Simon Harriyott

SXSW: Day one and a bit

There wasn't much on in the day yesterday; I went to a couple of the "screen burn" sessions, which were about gaming - a subject I studiously avoid, due to my addictive personality. As I know very little about it, I learned loads. The first session was about "red vs. blue", a series of machinema videos. Machinema is basically making films by recording action in games. Very clever, and extremely interesting.

The second session was about "lag" in online gaming, and a guy who started a company and got funding for researching and (hopefully) fixing the problems that cause lag. Lag is the thing that makes the characters jump about randomly, and other annoying things like that.

After that I met Jason Whitmore, who works for Apple, is a freelance photographer, and books bands for a new club in Austin. I hung out with him for a while, and we went to a party in a bar with free beer and food. I met up with Christopher Pollard, who I sat with on the plane. I met Erik Haugo at the party, and spent a couple of hours with him discussing tagging, the future of computers, and all manner of other stuff, before heading to Stubbs to the BlogHer party.

We met Kaliya Hamlin, who is working with inames. i-names seems to be like Microsoft passport, only better, and open-source. I'll check it out more when I get back.

Erik left about midnight, and I stayed to watch a really cool band who were playing downstairs.

This morning I went to a couple of panels - the first one was about how traditional media (newspapers, print etc.) and design is affected by the web. The questions from the floor were the longest I've ever heard. They were more like proposing a theory for a couple of minutes, and then asking a brief question about it. I think a couple of them would have preferred to be panelists themselves.

The second one was brilliant. It was about web design superheroes, and was presented by two Brits - Andy Clarke and Andy Budd, whose book I won recently. They had the best presentation slides I've ever seen - with cartoon superheroes on them.

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11 March 2006