Back For a Few Days

jet window

Pictured above is the view from my seat on Air Canada’s flight 540, the daily direct Seattle-to-Accordion City flight that leaves the west coast at 8:00 a.m. Pacific and touches down just before 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The only real snag in the trip was the incredibly long customs line at the end which resulted from several out-of-country flights landing at Pearson’s Terminal One at roughly the same time.

keep austin weird

I won’t be in town terribly long, as I’m scheduled to go to Austin from the 9th through the 16th for South by Southwest, where I’ll be attending the sessions in the Interactive part of the conference and helping Microsoft with the Internet Explorer 9 promotions they’ll be doing there. There’s a party on Sunday the 13th that Austin JavaScript is throwing and for which Microsoft is the Platinum sponsor. They’re expecting anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people to talk HTML5, eat real Tex-Mex (not that horrible stuff that passes for it here in Canada) and drink Shiner Bock. I think I can get into that.

Although most people think of “SxSW” as a music conference – not a surprise, since that’s how it got started – it’s since grown into a conference with three branches: the original Music branch, the Film branch and the Interactive branch. When Interactive was added, it was the smallest of the three, but over the years, it’s grown in size and importance, with influential bloggers and technologists helping fuel interest. SxSW Interactive has become one of the conferences where people try to promote their software or site into a hit, with Twitter being the most notable one. It got its big boost at SxSW 2007, when all the “A-list” bloggers started using it to keep track of the whereabouts of their friends as well as find out which parties were the happening ones. Jay Goldman recently told me that Interactive is now the biggest of the three parts that make up SxSW.

canlit beaver

Pictured above is the logo for CanLIT, which despite what it sounds like, has nothing to do with literature. It’s short for Canadian Livers in Training, and it’s a warm-up party for Accordion City citizens going to SxSW and those who wish they were going. When I went to my first SxSW in 2008, I was surprised at the number of people from Canada I kept running into, and how many of them were from Toronto. As I often like to say, Canada has been punching above its weight class when it comes to tech since Alexander Graham Bell, and it seems we like to drink above our weight class as well.

CanLIT takes place tonight and if you’re going to SxSW or wish you could, there’s still time and tickets for the party – just visit the site for the full details. I plan to be there, so if you’re attending, please do say “hi”.

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