SXSW Day 2

Sunday was very low key. Only a couple of sessions really stood out. Meet Judy Jetson was interesting but not overly so. We still seemed to be so frighted of teens using technology that we can’t get past it. Of the 3 one did mention sconex which was pretty cool even though it was just in passing.

The Keynote with Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong was good. I never got in to Dooce but I do like Kottke. I think it’s funny that so many designers can agree on something like web standards but still can’t accept pro blogging as something respectable. I meet Jason briefly at AIGA and he’s a really nice guy.

In fact he’s the opposite of what anyone might think. If you ever want to find Jason at a conference you just need to look for some one with a power book in the corner who is trying to disappear. I’ve never seen anyone who wanted to blend in to the background as much as Jason does. I could tell he was best on stage when he was talking to Heather and forgot about the audience.

Running Your New Media Business and Sink or Swim: The Five Most Important Start up Decisions was good but nothing revolutionary. If anything I like hearing over and over again the same thing at similar panels. I hope that when I start my own mew media company I might even do the right thing the first time around.

Holistic Web Design was by far the best presentation of the day. All of the members of the panel help completely redesign and the results were amazing. I loved to hear each one talk about the project, what they changed, why and how it effects the end user. Eris Stassi (who abandoned her blog several months ago) really did an amazing job of directing the redesign and I have even more respect for her then I had in past years.

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SXSW Day 1


Traditional Design and New Technology was slow panel. Liz Danzico (who might be angry at me) was a great moderator and continues to ask great questions every time I see her. The panel bright up many problems but didn’t really offer anything close to an answer. JSM seemed the closest to bring actual conversation to what seemed mostly like a doom and gloom panel about how design sucks on the internet. They kept saying the technology wasn’t at a point where we can just forget about it. I don’t know if they are waiting for technology to stop but I think a large part of web design will be new technologies and functionality that can be added to websites. If they are waiting for technology to get to a point where it gets out of the way of making a website I think they have a long wait. Technology will continue to change and challenge how websites are made. Design needs to learn how to exist in that or die trying.How to be a superhero

How to be a web design superhero was mostly fluff and I’m not really sure who that was supposed to help. Perhaps people who want to design but have no idea how to start. Not the people who really seem to come to SXSW. They did have the prettiest presentation I’ve ever seen with a really engaging panning and sliding around. I not sure if it was Keynote or not but it sure looked cool. I wonder if they had the rights to use those super hero images. They looked like Alex Ross painting but it’s been so long sine I’ve followed comics that I can’t really be sure.

Fried and Coudal did a great job of summarising the entire conference and were great over all. Couldal is greatly suited to be a moderator and I wish he had even more involvement in the conference. AIGA’s presenter in Boston, John Hockenberry, was not amazing and I think Coudal could have easily stepped in and taken over. He’s just so personable. Fried pointed out to a yahoo employee that yahoo wastes a lot of money. Basically saying they suck and it got a big reaction from the crowd. ‘m sure that will come up again and again around the web with funny headline everywhere.

Making money with your blog design skills was mostly rehashing old information. I was hoping to hear some information about blog design that was different then regular websites beyond that you had to know how to use the blog technology. Though the panel was lacking in new information they were all great. The moderator was interesting, knowable and great at controlling the time flow. The panelist were extremely personable and I want to go to subscribe to all of there blogs right now.

Kathy Sierra’s Creating Passionate Users has to be up for best presentation in the conference. I think she blew about 200 minds in the most informative presentation I’ve ever seen. I’ll definitely be looking for the notes in the near future to bring back to Sconex.

Photos: Andy Budd and kitseeborg


My SXSW trip

SXSW is just around the corner and to get the most out of you need to be well organized. I was hoping to hoping to skill most of the big named presenters since I have read so much about past panels with them. In general it's funny that the panels that are most popular and have really made me want to go to SXSW are the ones I want to avoid. This is an expensive trip and I really want to get the most out of it instead of hear Tantek talk about micro formats again, which at this point I think I have a good grasp on.

After the 3 day AIGA conference I was exhausted. I can't wait to see how I'm going to go to a conference all day and then, hopefully make it to some events at night for 4 days in a row.


10:00 amBeyond Folksonomies: Knitting Tag Clouds for Grandma

11:30 amHow to Be A Web Design Superhero

2:00 pmJim Coudal / Jason Fried Opening Remarks

3:30 pmHow to Increase Creativity at Work

5:00 pmStarting Small: Web Businesses for the Rest of Us


10:00 amSink or Swim: The Five Most Important Startup Decisions

11:00 amMeet Judy Jetson: How Technology is Transforming 21st Century Teens

2:00 pmKeynote Conversation: Heather Armstrong / Jason Kottke

3:30 pmRunning Your New Media Business

5:00 pmHolistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams

--This one is rather star studded and I will need to make sure to get there early.


10:00 amCSS Problem Solving

11:30 amStandard Deviation: Hacks and Dirty Tricks for the Web

2:00 pmCraig Newmark Keynote Interview

3:30 pmDesigning for Community with 'Zero-Advertising' Brands

3:30 pmCreative Subplot: The Viral Edition

--clearly I'll have to pick one but I might wait till the last minute to really pick which it will be.

5:00 pmDesign Eye for the List Guy

--I might want a backup for this one as it's probably going to fill up fast.


10:00 amBuilding a Start-Up Technology Company

11:30 amHow to Be a Virtual World Entrepreneur

2:00 pmBurnie Burns Keynote

3:30 pmDogma Free Design

5:00 pmBruce Sterling Presentation: The State of the World

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Google moving toward standards

Google has come out with a WYSIWYG editor to go along with there brand new web hosting service. In general the service is mediocre and on par with most other services. 100 mbs of storage with the ability to up load images. The editor is smooth though lacking in features. Clearly there is room for improvement and a straight forward path of features to add. This is a product aimed at people who don’t know what they are doing and so no web designer need to worry about losing their jobs yet.

What is interesting is the code it created. Google is know for writing bad code and discarding standards. The Google front page alone, in all it’s bleakness, has 66 errors. Making a quick page and running through a validator shows only 10 errors which is a large reduction.

Looking deeper in the the code you can see they have put some good effort in to making this a new age editor. About 95% of the design in done in CSS. Al the code is very readable though there are browser hacks abound and it will be interesting to see how that degrades with time.

I don’t know if they are storing the entire text file of HTML or generating the page on the fly. If it’s generated on the fly they can update the CSS as needed but if it’s all saved to a static file they might be saving hacks that will one day be a big problem to fix.

While no techy person is going to be overly impressed buy this release I think it’s mostly a good thing that will hopefully help people who don’t know what they are doing make better formed websites.

google, pagecreator, w3c, validate