Last 2 days of SXSW Roundup

I just wanted to record my impressions from the last two days of SXSW before they got too dusty and to point out a few great presentations.

What I attended at SXSW, the last two days


  • 10 (missed)
  • Web that wasn’t (!) _Very good, and content online!
  • Lunch
  • Browser Wars Panel: Nothing to Add
  • Client Side Code and Internationalization (!): Jon Wiley returns and is an incredibly funny presenter.
  • Notes
  • Portable Social Networks: Nothing to Add


  • CMS roundup
  • Run to the Apple store! My machine stopped connecting joining Wireless networks
  • Bought Dance Shoes
  • JS libraries
  • Faster w/ open code
  • Wiimotes

Monday really didn’t provide me much of anything that is notable except for the “Web that wasn’t” and the “Internationalization” lectures. The former was a fascinating history of people who had tried to build hyper-rich data cross-referencing systems. My notes from this panel are after the jump.

The latter was a code-focused look at techniques for trying to figure out how to make a site render in local language. This is an incredibly hard problem and Jon Wiley gave a great presentation. The notes are linked above.

Tuesday gave occasion for a CMS roundup ( I’m still thinking Drupal, but Expression Engine looks very nice, for a price ). I had a hardware issue so we ran to the mall for an appointment at the Genius Bar, we then bought some dance shoes for our Lindy class, grabbed a burger, and made it back in time for the “Secrets of Javascript Libraries” session. This was one of the most packed panels I’d attended and I really have to agree with author John Resig that we want more technical content at SXSW ( thus the “Gotta Change” ) article.

The panel was excellent….but it just barely had time to start getting really, really good before our time was up. Sadness.

We then attended a lecture detailing how open source licenses can help you cut down product launch. Were I not already so embedded in this thought I might have more to say, but it was intimate, direct, and the speaker, Jack Moffitt, was very sharp.

The last panel of the day was very interesting because I’ve always been interested in e-Learning as a medium for education. The focus of the panel was on using Wiimotes in e-learning. I was surprised because during the panel I had some new interface ideas suggested to me by Chris Pittman’s preliminary work in tracking Xaxis and Yaxis tracking from the Wiimote.

I thought it’d be a great tool for helping use muscle memory to remember actions. Like…pretend you’re the catalyst and CHOP the vulnerable atom off of the molecule. I suspect some Wii-grade graphics ( not to heavy, but comical ) would be a great way to teach for retention. I also thought it was funny because this discussion was soooo similar to those that were being had around “The PowerGlove” years ago – curiously, both ideas are from Nintendo, hmmmm…


Teilard de Chardain

Paul Otlet ( 1934 )

  • Recording all of the data onto index cards, extracting them out of books
  • “Traite de Documentation”: le livre sur le livro
  • The means of access will be
  • Mondenaium “Documentalism”

Universal Decimal Classification ( UDC )

  • Top down classification
  • Auxiliary tables to mark relationships between topics
  • Constructing the social space of a doument
  • Hyperlink is a very dumb thing - it’s just a link. What about: this agrees with, this disagrees with, this augments, this was a historical predecessor to.

What would Otlet’s web have looked like?

  • Marriage of top-down calssification with bottom-up categorization
  • Costructing the “social space of a document”
  • Gradiations of link Agree / Disagree / Approve etc.
  • Faceted classifications

Vannevar Bush

  • Science advisor to FDR
  • President of Carnegie institution
  • Author of “As we May Think”
  • Scholars discevore affiliations that are not obvious from the books per se. This “document” of how the relationship works is
  • The Memex is a concept car. It wasn’t actually meant to be a product, he tried to do it but the technology wasn’t there. He just left behind the idea for future individuals to pick up.

What would Bush’s web have loked like

  • Two way links: A public record of how that location was arrived at
  • Visible trails
  • Microfilm

Eugene Garfield

  • Founder of the science citation index
  • Inventor of citation ranking
  • Forefather of PageRank

What would Garfield’s Web Look like?

  • The google world

Doug Engelbart

  • Former SRI researcher
  • Creator of oNLine Systems (NLS)
  • Author of “Augmenting human Intelligence”
  • The nature of comptur science

What would Engelbart’s Web have loked like?

  • Tools for small group collab
  • Process hierarchies
  • A shortcoming – it’s designed for individual users within the web browser

Ted Nelson

  • Coined the term “hypertext” (1965)
  • Author of “Literary Machines, Dream Machines, Computer Lib”
  • Creator of Xanadu
  • TBL said he was inspired by his documentation directly
  • Is Ted Nelson the WhyTheLuckyStiff of ago?

TN coined word

  • Transclusion: Document which integrates the cross-network document: live connection
  • Hyperbooks

What would TN’s web have looked like?

  • Transclusion
  • Two way linking
  • Intellectual property controls

Andries Van Dam

  • Early collaborator with nelson
  • created the first working hypertext systems
  • light pen + foot pedal ( point and kick )

What would the IRIS Web have looked like?

  • Networked application sebedded in the guy
  • Two way hyperlinks
  • closed system


  • It rocked, apparently.

In search of the Web that Wasn’t

  • Marrying top down classificiton with bottom up “social space”
  • Two-way linking
  • Visible pathways
  • Gradiations of links
  • Idenitity and reputation management
  • Users as authors

Reading list

  • HG Wells World Brain
  • Teilhard de Chardin Phenomenon of Man
  • Boyd rayward vision of xanadu
  • vannevar bush as we may think
  • ted nelson literary machines
  • Augmentating human intelligence: Engelbart
  • TBL: Weaving the Web

  • Presenter’s book:: GLUT: mastering information through the ages by alex wright