Streaming Music from SXSW

It’s that time of year again, when geeks of all stripes gather in Austin, Texas for SXSW. Once again, I’ll be among them for Interactive and Music. To keep myself busy during Music, I’ll be live streaming several musical performances from various showcases throughout the week. I am going outfitted with a TVUpack, an interesting piece of hardware from TVU Networks. The TVUpack is a wireless video broadcast encoder and transmitter. It works by aggregating multiple off-the-shelf USB cellular data modems. Up to 10 of them can be mixed and matched across different network providers to create a robust, low latency, high bandwidth wireless pipe for transmitting full 1080p high definition video.

I’ve teamed up with Livestream to create a dedicated channel where these live performances will live. I’ll be on location in downtown Austin, streaming gigs from Wednesday, March 16th to Saturday the 19th. A full schedule will be forthcoming shortly. If you love live music, and really who doesn’t, and you can’t make it down to Austin, tune in to the live streamed broadcast and discover some kick ass new music.

Watch live streaming video from austinlive2011 at livestream.com

The Wonderful World of Chiptunes

I’m glad I popped by Mighty the other night for the MICROMUSICSF chiptunes party. Seriously, what a treat for the ears of this 80’s video game geek! Chiptune is music created from sound chips found in vintage video game consoles (Nintendo NES, Gameboy), computers (Atari 400/800, C64) and consumer electronics. Chiptune artists modify these devices to create their own music synthesized from these chips. A sampling of these artists who played the party are TRASH80, NULLSLEEP and STARPAUSE. Micromusic.net is also a great resource for chiptune music, videos and events.

There’s a full length documentary on the chiptunes scene called BLIP FESTIVAL: REFORMAT THE PLANET, it’s premering at SXSW this year. You know where I’ll be. Here’s the trailer:

BLIP FESTIVAL: REFORMAT THE PLANET trailer from 2 Player Productions on Vimeo.

SXSW 2007 Wrapup

SXSW was amazing this year. Interactive was much bigger than last year, a sign the boom is back or something. Geek summer camp it was. I stayed a few extra days for Music this year, just to catch a little bit of the flavor. I got myself a wristband which enabled me to get into most of what I wanted to see. Almost every venue and street corner in Austin has a bad playing at all times. It’s quite insane really, but awesome if you love music. A highlight for me was seeing Pete Townshend in a small venue play acoustic guitar. He’s a spry and witty legend interacting with the audience and playing a few songs with other musicians who shared the stage with him that night. Here’s a clip I shot of Pete doing Drowned off of The Who’s Quadrophenia.

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Vote for my panel at SXSW 2007

SXSW 2007 The good peeps over at SXSW have a nice interactive proposed panel picker thing up now. I submitted a proposal for a web video panel titled ‘What Does the Future Hold for Video on the Internet?’. Please go vote for me and pick 9 other proposed panels (of a possible 173) that look interesting to you. Mine is under ‘web audio / webvideo’ and looks like this:

What Does the Future Hold for Video on the Internet?
We are on the cusp of a sea change in how video is produced and consumed. Cameras, processing power, bandwidth keep getting cheaper. Broadband is ubiquitous, hosting is free. Editing tools are cheap and easy to use. Can this last? Will a two-tiered Internet emerge and stifle innovation of the past 2 years? Will incumbent big media companies figure out what the Internet generation wants depriving independents from access?

Vote for me and I’ll buy you a beer next time I see you. It’s all about freedom and democracy, just like beer.

SXSW 2006 Wrap Up

SXSW 2006 (Friday)
Originally uploaded by Laughing Squid.

Wow, what a week! My second SXSW Interactive conference and my experience has been amazingly rich this year. I participated on a panel, I judged a dorky fun lunchtime event called Battle Decks, shot 3.5 hours of video (1 of which is of Henry Rollins), met shitloads of amazing, beautiful people, attended some great parties, attended some lame parties and only one kinda weird one.

The panel I was on, How to Add Video to a Blog, was Tuesday morning at 10am. Last day of the conference, first panel of the morning, merely a few short hours after many attendees were closing down the house at the Adaptive Path/Consumating/Odeo and Lifehacker parties. To my great surprise, the panel was packed. Many eager bodies overflowing onto the floor to find out about this newfangled videoblogging phenomena. The panel following mine was on videoblog business models and was only half packed. Seems as more people want to learn about the fundamentals of videoblogging rather than cashing in. Probably because videoblogging is still such a new thing to most people.

Joining me on the panel was Michael Verdi, Schlomo, Mike Slone from Boulder (thanks for the blank DV, Mike), and Sarah Hepola from New York who moderated. Things started a little slow as we introduced ourselves, talked a little about how and why we got into videoblogging and each showed clips of what we do. As soon as we got the audience involved, things got lively and passionate. Many great discussions about the fundamentals (where to host, compression settings, formats, gear, etc), legal issues (copyright, fair use, creative commons), and what really is a videoblog. Before I knew it, the panel was over. Schlomo closed it out with a great little video of he and his mom shopping for a microwave. Fellow videoblogger Richard Snow taped it and hopefully it will find its way online soon.

I stuck around for the vlog biz model panel since this is stuff I’ve been thinking about lately. I was eager to hear from Andrew Baron of Rocketboom about his innovative approach to raising money by auctioning off sponsor slots on ebay. It’s hard not to admit that Rocketboom is the one to watch in the vlog space as they really are blowing up the possibilities on many fronts. Glad to have gotten the chance to meet Andrew and Amanda, whom undoubtably have had a most busy week. Rocketboom is many things, a quirky collection of interesting things done for video, the Amanda brand complete with obsessive fanboys, a passionate community that has lots to say on each and every episode, an expanding empire (Rocketboom.jp just launched, widescreen now, multiple formats and now ad dollars). Ultimately, Rocketboom is just fun to watch.

The parties, oh the parties. SXSW is nothing if not a collection of lubricated social opportunities. Every night of the week had several offerings that would have been hard to navigate if it wasn’t for Dodgeball. The little mobile friend locater service that can, proved invaluable for zeroing in on the action. The Adaptive Path/Consumating/Odeo party was probably the best of the lot, not too surprising as Austin local Ben Brown (now Consumating it in SF) knows the right ingredients to make a great Austin party. They include a big enough venue with a large outdooor area (Velvet Spade), local Austin bands (Peel) and an open bar that doesn’t know when to close. The cute asymmetric slanty haired kids were in full force.

The pretentiously sounding Red Bull House turned out to be a really nice surprise. Yes, you had to be gifted a key, or know a keymaster, or get on the guest list, or find Buzznet Marc to get past the front door most nights, but all the cool kids and even the annoying drunk New Yorkers had no problem getting past this velvet rope. Once inside, there was the open bar serving Red Bull and whatever, of course. The real goods were the geek interactive art installations. First thing is a metal fabricated sculptural thing with little black and white TVs displaying various blinking eyes that would rotate randomly. There was the Octa-Masher which is an installation containg 8 or so cheap painted music keyboards labeled with different roles such as bass, mashup, melody, remix. In the center was a digital video camera that had some sort of 360 degree refractor lens on it hooked up to a projector displaying the human keyboard players onto a circular band around the room. The keyboards apparently were hooked up to Ableton Live and were triggering loops, samples, pitch bending and other such audio juiciness. Addictingly fun!

Then there was the networked Xbox room where 8 players were getting their frag on in Halo 2. Red Bull vodka + geeks + Halo 2 = easy good times. In another room the were a bunch of computers availble for email checking and flickr stalking, though only two seemed to actually have a working Internet connection. Also near here were framed LCD panel displays rotating through party photos. A back room had a DJ decks and some hiphop emceeing going on the last night I was there. Outside was the patio where most people seemed to make social.

Other notable parties include: Fray Cafe at the Red Eyed Fly, always great to hear friends tell stories. The Flickr/Upcoming/del.icio.us party which I missed. Lifehacker at the Side Bar, the Blogger party I never got into because it was SOLD OUT. The South by Northwest party thrown by the Vancouver and Seattle kids at the Iron Cactus had it’s debaucherous moments. The closing Media Temple party at the Foundation where the sound was 30 decibals too loud for any decent conversation. This might have been the worst of the lot, but I missed the frog design party this year.

The weirdest party award goes to the EFF/Creative Commons fet at the Elks Lodge #201. I navigated past the 84 year old cigar smoking war veterans playing dominoes (it was pizza night) to a lower ballroom. Here The Robot Group was getting jiggy with a couple of remote controlled dancing robots while four unsuspecting partygoers attempted to play homemade theremin instruments that played bleepy 80’s midi music while the host added to the cheese with electronic drums.

Too many GETV interviews to name. Look for ’em soon. Also did a bunch for Netsquared.

The people. It really was all about the people. I met so many new people, or people I only knew from the Internets. Obligatory shoutouts: Timoni, cute new redhead flying in from my old hometown. The Vancouver crew, Kris Krug, Robert Scales, Will Pate and whomever else I’m missing. Definitely looking for a reason to make Vanc happen again soon. Baratunde, Tony Pierce, Goodstorm Marc, danah, Halcyon, Pesco. Juba Kalamka, thx for CDs and the deep convo! Always good connecting w/Srini and the Mollys. Videobloggers Chuck Olsen, Steve Garfield, Susan, Michael Verdi, Bre Pettis, Schlomo, Josh Kinberg, Richard Snow and Mike Hudack of blip.tv. All the SF locals I always see of which there is too many to name. Crossed paths with Clay, soon to be daddy of twins. Good luck dude! Final shoutout to delicious OnomyJulia whom made my last night almost complete.

Few Regrets: Missing the midnight Roomba Frogger in first life. Not connecting with Andrew Baron more when I had the chance. So many questions! Missing many panels with friends on them. Not being able to stay for Music.

Bottom line: SXSW is much more than stories and pix can ever do justice. I’ve taken the red pill. I’ll be back.

Home again!

Yeah boyee!
Originally uploaded by ekai.

What a week! SXSW Interactive in Austin is just what I needed. I hadn’t planned on going until Scott pulled me in, like the good friend he is. It was a Webzine reunion of sorts, with at least a dozen people there who were panelists and speakers at years past. Seeing all these fine folks again has got me thinkng it just might be time for another Webzine in San Francisco. 5 years seems about right.

Some takeaways from SXSW:
– met lots o’ cool brilliant people who I can’t wait to collaborate with in the future
wordpress is the shit, as is its creator
– lots of panels got me hot, but it’s all mush right now
– discovered the awesome culinary power of Las Manitas
– parties, parties, Bruce Sterling, parties, cheap beer, parties and after-parties
– dude, I could have so been on that panel!
– vowing not to pay for admission next year (kinda goes with above)
– discovered the joy of using an RSS reader, where the fuck have I been??
– podcasting – ready to receive, yo!
– running into ex-SF peeps living in Austin who weren’t at SXSW. hi Clay, hi Cathy!
– smooches
Flickr continues to rock ass
– will remember not to forget the data cable for my digital camera next time so I can play in the realtime photo stream
– blogging can be fun, gonna make it a point to do it more often
– human beings are a fun species
– I can’t believe Austin is in Texas
– Flavor Fav was not there, but damn it would have been cool to see him interview Ana Marie Cox about ass fucking. He always knew what time it was.