My votes for SXSWi 2009

It’s SXSW Interactive time! kind of…

Panel Picker is up and running. If I were to have my ideal set of panels to attend, I’d have the following on my sched.org:

This is just a quick glimpse. I voted for WAY more (lots of Austin love etc. .). In any case, check the list out for yourself and remember to vote before August 29.

Been around the world. .

Ok, so not really. But, I have been traveling quite a bit – even if it’s just within the DFW area. For a quick summary, I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of great places – and as always – met some really cool folks along the way.

Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

Beautiful place with some of the friendliest people. I, finally, had the opportunity to completely disconnect for a week’s time. I don’t need to remind everyone how important that kind of recharge can be for the psyche. My daily routine consisted of a run on the beach, breakfast, layout, lunch, pool, nap, dinner, sunset walk then dancing.

This was definitely one of those “let’s re-evaluate” life trips.

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Since early July, I’ve been in Dallas working, relaxing and playing. I came to realize that despite the fact that I had lived in the city for over 18 years, I knew no one. As a result, I decided to really experience the DFW area.

  • Dallas Meet-Up: A co-idea with @michaelcummings, the Dallas meet-up called for all tech heads in the Big D to meet-up and get to know one another. From my perspective, this was definitely a success. I met quite a few intelligent, interesting and very funny people. Interesting how the pains of the DFW tech crowd parallel those of the Austin crowd- lots of dispersed talent in silo-ed areas. Unfortunately, they have a huge hurdle – distance – which is only amplified by rising gas costs.
  • Arlington: Yup, that’s right. I definitely spent time in Arlington, TX. Chuckle as you might, I give it two thumbs up. It’s a bit off the beaten path and plays as an excellent mediary to Ft. Worth and Dallas.
  • Denton: Another excellent area with great potential. Interested and excited to see what @stormy has up his sleeves. The city has an incredible town square and an excellent creative vibe. From graphic designers to musicians, there is plenty to be inspired by in this town.

As I mentioned, I had some great conversations with a ton of people, and I will try to expand on those a bit later. I’ll be heading back to Austin on Sunday then it’s off to San Fran.

A.D.D.

When it rains it pours.

I had to take a moment to document that I think I maybe suffering from adult onset A.D.D. And, I personally blame it on communities such as Plurk.com and now, iminlikewithyou.

Holy, every time I log into these communities, I feel suddenly very frantic and schizo. Keeping up with the conversations is nearly impossible on Plurk. Last night, I logged on to find over 450 unread messages and a lower karma rating (all of which discouraged me to log back on tonight). On iminlikewithyou, the interface along side the pop-up messages can be overwhelming. Talk about over stimulation.

My biggest pet peeve remains the “finding friends” options on both sites. It’s nearly impossible and requires a ton of leg work. Why can’t all of the communities just automatically populate my friends list? I’d be more than willing to put my friends in the cloud if it means that I won’t have to use a sub-par search function. But, I digress.

Now, when I’m away from my keyboard, my attention span zips back and forth as if I were participating in these communities. Obviously, this claim is not based on scientific fact. However, thought I’d throw it out there as a cautionary statement for all of those who are about to sign up for iminlikewithyou or yet to have their cherry plurked.

New project

Because I don’t have enough stuff I’m working on. I’ve decided to collaborate on yet another piece with Joey. It’s currently under construction.

Hence, the lack of attention to this blog – amongst other things in my life! My to-do list is mounting, and I don’t even like those types of lists. Unfortunately, at 1:19 am CDT, it becomes a necessity or I’ll forget. I think I need a PA.

Anyways, keep your eye out for the launch of the new project. . .

The List

This will more than likely be my one and ONLY post about relationships/dating/etc…

For those not in the loop, I work with 21 females and 1 male (go @jyarbrough!). With that in mind, the majority of our conversations fall in the realm of: 1) work 2) dating 3) babies 4) marriage 5) sports (and that’s just a hat tip to John’s up and coming “Man Hour” initiative)

One interesting practice someone brought up was to make a list – tuck it away – and bring it back up in the future. By “tucking away”, I place mine on the Internet – so be it.

I’ll reference this in about 23,213,434,908,321,312 years 🙂 by the by – this is a collaborative list, so not all of the content is my own:

Yes

  • Intelligent
  • Driven
  • Passionate
  • Funny
  • Unexpected
  • Confident
  • Employs Family Values
  • Proactive
  • Healthy
  • Worldly
  • Evolved Social Network – no leeches
  • Honest

No

  • Lying
  • Cheating
  • Poor Communication (in terms of frequency, content)
  • Lazy (physically, mentally, financially)
  • Unstable
  • Self-centered
  • Clingy

TBD

  • Distance (geography and mentally)
  • Fame
  • Physical Appearance

If you happen to fit all of the above, DM me! haha JUST KIDDING – seriously, please don’t.

 

 

Intellect and Innovation collide: Inside UT’s ACTLab

Housed in the somewhat inconspicuous 1970-esque façade of UT-Austin’s Communication School, a group of students, professors and local Austinites congregate to push the theme of “outside-the-box” thinking to a different level. According to their site, the ACTLab is:

a unique international and interdisciplinary group of artists, scholars, teachers, techies, and hackers. We situate our work at the hotly contested intersections where technology, art, and culture collide. We’re aware and proud of our past fourteen years of contributions to modern thinking, advanced communication theory and practice, and academic excellence. We’re proud to say that we didn’t jump on the New Media bandwagon — we created it. ACTLab principles of risk-taking, extreme interdisciplinarity, and openness to innovation have been extensively quoted and debated at institutions worldwide as they attempt to chart their own future courses.

How many former Longhorns out there knew the ACTLab existed?

ACTLab Offices from Kristine Gloria on Vimeo.

For me, it wasn’t until two weeks ago – during Jelly – that I learned UT offered such a progressive program. The brain child of Sandy Stone, the ACTLab opened in 1992 in a small closet-like room on the sixth floor of the communications building. Now in its 16th year, the lab has grown and features some of the latest technology (all bought, built and installed by the students).

The program encourages and teaches students “how to think”, not what to think. Students are engaged in “intensive discussion, conceptual freeplay, and intellectual daring.” Who doesn’t want that?

I decided to visit the ACTLab with a colleague of mine in order to really understand and experience what it meant to be in an environment that not just encourages innovation, but demands it. Just visiting the site was invigorating and motivating.

I’m lucky to work for a company that encourages these types of excursions and supports an individual’s inquisitive nature. And, now, I’m even more excited to find a place that facilitates my need to address my curiosity.

Thanks to Joey for the tour and for letting us invade his afternoon. It was a great one filled with amazing discussions and real reflection of how crucial innovation, creativity and collaboration has become in our society. Couple of thoughts to throw out there:

  • It is often noted that the greatest ideas/innovation emerge during a recession. Have you developed/noticed any?
  • Do you live by the check-list? If so, where do you find your innovation and creativity?
  • Does your area/school/University have similar programs?

To see some of the notable works, please click here.

A little lesson from Dirk..

Dirkmeister

Recently, my mini-schnauzer, Dirk,  has started a peculiar little routine of waking me up at 3:30 am. Jumping up and down next to my bed – then slamming his body across my bedroom door in an attempt to latch onto the doorknob – this has interrupted my sleep cycle for the last two weeks.

As any good dog trainer would advise, DON’T acknowledge the behavior. Unfortunately, at 3:30 am, I’m pretty much at the mercy of my dog. Last night, I finally took the reigns and put him back in his crate so I could sleep.

Ok, so what’s with the dog lesson here? Easy!

Managing new technologies can be tackled the same way. Let it run you down, learn from it, then take charge. Kind of a deconstructionist approach. – Far fetched? ha, maybe.

I meet people everyday – clients mostly – who turn a blind eye to new technology. Whether it be fear and/or unwillingness, it can be a frustrating moment.

Yesterday, Facebook launched its chat feature. Had a great convo with several people about its pros and cons. I, myself, am not a huge fan. I really don’t need my +300 friends IMing me. Nonetheless, you still have to mess around with the features – learn what you like/didn’t like – and own that sucker.

Like Dirk, apps/social networks/blogs/feeds etc. will continuously grow and bombard your life – keep you up at night, if you’re not careful. If you want to get some sleep – peace of mind – remember, you’re the owner.