Posts Tagged ‘macworld’

Bloggin’, not stirred

bloggin’, not stirred
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I love a fancy party with fancy drinks where it’s a normal party social activity to blog during a conversation! It’s a geek formal – black tie blogging.

Someone today told me, “I’m going to the EFF party, to do some important flirting, with that … you know, what’s their name? OMG I’ve been flirting with them online for years. You know… the flickr slut!” Of course, I knew exactly who.

Everybody go to the EFF site and join them and donate lots of extra money to them! Because they’re cool! Because I’m a little tipsy! Because I just had a fabulous stream of ideas while listening to Phil Torrone talking about itunes pdf hacks at Macworld and talking with Violet Blue! Because of how Mike Godwin used to show me the early Mac porn games like Virtual Valerie, back in 1986 when I was a tender young nerdlet of 17!

Making fun of Macworld

I have to pause a minute in the Blogger Lounge to make fun of the halfassedness of the Macworld schedule. As you come in the entrance & down the escalators there are big screens playing each conference track schedule. What people don’t know is that iTimetravel has been released by Apple at this conference… because those big screens about half the time are showing the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday schedule for the conference. If you missed it, you can go back in time!

Talking with Raster|Vector in the blogger lounge about an R2D2 projector! It’s shaped like R2D2 and it ahs a remote, you can drive it around, you put your ipod in it, and it will project dvds, whatever. It’s an ipod dock but it will play your movies … a wireless web camera… OMG! And they have a lightsaber USB phone. Unfuckingbelievable! The guy on the other side of the couch is grumbling about how it’s landfill in 2 years and utterly pointless. Well, so is half the crap in our conspicuous consumption economy so allow me my tiny thrill at the coolness of having a millenium falcon-shaped remote control for the R2D2 dvd projector — I’ll never actually have them, but a girl can drool. Actually I am sort of imagining my hypothetical bachelor pad that has almost no stuff in it and with black and chrome furniture and bookshelves built into rotating walls that lead to my secret laboratory. Or maybe instead it would be Flint’s apartment from the movie In Like Flint; except it would have its own R2D2.

My day underneath the drooling at gadgets

It was a long amazing day – after coffee, making Moomin’s lunch, a bit of email checking, I went off to R1tual Roasters in SF, intending to do some blogging and then call Z. but he was already there. About 8 million digressions-all-at-once later, which was extremely pleasant – I love talking with people who are enthusiastic and intuitive and who talk a lot and don’t mind mutual interruptiness – I can’t even remember all the details but we talked about baroqueness, community, spaces between where stuff happens, games that don’t make sense but that are fun to play, role-playing games, narrative theory, research, more about nonsense, and open source software, and other things, but I am the soul of discretion so I will not mention them. I suggested a debutante ball and hazing party. Though I’m debutante-predator and hazing-master enough for anyone new to town. Can’t remember the last time I had such nice instant conversational chemistry with someone… I wonder how long we could talk in a marathon conversation without running out of things to say? Then off to Macworld where people seemed drained of all soul and spirit after the mass hypnosis and catharsis of seeing Steve Jobs in the flesh; like the aftermath of a rock concert but without actual drugs or beer. (iBeer? iBong?) On camera suddenly I said ditzy things for the hell of it; had no opinion on the iphone but said that i’d buy it, it looked nifty. (And I would if it were maybe $250 which is what i heard it was, but not for double that, which is what it actually is.) I swept through the entire exhibit hall looking at everything – talking to random people – continuing to want to buy the Circus Ponies software – fighting the urge to do it right away – And blogged a bit in the blogger lounge, which was a good idea,…. talked to Max / Myriam who I know from Sf lit stuff and from mailing lists and LJ – she has a new tech / gadget mobile blog, tnkgrl Mobile. LL found me in there and we bounced off. I bounce – she sort of slinks and ferrets and pops up here and there – unexpectedly – like a sea monster or a secret agent – It is charming. We looked at the space thing and ran around some more and then went off to lunch. She tried to take me to Empress of China, a restaurant on the 6th (and top) floor of a building that started out with 2 floors of Chinese department store. You have to (or, we did because it is her habit to go underground and pop up again, as noted above) But they were closed for the interlude between lunch and dinner. Lunch at uninspired but okay pho place nearby; talked about maps and manifolds and software and mailing lists and conferences and the conference and lord knows what all I went on about, blog stuff, blogher, sxsw, my own projects, because I had had a lot of very strong coffee. But I felt magically entertaining. She then took me to a secret public-accessible rooftop garden that you get to by going through a fancy mall. ON the roof we began to inhabit an extended flight of fancy about What Would Secret Agents Do, or what would happen in a game or a comic book or an action movie; which roofs to jump off of with a parachute or where the helicopter would land, grappling hooks, telescoping poles, squads of incompetent CIA agents and police and army guys who never look up. I began to wonder for the 2nd time today whether I was on a date. We exited the mysterious rooftop through the Ralph Lauren furniture store which was ridiculously fancy and then turned into a sort of under-building tunnel and clothing store and stairs going up; room after room; I couldn’t stop giggling and then we popped up again on another street. Fun! I became exhausted though and my knees all hurty. Hot chocolate – resting – more mild conferencyness – Then had sushi with Caraja – And then home – where Rook is messing with a script he wrote to interpret the motion sensor on his laptop – and also planning out stuff for his rpg coming up (Macho Women with Guns).


In between all that I had another bazillion ideas and thoughts which seemed of great importance at the time.

I am still obsessed with that space software and how they should really really write an open API for it or at least license it to some decent gaming company which would do that; then people would write space wars games, and natural disasters and asteroids crashing into planets and terraforming and economic games about mining the asteroid belt; and would build (LL’s idea here but then mine too) imaginary SF planetscapes and universes, so we would get Ringworld and Trantor and such, so you could fly through them and build more cool as shit stuff, or go visit Burroughs’ Mars or all the other Marses ever created, because you KNOW people would come and build it. I told all this to the CEO-looking guy and the guy who wrote the app. Free ideas! They should give me a copy of it and then squirrel off and follow my orders; thanks, dudes! You’ll thank me for it when you sell the whole deal to some space mmorpg and become zillionaires. All I will have is the glory of having thought of it and blogged it first, like when I invented the blue-footed boobies tshirt, and hats with ears.

Horrors, we thought of the ads on the moon… 5 bucks a month, buy an ad on Trantor…?

Droolworthy stuff at the Macworld exhibit hall

I’m having massive gadget lust in the exhibit hall at Macworld and figured I’d drop by the “blogger lounge” … the microsnarft guy at the booth entrance condescendingly explained to me (very ahem-ily in a tone of voice to warn me off) that it was “for bloggers only” and then what a blog was. thanx dude! anyway the free soda and couches are nice. Now a dude in an EFF hat… named … Mike? is telling me that “we need more women bloggers” and complains that there are no women bloggers in NYC and they don’t come to the meetups. Waaaah! And they don’t come to Gnomedex! And despite Dave Winer’s best efforts the women don’t come! I am baiting him shamefully, switching back and forth between extolling the virtues of SXSWi’s diversity efforts and then explaining to him that all women bloggers are having secret lesbian sex orgies and not letting him in and that’s why they’re not at Gnomedex. BWAHAHAHAHA.

People want to photograph me a lot at this conference, do you think it’s the hair? 😎

Here’s my product picks for amazing coolness! Stuff I want! I’ll add the links later. Best first.

Circus Ponies Notebook. This is the thing I will very likely buy here, probably tomorrow after I download it and try it. For one, OMG Ponies!!!!111!!! For two, I need something beyond mindmap software, and a step before ecto, for taking notes as I websurf, think, and grab stuff for blogging and that sort of thing. Notebook looks extremely nifty! For fuck’s sake, though, where are the cool stickers? They are missing the cool sticker potential. (The price is so much better than mindmap software.)

– Handle for macbook that screws into the case screws! 50 bucks, 20% off. Leather handle on top of lightweight metal that folds down to be a sort of stand, if you like.

– The incredible planetary flythrough/ astronomy planet flight simulator thingie. I have to go back to it and get their name and flyer and url. (Update: It’s called Seeker, and is by the same company, Bisque, that makes an astronomy program, TheSkyX. Seeker is around 100 bucks. Planetariums use it…. You can script your flythroughs on other planets, moons, asteroids, dock with space stations, and save the results as quicktime movies and stick them on your blog! Yeah! It only needs an open source api so that we can build games on it and make things explode!

Radtech backpack with solar panel array, charge up battery beltpack for phone, ipod, etc. Within 6-8 months there will be a 3x more expensive backpack with solar chargeable laptop battery!

Voyager 4 astronomical software. Fly around the solar system while everything is orbiting. Neat! Not quite as neat as the other astronomy thing, but still very cool; it did different things, and was great for grokking orbital motion and looking at the whole solar system working together. I think this is the one for serious astronomy geeks who want 1 million years of accurate simulation of the night sky and the precession of the Earth’s axis.

ScanSnap, document scanner thing, small enough to be portable, not too expensive, has a bag for easy transport, sucks in something like 20 pages a minute and pdf-s them. Yowza. Still can’t scan a book in a library, the holy grail of scanners for me. Yet… with this, I could do the xeroxing I already do, then feed it into the scanner later at home and get rid of the huge amounts of paper I accumulate. (Mostly poetry in Spanish, so who knows if the OCR would work well with it; I’d like to test some day.

– laptop cases with amazing stuff, designs, patterns, laser-etched dragons, etc! THey had a peacock diamond one.

Gelaskins doohickeys for ipods, neat looking; comix on your ipod skin.

– All the mind map software. Novamind, Mindmanager 6, Omnigraffle. I want them all! Or … just one! No, all of them. All too expensive for a person like me.

– Mariner software products looked good!

Lightscribe cd/dvd etching thing. Wowie… and it is only 99 bucks. Okay this is damn cool. I want it just to play with, but it would also be useful for my small press poetry stuff. Their samples were amazing – You can design pretty much anything and it will etch it onto the surface of your cd. Complicated scrolly vines and flowers and engravings with very fine detail. It looked GREAT.

Pen-it note taker drawing thing. Really a digital pen. So, no tablet necessary, you just draw on paper with a working pen and it has a usb thingie. I wished I could get this for my sister.

– I was excited about Readiris but it didn’t turn out to be quite what I would wish. only 1 step up from a cuecat as far as my purposes go. Not useful for scanning a book in a library

iCliplite looked neat. I should try it along with the omg ponies Notebook.

Intelliscanner. WTF gadget thing for obsessive compulsive people who scan in their groceries. Seriously, cans of food…!? along with your comic books and wine collection. People make fun of me for being obsessed with LibraryThing, but, CANNED FOOD? haha! This seemed to have a nifty design and nice software and I have to admire it. Anything that nerdy and that obsessive, just wow. Sparks many thoughts of how as a culture we are obsessed with our Stuff.

Etch-a-mac SF place that will etch cool designs into your laptop case.

– Extremely cool laptop bags and cases. Sumo, Crumpler, bbp. Scosche; backpack with built in speakers. Lexie Barnes designer laptop bags, super cool and amazing. Flowery. Girly. Yay!

– Microreplay – sell your used computer through/to them

– Good info from Disc Makers with a booklet that, while it’s a big magazine-sized ad for them, is also super informative & useful. They will make 1000 DVDs in cases for $1.79 each, which sounds like a good deal. I assume CDs are cheaper to make. You know, I burned 200 CDs one by one for the anthology of bay area poets that I edited! And swore if I did that again I would do a run of 1000. Even my tiny zines are selling out of 500 copies in a couple of years. And the book was way more popular than I had thought – I moved almost 200 copies of it in no time flat – and my co-editors sold the other 200.

Techshell laptop case things – very strong, different colors, see-through.

– Lineform – a drawing program that I also wished I could get for my sister. From

– Optix – a document management thing that looked interesting and slick.

– I would like to give something called “imeem” a mention as an example of marketing that radiated maximum lameness. Lame myspace clone trying to sound hip but completely failing; schizophrenic “check it out” “can you dig it” “celebrities & hipsters & models” language mixed with buzzword speak… “combines the best of instant messaging and social networking.” complete with re-invention of the word “group” with their own company name. Here at Blurgh! we’re so cool, like models, that we are going to send each other “emails” but we call them “Blurghs!” because that’s what cool people do!

Macworld brain dump, Monday

My badge/ pass thing got messed up but my cousin-in-law fixed it and then accidentally (? or punk girl solidarity?) got a much nicer access level than seemed possible. (He had told me it would be a full conference pass but then, not, and he had missed a deadline… and then it was in Rook’s name anyway for completely inexplicable reasons…. and then it was even more messed up and he knew that but did not tell me during our several phone calls this morning… and then he tried to say that he figured he could come wiht me and get me into whatever room i wanted to be in, but that would SO OBVIOUSLY not work and plus be extra humiliating. And a badgerian nostril-flaring ice-freeze of extreme wrath overcame me. All’s well that ends well, though. Poor cousin! I think I made him almost faint from stress when I chewed him out. On the other hand I have made him dinner and put him up on trips for many years in a very sweet, earthmama, mom-like, familyish, head-patting way, which he seems to like, and which does not come naturally to me, so the least he could do is respect me on some professional level… I do the headpatting sincerely because he seems to need it. Grrrrrr. Backfired. Now I am “girly” and not a real tech person? Or is my back just up, unreasonably? It just about killed me to have to explain to multiple official looking people that the registration was in my *husband*’s name for no good reason. Despite the phone, email, and in person conversations we had about how Rook has NO interest in going and I am the conference-going and -speaking one around here. Ugh! And then it wasn’t in Rook’s name anyway. Or in mine.)

Well …! Never again! Let’s just move on from that, shall we?

Old bearded dudes at door of session room: “Hey! I think something happened to your hair!” (jocular old-guy flirting/shit slinging/testing/hostility-challenge in growly cigarette-damaged voice)

Me: *leaning forward intensely, stage whisper* NEVER… never…. get drunk with a lesbian biker gang. This is what happens. You wake up all sticky and with purple hair.

Old bearded dudes: *swooning, heart attacks, har-haring, magic acceptance into their club*

Why do I do it! I can’t resist… it is too provoking… and then I always trash talk right back at them and up the ante. It is a no-win strategy in the long run and just encourages guys’ idiotic behavior. But at least it defuses immediate situational tension sometimes.

Chatted later with a super nice, shy-ish, smiley graphic designer from Kansas City.

To the sessions!

Power tools sessions, Monday afternoon

Cruised into part of an Adobe CS talk. Lecture on OpenType fonts – compatible/portable cross platform – bigger character set – better languages support – much better east asian language support – “glyph” command to show all characters in the font –

This is too easy/boring –

I need a much crunchier denser panel to get my new-information fix.

Applescript session – Sal Soghoian

image flipping, padding, scaling (!), other nifty little scripts to manipulate images.

Okay this is cool and i could do it easily. Or write tiny applications to do stuff that I commonly do to images . Hmmm!

Batch processing … “repeat” command… Hmm this all looks super easy and nifty, why have I never gotten into applescript before!? Okay I must go to the Applescript studio session tomorrow afternoon!!! I’m all inspired and want to tinker around with this stuff! I could build cute little custom applications…. inexplicable greed… Surely there is some kind of “applescript cookbook”. (I loved, loved, loved the Perl Cookbook; it made so much sense as a way to learn.)

Hmmm i could make a tiny app to process a bunch of stuff and email it to my blog, maybe a group of little thumbnails- that could be cool. not to mention “email to mom”. Thinking of what SuperT. just asked me for – a sort of easy family newsletter setup (i told her to use vox) But one could drag photos and music to some applescript-created droplet and accomplish what i think she wants to do.

It looks like you could write a custom flickr uploader in like 2 hours…. or something to make a superass fast thing to generate a set of web pages.

Making subroutines with “on”… This guy is a good teacher – I love to watch people programming when they think and explain as they go – it is the best way to learn to watch someone else’s process, especially when they make a bit of a mistake and then recover from it.

This is the way to teach a class – just write a simple program right there – and debug it – It demystifies the process.

Making “droplets” – save as application –

Okay I have to run- the child care clock just ticked to “haul ass home”

**** Home ****

Pondering why people come to such conferences. I am in it to learn stuff and get a little inspiration & ideas – and to meet people – and was thinking that with a particular blogging/writing job that it could be helpful as well – But I know mostly it is people who must learn a particular thing i.e. one’s boss suddenly tells one that we are going to use X platform/software or set up a giant computer lab and now one must suddenly learn that platform and software, pronto, so, here’s a plane ticket and go to this conference or set of classes and magically get up to speed, so there is often some sweating and panic involved. At least that is what I’ve seen in the past! This seems less of a kick ideas around conference like SXSWi and more of a professional schmoozefest + “now we experts teach you stuff” conference.

Well, I’ll see tomorrow. I heard that people will be showing up at 3am and sleeping on the sidewalk to line up to hear Steve Jobs talk, which seems kind of insane, since it will be recorded and broadcast surely? I have zero desire to touch the hem of Steve’s garment in person! I’ll go to a cafe and work on stuff until 11am, instead! I have another grant to write.

Off to MacWorld!

I’m off to Macworld for the afternoon, tra la! I’ve never been to it but it sounds like fun.

Say hi if you’re going to it – ping me by email or AIM or if you have my # call my cell.