Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Month in Austin - Part 2

We got to relax a little on the first day of South by South West Interactive because the programming didn't start until 11:00.  We walked to the convention center and watched the opening keynote.

We then took a shuttle bus to the other side of the lake where we spent the day at the Create center - where the makers were located.

Everything about SXSW Interactive is bigger than Edu, the Maker area is located in two large tents and an outside courtyard at the Palmer Center.  Where SXSW Edu was in two buildings, SXSW Interactive is in dozens of buildings located all over downtown Austin.

There were classrooms and meeting areas where we sat in on a gathering of Makers discussing the future of 3D Printing.  Later in the day I went to a presentation by a couple from California who were making low cost, high density housing out of used shipping containers.

When we weren't in presentations and meetings we were visiting the exhibitors.  There were clubs and vendors and educational organizations.  There was a DJ and the Boy Scouts and the Austin Electric Company with a solar display.

It was a gathering of mad scientists, tinkerers and inventors.  

When they closed down at 6:00 we walked back to the RV, less than a mile up Barton Springs Road.

The next day started with our morning walk from the RV to the Convention Center.  This walk starts on city streets then continues on a pedestrian bridge across the lake to a walking path through the park along the shore.  

We started the day by going together to a presentation called, "Killing Trinkets: 3D Printing Interactive Devices".  Then we split up and pursued our individual interests.  I finished the day with, "Beyond Privacy: Surveillance's Threat to Liberty".

I began the next day with, "Crowdsourcing the Worlds's First 3D Printed Vehicle", then in the spirit of gender equity I saw, "Geek Girls are Chic! Five Career Hacks" then, "Bill Gurley and Malcome Gladwell in Conversation" and to end the afternoon, "AI, Immortality and the Future of Selves" by Martine Rothblatt.  

The walk back to the campground at sunset was as beautiful and invigorating as the walk in that morning.

The next day the Exhibition hall opened and we discovered the back row of booths was set aside for International Makers and startups.  We were especially interested in a group of young people from Japan and a young woman who was blending fashion and robotics. 

Before the day ended we dragged our selves away from the Exhibition hall to see a presentation on, "Cuddly Drones: When Kids Design Drones" done by a group of Dutch Educators.

While we were at the Japanese Makers we were invited to a party on 6th street they were hosting later that night.  

We had dinner at some of Austin's famous food trucks - food as good as you will find at any restaurant.  

Then we checked out the scene on 6th Street, which was closed to traffic and was alive with music and Austin's weirdness. 

During SXSW all sorts of people are earning money from the huge number of visitors attending.  One staple on the Austin's Streets are bicycle taxis, where each driver tries to stand out from the crowd.

At the Japanese Makers' party I had a drink of Saki and we watched the young people dance and socialize.  Lucie and I talked with a man from Britain who was involved with some of the young peoples' businesses.   
Tuesday March 17th was the last day of SXSW Interactive, and the first day of SXSW Music.  Things were really hopping in Austin.  

I started the day with, "Malware in the Wild: Evolving to Evade Detection" then "Privacy in the age of Drone Fever".   Then I saw "The State of Surveillance" and finally "Bruce Sterling's Closing Talk".  

In between Lucie and I took in the Robot Petting Zoo, the place to be if your thing is robotics.

After that another trip up to 6th street where one of the vendors, Saloote, had invited us to a party, and to partake of Austin's weirdness.

On the way home we walked through a park in the city where they had a  display of LED sculpture that made it quite a night time destination.

The next 48 hours we rested up and Lucie packed for her trip back to Vermont.  Bright and early the 3rd day Lucie flew to Vermont for a busy 10 days where she taught a group of middle school girls how to program flowers to blink and fade in C++.  Organized and hosted a state wide recognition day for teachers who use technology.  Presented at a  Kindergarten Teachers' conference.  Presented at a Science Leaders Meeting.  Worked at the Generator Maker Space in Burlington.  Visited our Grandchildren and visited her Mom and Sisters.

I was on vacation.  I had some projects around the RV, rebuilt the toilet and replaced a furnace.

I took long walks almost every day (that the weather was good).

I ate lots of BBQ!  Austin has good Barbecue.  I got together with Terry Sayther and Debbie Stuart, fellow Wanderlodge owners who live in Austin.  They saw our bus and left a note on the door one day.  When Lucie returned we all went out to the edge of town to the Salt Lick to have what they described as the best BBQ in Austin.  It was delicious!

Discovered a nice place to go out for a beer about a two mile walk from the campground (Ginger Man).

One night I went back to 6th street and heard a great blues guitarist.

I really enjoyed late March in Austin.  Pecan Grove was mellow and warm.  The leaves were coming out on the Pecan trees and life was good.

April 1st Lucie came back from Vermont and on April 3rd we headed out of Austin, beginning our trip back home to Vermont.

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