SXSWi 2006: Delayed write up

Since I went straight to Alaska after South by Southwest Interactive, I haven’t had enough time to sum up all my great experiences there. On my way back to Germany I’ll have a 9 hour layover in Chicago on Saturday which I’ll use to eventually do my write up of SXSWi.

In the meantime you can check out the pictures I’ve taken in my flickr set SXSWi 2006 or you might be interested in the pictures I’ve taken up here in Alaska, which you can find in my flickr set Alaska 2006.

SXSWi 2006: Day 1

Since it’s already the end of day 3 here and I haven’t had a chance to blog a lot about the events here, I’ll try a retrospective of my first day at “South by Southwest”. All I can say is that I’m really overwhelmed by the crowd and especially the friendliness of everyone. It’s just like Molly described it, a real geek fest.

Panels I went to:

10:00 Beyond Folksonomies: Knitting Tag Clouds for Grandma

11:30 How to Be A Web Design Superhero

15:30 How to Bluff Your Way in DOM Scripting

17:00 How to Create Passionate Users

Originally I had the idea to pick out one panel, which in my opinion was the highlight of my day and write a bit more about it. After the first day I had to realize that all (or at least most) of the panels are highlights and I couldn’t pick just one.

In the first panel I went to, the discussion revolved more or less around taxonomy, folksonomy and how content could be tagged, classified or labeled in a more efficient way than it is already done by such well perceived and highly frequented services as del.ici.us or flickr. First of all, we have to realize that tagging is only done by a minority of internet users (mainly because the tools are still too complicated to use) and therefore doesn’t really mirror the average experience of the people out there. Secondly, one of the main challenges is our different ideas of the same term. Since tagging is done by humans, there will always be differences in opinion about the meaning of terms like “web development” or “web technologies”. What exactly do they include? In addition, people might use different tag for the same term: “webdev”, “webdevelopment”, “web development” etc. Let alone spelling mistakes. But that is o.k. since tagging as a form of folksonomy should reflect the ideas of different users and should not be influenced by anything. What we need are tools that fill that need for an easy interface.

Then I went over to the Andys’ humerous comparison of web designers and superheroes. I guess there isn’t much I need to say about Mr. Budd and Mr. Clarke, or about their presentations. As Brits, they have an innate witty humor, which might not find the linking of everybody. But I really like it. They already made their slides available online. They are worth ebery bit of the 13.5MB.

Who else would be perfect to give a brief wrap up of the document object model (DOM) than Jeremy Keith and Aaron Gustafson? In a tour de force they showed off how you can show off and make people’s mouths stay open in wonder. May the DOM be with you.

Now on thy Kathy Sierra. Can you believe that she actually made us participate? How could she do this to us? I was hoping for some laid back presentation but instead we had to talk to our neighbors. Is that what I paid my hard earned $ for? I guess it is. It was a great experience and an awesome presentation. The title says it all. I just hope it’ll soon be available online.

After getting back to the hotel room I had problems logging on to the freely provided internet access. Without success. So I called the hotline and they promised to send someone to replace the modem in my room. I’m not sure if that someone actually came because I was hit by the jetlag about an hour later and fell asleep. So I also missed all the famous parties going on. But at least I had a very inspiring day.

SXSWi 2006: Getting there

After being pulled down by a massive jetlag, I’ll try to sum up my travel from Germany to Texas’ capital, Austin. Here’s the timeline from March 10th:

03:33 leave Nuremberg train station

06:43 arrive at Frankfort airport

10:50 flight AA71 takes off from Frankfort airport (delayed by 20 minutes)

14:30 flight AA71 arrives at Dallas Ft. Worth

16:20 flight AA416 takes off from Dallas Ft. Worth

17:19 flight AA416 arrives at Bergstrom airport in Austin

On the flight from Dallas to Austin I had the pleasure of meeting Markus Rill, a musician from Wuerzburg, who’ll be performing at SXSW Music. He was picked up at the airport by a friend, who was so kind as to take me to my hotel (La Quinta – Capitol). Thanks Maria.

After my arrival I took a stroll down to the Convention Center to pick up my badge. On my walk back to the hotel I took a detour past the Ginger Man Pub, where the famous “Break Bread with Brad” was in full swing. But it was just too crowded for my jetlagged self, so I walked down the famous 6th Street, to get some more taste of Austin’s crazy nightlife. It really is crazy here.

Leaving on a jet plane

But different to the lyrics of this song, I know when I’ll be back again. Anyway, I’m sitting at Frankfort airport, waiting to board my flight to Dallas and then on to Austin. I’ve been corresponding with a few interesting people so far and I’m very excited to be there, especially since I’ve enviouisly observed last year’s SXSWi from afar.

If you’re there, drop me a line. I look forward to meeting many new and interesting people.

And if you haven’t yet checked out “The (Last-Minute) Unofficial Geek Guide to SxSW-Interactive 2006“, make sure to do so now.

Moving up to 2

As my WordPress dashboard tells me, it’s been 63 days since the release of WordPress 2.0 and 31 days since 2.0.1. So I decided I should take some action. Plagued with insomnia tonight, I got going. And…? It went smooth as a baby’s bottom. Thanks to the great work of Ryan Boren, Matt Mullenweg and all the other people involved in pushing WP forward. The update was basically a matter of deleting the old files and uploading the new ones. WordPress 2 really looks nice, especially the admin interface has evolved quite a bit.
Of course I went for a clean install of all the plugins I’m using, which meant some self-inflicted extra work. Even that was no big deal. At the moment I’ve installed the following plugins without a problem:

as well as the awesome theme K2 by Michael Heilemann & Chris J Davis.

At first glance I was impressed by the new WYSIWYG editor for posts but writing this text, I started to dislike it. The biggest Problem I see is that if you copy and paste anything form a website, it keeps the formatting and other tags, which some people might like, but I’m not one of them. Oh well, maybe it’ll just take some time to get used to it.