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SXSW2007: Day 2

Man, attending SXSW was really brutal this morning thanks to the enforced and early daylight savings time change. We woke up pretty foul and pretty tired. Last night we had attended one happy hour and had then headed down South Congress to Southside Pizza.

It was a wonderful meal and there was this nice quartet of senior citizens. One of the ladies of the group touched my arm as we crossed paths and she said:

You know how beautiful she is, don’t you?

Of course she was referring to my beautiful, classy, elegant, and wonderful girlfriend, Miss Lauren. I answered in the affirmative to the lady and they ambled out.

After that we bought some supplies at the Oltorf and Congress HEB before heading back north. It was our intention to take a lunch with us ( the convention food sucks and there not so many options near the center ). Regrettably, the DST change had us not in the mood to do so this morning.

After heading in we attended tho 10am session on managing user identities. The presentation centered around the OpenId specification and how reputation is managed. It’s interesting because ID is who you say you are ( passport ) and reputation is what others say you are ( bad at knitting ). It was an interesting discussion that bridged both the psychological and the technological.

The next panel was one of the biggest disappointments, it was “Design Workflows at Work: How Top Designers Work Their Magic”. Now, from the title I was thinking that eminent designers such as Veerle Pieters would tell me how they conquer space, how they choose colors, how they choose palettes, etc. In short, something more like the amazing, but all too short presentation given by Khoi Vinh and Mark Boulton yesterday.

Instead it was “do you listen to music while you work” or “I think better in the shower”.

Total let-down.

In contrast to this disappointment, Khoi and Mark’s presentation had me, a no-art-talent having code-monkey dividing up a page into a grid, using 3:2 ratios to define base em elements and thinking up a new design for this blog.

Expert, focused, delivered, and absolutely worthwhile. Thank you Khoi and Mark!

The sky matched my overall mood and it was a raining gently as we hopped across the street for a quick bite at the Hilton.

None of the afternoon sessions were particularly to our liking so using our platinum badge power, we headed to the downstairs theater and caught “The Prisoner or: How I planned to kill Tony Blair”, which describes the horror story of a freedom-loving Iraqi journalist who, via mistaken identity, is taken by the US military, beaten, disappeared, sent to Abu Ghraib, survives insurgent mortar attack on the camp ( to say nothing of bug infested food and illness ). It was as heartbreaking as Terry Gilliam’s Brazil), but in such a horrible situation, the absurdity turns hilarious and all you can do is laugh, and be ashamed of the absolute mess that has been made of Iraq for our lofty dream of “making their lives better”.

We then caught an excellent discussion on “AJAX or Flash: What’s Right for You?”. It was delivered very well by Jonathan Boutelle of SlideShare.

The last presentation was on the future of Javascript. Summation? Looking more like Ruby and making DOM manipulation easier.

Bonus interaction from yesterday was Mark Boulton taking time to talk to Lauren and I about carving up space. He was a real gentleman and very friendly. Another bonus was getting to meet up with Khoi, I love his blog and his commentary so it was a real pleasure to shake hands and get an impeccably designed business card.

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