SXSW Wrapup

I'm back to work after an action packed few days.

SXSW Interactive started Friday night and when I got there, the line was outrageous, so I thought I was going to miss the first panel I wanted to attend. After waiting a little bit, I mentioned to a volunteer I was a panelist and he said "What are you waiting in this line for?" and sent me to the panelist check-in. Membership has its privileges :). After getting my badge, I went to How to Rawk SXSW. This gave me a chance to meet Tantek in person which was cool. Then I grabbed some free food at a party and headed home.

Saturday I skipped SXSW and instead headed with my wife and a couple friends to San Antonio to volunteer at the Dave Ramsey Live Event. Awesome time. It's actually the fifth time we've volunteered. I can't recommend this event enough (or Dave Ramsey in general) if you are looking to get control of your finances.

Sunday morning I got up a little late and rolled in to SXSW. I missed the 10:00 round, but caught Non-Developers to Open Source Acolytes: Tell Me Why I Care at 11:30 which was a really good session. After a quick lunch, I headed into the show floor to check out the booths, including the Firefox booth. Mary Colvig was there, as well as Rhian and Alex Polvi.

To start the afternoon, I went to Perspectives on Designing for Global Audiences which wasn't what I expected, but at least I ran into Jonas Sicking. After that session, I went to AJAX or Flash: What's Right for You? which was a great session about when Flash or Ajax is appropriate. Slides for that session are available at slideshare.net. That was followed up with The Future of JavaScript which convinced me to actually look forward to the sunsetting of Firefox 1.5 so I can use some new JavaScript features in Operator. At 5:00, I attended People-Powered Products where I learned about lulu.com which is a great site where you can publish your own stuff.

Sunday night, I went to the Microsoft party to get some free stuff, didn't win the XBox 360, then headed over to the web awards for more free food. Then I decided to call it an early night.

Monday I got in a little later, but saw an interesting presentation by Timothy Ferriss on The 4-Hour Workweek. While I don't agree with his stance on debt and credit, the presentation was very interesting and gave me some interesting things to think about, in particular the concept of selective ignorance. Looking forward to the book. At 11:30, I went to American Cancer Society: Applying Disruptive Technology for the Nonprofit Sector which was an excellent presentation about what the American Cancer Society is doing to embrace new technology. The coolest thing they showed was the Second Life Relay For Life. After the session, I got to talk with a couple guys about developing church websites and maybe got some leads on help for updating our church website.

After that session, It was almost go time for the microformats panel. I went back to the show floor and lost track of time, so I was a little late to the green room, but no one else was there yet, so I was OK. Once everyone showed up, we chatted a little about the order of things and then Tantek put on his T-shirts and we headed over. The room was full, depsite being up against Dan Rather. I thought the panel went great. You can check out some photos or blog posts including Wired. Lots of people came up afterwards with good things to say about Operator, including some folks from Yahoo!, Apple and emurse. Also got a chance to meet Eric Meyer. He made a nice comment about Operator moving forward the semantic web. I also met a guy from developerWorks who wants to put microformats on their website. After the session, I helped a guy from opensoul.org debug a problem in Operator which I fixed, as well as a problem with his site which he fixed.

After the session, I caught the tail end of Warren Spector on The Future of Storytelling and then went to the WaSP Annual Meeting: Takin' it to the Street.

After the sessions, I was looking forward to the Mozilla Democracy Party, so I headed over. They had some good BBQ but I realized my place was at home with my family, so after eating, I headed out. Here's some pics of the party.

Tuesday I wanted to be there at ten to catch Browser Wars Retrospective: Past, Present and Future Battlefields. Two very cool things during this panel - first, Arun plugged Operator in one of the questions, and second I realized that I knew Arun from a way previous life when I worked on the OS/2 version of Netscape Navigator out at Netscape. The session as a whole was very interesting. Also very cool is that I ran into Steve Ganz before the session, who I know only because I use his resume for testing hResume :).

The last session I attended at SXSW was After Bust 2.0: Ten Years Later, Where Will We Be? which was an entertaining session, although not terribly informative. After the session I grabbed a quick lunch at P.F. Chang's and then realized that the weather was getting bad. I decided to head home early so I didn't get caught in the rain.

All in all, a great conference although I desperately wish IBM had been there demoing more of our stuff. In particular, we have two products that would have been great to see here, the AJAX Toolkit Framework for developing AJAX applications and our enterprise social software, Lotus Connections.

Incidentally, here's some cool pictures of the river behind our house before and during the rain (we're 90 feet up, so we don't have to worry about it). Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture when the water was really high, completely covering the area on the left.

Before the rain:

Before The Rain

During the rain:

During The Rain