Tag Archives: sxsw 2010

SXSW 2010 Music: The Antlers, Rachael Ray Feedback Party

20 Mar

Saturday has been lots of fun so far. I got a chance to see The Antlers play at the IFC Crossroads House (which is very cool) and chatted with drummer Michael Lerner afterward. It was a great, intimate set and they are really nice guys

After that, I froze outside to get into the Rachael Ray Feedback Party. I had to wait in line for quite awhile and unfortunately missed seeing Andrew W.K. and Jakob Dylan. However, I did get to see Justin Townes Earle (who was amazing!) and She & Him.

Zooey Deschanel was super cute and the music was a great end to a great party. Rachael Ray even stepped out and thanked everyone for showing up. Thank you Rachael for all the great free noms and drinks!

SXSW 2010 Music: Friday recap

20 Mar

Friday was another busy day for me, but I did get a chance to take in a little music.

I went to The Mohawk Friday afternoon to take in Frightened Rabbit. I managed to nab some footage of their first song.

Afterward, I headed to Club DeVille to work. I’m a FARM Representative for Cornerstone Promotions, who helped put on the Green Label Sound showcase that featured Neon Indian, Theophilous London and Ra Ra Riot. I grabbed a clip of one of Ra Ra Riot’s songs.


SXSW 2010 Music: Day 1 picks

17 Mar

The transition from film buffs and interactive geekery to music is complete. Today is the first official day of SXSW Music. I’ll be getting my volunteer on for a whopping 11 hours today at the Austin Convention Center today, so I won’t be able to take anything music-wise in.

However, here are some cool day parties for you to check out, and if you have a music badge or wristband, some showcases I wouldn’t miss (but I am…).

Day Parties Top Picks

Paste Magazine SXSW Party – Galaxy Room

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and free beer is available while it lasts. Two bands I would really stick around for are Roky Erickson of Okkervil River, who is playing 4:30 to 5:10 and Frightened Rabbit from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Personally, I think Frightened Rabbit is the hot band to check out this SXSW. They are playing a million showcases (OK, just a lot of them), so if you miss them today, you will have lots more opportunities.

Brooklyn Vegan – Emo’s

This party starts at noon and has lots o’ free delish, healthy vegan noms (nom nom nom) courtesy of Mr. Natural, Daily Juice, Raw Revolution Bars and Hail Merry. Oh, and free booze from Magic Hat and Firefly Vodka. However, if they food isn’t your thing, the music definitely will be. I would check out The Black Angels at 3:45 and the one, the only, the GZA at 4:30. I just love saying that, the GZA.

SXSW Terrorbird/Force Field Day Party – Red 7

Free gift bags and beer from Linden St. Brewery will be handed out at this party. Don’t you just love free swag? Best music pick here is Neon Indian if you haven’t seen them already. This show starts at noon and is right around the block from Emo’s.

Thanks to the always awesome do512.com for putting up such a great schedule for SXSW 2010.

SXSW Showcases

I’d say the top battle goes to the showcases at Stubb’s and The Parish. NPR is hosting the Stubb’s showcase with Broken Bells, which features Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins, and Spoon, an Austin favorite, tonight. The Parish will have We Were Promised Jetpacks and more Frightened Rabbit (see, I told you they are everywhere).


Have fun and be wary of that green beer tonight.

SXSW 2010 Interactive wrap up

17 Mar

Interactive went by so fast. I can’t believe this portion of the festival is over. I learned a lot from the panels I attended and had a great time.

Interactive Town Hall

One panel I wish I would have attended was the Interactive Town Hall, where attendees could ask questions and address concerns regarding the Interactive festival. However, Omar Gallaga, the tech writer at the Austin-American Stateman, provided a great synopsis of what was said by those who attended and remarks from SXSW organizers Hugh Forrest and Shawn O’Keefe.

Much of the comments centered on the Evan Williams keynote, which Forrest admitted could have been more compelling.

My Last Panel

The last panel I took in was Geeky and Wonky in DC and featured Peter Corbett of iStrategy Labs. He discussed the open government movement and DC Week. Check out the video, which has his full presentation.

This panel was really a part of a rapid succession of presenters who spoke for about 10 minutes each. I had intended to see the Twitter and Photography panel, but then realized I was at the tail end of it. Nonetheless, Corbett had some pretty cool stuff to say.

Final Thoughts

Interactive is always fun because it’s a great gathering of brilliant people that motivate you to learn, create and build upon everything related to technology. My only criticisms would be that none of the keynotes really blew me away like last year and I feel like maybe it’s a little too big now. Panels were held at the Courtyard and Radisson, but I never felt compelled to venture outside of the Austin Convention Center or Hilton. Nonetheless, there was so much to choose from in terms of panels. I’ll be looking forward to next year’s conference.

I’ll probably be heading out to Interactive Closing Party and maybe checking out Motorhead at the Austin Music Hall tonight. Say hi!

SXSW 2010 Interactive: Daniel Ek keynote

16 Mar

Daniel Ek, CEO of the European live streaming music site Spotify, gave the final keynote for SXSW Interactive 2010. He was interviewed by Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired.com.

Currently, Spotify is only available in Europe but they are examining ways to have the site in the United States. The biggest issue for having the site in the U.S. is licensing (well, yeah).

Ek gave an overview of the site and discussed using mobile technology with Spotify. He said phones come equipped with Spotify in Sweden, his home country. Ek said the first few months free to access the site are free and they continue to expand partnerships with mobile carriers in Europe.

Revenue for the site is generated in various ways according to Ek. People pay with time by watching targeted advertising, which Spotify can charge more for.

Van Buskirk asked what was in the future for Spotify in the next five years. Watch Ek’s response.

Ek said the music industry and technology are on the same page for first time ever.

“Music is one of the most social objects we have,” he said. “If you can access it anywhere, manufacturers will find value in that.”

Overall, I enjoyed this keynote quite a bit. They even did a question and answer (gasp!) at the end of Ek’s remarks. I’m not sure when or if we will Spotify in the U.S., but it would be great to see a little friendly competition with iTunes.

SXSW 2010 Interactive: How The Other Half Lives – Touring The Digital Divide

16 Mar

Have you ever wondered what it was like to not own a computer or have daily access to the Internet?

Probably not.

How The Other Half Lives – Touring The Digital Divide, was a great panel discussing how two librarians, Jessamyn West and Jenny Engstrom, handle teaching those who don’t have regular access to computers and the Web. West and Engstrom both discussed the types of hurdles and financial struggles they have to deal with on a daily basis. Though grants have been available in the past to teach technology in libraries, once those grants dry up, they struggle with finding the resources to teach those that want to learn. With the economic downturn, it has become even more difficult.

They also discussed how important usability is for those who don’t have regular access to technology. Though the admitted Internet Explorer is not the best web browser, it is what they have to use in many cases on their library computers. Both also discussed how jargon like cookies and operating systems fall on deaf ears for people that utilize their technology.

“Most people only have 45 minutes on the computer, so make it worth their time,” Engstrom said, citing how most libraries have a forced time limit on computers.

She said things like forced registration and instructional video for a site waste time. She suggested puttting a list of steps people can read, but also making sure not to force users to download a PDF or any other document.

They also said many are worried people will steal their identity and beleive they are at risk already. Part of usability for those on the digital divide means assuring that their information is safe and that the Web site as a whole is easy to access and use.

“We have lots of people who can tell you just how bad your Web site usabillity sucks,” West said.

Check out their slides used in the presentation here if you want to learn more about the digital divide, usability and libraries and technology access.

SXSW 2010 Interactive: Monday recap

16 Mar

Though I only spent half the day at Interactive Monday, I still managed to take in a few interesting panels and the day’s keynote with Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.


A lot of critcism was lobbed toward Williams and his interviewer, Umair Haque, who is the director of the Havas Media Lab at Harvard and writes a blog for the Harvard Business Review. The Wall Street Journal has a good piece wrapping up the keynote and why it was unsuccessful at capturing people’s attention.

No backchannel was needed to gauge the public’s tepid response to the event, in which Williams announced the launch of Twitter’s @anywhere function and was subsequently lobbed softball questions by interviewer Umair Haque of the Harvard Business Review. (Haque, ironically, is the author of a book entitled “The Awesomeness Manifesto.”)

Williams talked about @anywhere at the start of his keynote ad after that things started to go downhill. There were a few audio problems that interrupted the start of the keynote and Haque’s questions became more like monologues where he talked about some blog post he had written or a random experience using Twitter.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how @anywhere develops. According to the blog post released minutes after Williams announcement, @anywhere will allow sites to embed links to Twitter profiles on their page and users can start following, tweet the link or peek their profile them without ever leaving the site.

Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning.

My Three-Year Old Is My Usability Expert

This solo panel featured Dave Stanton of the Poynter Institute, who discussed simplify web and game design in order to provide a better user experience. He gave examples of his three-year-old daughter Lucy and demonstrated how she interacted with various games. Stanton advocated the use of schema theory, which tells us that the brain structures things into categories. We, as designers, need to appeal to those categories in order to make designs more user friendly.

Hold the Cocoa: Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Jonathan Stark, who develops mobile applications for a living, gave some great tips, tools and tricks for building mobile apps using just HTML, CSS and javascript. He provided a link to his slideshow presentation on his site in addition to links to downloads to start building apps.

Basically, Stark utilizes the PhoneGap framework and jQTouch to create apps and tap into built in features like the accelerometer, GPS, vibration and sound. Definitely give this a look if you want to get around learning Objective C and dive straight into app development.

SXSW 2010 Interactive: Evan Williams keynote Day 3

15 Mar

Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, is giving the keynote for Day 3 of SXSW Interactive. He is being interviewed by Umair Haque, who is director of the Havas Media Lab. I found @waynesutton doing a Ustream live stream from the keynote hall.

So far Williams has announced the new @anywhere service. Go ahead, start following and read the latest blog post from Twitter about @anywhere.

Check it out!


SXSW 2010 Interactive: New Publishing and Web Content

14 Mar

The New Publishing and Web Content panel was the last I attended Saturday.

Panelists included Erin Kissane of Incisive.nu, Lisa Holton of Fourth Story Media, Mandy Brown of Etsy and Paul Ford of Harper’s Magazine. It was moderated by Jeffery Zeldman of Happy Cog Studios.

The panelists discussed how the web has changed book and magazine publishing and how they adapted.

Ford made an interesting comment about how the web should not be looked at a publishing platform but rather a customer service platform.

“Give them what they need and interact. If you get money from them, how do you make sure they are happy?” he said. “The web is a way to interact with and serve your community.”

This video shows the panelists answering a question regarding big publishing houses versus self-publishing at a at SXSW 2010 Interactive panel.