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March 14, 2006

Still wayyyy to much to do...

We've totally been slacking. HA! Actually, no we haven't, we've been busy this whole time! I had to skip today's keynote (but I can watch it as a podcast later -- how cool is that???) just to make a couple of 5-minute phone calls to family and a couple of friends. So, we probably won't be doing a lot of posting until the conference is all the way over, but since it's quick, I'll post some of the fun stuff we've been doing for now. Then, after I fix all the spelling errors from this and my last post, I'll give you a mini-recap of the rest...

The first night after we got in, we started walking to Guero's (on recommendation - Thanks, Rich!)...but we only made it as far as Freebird Burritos. It was good, though. The walls and window sills (and any other surface willing to take adornment, as you can see here) were covered in mini-sculptures that the customers had made out of their burrito wrappings.

My contribution was a mini Claes Oldenburg to make our Minneapolis mark.

One of the best things about the place were the dozen flying guitars pulling a chariot driven by a renegade staue of liberty.

After saying good-night to Kim, I went to check out the 6th street strip. It's a strip of bars and clubs with all their windows open, music and drunk college students flowing into the sidwalks. Every Friday and Saturday they close off these several blocks of the street so that drunk people can freely wander the street. It is great.

A very very brave bike taxi driver was willing to take me back across the Congress Street bridge to our hotel, even though he was deathly afraid of taxi-ing over the bridge. Here is a picture of him and me. Note the boombox strapped to the bar in front of the seat. The Rocky theme was playing the whole time. Okay, no it wasn't.


We ate the first and second morning at Las Manitas. The first morning, we shared the restaurant with Jeffrey Zeldman...and some other people, I think. It was rumored "the place to be." An insider tip: the place to be in the place to be is the patio out back (we learned this the second day when we got there early enough). You walk through the open kitchen to get to the back -- exposing all the bins of whole cooked chickens and fresh vegetables and eggs. These are some pics of the patio and some lovely person I ate breakfast with... and just so you know, the handmade corn tortillas here are about as close at you get to food bliss!

The Texans are very welcoming.

This is a Thai/Vietnamese place we ate lunch at. Very good pho (soup) and tofu stir fry. Our waiter told us that after this busy week coming up, he is using the extra money he is making to take his boyfriend to Las Vegas for his birthday! That's how busy it gets during the festival.

This was the second party we went to... Sorry, I forgot to take pictures at most of the others... maybe some updates from the last few after tonight...

The kissing bandit strikes!

Web nerds are hot!

A kissing bandit sandwich.

This was my first(and only) photo posing with a celebrity.




The bats streaming out from under the bridge at dusk. There are supposed to be hundred of thousands under the bridge in the summer so it is an overwhelming sight, but since it's still early spring, many of them are still somehwere in South America so there were only a few hundred. Still pretty cool looking, though!

We have one more "networking event" to go to tonight...then Kim leaves on a 6:30 am flight tomorrow...ugh! Send her good happy vibes!

March 13, 2006

SXSWConference: first two days

Time for me to start keeping up my end of the blog! It's morning, before the sessions, so we'll see how far I get before I have to get going. This may be posted in two or more parts. I'll also be posting our pictures and fun stuff later. There's a lot of interesting people to meet here and pretty much everyone is very open and friendly. The people here collect one another's business cards as if they were baseball cards!

Saturday Sessions
Beyond Folksonomies: Knitting Tag Clouds for Grandma
The interesting bits and points:

  • There are many articles that have been written about managing (none were specifically cited)
  • Really, users are best off when they can utilize BOTH taxonomies and folksonomies.
  • Interesting site Attention Trust tracks which pages on the Web you use the most.
  • Not that many people in the real world tag. It has to be almost effortless (or at least be integrated well enough into the things they already use) for people to be motivated enough to tag well enough to be useful to them.
  • People are less likely to tag things that they can search for with text, and more likely to tag things like video and pictures that they cannot search for as easily using words.
  • Interesting concept (and book, and session that we missed because it overlapped with a couple of others...but rumor is that there will be poscasts available of most of the sessions after the conference!): the Wisdom of Crowds. In th context of the session, this described decisions (e.g. tag or category choices) that you can gather from collecting and aggregating the response of a group of people instead of picking out a small sample of individuals or using just your own response. Generally, if you can get an authentic response from each of the people in the "crowd," it will be “wiseâ€? information, but if you get the expected or instilled response from the people, it's likely to be an unwise (i.e. "Group Think") response.
  • There are actually 40+ social bookmarking sites similar to (one mentioned was Shadows).
  • There was a lot of talk centering around how we need to make peoples' lives easier instead of trendier with new UI affordances because they won't be motivated the way we are about trying out the cool new thing on the Web.
  • Most people on the panel found the most useful thing in the fact that you could tap into the "attention stream" of someone else that seems to find many of the same things interesting as you do. You may have never met or interacted with that person, but you want to know what they are looking at because you have found that you are likely to also find those things interesting (an example is the fact that I've added a person's that I have never met before to my list of links because whenever I check back on it, he/she always has a bunch of new links I've never heard of that I think are really cool. I found the user's list because we had a page on "Sounds of the World's Animals" in common on our lists…interestingly enough, the person also seems to be a Web designer, though the page we originally had in common has nothing to do with Web design.).
  • One of the people on the panel has created a script that splits his Firefox into three panes whenever he does a search: a search of the pages he has bookmarked, a search of the pages he's visited recently, and a Google search of the Web.
  • Another use of things like is to find the word(s) that others are using to talk about a subject, for example, in a book or panel and realign your vocabulary with theirs.
  • Also, can use this info for word clusters... "did you mean 'java' as in the coffee, the programming language, or the island?"
  • other links mentioned:, Technorati, odeo, Last.FM

to be continued...

My Oh My - There is Way Too Much Stuff To Do

At the start of the third day of the conference we are exhausted. This conference has been such a wonderful experience and the depth of knowledge of the participants is amazing. There is a full day of sessions and then the real conference starts. So far most evenings we've been roaming from get-together to get-together. We have meet so many interesting people. People that have written books, work at other universities, writers and many more. We even had a long conversation with a "Blogging Proselytizer" from Blogger/Google. I'm not sure what it exactly sure what that means but it sounds cool.

Our intention is to post what we are learning throughout the day - but it is hard to just sit down and type without being distracted. So hang tight we will get our reflections up as soon as we can.

March 11, 2006

We have arrived

Look out Austin we arrived last night. Evidently there were a lot of persons coming down here from Minnesota – they were looking for 10 volunteers to take a later flight at that arrived in Austin at midnight. We skipped that opportunity and arrived around 5pm last night. The strange thing was that as we were waiting to board, they kept saying that the plane was too heavy and that was on reason whey they needed so many persons to change their flight. Strange – what the heck was in the cargo area?

We picked up or registration materials last night and both of use are really excited to get started with the conference. Kim's room overlooks the famous Congress Street Bridge where a huge bat colony lives. I guess most of the bats are still in Mexico for the winter but should be coming back any day.

It is also warm, humid, and you can smell flowers in the air. It is absolutely wonderful! No skin lotion for us this week! I guess it is uncommonly warm down here right now. Check it out:

We are on our way to Las Manitas for breakfast and then on to the conference.

March 9, 2006

SXSW Here We Come!

Our bags are packed, our travel docs printed, and our desks are cleaned. We are on our way to the South by Southwest Conference in Austin TX. March 11th - March 14th. Our goal is to kept you up to date with what is going on at the conference - so be sure to come back and see what we are up to.