Posts Tagged ‘digital’

Letter From New York, SXSW, Day Four the day after, 03 15 11

March 15, 2011

SXSW, Day Four, in retrospect… March 15, 2011

So I am beginning this blog before I go to bed but won’t finish it until after I am awake again in the morning though I am doing my best to figure out all the things that have happened today which was, really, another interesting day of information overload.
We did an interview with Macky Alston of Auburn Media of the Auburn Seminary and an Odyssey member along with Jeanine Caunt, who is his cohort and Associate Director. He said some amazing things, mostly about how the last “generation” of tech kids was all about social media but that the next “generation” of tech aficionados was all about gaming.
And that’s something we’ve been hearing regularly here at SXSW – that it is the time of gaming and the way we might use it might actually be the savior of education as well as any other number of intellectual pursuits. Gaming is BIG! Gaming is HUGE! And if we can harness the power of gaming on the web and turn it to productive purposes such as educational opportunities we might have a “win-win” situation.
Which brings me to the keynote of the day, a one on one with Felicia Day, an actress from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER who is also an avid game player who then took her passion for gaming online to developing a series for the web called THE GUILD which has had one hundred million streams that then led to her developing another program which is now being sponsored by Microsoft and Sprint and she is in a bit of online hog heaven in what is happening to her and her series online. She hit the web jackpot.
And from listening to her, she deserved to hit the internet jackpot because she devoted herself passionately to making what she was doing online work – her presence was witty, funny, passionate, driven, emotionally engaged, desperately charged to make things work and profoundly lucky.
As she was talking about making Dragon Age: Redemption, her new web series, she was casting about for a Director of Photography. In what seemed a really devil may care attitude she entrusted someone who had volunteered to work on the production to come up with a DP. When he told her he had someone and that he was okay, she thought may be she should actually check out his credits and it turned out to be the DP from the first six seasons of LOST, who happened to be a fan of her work.
It’s her karma, she thinks, that these things work out the way they do. And it seems that she may be right – she has that aura of Kismet about her. It came through in her speech but what also came through was that she was absolutely 111% committed to what she was doing.
And that was wonderful and amazing and inspiring.
There were other good things about the day. I had an interesting conversation about Transmedia with Matt Mullin who is pulling together a Transmedia event this fall in San Francisco.
Transmedia? Telling the same story across a multiplicity of platforms. And that is the way the future of story telling is headed. How do we convey the same story across a variety of platforms? It’s the buzzword of the time and it is also the necessity of the time. This is what all folks who are working in the media need to be conquering – the ability to tell the same story across multiple platforms with multiple nuances. It’s a huge challenge and it is the demand of the time – and of the technology we are utilizing.
I also heard Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist for Rovi; speak, talking about making Channel Guides easier and more cost effective. And, interestingly enough, that was all about driving things to the mobile platform where software development was easier and quicker than software development for the set top box. And what I came away with was a sense of how vulnerable are the current giants in the field, the Comcasts, the Cablevisions, the Cox cable systems. As I said in an earlier blog, Goliath is in the field and he currently controls it but David has entered the competition with his slingshot ready to go…

Day One at SXSW

March 11, 2011

SXSW – Day One, March 11, 2011

Greg and I arrived at SXSW Interactive, Film and Music Festival safely. The security lines at Newark Liberty Airport were eerily non-existent and we got through in record time, which was the theme of our travels – all went smoothly, which is how you want travel to go.
Austin itself is, at night, a jewel of city, rising up out of the Texas plains, glittering, beckoning and promising. We arrived at the hotel, checked in, settled and walked across the parking lot to the legendary Threadgill’s Restaurant, a down home Texas place which, in its various incarnations, has nurtured many an artist, including Janis Joplin.
Over dinner, we poured over the SXSW official app, which is available on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones. There is a prodigious amount of material there; it’s free. If you have an interest in finding out what is going on at SXSW and have a smartphone, I suggest you go into your app store and download the app. It gives a blow-by-blow account of what is happening, what kind of panels there are and who is on them.
It also lets you know the 579 companies that are exhibiting at SXSW and how to find them. It has comprehensive maps, helps you create and organize a schedule. It seems to be a great app for this event. I found a few glitches in the search function but still pretty amazing.
There are a couple of conference calls I have to do and then I’m headed off to pick up my credentials and to get down to what is happening. The number of panels that I would like to attend is overwhelming. Each time slot has more than one that would be worth attending. Two that have caught my attention so far are “Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring Revolutions” and “The Potential for Augmented Reality”.
There is also a panel about digital changes happening to the Cargo Container business; new digital tools are apparently about to radically improve that business. You can also learn about creating your own event around digital advances, and another one about how textbooks may be morphed into social gaming opportunities, a radically new way of imagining education. Apparently in both Texas and California, states followed by most others in education, the traditional textbook is on the path of the dodo bird.
There are at least six panels happening at 2:00 I would like to attend. Same for 3:30 and same for 5:00, which has a panel on “Hate Gone Viral” as well as one discussing the impact of “singularity” – when machines are smarter than we are. Hello, Watson!
And as the days go on, over 2000 bands will be performing at SXSW and hundreds of films will premiere. There are classes offered by the festival on how not to be overwhelmed by the festival. Sounds like a good thing to me.
And so it goes. Greg and I have arrived and overwhelm begins. We’re excited. All of Austin has been taken over by the festival, a hotel room is impossible to find and the streets are crowded with an interesting mix of people. Right now, it’s the place to be if you are a digirati – or a film buff or a music aficionado. 100,000 people are attending, the biggest SXSW yet. More to come…

Letter From New York October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

Or, as it seems to me…

The weekend was spent curled up, for the most part, at the cottage, rain falling, the yard slowly littering with leaves, watching back episodes of Mad Men [without a doubt one of the finest television dramas ever], doing a little reading, some straightening up and, as best I could, ignoring the fact I had left the power block for my laptop at the office…

I spent the weekend digitally deprived, basically cut off from the broadband universe I so heavily rely upon, only using the computer on battery power for absolute necessities…paying bills that were due, responsible things, not for the fun things I normally do like surfing through HULU looking for some video to watch, or writing my weekly missive. Or, on the task side, taking care of the work that I had put off saying – I can handle that on the weekend.

Digital disengagement was not liberating. I thought perhaps it might be – ah, I could spend the time I would be working on the computer doing things I don’t always have time to do – read more, for example. The reality is that I have become dependent upon my ability to interact digitally with the world – or even with myself. My journal resides on the desktop of my laptop. I keep my checkbook balances on an Excel spreadsheet, my addresses are organized in my Entourage, my calendar – almost all the bits and pieces of my life are on my laptop which is why backing up is almost a religious ritual.

Oh sure, I had my iPhone and it wasn’t the same and it wasn’t enough. I can’t really type on my iPhone – it’s great for short emails and it was great because that way I wasn’t cut off, completely. But I missed my full functionality, missed being able to type out my thoughts, missed being able to surf the Internet unfettered by the constraints of a smaller screen and a slower connection. I missed my bigger screen.

In other words, I am tethered to my electronics in ways I only think about when I am not able to exercise what seems to me to be my constitutionally guaranteed right of web access. In other words, I am a man of the 21st century, a man who is electronically dependent and geared toward utilizing those electronic devices to define and refine his life.

Wired. That is what I am, a wired person. And because this wired person was without his computer, he did not get to write his weekly blog. I attempted to put some thoughts to paper, long hand. My handwriting has deteriorated to something that would cause the nuns who shaped my penmanship heartburn. I sometimes have trouble reading it. It is embarrassing to go back to notes from a meeting and realize you have no idea what a certain word is because it is so badly written. I am embarrassed when I think of it which, most of the time; I don’t because I don’t need to read my own writing that often. I do so much of it on my laptop.

So this is what has happened to me. I am so dependent on having my laptop I am not very capable of workarounds. I am a man of the 21st Century; I am a digitally dependent chap who finds it difficult to cope without his digital devices so much so that it brings my life to a minor halt. Am I unusual or am I just like everyone else? Probably not just like everyone else.