SXSW (South by SouthWest) is an annual interactive/film/music conference/festival/tradeshow here in Austin. It's grown quite the international reputation over the years, and has become an internationally recognized conference. New companies get formed, bands get signed, films get distributions deals, and people do lots and lots of partying. Thousands of people will be descending upon Austin tonight in anticipation of the beginning of the interactive portion of the conference tomorrow. Lucky me, I only need to drive downtown :)
I'm only attending the interactive portion of the conference. Maybe some year I'll do film and music too, but frankly a week and a half of SXSW would probably require a week's vacation afterward, as much from sensory overload as from hitting too many parties.
I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Kathy Sierra again. Her presentation on Creating Passionate Users was a conference favorite, and this year she's giving the opening remarks. Will Wright, creator of The Sims, SimCity, all the other SimGames, and the eagerly-awaited Spore. Last year SXSWi programming was heavily weighted towards blogging. This year there appears to be plenty more, with the addition of all sorts panels on 2.0 (web 2.0, distribution 2.0, media 2.), collaboration, and open source.
At least a couple of friends I haven't seen in a while will be here too, so I'm looking forward to doing some catching up. Several groups are doing meetups as well, so I'm hoping to meet some folks I only know through blogs.
There was a near disaster this morning, though. I have my VPchat business cards ready, as well as my MediaRich cards. But I decided I really needed personal cards with just my blog address and email address on them. So Monday I ordered cards from VistaPrint, and paid extra for rush delivery. They arrived this morning... with no email address on them. I checked the online proof - it was there. I called customer service. Will they fix it? Yes. Can I get them in time for SXSW? No. They won't overnight. "It's impossible" said the rep, and then the supervisor. I'm pretty pissed. How did they manage to screw this up? I went to create my own card and discovered I don't have a proper vector program in which to do it. I found a free/open source program called EazyDraw, which would have worked just dandy, except it saved in some proprietary format, so I couldn't upload it to Kinko's. Fortunately, despite a hellish schedule, my sister Jeanne came through for me and created a .pdf of my card, which is now at Kinko's. Thanks Jeanne!