Friday, March 12, 2010

SxSW 2010 - Day 1

My younger brother Sean joined me this year for SxSWi and SxSWf. This was his first trip to Austin. Since the panels started fairly late today and the weather was awesome, we walked around town for a while.

Downtown, Mar 12, 2010 Convention Center District, Mar 12, 2010

Panels

How Sci-Fi shaped the Internet

I expected more out of this talk than it delivered, and ended up bailing early. My brother went to one of the design related panels. I think that might have been a better choice to be honest.

Getting Stoked on Web Typography

This was a very interesting talk focusing on the new font features coming in with CSS3, and how it has been adopted on the more popular browsers. The talk was a success for two reasons:

  • The presenter was passionate about the subject
  • She had lots of actual examples in her presentation

There was also good information about how to use free and Creative Commons Fonts in your website design. All in all, this was one of the better talks I attended.

Pay TV vs. Internet, the battle for your TV

This was the most entertaining panel of the entire Conference. Marc Cuban (broadcast.com, the Dallas Mavericks, and now HDnet) squared off in a debate with Avner Ronen of Boxee. Cuban's main talking point was revenue, and the fact that none of the new Internet ventures had any.

During this panel however, I couldn't help but think about Chritensen's The Innovator's Dilemma. One thing that seemed to escape both speakers is why it is called the Internet. Neither speaker seemed to be able to visualize the possibility of mixing private and public backbones.

For now, Marc will continue to make money. Sometime in the future however, that will change.

Screenburn Lounge

Sean and I made a trip through the Screenburn Lounge. I noticed one interesting thing, the Austin Lego Club.

Austin Lego Club

Films

Like several other people I have spoken to, I find the film portion of my platinum badge to be the most enjoyable. My brother and I made a point to try and see several every night.

Red Chapel

This was an excellent documentary about 3 Danish comedians who travel to North Korea, in order to perform a famous sketch involving a transvestite, as part of a cultural exchange. Although 2 of the 3 people were born in South Korea, neither actually spoke any Korean. In addition, one comedian had a speech impediment, making him incomprehensible to his handlers. This allowed him sufficient cover to comment in real-time, throughout the course of the film.

The real objective with this documentary was to be able to film in North Korea and expose the truth, without raising suspicions. Reality turned out being far stranger than anything that would appear in a South Park episode. One particularly stark and eerie scene showed the group traveling along the empty 5 lane boulevards of Pyongyang (a city of 3.2 million people), at noon.

American, the Bill Hicks Story

Seeing this film was the second home-run of the night. The film was a biographical documentary, of the Houston born comedian, Bill Hicks. No description that I could write could do this film justice. All I will say is that is a must see about a true comedic genius.

Update

I forgot to mention that this was the premier of the film and that Richard Linklater was in the audience, as well as Bill's mother and older brother. Also present were two comics who worked along side of Bill at his home club in Houston. But most importantly, the co-directors of the film had an extensive Q&A sessions after the screening.

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