Apr 13 2012

Recommended Reading: Tech News Roundup

Facebook Allows File Sharing With Rollout Of .Edu-Exclusive “Groups For Schools”

Study: Half Of The Top 100 Blogs Now Use WordPress

Amazon Now Lets You Trade In Your Old CDs In Exchange For Gift Cards

Mar 13 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 5

So Girls was fantastic, and I had no idea Judd Apatow would be there! We previewed the first three episodes of the new HBO series, and I’m already a fan. I am looking forward to seeing the whole first season, and I highly recommend it. Guaranteed to be the next big hit for HBO. After that I went to my cohort and alumni party, which was put together splendidly with food, drinks, and spontaneous dancing. I ventured over to Spaghetti Warehouse to catch Sleigh Bells and Major Lazer, but it was pretty pointless due to the line, so I walked back and continued the private party function. Mohawk never happened, but yesterday rocked nevertheless.

Today, I’m hitting the panel circuit; a lot of the music tech discussions are happening today. Currently I’m sitting in Ballroom E/F, waiting for The Future of Music Consumption panel featuring Ken Parks from Spotify, Bill Werde from Billboard, and….apparently David Draiman from Disturbed. Afterwards I’m looking at the Can Social Music Save the Music Industry? panel. Then it’s The Evolving Role of Radio and the SoundCloud Open House before making a concerted effort to get into Pitchfork’s Interactive Party at Mohawk. Busy day, kids! Stay hydrated!

Mar 12 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 4

So you know all that stuff I told you I was going to do yesterday? Yeah, almost none of that happened. Such is the nature of SXSW, that of serendipity and aimless wandering, which I’m doing some of today. Hunky Dory was better than I predicted, a feel-good Welsh teen movie based in the 70’s and filled with Bowie tunes. Never went to that Mashable party, got talked into the Funny Or Die shindig at Hotel Vegas and caught Dale Earndheart Jr. Jr. again. Then we moseyed on over to the Tom Hanks Electric City party featuring an open bar, Asian food, and White Denim. Ended up at Mohawk with free beers in hand, and then we stumbled upon a killer rave at the Art House on 7th and Congress featuring Fred Falke and Nosaj Thing. All in all? An excellent Sunday night.

Today? Well, I’ve been meaning to pick up my Hype Hotel wristband, so hopefully that will get done. Don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but hey, better safe than sorry. Also, I’ve been wanting to check out the SoundCloud Open House, so that’s a priority. Then, surprise! I’m actually catching another screener today at the Paramount! Girls! And then I have this St. Edward’s party thing to get to, and then it’s the Mohawk for Barbarian Group/Tumblr’s party featuring Japandroids and Wavves. That’s what I think I’ll do, anyway, but the way things are going, expect a different report tomorrow.

Mar 11 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 3

Daylight savings, am I right? I slept a little longer than I originally planned because of the time change, but no worries, as Sunday was initially planned to be my laid-back day anyway. I feel like I should see at least one screener this year with this fancy platinum badge, so my sis and I are checking out Hunky Dory today. From the description it sounds like it could either be a terrible movie or an enjoyable one. My sister picked it, so if it sucks, I’m blaming it on her. Tonight I’ll be doing some party jumping. Mashable’s party is at Buffalo Billards, The CNET Party is happening as well at Maggie Mae’s with the Delta Spirit performing. Also going on: the Crowdtap VIP Party, FLUENT Party Rock, the Latitudes Party, and the Tom Hanks Electric Party. Probably going to take it easy for the most part, because once music starts, that won’t be the case at all.

So yesterday was a mixture of busts and high points. Started the day off with the Tech Career Expo, which was a giant letdown. Seriously, how many people actually find a good job at one of those things? And apparently if you’re not a programmer or coder, you’re out of luck. It just shocked me almost none of these companies had any kind of internship program, or marketing. Got a lot of business cards, handed out very few. A waste of two hours in retrospect.

Fortunately my spirits were lifted when I saw one of my favorite bands ever, Third Eye Blind, in one of the best venues ever, ACL Live at the Moody Theatre. What a blast. I was up front being a fanboy the whole time. It was insanely awesome, and a definite personal highlight for me for the Interactive portion, which thus far has been underwhelming. They ran the gamut through all of their albums, which, yes, all those albums are good, not just the first one. And yes, I know it’s 2012.

After that I snatched a bite to eat (love you, Which Wich!) and headed over to a private function on Brazos. Saw many good friends, made some new ones, ran into some surprise ones, and weaseled my way into the VIP area with the help of a partner in crime. All in all, even though it started out disappointing, Saturday was a grand ol’ time. Maybe too grand, which is why Sunday will be more relaxing. Here’s to booze and live music!

Mar 10 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 2

Another late morning, another late start, another rainy, cold day in Austin.  Another day of taking it easy, for the most part.  Last night didn’t get too wild, but the weather certainly changed my plans for many things.  Didn’t see the Girl Walk screener, but I did soak in two panels, including a semi-informative one about public radio and its influence on media as a whole.  After that I had my share of free drinks at the Do512 Interactive Party at the Belmont, which was fun and mega crowded.  Once the word was out Ghostland Observatory was playing a totally free, totally non-credential show at ACL Live, my posse and I scurried four blocks south and got right in.  And Ghostland, and their phenomenal light show, killed, as per usual.  So no karaoke, no screener, but still a grand old time.

Today the plan is to mosey on over to the Austin Music Hall, where thankfully I won’t be hearing any music.  Instead, I’ll be taking in the Tech Career Expo, checking out some awesome tech companies and maybe even handing out a few business cards.  I gave out three yesterday! Can you believe it?! Me neither!

After that it’s back to the Convention Center for a solo panel from Frank Abagnale.  Yes, THAT Frank Abagnale, the one the movie Catch Me If You Can is about.  Pretty certain Leonardo DiCaprio won’t be making an appearance, but Frank is likely going to talk about his past, and, as is the case with most panels, plugging a current project or startup or book or something.

I guess I could network some more, but the junior high girl inside me is screaming that I must go catch Third Eye Blind at ACL Live.  Which is probably where I’ll be.  I’m currently listening to them on Spotify in anticipation, so….yeah. You can count on it. And after that, I’m going to a private function you’re not invited to. Sorry. Rolling with VIP over here.

Mar 9 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012: Day 1

Today, because of the rain, admittedly, I haven’t done a lot. I’m sitting in the Convention Center right now typing this, after eating some lousy chicken salad sandwich from a coffee shop in the Hilton and picking up my free business cards from MOO (which look pretty awesome, by the way.) As a first-time Interactive badge holder, I must admit I don’t really know what to do with this thing. I’ve been doing some legitimate people watching and lemonade drinking (it’s made with maple syrup! so good). Around two I plan to brave the elements once again to the Hilton where I will catch a panel called StartUp Marketing: Big Results With a Small Budget. I’ve developed a newfound interest for marketing, and I’m hoping to intern at a prominent agency, and as a person who once unsuccessfully ran a “start-up,” I hope to find the material relevant and interesting. And it doesn’t look like a panel where they’re trying to sell me something, which is always good.

After that, I’ve got some free time, so I’ll grab dinner and meander around the Convention Center. There just wasn’t a whole lot of stuff that caught my interest today. I was hoping to catch a panel at the Sheraton, but that’s quite a long walk in this weather, so it’s likely my plans have changed. At 7:30, I will be joining my film-badge-holding sister for a screening of Girl Walk: All Day, and then it’s off to the Belmont for the Do512 Interactive Party. Hopefully the weather will have let up by then. I also might hit up Tech Karaoke at the Stage on Sixth. You never know. Either way, it looks to be a fun/super wet first day of Interactive.

Feb 20 2012

Check Out: The Daily Dork Times

I’m proud to announce the recent launch of a new site dedicated to all things dork: The Daily Dork Times. From technology to movies to jpegs to music to comics to television…well, almost anything, our small group of bloggers and nerd experts hope to keep you up to date on all that is happening in the world of geekery. Check us out, bookmark us, check back daily, and may the force be with you.

Jan 19 2012


Yesterday, Culture Greyhound joined millions of websites, including Wikipedia and Google, in protest of two bills making their way through Congress that could forever jeopardize a free and fair Internet. The House’s SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and the Senate’s PIPA (Protect IP Act) are poorly worded pieces of legislation with the intentions of stopping digital piracy of intellectual property. If passed, what the bills could actually do could permanently change the Internet. The bills would censor the web and impose crippling restrictions on American businesses, seemingly with little to no judicial review.

Since the protest, many House members and Senators have dropped their support of the bills, and things are looking up. The Obama administration has expressed publicly their wariness with the bills, and a few controversial provisions in the bills have been dismissed altogether. But they are far from dead: next week the Senate will vote on PIPA, while House members will debate SOPA in February.

Wikipedia probably said it best yesterday: “SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. In many jurisdictions around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties.”

To learn more about SOPA and PIPA, visit this site. To fight back, use Wikipedia to contact your local representatives and sign the petition on Google.

Oct 6 2011

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Just Tuesday the news was all about the lackluster Apple summit new CEO Tim Cook hosted, and the new iPhone 4S, which is receiving underwhelming press. The commentary constantly remarked this was the first launch without the company’s figurehead Steve Jobs, and that something felt….off. Without Jobs around, is this a turning point for Apple? Are its glory days over? And now, with the untimely death of Jobs Wednesday afternoon, all of that is trivial.

To deny the radical influence Steve Jobs had on the world, and the profound sadness of his death, is simply foolish. I grow tired of seeing #iDead hashtags, Mac haters naysaying, or people who ridicule others for acknowledging the man’s productive life because they “didn’t know him.” Unsurprisingly, the ignorant Internet misses the point. Jobs’ work impacted everyone you know in some form. If you’ve played with an iPod, owned a modern smartphone, messed around with a computer, or watched a computer-animated film, you’ve experienced the inspiration of this man. It could be argued he helped saved the music industry from sheer collapse with the iTunes model. There’s a reason why his death is front-page news, why it’s a trending topic, why public figures are comparing him to Thomas Edison, why the President found it prudent to release a statement honoring him.

There’s no doubt Jobs lived a full life; he created and innovated technologies which are now second-nature household items, and his left-field thinking is still present in Apple’s mindset. And yet, we can sense that he was just getting started. That he still had a lot to show us. Very rarely does a visionary come around as forward thinking and as revolutionary, and Jobs certainly filled a void and created a vision that will resonate for years to come. The scope of that vision should be honored, and the loss of that vision should be mourned.

And so, I invite you to spend what will undoubtedly be the fifteen most inspirational minutes of your day and watch a speech Jobs gave in 2005 to a group of Stanford graduates. He tells three stories about connecting the dots, love and loss, and death. Each are fitting for a commencement speech (ironically, Jobs never graduated college), but they also apply to life in general. And if you’re looking for motivation for a full life, look no further than Steve Jobs.

Oct 5 2011

Sharing Without Caring? Facebook’s Open Graph/Timeline

We’ve all seen the Ticker and the News Feed updates, and we either love them or hate them. I find it particularly amusing when people get so fed up with Facebook’s incremental changes they whine and moan about something they can simply opt out of. It’s like complaining about how bad smoking is for you when you continue to smoke a pack a day. That analogy works well, unfortunately; it could be argued social networking is just as addictive. Probably now more than ever.

Because where are you gonna go? Google+, huh? The only friends I have on Google+ are the early adopters, the techies who were going to join anyway, no matter what. The Reddit readers, the iPad buyers, etc. Everybody else? Still on Facebook. And it’s not like those early adopters deleted their Facebook accounts, either.

If anyone should bitch about anything Facebook does, it’s not the layout changes, but their stance on privacy, which started off awful and has only gotten worse. The new Open Graph, in particular, pretty much makes you as a Facebook user vulnerable to every third party that wants any sliver of info about you. And to customize it otherwise is already a hassle, but at least for now it’s optional. Take Spotify, for example. All of us who use the service have seen what we were listening to broadcasted to our friends whether we wanted it to or not. At least currently, there are ways to opt out (the new “private listening” function should have been included initially – seems a bit obvious), but it made a lot of regular joes mad, for the short term anyway.

Those of us who follow tech, who are keen on new apps and features and software, we knew something like the Open Graph and Timeline was on the way. We knew Facebook’s history of wanting to share and share and share. We had an idea of the hidden algorithms; how else can Facebook attract advertisers? Third party apps? Zynga? Spotify? Every person and company in the world? This was a long time coming. But just because you see the train doesn’t mean it’s good when it hits you. And it hurts even worse for the average joe, who wasn’t really aware, or intuitive, about how exactly Facebook operates. Who had never heard that old cliche about free sites – if you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

That old adage is now truer than ever. But at least Facebook is being more transparent and gradual with their rollouts and intentions this time around. It seems they may have learned a thing or two from the “Like” button scrutinies.

But users should be more aware of what’s getting out there, because it just might be something you don’t want. We all have an individual responsibility to control our digital spaces and perceptions, and we can’t expect, or trust, Facebook or any Big Web entity to necessarily incorporate acceptable defaults. This has ALWAYS been the case.

Facebook is taking a large leap with the Open Graph – an enhanced marketing tool that aggregates data enrichment and progressively precise analytics.  There are several things Facebook can do to adapt to our privacy concerns, and once they roll out the Open Graph for all, this will become more apparent.  The question is, will they do them?  In the meantime, users can adjust their Web social habits accordingly and still enjoy what I deem as necessary for the 21st century – personal, business, or otherwise: a social media presence.  Abandoning it altogether hurts you in the long run.  Facebook is rock and roll – it’s hear to stay. You can jump ship, but the world turns without you.