Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broken technology...

So here's a gripe. I waited until the "new" Blogger had been out for a while and even moved passed the trendy beta phase before I migrated this blog. Smooth sailing until I tried to post, as per usual, from Flock.

Flock, if you don't know, is a browser based on Mozilla's Firefox but aimed primarily at the "social" online crowd who like to blog, have online bookmarks and photo collections. It's good, though hasn't supplanted my Firefox just yet. The new Blogger uses a different API and Flock doesn't - so the small stride in my unsuccessful blogging this year hits another stumbling block.

Flock is coming out with a new version, code-name Cormarant, soon. This should fix the API problem and tie in my Ma.gnolia bookmarks as well. Until then, I'm back to logging in to Blogger the old-fashioned way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Screenburn @ SXSWi 2007...

A few cool games in the Screenburn Hall but not many. You can see the photos here but I took a video clip of a cool interactive display. Moving you shadow lets you collect and move the digital "stuff" falling from the top of the screen.

The graphics on the video games were great but not much variety to the actual games.

Monday, March 12, 2007

SXSW'07 Day 3...

First panel today was "Design Workflows at Work: How Top Designers Work Their Magic" which was pretty packed. The panel had a pretty good discussion going and the companion website does have a lot of information in it. Again, this was more of a general discussion, than a "how to" panel.

A spot of lunch and then right back to it with Paul and I splitting up again. I went to see the panel for Will & David's book "SEND" which I wrote a separate post on. I then had to search for my next hit which was on the other side of the centre (did I mention this place is huge!) - Accessified! Practical Accessibility Fixes Any Web Developer Can Use. This panel was with Patrick Lauke and Ian Lloyd had, though it was short, gave some great tips on accessibility. Now back across the center to meet Paul and wait for the last panel of the day, Uniting the Holy Trinity of Web Design. The panel did a good job on this, but again there were not too many examples you could take way from this.

I think the main thing from the last panel, and others like it, was that it got Paul & I talking about those topics and how they fit within Optiem.

I also checked out the screenburn part which was going on in one of the ballrooms. Lots of video games and competitions including some cool experimental stuff.

Rushed back to the hotel and out again to catch the Web Awards, hosted by Ze Frank. He was very funny and the whole thing went off pretty smoothly. Where people couldn't attend they had volunteers from the audience come up and accept. Lost of shameless plugs follwed :-)

The battery died in my flash so a kind sound kind from a a video crew gave me one of his spares. Very nice and, yes, I did pay it forward as promised. Bumped into Jeremy Keith and Richard Rutter who were kind enough to let us tag along for the rest of the evening. Met some of Kent Brewster fellow Yahoo! stuff who assured me it was not Yahoo's stance that "copyright is dead"! The band, The Lemurs, was also very good at the Mohawk.

The rain hammered down all night and we got soaked. Paul almost lost his SXSW badge (that'll be another $350 please) and, when we got back to the hotel, did lose his wallet. After speaking to the doorman and our taxi driver it was returned safe & sound.

Tired and ready for tomorrow.

Food of the day - The stuffed potato skins at The Mohawk. Just the thing to warm you up after being drenched.

Plug for an interesting book...

So one (of very many) cool things that has happened since being here at SXSW was meeting a guy called Will Schwalbe. After chatting with him at "Break Bread with Brad" he told me he was speaking about email on one of the panels of Sunday.

Turns out Will is the Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief at Hyperion books and he had written a book called "SEND" with David Shipley. The panel, called "I can't believe you sent that" was a really interesting mix of video interviews, examples read by a volunteer and a free advance copy of the book.

This was not a technical panel, which was refreshing, and the book deals with more the horror stories, etiquette and rules for writing and handling emails.

You can pre-order Will & David's book "SEND" at Amazon (I've already started my copy) and you can also read/post email horror stories at the companion website.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

SXSW'07 - Day 2...

So today was the first big day for us here in Austin. Lots of panels to attend and I'm quickly running out of business cards.

First panel was "a decade of style" with Eric, Molly, Chris & Douglas. After a quick post-panel chat (did I mention everyone is extremely approachable?), including a quick hello with Tantek Çelik, it was off to "how to bluff your way in web2.0", an excellent and fun look at the whole (tired) web2.0 phenom by two fellow Brits including an online bingo game during the session where I didn't get a free book (hint) - I only needed DOJO.

A spot of lunch at the Iron Cactus and then back to "Unleashing CSS: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Internet Explorer 7", where I didn't get a free book (hint, hint) but it was still a good view of adoption rates and how to start using the new IE7 CSS. Then straight into a really interesting panel on "Web Hacks". This wasn't at all about CSS/HTML in the traditional sense but covered Yahoo pipes, content and touched briefly on copyright.

The last panel was, personally, a bit of a let down. The panel didn't seem that engaged and subject matter tended to drift.  The cool thing about that panel though was sitting with Jonathan Snook, and hooking up with Trey Philips and Mani Sheriar for a couple of the after hours parties, where Mani blagged a free microformats t-shirt from Tantek (hint, hint, hint).

Two very high (geek) points - Shaking hands and having a quick chat with Tantek and then, later, Ze Frank.

Food of the day - Heuvos Rancheros.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

SXSW'07 Day 1 - Gone to Texas...

After a fairly uneventful flight, save for the near miss witnessed by Paul through my window, we arrived in Austin. We took a cab to the Hyatt Regency hotel and found our room missing something - namely the second bed.

Moving down from the 14th floor remedied that, so, after struggling to set up the WiFi and checking some work email, Paul & I set off to register. This took longer than expected, queuing up just to enter the queue upstairs.

We managed to take in the first panel, all about "Snakes on a Plane" and we were set for the second panel about "rawk"ing SXSW. Saw quite a few of the panelist later at the "Break Bread with Brad" party.

Best food so far - Cheese & Jalapeno hotdog with Curry Ketchup!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

February sucked!

Apart from our birthdays, February pretty much sucked.  Hence no posts recently.

List of offenders that made up this arse or a month were:

  • Julie slipping and hurting her leg & back
  • Me hurting my back
  • Julie falling ill
  • Me breaking a tooth
  • Me having a root canal on that tooth
  • Having to postpone (twice) our trip to Pittsburgh
  • Me getting a speeding ticket in Lindale
  • Me getting that speeding ticket in Lindale, on Julie's birthday!

That's pretty much it.  There were some high points though, such as seeing LeBron James play @ The Q with my brother-in-law and the Cav's winning.  My first time seeing any basketball since being here in the US and it was a lot of fun.  Also I was asked to speak at Tri-C to a class of students which was cool and I've had some emails from the students which was nice (I promise I will reply).

Now it's March and I'm off to SXSW'07 in Austin, Texas.  I'm already missing Julie and Josh and I'm only sitting at Cleveland Hopkins waiting to leave.  5 days is the longest I've been away from either of them.

BTW - The current threat advisory has been raised to ORANGE.  I know this as it's blasted by a speaker every 5 minutes :-)

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