SXSWi Saturday


Grabbed a cab with very nice couple, including one of the panelists I saw the afternoon before, Charlie Wollborg. Shuttle nightmare continues, rainopocalypse also continues. Got to the convention center late, but made it to the end of browser debugging tools panel – The State of Browser Developer Tools. I missed most of the presentations, but heard the panelists wish for more interoperability between the tools, and that browser developers would work together to standardize the tools. Convergence! There is a W3C working group on this topic. “Ask for what you want! Make some noise! File a ticket on Bugzilla.” Another discussion was the lack of debugging tools for some of the HTML5 functionality, like web sockets and keyframe animations.

The State of Browser Developer Tools

Best SXSW moment, running into a former student when she scanned my badge, she is an intern for SX and designed a lot of the graphics! Go Jessica Clark! She designed the logo for the SX cycles program sponsored by HBO, as well as a lot of the maps, which are awesome.

Jessica Clark

logo for SX Cycles

Next up, walked around a bit, then headed to the Top Chef Transmedia panel.Interesting to hear their strategy for “Last Chance Kitchen”, a side running series of webisodes, where recently eliminated chefs could fight to get back on the show. I am a big Top Chef fan, I enjoyed this panel a lot, and didn’t find Andy Cohen as irritating in person as I find him on TV. Weird. He was joined by Tom Colicchio, and producers and marketers of the show. Top Chef encourages all of their “cheftestants” to engage with the fans on twitter and other social media. Upcoming plans include incorporating content created by fans.

Top Chef: How Transmedia is Changing TV

Listened to web standards evangelist Chris Mills of Opera at HTML5 and CSS3: Does Now Really Mean Now? He demoed some of the cool new features, then showed how to design so that the work would look good in browsers that do not yet support these features. “Progressive Enhancement”, “Don’t Rely on the Shiny” and “Graceful Degradation”- words to live by. He stressed the need to always have fallbacks or shims when necessary. He advised using Modernizr for feature detection. Most notable quote “Every time you use an IE filter a kitten dies.” This talk is available as an audio file on the link above, (some, but not all panels are recorded) definitely work a listen.

Baratunde Thurston’s keynote was entertaining and thoughtful. A funny man- what else would you expect from someone who works for The Onion and has written How To Be Black? His talk touched on the personal- stories from his mom and grandmother’s lives, illustrated by great photos. Cool apparently peaked in 1964, if you were wondering. He spoke about growing up in Washington DC: “We had everything they had in The Wire in my neighborhood except universal acclaim and the undying love of white people.” He showed images and clips of comedians throughout the world, including Nigeria and Iran, taking on the political situation in their country, critiquing it with humor, and using social media to get keep pushing.

Baratunde Thurston

Baratunde Thurston

We headed up to the Sheraton to The Curators and the Curated panel. Interesting discussion – what is aggregation and what is curation? When a person selects and recommends, it is curation, when an algorithm does it, it is aggregation? David Carr of the NY Times was ferociously articulate, I kind of agreed with him when he said the word curation is kind of twee, but that this is a new type of cultural activity. Mia Quagliarello of Flipboard discussed their process of working with publishers to select, then reformat and paginate content, creating custom templates. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings has proposed a system for systematically identifying and attributing curated content that has just launched on Curator’s Code. Noah Brier of Percolate pointed out that “Brands are in the eco-system of content creation, for better or worse”. Interesting and thoughtful panel. And it is recorded, listen to it on the site.

The Curators and the Curated

Dinner with the members of the Publishers Weekly panel. Delicious! I will always trust Rachel Deahl to pick a restaurant.

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