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March 2005 Archive

NYC 05

posted by DL Byron on March 25, 2005

Pam and I will fly to NYC for some vacation time, cultural infusion, and visits with friends and babies. On the agenda: writing during the flight, hanging out, walking around. Off the agenda: talk about blogs.

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A little soft shoe

posted by DL Byron on March 22, 2005

sxsw I've been speaking lately, on the road, with more gigs coming up. Following the SXSW Panel, which rocked, yesterday's session didn't go so well. I didn't feel that I was connecting with the crowd and figured it out 1/2 way through when an audience member said, "what's RSS, what's a podcast . . . I'm lost." And damn, there it was, the session was going over their heads. Molly will speak today on the How/Why of Blogging and that session should've come first in the schedule. It was my mistake to be so involved in blogging that I forget to go over the basics. I also learned to be ready with the soft shoe, a little time-stretching entertainment, to keep a presentation going, when the crowd response is flat. Some humor and a good laugh could help.

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Watch this blog

posted by DL Byron on March 22, 2005

As noted during my Web Design World presentation, we're going to build the CS Tutorials Blog live during the next few weeks. You're welcome to tune in and see how it evolves from the standard Movable Type template to this comp. For more on the presentation, see the slides.

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Changing the world with podcasts

posted by DL Byron on March 22, 2005

I've been a skeptic of podcasts, as yet another meme to pay attention to and if it would actually take off. When speaking and evangelizing, I'm reminded constantly of how small blogging actually is. I just spoke to a crowd at Web Design World and 1/2 of them had little idea of business blogging or blogging in general. We're making progress, as noted by all the recent press, but it's not as mainstream as we hope. RSS and Podcasts are even smaller.

Today, the news broke that Warner Brothers is sponsoring the Eric Rice show. That's Warner fucking Brothers. Eric is on a mission to change the world with podcasts, even if a little, and that's a big win. I expect more sponsors to follow.

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St. Patrick Pug

posted by DL Byron on March 17, 2005

Green Pug The St. Patrick Pug cheered up my very busy day.

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Got my freak on @ SXSW

posted by DL Byron on March 16, 2005

imagesAustin and has an effect. I go there to meet people, work a panel, and network. I also always end up having a really good time. On Saturday night at a fire-themed club (can't remember the name), I was the party pooper. Tired from the flight, riding my bike and working a lot, I was yawning and ready to call it a night. That's until the DJ mixed groove after groove and I ended up on the dance floor, busting out some old-school moves. When it came to the dance off, I sucked, compared to Scott, Scrivs, and that guy that hung beer cans off his face. Damn that was fun.

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Do not Look at Zeldman

posted by DL Byron on March 14, 2005

I was flattered and a bit concerned about seeing Zeldman, stage left, 3rd row back, sitting directly in front of me at the SXSW Panel. I thought, at any moment, he could make a face, mouth the words, "assface" or "Madonna's cone bra," or something, and totally crack me up. So, I reminded myself, "do not look at Zeldman." Later, once the panel had a good groove going, I did catch a smile and a nod from Z-man and thought, "Cool. This is going well." Highlights for me from the panel were asking Scoble who designed his site and Jason's insistence that you drop the f-bomb on your business blog. ()

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Gladwell at SXSW 2005 - but where do we go from here?

posted by DL Byron on March 13, 2005

Malcom Gladwell’s keynote was pretty good. He had some interesting things to say and was a good speaker (animated, engaging, funny).

I understand why he spoke at (as the introducer said, interweb geeks are in to his stuff), but I was left thinking: where do we go from here? How do we apply these ideas (snap judgements & how/when they are good and/or bad) to the stuff we’re doing? Or, what I’m doing (mostly designing web sites, CD-ROMs and web applications).

People make snap judgements - sometime good, sometimes bad, but they happen nonetheless. OK - fair enough. So, maybe we can follow that idea and say people make snap judgements when they first look at a web site. Let’s say that they not only make these judgements about the web site, but about the company, and it’s products or services. This is a theory I’ve espoused to clients for awhile. Your web site can’t suck because it’s a reflection of your company/organization. Sort of a no-brainer.

And assuming this hypothesis is true: so what? What can we do about that? Well, we can make sure that sites are well designed. But we’re already trying to do that, so I’m not sure there is anything new here.

Then there is the idea that sometimes people make better decisions with less information. Maybe you can boil that down to: less clutter (information), more clarity. Again, not an unfamiliar idea. But when does this apply and when doesn’t it? Good designers already advocate reducing unnecessary information - the question becomes: which things can we get rid of. That is a very difficult question. Clients always want to add more stuff, include everything they can (“It’s the web, we can put everything up there!”)

Knowing that less information can be better is one thing, being able to determine which is the important stuff is quite another. And my sense is the answer is never quite the same.

In the example of the doctors who more accurately diagnose heart attacks with only 4 key pieces of information, it took extensive research to figure that out. I haven’t read Blink, so I don’t know if there are other examples where the solutions were a little easier to get to. In the interactive world do we have the time, money, desire and patience to do a bunch of research about how removing seemingly necessary things might help improve a web site? (“Seemingly necessary” being the key phrase there - this assumes that we’ve already gotten rid of all the obvious cruft.)

I know most (all?) of my projects don’t have the resources to chase such an elusive, uncertain goal. What if we do all that work and simply discover that there is no way to improve on what we already have? Or what if the results show that different people respond drastically different to various things? People process things differently and look for different things, how do you serve all those needs elegantly? With so many variables at play, is it even worth the risk?

Gladwell is clearly a thinker, and he has great stories, but to what end? Can we connect the dots and forge some insight? Can these ideas actually improve the way things are done in the interactive world?

I obviously don’t have the answers and I’d be curious to see if anyone has any thoughts on this. It’d be nice to come away with something more than “Huh, interesting stories.”

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Blog your brand panel

posted by DL Byron on March 13, 2005

Just finished the How to Build Your Brand with Blogs Panel and think it went really well. I posted the slides. Check the last slide for resources.

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"No Plan" Plan

posted by DL Byron on March 11, 2005

Drunkard I was checking the SXSW Interactive Panel Schedule and damn that's a lot of panels and much to do. I've decided to use the Bumbershoot approach at South By, where I meander around and go to panels and parties randomly, just see what's happening and relax. There's much work going on here, blogs about to launch, and I can use a vacation. A "no plan" plan is a good plan for SXSW.

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Punctual Blunt Passers

posted by DL Byron on March 11, 2005

At first I thought the Who? 3/20 meme was an attempt by some dope smokers to one up other dope smokers that use 4/20 as a code for smoking dope. Like the 3/20s are on a tighter schedule, but after a chat with Eric Rice, I learned that it's a teaser for new podcasts from Endgadget, which hasn't casted a pod since December.

I think it would've been cooler if it was actually a punctual-blunt-passing, new dope smoking meme, but decode Who? 3/20 as,"On 3/20 Endgadget will post new podcasts from a new host."

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How to Foster New Culture Online

posted by DL Byron on March 10, 2005

In 16 hours I leave for Austin. Byron and I will kick it, SxSW style, and I'll be on a panel this Saturday called How to Foster New Culture Online. Also on the panel:

We'll talk about art, culture, community, media, etc. Or some subset of that. Or things related to those. So far we've kicked a lot of ideas around via email and once we meet face to face we'll decide which topics hold the most potential for a kick ass panel.

In 2000 I went to SxSW for the first time. I flew out a couple hours after finishing a piece I did for Born Magazine. Five years later, I return to Austin to talk about art, culture, the interweb and all that is good (or bad) about those things.

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How to Build Your Brand with Blogs

posted by DL Byron on March 09, 2005

This weekend I’ll fly to Austin for SXSW Interactive and moderate a panel on, “How to Build Your Brand with Blogs” Joining me will be

I’m just getting caught up on the SXSW Blog, all the parties, and figuring out what to do. I’ll miss Zeldman’s Opening Remarks, but will maybe he’ll offer a dramatic re-enactment later at the New Riders Vox Nox Party.

SXSW When asked about SXSW, I always say, “It’s an event that builds partying into the schedule. You can’t front on that.”

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Only happy when it rains

posted by DL Byron on March 04, 2005

Living in Seattle, you'd think I worship the sun and anxiously await the golden orb's arrival in the Spring. Well, I do, but not when the allergy season starts early and I'm miserable. I'm taking enough drugs now to satisfy a Rush Limbaugh jones, but the drugs don't do much for the asthma. From now until the end of April, I'll be hoping each day for rain to wash the skies and suppress the pollen. I'll just ride around and wait until I can go harder and breath easier.

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