This was the best part of the best presentation at South by Southwest this year: Merlin Mann gives his spiel during Andy Baio's "Worst website ever."
Sunday, March 16th, 2008
Thursday, February 21st, 2008
The guys from Viddler have put together a little site dedicated to video coverage from South by Southwest.
Saturday, June 23rd, 2007
I stumbled across this video that Neil Ford shot of the Hackfight project in full flow. The back-end guys are brainstorming, the front-end people are user-testing... this is the stuff of magic!
Saturday, May 19th, 2007
Microformats 1:01—Exporting microformats via bluetooth
The video is one minute and one second long. It’s a quick demo of John McKerrell’s bluetooth version of the Tails plugin.
- Watch the video on YouTube.
- Watch it on Viddler.
- Here it is on Vimeo.
- Download the video from the Internet Archive.
Here’s a transcript of the 1:01 minutes of video:
This is my website. This is my mobile phone. My website has microformats. This is a version of the Tails plugin for Firefox. It exposes all the microformats I have on my website. I can convert and export those microformats as vcard, iCal, whatever I want. With this version of the plugin I can also export to bluetooth. So let’s take an event for example. I click on bluetooth. My computer asks me which device to export to. I have previously paired up my phone. So now I’m going to send the event to that device. And there we go. I have now exported from the World Wide Web onto my mobile phone. Easy!
The video is released under a Creative Commons attribution license. You are free to share, remix, caption and translate this video (as long as you provide attribution).
Sunday, March 18th, 2007
Speaking at South by Southwest
This was my third year attending South by Southwest and also my third year speaking.
It seems to have become a tradition that I do a “bluffing” presentation every year. I did How to Bluff Your Way in CSS two years ago with Andy. Last year I did How to Bluff Your Way in DOM Scripting with Aaron. This year, Andy was once again my partner in crime and the topic was How to Bluff Your Way in Web 2.0.
It was a blast. I had so much fun and Andy was on top form. I half expected him to finish with “Thank you, we’ll be here all week, try the veal, don’t forget to tip your waiter.”
As soon as the podcast is available, I’ll have it transcribed. In the meantime, Robert Sandie was kind enough to take a video the whole thing. It’s posted on Viddler which looks like quite a neat video service: you can comment, tag or link to any second of a video. Here, for instance, Robert links to the moment when I got serious and called for the abolition of Web 2.0 as a catch-all term. I can assure you this moment of gravity is the exception. Most of the presentation was a complete piss-take.
My second presentation was a more serious affair, though there were occasional moments of mirth. Myself and Derek revisited and condensed our presentation from Web Directions North, Ajax Kung Fu meets Accessibility Feng Shui. This went really well. I gave a quick encapsulation of the idea of Hijax and Derk gave a snappy run-through of accessibility tips and tricks. We wanted to make sure we had enough time for questions and I’m glad we did; the questions were excellent and prompted some great discussion.
Again, once the audio recording is available, I’ll be sure to get it transcribed.
That was supposed to be the sum of my speaking engagements but Tantek had other ideas. He arranged for me to rush the stage during his panel, The Growth and Evolution of Microformats. The panel was excellent with snappy demos of the Operator plug-in and Glenn’s backnetwork app. I tried to do a demo of John McKerrell’s bluetooth version of the Tails extension using a volunteer from the audience but that didn’t work out too well and I had to fall back on just using a localhost example. Still, it was good to be on-hand to answer some of the great questions from the audience.
And yes, once the audio is available, I’ll get it transcribed. Seeing a pattern here? Hint, hint, other speakers.
As panels go, the microformats one was pretty great, in my opinion. Some of the other panels seem to have been less impressive according to the scuttlebutt around the blogvine.
Khoi isn’t keen on the panel format. It’s true enough that they probably don’t entail as much preparation as full-blown presentations but then my expectations are different going into a panel than going into a presentation. So, for something like Brian’s talk on the Mobile Web, I was expecting some good no-nonsense practical advice and that’s exactly what I got. Whereas for something like the Design Workflows panel, I was expecting a nice fireside chat amongst top-notch designers and that’s exactly what I got. That’s not to say the panel wasn’t prepared. Just take one look at the website of the panel which is a thing of beauty.
Anyway, whether or not you like panels as a format, there’s always plenty of choice at South by Southwest. If you don’t like panels, you don’t have to attend them. There’s nearly always a straightforward presentation on at the same time. So there isn’t much point complaining that the organisers haven’t got the format right. They’re offering every format under the sun—the trick is making it to the panels or presentations that you’ll probably like.
In any case, as everyone knows, South by Southwest isn’t really about the panels and presentations. John Gruber wasn’t keen on all the panels but he does acknowledge that the real appeal of the conference lies elsewhere:
At most conferences, the deal is that the content is great and the socializing is good. At SXSWi, the content is good, but the socializing is great.