SxSW Interactive 2008

Kevin has blue hair!

I’m in Austin for SxSW Interactive 2008. I’ve been really busy with preparing for panels, worrying about panels, worrying about the web awards, dying my hair blue, etc. Here are some of the highlights of the week:

  • Career Transitions: From DIY to Working for the Man: I moderated a panel about the pros and cons of working for large corporations, startups, the government, freelancing and academia. The panelists were awesome: Jason Garber, Leslie Jensen-Inman, Cindy Li and Thomas Vander Wal. I think the panel went pretty well, and hopefully helped some people out.
  • Ficlets won a SxSW Web Award!!!! – I couldn’t be prouder. I posted about it over on the ficlets blog (it has my acceptance speech too). Jason deserves most of the credit, but I’m keeping the trophy. Mr. Scalzi just blogged about it too.
  • I dyed my hair blue for The International Day of Awesomeness. I’ve always wanted to, but never had the guts. Since the holiday is all about performing and celebrating feats of awesomness, I knew I had to do it. So, I spent Monday morning dying my hair and ruining hotel towels.
  • I got interviewed by New Riders (my publisher). It’s in the Voices That Matter podcast on iTunes, and they said it should be on YouTube some time today. And, here it is!
  • I got interviewed by the AOL Developer Network about ficlets and SxSW. No idea when that’ll go up.
  • I got to hang out with my friends at great events like Fray Cafe and 20×2.\
    I’m headed to California bright and early tomorrow morning and could really use a nap.

I Made A Ficlets Shirt

I wasn’t on the ball this year and didn’t get around to ordering more ficlets stickers for SxSW this year. But, since ficlets is up for two SxSW Web Awards this year, I decided I need to do something special. So, I made a shirt!

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Printed out the “f” from the ficlets logo.
  2. Cut it out
  3. Traced it on the shirt with an orange sharpie.
  4. Using a very fine brush, I painted the logo with bleach.\
    That’s it! I think it turned out OK. I plan on wearing it to the awards ceremony Sunday night. Hopefully, it’ll be bring good luck!

SxSW Sneaks Up On Me Again

SxSW Interactive is upon us again, and there’s a lot going on (as usual). I’m trying to keep the “gotstas” to a minimum this year, but there are a few things I know I’m doing:

  • Career Transitions: From DIY to Working For the Man – I’m moderating a panel that Cindy and Jason came up with over Dim Sum last year. We’re on the panel with Thomas Vander Wal and Leslie Jensen-Inman. We’ll be talking about the pros and cons of working at different-sized companies, the academic field and government contracting. We’ll be throwing out a lot of coping mechanisms and horror stories. I’m, of course, representing “The Man”. It’s Sunday at 5, so come on by.
  • SxSW Web AwardsFiclets is up in two categories. I’m showing up in the off chance we beat Al Gore. I even have my speech ready.
  • The International Day of Awesomeness – I was traveling way too much (and then sick) to organize anything big for IDoA, but I am performing my own feat of awesomeness on Monday. I’ll be sure to take pictures.
  • 20×2 – Gotsta. Love it. Remember, Max and I made a movie for last year’s event, and I can’t wait to see what people come up with this year.
  • Break Bread With Brad – The only way to start off SxSW.
  • Fray – Love it. Great storytelling, and a great event to get the creative juices flowing. Plus, we usually go to Magnolia Cafe afterwards for milkshakes.\
    I’m sure I’m leaving something out. Well, this year, I’m trying not to stress out or overthink it (no more repeats of this photo from last year). I’m going to go with the flow, try to be as friendly as possible, and adopt as many newbies as I can. If you’re going, and it’s your first time, find yourself a vet and get some tips or just hang out. SxSW can be an intimidating thing, but pretty much everyone’s friendly and more than willing to help, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Vote Until It Hurts

Like I said the other day, ficlets is up for two SxSW Web Awards this year. Now, part of being a finalist, is that it’s also eligible for the People’s Choice Award. One of the finalists will win the award based on voting by the public.\
Now, it’s a long shot for ficlets to win. It’s up against some very well-funded and popular sites. But, there’s a chance. I’ve already posted about it on the ficlets blog and now I’m posting it here. So… please please please go vote! You can vote once a day, every day until March 3rd. Please?

Categorized as ficlets

The Fics Keep on Coming

(remind me to use that title again somewhere… probably on ficlets)\
Speaking of ficlets, I just posted the news over on the ficlets blog that the site is a finalist in not one but two categories in this year’s SxSW Web Awards!\
I’m geeked. I entered ficlets on a whim when I registered for SxSW Interactive last year, and didn’t really think anything would come of it. But, here we are and, well, if it wins, I’ll accept and cry my fool head off just like Sally Field.\
I think I’ll probably write the acceptance speech as a ficlet and let people finish it for me. Yeah, that’d be appropriate.

Categorized as ficlets, sxsw

Ficlets on the Radio!

Last week, I got an e-mail from someone from the CBC show Spark asking about ficlets and wondering if I’d be willing to do an interview for the show. After freaking out in the airport for a couple minutes, I replied saying (very coolly, I’m sure) that you betcha, I’d love to. So, sitting in my hotel room in Miami last Thursday, I talked to the show’s host about ficlets and read one of my stories (the first one ever published on the site, called The End).\
Please, go check out the interview (ficlets is the first segment)and let me know what you think. It was my first real interview other than a job interview, and I was nervous as hell. Hopefully it doesn’t show too badly. The folks from the CBC were delightful to talk to, and it was a lot of fun to do the interview, nervous or not.\
In other ficlets-y news, since John Scalzi left us as ficlets’ blogger-in-residence, I’ve been filling in and doing my best to keep the seat warm. So, if I’m quiet here, I’m probably over there, talking about inspiration, writing and “stuff”.

Categorized as ficlets

When Silly Becomes a Series

I wrote this silly ficlet about how the lolcats take over the world, and it’s turned into a series! There are nine parts total. A lovely ficleteer in Australia and I have been trading parts. He took the original bit of silliness and basically turned it into The League of Extraordinary Librarians. There’s adventure, romance, violence and silliness (lots and lots of it, bordering on absurdity). A couple of the characters are (very) loosely based on real people. See if you can spot yourself (Howard, don’t freak out, the Howard in the story isn’t based on you).

I’d love to see some more branches off the original to see where people take it. It could be Kittehpendence Day where the last dregs of literate humanity fight back, or Dawn of the Kitteh, you know, kitteh zombies. The possibilities are endless.

(Oh, and there are more than 20,000 ficlets now. Yeah, I’m pretty amazed too.)

Categorized as ficlets

Social Networking Mashups

I’m speaking today at The Social Networking Conference about social networking mashups. I decided to turn it on its head a little bit and do an introduction on portable social networking instead, because what is it but a big ol’ mashup of identity, relationships and content?\
If you’re at the conference, I’ll see you at 1:30, and I’ve updated the slides a bit since I had to turn them in for the CD, so the presentation is a wee bit bigger and more complete than the one you got in your packet. I’ve uploaded the “final” version here, and you’re welcome to download it.\
Feedback is welcome. I certainly couldn’t cover everything, because I only have about 35 minutes to cover everything (and 36 slides). I don’t touch on the Data Portability working group, or several other relevant things, because there just isn’t time. It’s very much an introduction into why it makes sense for social networks to support “good things” like OpenID, Creative Commons, microformats, providing feeds for everything, etc. Hopefully, it will lead to more technical discussions and some good questions.\
Feedback is, of course, welcome!