Day 2: It’s All a Blur

I don’t have the energy to write a detailed report on the sessions of the day, though I will say that I did attend the “Textbooks of the Future” and “20 Ways to Woo Your Users”. “Textbooks of the future” covered the ongoing efforts made by cnx.org, wikibooks, and the olpc foundation. “20 Ways” marked the return of Kathy Sierra to SXSW, which is gratifying to see after the unfortunate events of 2007. When she took the stage and said she was glad to be back, the entire audience gave her an understanding and enthusiastic cheer. We are glad to have her back; she has been one of the highlights of SXSW for me. Both panels I found inspiring.

A quickie equipment field test report:

  • For my new camera bag, the Urban Disguise UD-60. It’s does a nice job of carrying my camera with my accessories and laptop, particularly when using the shoulder strap.
  • The XO Laptop is fairly slow in the field, and I find it difficult to tell when the WiFi is going to drain the battery. The Wifi appears to keep going when the lid is closed, which sucks battery juice rapidly. The keyboard is OK for pecking but writing long pieces of text requires a two-finger pecking technique. Compounding the problem is the extreme sensitivity of the trackpad, which tends to make me overshoot the “resume” control on the screen. This wouldn’t be so bad if the UI didn’t draw a special border arond the currently active object, due to the use of “frame activation” commands baed on the position of the mouse.
  • The XO Laptop has also drawn a lot of attention from people, who ask to see and play with it. It’s a great conversation starter.
  • My new “lens down” camera sling mount is pretty usable. I got hassled by a SXSW staffer named Matt for having a “semi professional digital camera” without a green press pass label, though I am not press or looking for press benefits. He was just doing his job, I recognized, as he understood it. I went to the press area and they apologized for the mistake; the woman there said that I shouldn’t be hassled for just carrying around my camera. They gave me the press camera badge anyway to keep other misinformed staffers from delaying me again.

I had several great conversations today. Looking forward, sleepily, to tomorrow.