Category Archives: Technology

The Obvious Thing to Do in Austin While You’re at SXSW

fbcb1b3aAlthough I am a local, I did not want to write a “Things To Do in Austin While You’re at SXSW” blog post. But I did want to offer valuable insight to the 27,000 people headed this way for the event before it kicks off next week. Here it is: The thing to do in Austin while you’re at SXSW is, in fact, SXSW.

Duh, right?

The reason this hardly-an-epiphany merits a blog post is that the unique nature of SXSW — the fact that it’s expansive in every possible way including geographically, topically, demographically and programmatically — makes it almost impossible to avoid the pitfall of getting distracted, as well as spreading oneself out too thin.

Below is some advice from yours truly and excerpts for the best SXSW Survival Guide I have seen in EVER, mostly because it’s so very short and not really that sweet. Courtesy of TechCrunch.

From Me

  • Attend Sessions.  Do take the time to figure out your schedule and come eager to learn from speakers and share thoughts with peers. Because isn’t that first and foremost the whole point? Don’t kill yourself waiting in line to go to a party or feast at Franklin’s BBQ. You can always come back to Austin another time. Related: TechCrunch’s FOMO tip below.
  • Keep It Real. SXSW is the perfect example of Austin’s wonderful ability to twist and transform into any shape imaginable. Last year, Nokia built a three-domed structure that occupied over 4,000 square feet of floor space and featured “immersive” projections and interactive visualizations. My point? Some brands are going to go over-the-top in a misguided attempt to “keep it weird,” but you’ll be better off sticking with those that keep it real.
  • Put Your Feet Up. The SXSW Interactive Lounges will be great for that because they are strategically dispersed and they are designed to protect you from all the madness without you having to completely remove yourself. You may not get the chance to put your feet up on a chair… but sitting on the floor, with your back against the wall, sharing a charger with a fellow SXSWgoer is what it’s all about.

From TechCrunch

  • Pack for the worst and hope for the best. We’re expecting rain over the weekend. This excerpt updated with latest weather forecast (see below).
  • Take a night off. Pick your night, turn off your phone, and SLEEP.
  • Pace yourself. The thing about Austin is that it’s cheap. Beer? $2.50. Wine isn’t too much more (…) But nights are long and we’re not as young as we once were. (DAMN IT.) Take your time, drink water between your (free) drinks and you’ll thank me later.
  • F*ck FOMO. The only thing you’ll be missing out on by skipping that “hot” party with the gigantic line is serendipity.
  • Grab a friend and go off-grid. Duck out and go hang out somewhere less crowded. This may result in an afternoon full of unexpected, pleasant conversations.
  • Don’t wear your company’s brand on your shirt every day. Makes you look ridiculous.
  • Exercise. Do it. There’s a running trail around Lady Bird Lake and likely an (empty) gym at your hotel. Even if you’re exhausted, a 30-minute workout will rejuvenate you.
  • Say hello to a stranger on the street. Find out their story. Share yours. That’s what SXSW is all about. And I promise you, it’s not that hard.
  • Advil. THE BIG BOTTLE.

If you’re not making it down to Austin for SXSW this year, you have none of this to worry about!

Austin’s Tech Scene: A Vintage–wearing Hipster with an Old Soul

6a00d83452b15969e2017ee419aaa7970dThere is no denying that startups and hipsters are “so hot” right now. And while Austin is certainly a trendy city, its roots are far deeper than they seem to go when it comes to tech.

Austin is home to many of our clients including CleanFUEL USA, LANDesk, Lumension, National Instruments, RADVISION (Avaya), Scuderi Group and Skyonic. Moreover, the city’s tech core (pun intended) is comprised of chip makers like Freescale (one of my agency’s clients), Samsung, AMD and 3M. You may have heard thatSamsung said it would invest $3-4 billion to make chips for mobile devices in Austin, and that the company is in talks to double its $13 billion investment in the city. High tech dollar bills, y’all.

Tech and Austin go together like grandma’s secret recipe salsa and breakfast tacos.

It should not come as a surprise that the city’s rich tech tradition both attracts and continues to educate creative and talented tech entrepreneurs, leading to the perfect storm raining tech startups. If you’ve ever attended (or heard of) SXSW InteractiveAustin Startup Week, or any tech community event, you know what I’m talking about – thousands upon thousands of people gathered to talk and do something about digital innovation.

These are only a few of the reasons why USA Today named Austin to its list of top ten cities for technology startups, and why my agency, Lois Paul and Partners, has an office right in the center of it all. We live and breathe the tech (and pollen) that’s in the air.

The tools I need to function

It’s been two weeks since I’ve been back from spending the holidays with my family in Ecuador. I was there for a whole month (thank you University of Maryland’s long, long winter break) hanging out with my mom, sisters, and my niece and nephew – who rock, by the way. I caught up on sleep and put in some holiday work.But really, it’s been two weeks since I’ve been back to life as I used to know it. Over the break I realized how anxious I was to go back to being myself after tearing my ACL in a freak soccer accident back in August. For about a month, I carried on as usual. Since I didn’t have a ligament I literally had nothing to “loose” (Hah! Still got it). So I strapped on my knee brace and did my thing – I even karaoked (Figure A) and put on a fundraiser (Figure B).

But on October 8, 2010 I underwent a surgical procedure I wasn’t ready for. Young and naïve as I am, I was 100 percent sure that it would take three weeks (See? I didn’t even give myself a month) to get over the pain, lose the crutches, and go back to kicking ass and things.I was 150 percent wrong.

Not being able to function physically led to mental and emotional suckyness. I stopped going out (that counts limited commuting, running errands, and no social life), I had to skip classes, I struggled to teach my own class, I stopped blogging (but you already knew that), I gave up on a lot of my hobbies, and everything felt inadequate because I felt inadequate.In strangely related news, when my contract with AT&T ended late last year, I decided to switch to Verizon and get a Droid X. Only 10 days went by before I went crawling back to AT&T to get my iPhone back. There ain’t nothing like the iPhone.Maybe I’m weaker than others. Maybe I’m not the early adapter I thought I was. The truth is I can’t work without the right tools. I need my knee and I need my iPhone, among a few other things. But while the iPhone was simple enough to get back, my knee has just a few more months to reach full recovery. But if I’m blogging again, you know it’s because I’m going up and down stairs like a boss again, speed walking, and – I don’t want to show off – but these days I’ve been sitting in lotus position.What tools do you need to function? Do you take some more for granted than others?

The new @TweetDeck goes up to 11: Considerations for continuing users

It is true what they say. The good ones are worth the wait.

Christmas came early for those of us — in fact, most of us, according to a November 16, 2009 article on Read Write Web — who use TweetDeck as oru third-party Twitter client of choice. This week, TweetDeck released a series of several updates including Twitter lists, geolocation, more Facebook support, and brand new LinkedIn support. A great article on Read Write Web covers the most significant changes in the new version of Tweetdeck. Here, I will discuss some implications and considerations for those of us who plan on continuing to use TweetDeck now that it has been cranked up to 11.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace integration

Because Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are now integrated, those who know that most of their friends and followers are shared across networks should consider NOT updating Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with the same thing. TweetDeck is now TRULY a deck, so use it as such. Instead of finding thinking of using the new TweetDeck as a shortcut to cross-posting the same thing all over the place, think of how to tailor your message accordingly to where people are going to care to read about it. If it’s work-related, Link it in, and so on and so forth.Now that you can easily access your Twitter lists AND your TweetDeck groups, be smart about how you build them. TweetDeck groups aren’t public, so save your “cool people I tweet with all the time” list for a TweetDeck group and use Twitter lists, which are public, with a little more purpose in mind. Use them to add value and become a point of reference.The new TweetDeck lets you write on the wall of the Facebook Pages with the same ease with which you tweet. This means that you can be more proactive and engaging with your fans on Facebook. Time to be more consistent about showing fans some love, as opposed to only updating the page every time you need something from them.Should you choose to activate the Facebook news updates column on the new TweetDeck, be strategic about it. I don’t check Facebook as often as I do Twitter and when I do, I tend to see what a few number of my friends are up to  — I write a few witty wall posts, comment on pictures and then I’m off. Now, I’m using TweetDeck to try to catch what some of my new friends or old friends whom I have lost a bit of touch with are up to. In other words, I’m using it to maintain relationships that I may be giving less attention to simply because I’m not on Facebook as much and when I am, I default to commenting on the walls of friends with who I interact more often.LinkedIn updates come in with less frequency than everything else, so why not activate that on the new TweetDeck? It’s information that I rarely, if ever, was paying attention to. Now, I can tell who is on the move and maybe some opportunities to connect people or connect with people will arise. I haven’t gotten there by using LinkedIn yet but maybe the new TweetDeck will make all the difference in that world.

More updates

TweetDeck’s new profile view includes geolocation; your bio; your link; and followers, following, tweets, and lists information. Don’t set your geolocation as “global” or “wherever the wind blows,” because that tells me nothing and it won’t help you make local connections — and the potential to scaling things back to local is where social media eventually wins and rules above everything else. Also, make sure your link actually goes somewhere, because it is now featured more prominently on your profile view and I might just click on it.The infamous retweet function is opt-in on the new TweetDeck. All I have to say about that it… you guys are smarter and now your users better than Twitter. And, thank you.

Final Thoughts

TweetDeck, if you’re reading this, Flickr integration would be the cherry on top 😉

February 8, 2010 Update: TweetDeck is now allows you to view Flickr, YouTube and Posterous media within the client.Watch a video of the features in TweetDeck’s latest version below.

Your turn. How is the new TweetDeck fulfilling your every need? Or is it still coming up short?

More screen shots of the new TweetDeck here.

Will online video make us just like The Jetsons?

Remember The Jetsons? Yeah you do. I won’t prolong this then…

I wish I had taken bets back in the day to try to guess which of the futuristic gadgets featured on the show would make it in the real world first.

To be honest, my money would have been on the housekeeper robots.

However, yesterday I caught a tweet about, which is basically a video version of Twitter. Brilliant concept. Today I read a post on Mashable about  YouTube adding social networking capabilities. Right on. And minutes before I posted this I learned about Fliggo.

So I was wrong on my Jetsons prediction. And I should have known better. There was no way that cleaning one’s dwelling could ever be more important than communicating with family, friends, peers… people.

I remember when Facebook first came out with its video application. I found it odd to see a freeze frame of an unflattering close-up of someone’s face in my inbox. From the looks of it, it may be my own face on someone else’s inbox pretty soon – all unflattery-looking.

None of this is breaking news. I’ve seen plenty of blogs that post videos but I do wonder just how much this will catch on, in lieu of  the written word and for personal communication. Remember, this post was originally about The Jetsons family and their microcosm.Afterall, video is faster and it may solve the problem, at the receiving end, of not being able to pick up on the sender’s tone, mood, etc. due to the lack of face-to-face interaction.Video, for better or for worse?