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I am here in Austin, Texas to attend the SXSW Conference, thanks to the support of AMD. As a part of my trip, I will be visiting their campus tomorrow!

Here’s your chance to ask a question of the folks at AMD / ATI! If you leave a comment or question (using proper PUGS!), there’s a good change we’ll get a representative to answer it in a video!

Get your questions ready, and leave them as a comment on the YouTube video that this post was created from so I’ll be sure to see it!

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Does Free Speech Exist on the Internet?

I’ve seen this type of discussion come up many times within my community, and in others. When someone breaks a site rule and is “reprimanded” for it, they will often scream about their Freedom of Speech, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. I always get a chuckle out of this. You see, when you join a privately-owned site and agree to abide by their rules, there is no Freedom of Speech. The owners and administrators of said service are well within their rights to tell you what you can – and cannot – discuss on their little corner of the Web. If you don’t like it… well… no one is forcing you to stay there as a member.

This may sound harsh to some of you, and I don’t intend for it to be. I guess I’m trying to remind all of you that common courtesy and a maturity in following rules YOU agreed to when you joined a particular site are far more important than anything else. Anytime I see some ticked off person on Geeks yelling about their Freedom of Speech, my first thought is to ask them what rule THEY broke. I’ve learned over the years that 99% of the time, the upset person in question wanted to push the limits, and discuss something illegal, or otherwise against the rules.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe that the owners of a particular site or service have the final – and likely, ONLY – say in what is and isn’t allowed there?

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SXSW Conference Tips

I will be attending SXSW in just a few weeks. While this isn’t my first time, I’ve only been able to get there once before. Since this event is so huge, I sort of feel like a newb! There is a lot to see and do while at this conference, and I know that many people are confused as heck about what to do, where to go, and who to see! This guide done by C.C. Chapman is sure to help all of us figure out what’s what while we’re in Texas!

During my last trip to SXSW, I was fortunate to be able to talk with Hugh Forest, the Executive Director of the event. It’s always good to get the perspective of the person responsible for building a show like SXSW to get a sense for where the conference came from and where it’s headed in the future. The podcast version of that discussion is still available in my archives – along with the rest of my articles from that week.

The biggest piece of advice that C.C. has for us is that if we’re going to try and set up any type of meeting, do it over breakfast. Since there is so much going on at all times, breakfast seems to be the only time of the day you can really control to your advantage. People are awake, they’re ready to go… and they’re usually willing to talk. At the end of the day, they’re tired, their nerves are shot, and you’re not going to get very good information (or video footage!).

Another piece of advice that he has is to leave your laptop in the hotel, and pack for the day as light as you can. The conference center itself is unbelievably HUGE. There is going to be a lot of walking, and you don’t want to bog yourself down. Do your back a favor – don’t lug around a lot of equipment today. Keep your phone on you, yes… and perhaps a small video recorder. Beyond that, just be comfortable!

Make sure you take the time to say hello to everyone you see. You never know when the woman standing off by herself for a few moments may be someone who could greatly impact your future. At SXSW, there are musicians, actors, startup companies and everyone in between in attendance. Take the time to smile and just say a big howdy! Talk to the person next to you in each session. If there’s someone you want to meet, go say hello. You may feel they are too busy for you, but just take a chance.

Make sure the address book in your phone is up-to-date. If there are people you have contact information for that may be attending… make sure you have them in your phone. It will be much easier to find them come conference time!

Most of all… have FUN. Enjoy every moment of your time at this amazing conference.

I will be recording interviews during my time at SXSW, thanks to my awesome sponsor, AMD!

Is it Time for Summer Yet?

The weather in Seattle has been amazingly beautiful for the past week. Kat couldn’t believe her luck when she visited for a week, and had nothing but sunshine and warm temps. I couldn’t help but grumble. I know this will mean we’re going to end up having an extremely hot summer this year. I am not a fan of extreme temperatures in either direction. The rain has finally returned to the Pacific NorthWest though. Kat only missed it by two days.

However, the same day she returned home from Seattle, she left with her family to drive to Boston. They have a family member in the hospital there who has been seriously ill. Instead of heading back home today, though, they had to drive further north to stay with her fiance’s parents for a few days. There’s currently a lovely blizzard nailing much of New York and Pennsylvania, making it impossible for her to drive home. With her away from home, our work flow has gotten all twisted up and turned around. If we’ve missed something we were supposed to get done for you, we both deeply apologize! We’re tag-teaming to get everything done as scheduled!

I know Kat isn’t the only person ready for winter to end. Personally, I prefer Spring or Fall. I know a lot of you out there are pining for Summer, though, waiting on the hot temps and gorgeous sunshine. Are you one of them?

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