Please Vote for My SXSW Panels

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I’ve submitted 2 talks to SXSW Interactive 2010 and they both have been approved. One of them is an exciting panel titled Rich Internet Interfaces Beyond Mice And Keyboards. This is a talk that I’ve given many times including at RIApalooza, Flex Users Group, Chicago Interactive Designers and Developers Group. This time however, the format will be a panel with my colleague Adam Flater of Merapi fame, Ryan Stewart Adobe evangelist extraordinaire, and Josh Holmes from Microsoft User Experience. The other one is titled How to Stay Fit Despite a Sedentary Job which is a culmination of all struggles of staying in shape trying to maintain a high level of wushu despite a day job and various startups. I would really appreciate your votes. Here’s some info about them:

Vote for my PanelPicker idea!
Rich Internet Interfaces Beyond Mice And Keyboards
We’ll assess our current computer human interaction and explore where the new frontier of interfacing with the digital realm will take us. In the future our intuitive human gestures will seamlessly control our digital space including: head tracking, motion sensors and yet to be discovered techniques.

Vote for my PanelPicker idea!
How to Stay Fit Despite a Sedentary Job
Are you a code monkey? Do you sit at your desk for 12 hours a day? How is one supposed to live a healthy lifestyle sitting in front of the computer all day long? Pek Pongpaet will share his tips on exercising on limited time and how to get the most out of your exercises.

Once again, please take the time to vote. I know it’s a pain because they make you register but I think I have a lot to share and especially the RIA panel has many industry thought leaders that would really rock the panel. Also years of experience doing martial arts at a level to win medals and do motion capture while having a full time job and midnight startups has given me tons of good tips that I can share. Thank you.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Pek Red Couch Interview at SXSWi

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Level 3 Communications does these Red Couch interviews at various tech events. This one was shot at SXSW Interactive, a yearly technology conference in Austin Texas.

I…sound…like…a…child. I guess I don’t realize how I sound to other people and in my mind I sound very different from what I am hearing in this interview. No wonder nobody takes me seriously. Notice they butchered my name even after I wrote it down for them.

Combined with Slant TV, that’s 2 media hits this month. Sweet.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Awesome Cool Looking Slideshows with Animoto


I’ve known about Animoto since I first saw them at SXSW last year. I recall they had booth babes in short skirts and boots. Anywhoooo… I digress. These guys have an amazing product that is super easy to use. It’s a slideshow creator that generates a video slideshow of the photos of your choosing. You can upload your photos or import them from a variety of online sources.

Their slideshows are really cool. The number of awards they’ve won speaks volumes of the sleekness of their videos. Here’s one I made from one of my Flickr photosets.

What I like about Animoto as a company is that they have a REAL business model. You can create a free 30 second slideshow at low resolution. If you want a full length one in a higher resolution then you cough up some dough. Also, you can order a DVD of said slideshow for a fee. They have some other business models as well I’m sure.

This year while at SXSW, I got to meet Tom Clifton and Erik Bjornard from Animoto. They’re really cool guys so I thought I’d give them some link love and finally get around to blogging about their product.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Book Review: Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good – The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0

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This is the book written by the infamous Sarah Lacy who’s fiasco of an interview with Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook at SXSW 2008 caused such a backlash in the twittersphere and blogosphere. I had never heard of her before, but after that interview I was left with a pretty bad impression of her. The crowd booed her and yelled “You suck”, “Ask some real questions” among other things.  My friend Craig had read it and thought it was pretty good so I decided to give it a try. I can’t pass up a good book on tech startups.

So anyways, this is her book chronicalling the story of such dotcoms like TypePad, PayPal, YouTube, Slide, LinkedIn, Yelp, Digg, Facebook and Twitter. The book really centers around Max Levchin, who’s 1.5 billion sale to Ebay helped plant the seeds of many of the dotcoms covered in the book. Basically the PayPal alumn, otherwise known as the PayPal mafia, went on to start other successful startups. I’m not going to get into the details of each story but I thought it was a really well written book. All the stories are very interesting and insightful. Sarah writes in a very warm and approachable way, and it makes you feel like you really know these people. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It was also a very easy read as well as a page turner. I finished it in 3 days.

There are some very interesting bits of lessons readers can take away. One is perseverance. Did you know that PayPal was Max’s 12th or 13th startup? Also, Slide, the popular slideshow started out as a way for Max and friends to view hot chicks depending on who you hear the story from. I highly recommend this book to everyone in the tech startup industry.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Impressions of Twitter After 60 Days


I’m not gonna bore you with an explanation of what Twitter is. There’s plenty of that to be found on the net. A particularly good one is the Twitter in Plain English from the “[insert technology here] in Plain English” series. I do however want to give you my impression of what I think of Twitter after having used it for a period of 2 months. I’ve heard about Twitter long before but had the same reservations I initially had about blogs. Why would I want to write about my minutia and who would read it. Tells you what I know.

To make a long story short, after attending SXSW this year, I came to realize maybe there is something to this new fangled wizardry called Twitter. How could I pass judgment so swiftly without having first tried it and deciding for myself? What could it hurt to try using it for a bit? After all, it’s free. I believe to be good at my job, I have to be up on the latest trends and technologies. Before, I would take a passive approach to knowing about a technology. Reading up on it was good enough and unless it really interested me, I really wouldn’t do much with it. Nowadays though, I feel like I ought to at least dabble with anything before I make up my mind on it.

So as soon as I got home, I started Twittering and finding people to follow. Only a few of my friends were on it so I made it my business to start following some people who had interesting things to say at SXSW. What I was really hoping to get out of Twitter was some occasional glimpse of the minds of these brilliant folk. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna Twitter about, but I decided that it would probably be a mix of technology, martial arts related stuff, and my goings on. I even managed to get my boss interested in Twitter despite his initial dismissal of it similar to my reaction.

So what DO people use it for?

  • Logging random daily crap that I would have no interest in
  • Posting interesting finds and links on the net
  • Throwing it out there that the user is at a certain place
  • Asking for recommendations
  • PMS outlet
  • Shameless self promotion

What do I use it for:

  • Posting cool links
  • Bitching Complaining about how old I’m getting and how hard wushu is becoming
  • Interesting life events that I’d like to remember
  • Making random comments and inside jokes
  • Evangelizing wushu to the world – at least to the techy social media world anyways

I guess I find Twitter useful. I’ve found EverNote and cooktime among other things through Twitter. Occasionally I will gather something insightful or interesting from the people I follow but for the most part it’s noise. Maybe with a search or a filter tool – I could get more useful info out of Twitter. It’s my hope that Twitter would be around long enough that I would be able to look back on my Twitter logs in my old age and reminisce about some thing I Twittered about that only I or my circle of friends would care about. It’s definitely a new medium of communication and it will be interesting to see what corporate spin it will take and how the general public will embrace this. For now, I think it remains a very niche tool for a very select subculture.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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