Category Archives: Social

SXSW Here I Come!

As you may have realized from the sidebar on the right hand side, I’m SXSW bound!  This will be my first time heading down to Austin, Texas and mingling with the technological, film, and musically inclined.  SXSW is somewhat of a long time dream of mine and starting tomorrow it will be fully realized.  Much of what I’m interested in both personally and professionally intersects with all of the different aspects of SXSW.

For the Film portion, I’m into seeing the movies that pull me back to my high school days.  During the late 90’s, I watched movies all of the time.  I would head to the now defunct Video Library out in Lenexa and pick up a movie 6 pack for the weekend then veg out on the couch.  After awhile, I got to the point where mainstream movies just weren’t enough.  I wanted to see the influence of great directors and actors, I wanted to see off the beaten path movies, and I wanted to tap into an underground that couldn’t otherwise be known if it weren’t for the 5,000 plus title Video Library sported.  It was an age of discovery for me.  I hope to relive that with the Film portion.

The Interactive portion is all about cutting edge technology and more importantly how it affects people.  Most people come away from this event with more than just the latest, hip social media trend.  Workshops are all over to walk through attendees on some of the best practices in development or the latest methods to integrate bleeding edge tech.  New technology will be on display as each big player brings out the best they have to offer.  This is the meeting of highly proficient minds and what spins out from that collaboration and networking can be something special.

My passion for technology and how new ideas affect people and hopefully improve their lives came from my college days.  I used to work in the only profitable division at Kansas State besides the athletic department:  the distance education department.  Because of the money we made, we got to preview and implement tech before it saw the light of mainstream.  We’re talking smartboards and video captured lectures using carts, cameras, and computers.  I always remember the impact it on the teachers utilizing that tech to help teach their content.  Hopefully,  I will see what new items (more than likely in the mobile realm) that will help people and their daily lives down in Austin.

The  Music portion speaks for itself.  Whereas the Interactive portion’s sessions usually start around 9am, the Music portion’s sessions start at 1pm.  The brunt of the showcases won’t end until the last encore song bleats out over the PA system at around 2am.  It’s all about bands and musicians coming together and sharing their voice.  On top that, they will share the methods and discuss topics on how to best use their voice.  The collective voice for SXSW will hear over 1000 bands joining in the song.

I’ve always been trying to find my voice.  Whether it’s in technology, music, or just my day to day actions.  I sport a decent amount of music equiptment that grows each day, but I’ve never found it sounding right to me.  Morever, I’ve also found it hard to share my voice with other people.  Courage will always be a hard thing for me.  I’m thinking that a chorus of over 1000 other bands may just help me join in and sing my song.  What better way to find my voice?

Half the fun of finding my voice is the path I take to get it..  That path leads me to SXSW.  Most of what I identify with will be represented in some form down in Austin.  I’m lucky enough to go down there and take part.  What do I hope to accomplish?  I want to start a new age of discovery.  I want get my hands on new technology to help others.  I want to mix with peers and jam out with them, whether it’s tech, film, or tunes.  Most of all, what I want to do on this trip is to bring back fresh inspiration and make some new friends.

This is a great opportunity for me to mix with like minded people and I’ll be bubbling up the better things from the event right here.  I’m going to do my best to document much of the road trip and the conference so be prepared for an onslaught of content.  Please feel free to share with me what you think.  If you are going down there, hit me up and let’s have some fun.  SXSW is like Mecca to me, even though I’ve never been and I don’t pray toward Austin every day.

Where’s the Buzz @?

If you haven’t noticed in your Google Inbox recently, there is a new feature that popped up in there.  It’s called Google Buzz.  What is it?  It essentially takes the best of real time update technologies and integrates in with most of Google’s core group of software.  I’m not going to break down the ins and outs of Buzz.  But what I will do is talk about two features that I find the most attractive.  One’s bringing an old favorite Google App of mine back to the forefront, the other is just stroking my ego.

So let’s start with my ego first!  Awhile ago I talked about the ‘@’ symbol and how it’s become the mainstream mode to reply to or address other people or systems in communication.  Flash forward to today.  If you notice above, the comments show the ‘@’ symbol used to address another Buzz user.  Even better, once you type the ‘@’ symbol and another letter, a dynamic list of your Buzz friends and Gmail Contacts pop up for you to choose from.  If you are a developer building a new app, especially one that hinges on social interactions, you will have to include this feature to be successful.

Okay, the next feature that changes the game is the simple integration across all of Google’s Apps and Buzz.  My Google Profile has been filled out for a couple of years and for last year I’ve been wondering why.  Buzz now pushed the Google Profile to the forefront.  More importantly for me, however, is the massive integration with Google Reader.  If you’ve been around here recently, you know my love for Google Reader.  I have friends in Gmail that use Gooogle Reader, but they never show up in Google Reader correctly when they share stories.  Buzz not only takes care of that, but also brings in Buzz users in to the Google Reader application.  This makes picking up shared items that my peers curate much, much easier.

Now, Google Buzz is not without its drawbacks.  Everyone’s been complaining about privacy, but I’m starting to get bothered by the massive drag it brings to my Gmail.  I’m an Inbox Zero cult follower and seeing new Buzz pumped in at an amazing rate is starting grate my nerves.  I hope they follow through on pushing it out as a separate app.  The folks at Google are already iterating changes, so if they are going to make a change, it will be fast.  That said, Buzz is a great addition to my set of apps from Google I use.  Not because of the app itself, but because it makes my other apps better.

Google Reader Can Send To Social Sharing

I’ve been using Google Reader as my news aggregator for some time now.  Now some people might say that feed readers are dead along with RSS, but I beg to differ.  It’s the best way for me to catch up on news using a uniform interface for easy scanning.  If I want to go in depth, I can read the whole article there or open in a new tab.  I had a hard time sharing any articles I find worthy of telling others about.  The same thought leaders of today who say RSS is dead are the same ones who exclaim that Twitter is the king of up to second news.  Until the middle of last year, there was no way for me to share links in a fast and easy way plus post it to my Twitter followers.  Now I can with Google Reader’s ‘Send To’ feature.

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The Monkey Tail is @ the Paradigm Shift

Commercial At

While I was going through the twitter round up, I couldn’t help but notice that the semantics used to address other tweeps include the @ symbol.  That got me thinking about how the @ symbol shows up not only on some web services, but also email, blog comments, and even in the Getting Things Done methodology.  I also recalled someone saying that the German name translated to “monkey tail” instead of the widely used “commercial at.”  After some research, I discovered where the ubiquitous nature of the @ symbol symbol fits and where it potentially could grow.

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Twittering Around


It’s been quiet the last month or so but I have been active online in another format: Twitter.  So here’s a couple of resources I’ve been using and my thoughts on them.  I grouped the sites by different actions or contexts.  The river is wide in tweet-dom so I need some tool that can help me follow like minded twitters.  Because there’s so many, I also would like to see where I rank among the them.  A couple of utilities would be nice to help manage my Twitter account.  Finally, there’s a growing set of applications for Twitter so I need a place to look up any new apps that might fit in whatever mode I am twittering around.

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