SXSW: too many parties!!!

OK, I was just checking out Upcoming.org for SXSW events (SXSW is a very popular conference among San Francisco geek types). Held in Austin, TX, every year it’s probably popular because of the music and film history of the conference. But it is one of those that are a “must attend” for geeks. Damn, there are so many parties and events I am having a really tough time choosing.

One advantage I have is I have several hundred people reporting to me what their favorite events are. So, I can see which events are really popular (or which ones the friends I want to hang out with are attending). Closer to the event I’ll make a list.

I’m adding to the noise, too
. A bunch of people are asking me to take them out to good BBQ (we’ll go to the Salt Lick, or maybe some other really awesome BBQ place — last year we went and it was really great). So, I am trying to figure out what day/time is best. We’ll do it on Tuesday evening, then head over to the Digg party.

Anyway, last year Twitter showed its usefulness at SXSW. I think this year Upcoming.org is really demonstrating why it’s the best tech event calendar system.

I added all the SXSW events to my own calendar.

UPDATE: talking about SXSW, Viddler and others are putting up videos about and from SXSW and there’s a 3.5 gigabyte file up on Bittorrent that includes all the music from SXSW.

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Podcasting with BlogTalkRadio

I record Shannon Clark for a podcast

I love the new BlogTalkRadio. Why? I just call a phone number, +1-646-200-0000, (you can call it too). I record a conversation with my cell phone, and then it builds an RSS feed that points to MP3’s of my conversation. What’s the URL? It is my cell phone’s phone number. No need to sign up. No need to give personal details, or even agree to anything.

This way I can make a podcast whenever I want. Utterz does something similar, but you gotta setup Utterz before you make your phone call. I like frictionless publishing and no signup before you start makes a lot of sense to me.

This came out of an idea that Dave Winer and I had, great way to build an RSS feed.

Here’s some things I recorded the other night.

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark is an entrepreneur and a geek and all that and he wrote an interesting blog post explaining what kinds of things he’d like to see added to the OpenSocial API.

In our five-minute audio conversation, we talk about that blog post and what else we’d like to see in OpenSocial and Facebook and what kind of standards we’d like to see surrounding our privacy, too.

Sanford Dickert

Sanford Dickert is a blogger and entrepreneur who lives in New York. In our 1:42 minute conversation he tells me about Power.com, a service that adds a layer on top of other social networks, he says that this service is awesome.

Thanks to BlogTalkRadio for making this happen.

Photo credit: Sanford Dickert took the photos of me and Shannon Clark.

Is Facebook doomed?

Ahh, the patina is shedding off of Facebook.

Looks like the trend I noticed when I was in London talking with Maryam’s niece in December has hit home for Facebook. Is usage down?

My own usage is certainly down. Here’s why:

First, Facebook depresses me. I can’t add new friends, so the “game, er, fun” of Facebook has gone away for me (yes, building my social network was fun for me). Now, I know most of you don’t have that problem, but it does create a retardant effect on the fun of Facebook. It can NOT be a “utility” like a rolodex until it gets rid of all limitations.

But this morning I got a call from someone in France. He was kicked out of Facebook for sending too many messages to his friends. He said he was just chatting with his friends, not doing anything spammy (he only had a handful of friends, he told me). This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this kind of story, I get dozens of such emails every month from people who’ve gotten kicked off the service for not doing too much other than participating in Facebook the way they want.

Anyway, Facebook kicked him off (turned off his account, like they did to me) and now there is no way for him to get added back on. He’s emailed an explanation of what he’s been doing to Facebook. They haven’t answered back. There is no recourse. It’s made more difficult because this guy doesn’t speak English well.

As much as I like Mark Zuckerberg, I can not recommend Facebook to anyone until they fix this problem. There’s ABSOLUTELY NO WAY someone’s account should be deleted without recourse, if Facebook wants to be seen as a utility.

Facebook needs to fix these two problems before I’ll recommend it again to anyone.

One other thing? I’m getting spamish messages on Facebook now because I added hundreds of groups. I’m going to unsubscribe from most of them to keep that from happening. I already have too many attention thieves in my life.

But, to the question of “is Facebook doomed?”

No, it’s not. It still is the best designed, and best performing, social network out there. It fits my idea of what a rolodex, er, address book, should look like. I love the iPhone app. The way it all works. I love seeing photos and videos from my friends.

I just wish Facebook would fix these two problems so I can go back to hyping it up.

What do you think about Facebook? Has the patina worn off for you?