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SXSW2007: Morning 1, Interactive

This morning Lauren and I got up and headed down to the convention center area and parked at the convention-side storage. We were able to park really close and then we headed in.

After checking in, we needed to grab breakfast so we went to the cart onsite. 1 diet coke, 1 medium coffee, and 2 danishes cost as much as dirnner at Kerby Lane has cost the night before. I was somewhere between appalled and disgusted, it may have been the icing on the Danish. In any case, if you’re headed down here DO NOT forget to eat breakfast before you come.

The opening chat was with Joe Orr of the NYTimes and Lindsey Simon of Google. They both were really smart, gave great presentations using the technology they weer advertising and were total pros. I’m now very interested in XSLT and impressed with the amount of tools out there to make this technology a bit easier to put together. If I have one take-away that I could share with you here it is: Use XSLT lite functional programming do not use it like procedural programming or else you will make it an unusable disaster. If your XSLT looks like a mess, it is.

The great problem with the Austin convention center is that there is NO EASY WAY TO ACCESS THE THIRD EFFING FLOOR. Can you take the stairs up from 1 ( no! ). As such there was a huge backlog of undercaffinated nerds queueing up for the elevator. It was a pretty poor solution, I think the audience would be well-served were someone to put up a series of signs that say “Want to burn fat, dough-boy, start climbing this-a-way”.

After that we headed to some bullshit panel about Consistency in Design. It was crowded, cramped, there was a gospel choir out in the foyer, and the panelists' discussion was absolutely inane. Had my first experience not been so positive I might be having some misgivings right about now.

It was really disappointing, talking about consistency (“Getting To Consistency: Don’t make your users think”). You would think there would be examples, or a horror story, or something that would somehow teach us something about basic principles. Nothing. No take-aways. It sucked. So we bailed out for an early lunch at Iron Cactus before we went to see the keynote speech from Kathy Sierra. Kathy’s one of the proprieters of the Head First press which provides some excellent technical manuals, their Head Rush Design Patterns being a bit of a holy book in the web programming field.

So here we are, SXSW-ing it and loving it.

The afternoon holds two sessions in which Khoi Vinh, one of my favorite design bloggers, will be teaching some basic layout and design techniques during.