Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This blog has moved - sxtxstate.com

This blog has moved. If you happened here through the magic of the Internet, you will find much more recent content, as well as the archived content from all the years the Advanced Online Media class at Texas State has done the South by Texas State project. Please visit us at our new and permanent home sxtxstate.com.

And we hope to see you at the next SXSW!

Monday, April 14, 2008

South By Texas State: Behind the Blog

Part I

Part II

Many thanks to all the students who took part in this exercise. It was fun!

If you are having trouble with any of the embedded videos on this blog, visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/sxtsu

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Music Conference Begins

Call me a glutton for punishment...the Interactive Conference concluded on Tuesday, but I was back at the Convention Center on Wed. for the opening of the Music portion. Two panels peaked my interest. The Best Online Resources for Musicians included a power panel of social media execs, folks from MySpace, SonicBids, YouTube, Bebo, Last.fm, and iLike. Brad King, who teaches at Northern Kentucky University was the moderator. This is fascinating to me, both from a teaching perspective, and because many of my friends are musicians looking to use these tools to advance their careers.

Brad King plays talk show host and takes questions from the audience.

The SonicBids person (Panos Panay) was particularly eloquent in saying that its not just the music business that musicians must understand, it is also the online business. In a new band, he recommended that someone in the group be designated as in charge of learning all there is to know about online options.

The panel discussed the concept of "life streaming," which is not the same as live streaming. It's about engaging the social media community to promote your band, your fans can do it for you, if you just give them the tools.

And, I thought it was quite important that the panel discussed the positive opportunities that this environment now provides, downplaying all the negativity about free music. There's more than one track that a musical act can take now. Getting signed by a giant label was very lucrative, but only available to a few. Now musicians can take their careers down a variety of tracks. It reminds me of how in Austin, people can be working musicians, because there's an infrastructure here that supports it. Some of them may never be massively famous, some of them don't even want that, but they can pursue their passion for music as a career. Now, those opportunities are broader.

The next panel featured Rob Glaser of RealNetworks, who also owns Rhapsody, the digital music service, interviewed by Tamara Conniff of Billboard. RealNetworks has been around since 1994, pioneers in the music player and streaming environment. I think the most interesting aspect of this presentation was his description of the three models for digital music and his prediction that they will coexist.
  • Free Streaming with advertising
  • Subscription
  • Pay
My take, however, is that he missed some of the opportunity described by the previous panel. When talking about the need some people have to express themselves via their music libraries of book collections, the new way to do that will be via a social networking site, like Facebook or a music delivery site like Last.fm, that allows you to create an identity via the pop culture in which you engage. It an be fluctuating and dynamic, but all your friends can see with what you are most currently engaging. So, I think he missed the social aspect of the engagement.

Then, it was out to hear some music. I'll be moving my music experiences to my personal blog at cindyroyal.blogspot.com, so be sure to drop by if you are interested my rock adventures.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Closing Thought: Flawed McGonigal

You may want to catch up on the Dr. Jane McGonigal talk before reading this.

I want to start by saying I hold a great deal of respect for Dr. McGonigal, her passion, and her drive. However, I believe her premise as stated at SXSW contains fundamental flaws.

She believes that ARG's should exist to provide a gaming environment over our life that creates a sense of happiness (read accomplishment or self-actualization) by allowing us to 'know the rules.' We get points for doing the designed tasks and achievements. Basically, she contends that life is unfair, many of us are 'bad' at it, and that by having gaming rules overlaid upon our life all this will change. Game designers can design you into happiness.

That's great if you're a designer.

However, I hope people will think twice, three times, and more about handing over their sense of worth to any designer, no matter how talented and benevolent. No one knows what you want more than yourself. Generalized metrics can help point our way, but surrendering our sense of self to an automated construct that restricts our ability to customize individual modes and measurements of success isn't one step removed from tyranny, it is tyranny.

And dismissing corporations as only the money people that allow designers to create whatever they want is foolishness. I think we can confidently accept that the company funding the project also gets a say in the rules and thus gets to make the rules we must then play by.

So if you want to make life a game, you better first make damn sure you like the process of design that creates the game. If it isn't democratic and wholly responsive to the voice of the gamers, count me out. I can make up my own rules and live up to them just fine.

I'll be quite happy doing so.


Podcasts of SXSWi panels and keynotes are now available, so y'all can hear ones you may have missed.

Wrap Up and Kudos

Pictured above, Dee and Jon chat live during Jane McGonigal's session. Read the full transcript.

Although this is likely not the final post, I'd like to do my wrap up by thanking all the students who worked so hard during this exercise. They gave up part of their Spring Break to participate, and I hope they all found it enriching. This was really the best of both worlds, a fun experience where a good bit of learning occurred. There was networking, confirmation of knowledge, introduction to new topics... good times.

I am deeply impressed with the professionalism and creativity in which this project was approached. We were able to cover the conference with unique breadth and depth, from a students' perspective. Using computer, basic digital camera, and/or handheld low-end camcorder, we have been able to create a vast amount of interesting and engaging content, over 120 posts!

I'd say it's been a success, and I hope to be able to continue again next year. Thanks to SXSW for providing the access and for being super accommodating. I'm still reeling from it all!

Student Blog Producers:
Cooper Cherry
Theresa Fore
Philip Hadley
Dee Kapila
Jac Malloy
Fazia Rizvi
Marc Speir
Anna Tauzin
Michael Trice
Chris Troutman
Sunday Udoetok
Jon Zmikly

Thanks for all your hard work! Enjoy the rest of Spring Break. Stay tuned to this blog. In a few days, I'll have Behind the Blog: The Movie.

Considerations for Scalable Web Ventures

I went to this panel, frankly, because Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, was on it. I've been a fan since his TechTV days. But, he was just the moderator of this panel. He was supported by Joe Stump, his lead architect from Digg. Other panelists were Chris Lea from Media Temple, Cal Henderson from Flickr (official title is Badass MC), and Matt Mullenweg from WordPress.

This is not really my area, but I like to attend a few of these developer/networking panels, just for the exposure to the issues. In a nutshell, they discussed what happens when your traffic explodes...how do you handle it and the new features that are being deployed in Web 2.0? They talked about things like load balances and the limits of open source. They talked about MySQL databases and storage issues. They also discussed a few organizational issues - like organize a strong team and do good documentation of code.

Cal from Flickr was particularly funny, as he frequently noted that at Flickr, they serve a good amount of photos (understatement). And, I'm going to steal his answer to the person who asked where he could find more resources on this topic....Ummm...Google.