to check out their gait, is it leisurely, is it frantic?

8. Favorite moment working together as team? This is kind of awful but we got along best when we were gossiping. It kind of helped us focus and chill out about everything, also it helped to smooth out the kinks in the group when we were still getting used to each other. Also, there was a hackathon we were required to go to right before spring break, and it was supposed to be either a work day or a day to work on whatever you wanted while there but we didn’t really get anything done besides plan out what we were going to do after spring break and how to use the prototype app where Vicky had pulled up the wireframes. We took a tour of the Statesman and we ate oranges and some leftover chips because we were starving, Vicky and I were going nuts it was ridiculous and when they finally brought in the pizza we were like children, it was not a proud moment.

On another note, we also have a new video for you guys! Hope you enjoy and hope to see you on Demo Day this Saturday.

Demo Day is fast approaching. We are shocked that is it NEXT WEEK! As anxious as we are to show off our app, we are extremely happy with all the progress we have accomplished in such a short time.

20150401_103020Registration has started in the J School and we are planning to take advantage of this for our social media platforms. We’ve come up with a plan to interact with our followers in a fun way. Beginning Thursday we will post a picture of one professor each day with a fun fact we learned from their interview. It will be like a trivia game where our followers will have to identify the professor with the help of the picture and fun fact. By the end of the day if no one guesses who the professor is, we will post the answer. This will allow our followers to see what the professors look like and learn something interesting about them. We will do this each week day until the end of the semester. We hope this will help gain more interaction with followers and spread awareness for our app. And you can be as excited as Homer is for knowing your professors!



On profsUT’s technical end, things are coming together nicely. Our app has a working first version, our backend has videos, and we recently integrated course ratings into our system. From our perspective, it is a rewarding experience to finally move on from the code and APIs and start to see everything come to life. It’s been a long time coming, but if the journalism school is interested, profsUT will be ready to publish on the App Store by Friday.

Stay tuned for what is up next for profsUT!




Wait… Demo Day is WHEN?!

As Demo Day creeps up on us, our levels of panic are definitely rising. We’ve accomplished a lot this semester, but there are still a few more things to check off of our to-do list… like submitting the app to the App Store.

giphy (14)

As our deadline quickly approaches, we wrote our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, finalized design and color scheme, and our now working on gathering everything we need to submit the app to Apple.

On the coding side, Roman and Jeremy spent a ton of time trying to finalize our first version of the app, UniTrade 1.0. We squashed some pretty critical bugs and enhanced the feel of the app. There was a mad-dash to finalize the design of the onboarding screen, the listing detail view, and the user’s profile tab. We streamlined the way we introduce users to the app, allowed users to message each other when they’re interested in posted goods, and are currently trying to finalize the way the profile tab works, so users can keep track of the items they favorited and posted. We still have some work to get done, but we hope to have our final release ready by Friday at the latest.


This weekend, we had our photoshoot for Study Breaks Magazine. It was a blast! We took some group shots of us working and a couple of head shots. As journalism majors, it was definitely weird for Darice and Brittany to be on the other side of the camera. As computer science majors, it was definitely strange for Roman and Jeremy.

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We had a lot of fun as a team: blasting Taylor Swift during our head shots, forcing Roman and Jeremy to take selfies, and posing like “superheroes” for the camera. The May edition of Study Breaks will be out during the first two weeks of the month. We can’t wait!


With 11 days until Demo Day, we’re working on finalizing our presentation, ordering t-shirts, and reaching out to our audience. We’re also planning to table next week, so keep an eye out for us in the West Mall! See you all at Demo Day!

Playing Catch Up

Andy East

Faith Ann Ruszowski

Sam Tipton

Taylor Villarreal

Jacob Williamson


Blog Post 10, “Playing Catch-Up”


Echoed has it another wall, but managed to scale it once again. Our team is sprinting to the finish line these last two weeks, especially the programmers. Over the last week Echoed has transformed from a well thought out idea into a full-fledged iOS app.


The team decided on using Clarify and ditching the idea of complete speech-to-text recognition. Clarify will list keywords that were used in the conversation. So far, as it’s been tested, Clarify has been pretty accurate and has only missed a couple of uncommon words (such as “govnah” as opposed to “governor”).


Incoming calls, a contact book synced to iPhone contacts, in-call screens, and account creation are all new features that were implemented this week. The next features to be implemented into the app are: search capabilities, access to call history, in app purchases and push notifications.


Moreover, while the programmers are playing catch-up from the transcription setback,  the marketing team has been creating Demo Day content like crazy. Starting Saturday we will have a countdown until the actual event, and will be promoting Echoed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through various posts, invitations to the event, and profile photo/cover photo changes. Check out one of our rough drafts:


Facebook Cover Photo

Currently, the biggest focus for the marketing team is to get fliers, business cards and perhaps a poster or two to the printer. The team also needs to go back and re-create some videos that advertise Echoed as a transcription tool.


The group conducted more user testing, this time in person. The in person user testing proved to be much more beneficial than virtual user testing because we were able to see a person’s reactions. From this we learned that some of our logos were a little confusing to users of all ages. For example, our call history logo was often mistaken for something else- anything other than call history.

A Chore In Itself: Submitting to the App Store


And, we did it. On Monday, April 20th, choreBoard was submitted to the App Store.

Prior to submission, we looked over this extensive list of review guidelines for submitting an app to Apple for review, as well as common app rejections. Apple is pretty snarky itself when it comes to rules. For example…

“If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.”

Ouch, Apple. This actually took us a full SEMESTER.

But in all seriousness, after reading over 29 sections (many of which didn’t apply to us), we didn’t see any technical red flags. Can’t deny that we paused at “Objectionable Content” but then came to the conclusion that our snarky remarks are more playful than anything. There were some quality remarks we got from our latest venture to Reddit looking for more ideas, but they were too inappropriate to include; so it goes when you reach out to the entire Internet for help!

From the looks of it, Apple is generally looking for a sleek, functional and unique app that delivers on what it’s described to do. We think we’ve got that, so we’re crossing our fingers for approval.

Here is the description that we submitted along with the app:

Always forgetting to pay rent on time, sweep the kitchen floor, or buy dish soap? choreBoard is here to help you remember! Keep track of all your to-dos and if you tend to forget, the app will show you snarky remarks about getting those things done! Mark chores as done when you’ve completed them, or reset them for later in one simple swipe. We’ll help you make getting chores done not another chore!

Here are some fun features:

  • Pick chores from a large, pre-populated selection or create your own
  • Add dollar amounts for your bills so you aren’t blind-sided when the due date comes around
  • A sleek chorefeed that keeps your chores organized

We decided to submit the app as a personal to-do list app with basic functionality (and a clean, simple design) because tweaking out the “group” function was taking a little more time than we had – aka, users could create a group name and such but they would be the only one in that group.

This isn’t really a big deal, because the loophole is that we’ll add group functionality to our next update once the app is accepted.

After receiving an age rating of 9+ (seems arbitrary, but woo-hoo!), we’re now (not) so patiently waiting for a response from Apple.

For here on it, time to focus on what we’re presenting on Demo Day! From process to product, we’ve got 15 minutes to lay out the trials and tribulations of choreBoard to our audience. It looks like our idea for a #choreBoard photo booth may take slightly more work than just heading to the nearest printer shop, because time constraints, money and general uncertainty as to whether anywhere could produce exactly what we’re thinking of doing.

We took to Pinterest to get crafty… But then an idea came to us when we were brainstorming as a group in class: On UT campus, it’s typical to see organizations set up free-standing white canvas and have students write their thoughts to an open-ended question in different colored pens or markers (i.e. “Why is the environment important”? or “What is consent?”). We want to set up one of these for choreBoard on Demo Day and ask a general question about chores such as, “What do you wish your household did a better job at?” or “Which chores do you struggle with?” This offers a simple way for people to get involved, and it’s helpful to know for any updates we want to make to the app, such as adding to our growing chore inventory.

To preserve the photo idea, we’ll have five thought bubble cardboard signs printed out with our best snarky remarks. It’ll look something like this set-up that the Simpsons did during SXSW (but without Apu in the background):