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January 23, 2012


South by Southwest Interactive websiteI've never had any interest in visiting Texas—still don't—but I just booked plane tickets to Austin for this year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

After reading about it for years I decided to blow all my professional development money from Tri-C and see what all the hoopla is about. I'll be busy, that's for sure.

This year there are 900 presentations of one sort or another, spread across 13 venues. One bit of advice from the First-timers Guide to the SXSW Experience is "Plan ahead and make a schedule. "

And then there's this:

It's all about the shoes. You're going to be doing a lot walking. If you can manage it, you may want to have a change of shoes available. Your feet will thank you.

Find a couch

Two weeks ago, when I began looking into registering for the conference, at the top of the website in big red letters:

**SXSW Hotels are sold out during Film/Interactive dates (March 9-13). Before registering be sure you have sleeping accommodations in Austin.

They weren't kidding.

Figuring that they meant hotels were full, I tried finding a B&B using TripAdvisor, one of my favorite travel sites. Nothing available for those dates. I switched to Craigslist/Austin and was relieved to see a half-dozen listings ranging from an Airstream trailer parking in someone's yard to a bedroom in someone else's home.

Sad to say the Airstream was already booked (would have been really cool). A couple of other promising listings were also taken, and after a flurry of emails and late-night phone calls I got a room in the downstairs of a house that a guy rents out to SXSW attendees. Not my first choice, but better than sleeping on someone's couch. Especially since my Facebook request for a couch to sleep on went unanswered.

More to follow

I'm looking forward to this trip for all sorts of reasons. Visiting warm Austin during a cold and miserable Cleveland March. Rubbing shoulders with movers and shakers in the interactive world. Seeing the latest technology at the trade show. Exploring a part of the country I've never been in. Taking a break from my usual workaday life.

Since my laptop was stolen recently I'm not sure how I'll document all this. I'm going to replace it with a tablet, and am thinking I'll wait until the iPad3 comes out, so that may not be an option. Maybe I'll go back to writing & sketching in a notebook. And add this. Or maybe not. Or maybe this.

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