Getting ready for SXSW: Order your “geek cards”

Back in 2006 I wrote my “best practices” for business cards. That advice hasn’t changed much but the technology behind business cards and business networking sure has. To see just how see the Building43 interview with Hashable’s CEO. Folks over on Quora expect Hashable will be one of the most popular apps at SXSW in 2011.

But as cool as Hashable, or Bump, or similar apps are going to be, most of us will still use paper cards. Damn luddites!

But that doesn’t mean your paper card can’t be geeky! At SXSW this year two companies sent me versions of “geek cards” that they are pushing. You see those two cards in the photo attached to this post.

Who made these? Two companies:

1. Paperlinks.
2. AvaKard.

Yes, both of these are using standard QR codes, so you can scan them with any app but with Paperlinks you can use their iPhone app, which works really well. Shows you all sorts of detail that I can change. You can even get to my Quora page just by scanning my card.

Overall I like Paperlinks better. Partly because I’m just not sold on non-standard-sized cards. Makes it easier to lose and scan and stuff like that. Plus I like the iPhone app they made.

I do like having a photo on a card, though, makes it easier to remember who handed you the card, and where. I also like that Avakards uses a SXSW-specific URL. Paperlinks, in its defense, shows you “I met you at SXSW” which is very useful when you end up mixing up your cards with all of those that you got elsewhere. They are always fun to look back at too.

But, what about you? Are you ready for SXSW? Do you have YOUR geek cards ready to hand out?

By the way, you can scan the cards above using QR code software or Paperlinks’ iPhone app. It even works in the photo above.

One last thing, be careful when handing these cards around. Your corporate bosses might not like you using non-standard cards. In fact I’ll find these hard to use because they don’t even say Rackspace on them. Or, if I did use them I’d also hand you a Rackspace card, too, so you’d know my official work info. But these are fun ways to network with the geeks at SXSW who will be trying all sorts of new mobile apps to network.

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Thank you Google

Dear Google: yes, I know you are pissing off lots of businesses that today aren’t listed as high. CNN Money covers their plight.

I wanted to say “thank you.”

Why? In nearly every search I tried today results are better than they used to be.

Not many people look out for the users in today’s world when so many big businesses are pushing the other way.

I’ve been running lots of searches for things like “San Francisco hotels downtown” and overall your results today are less spammy, have more “real” hotels and fewer intermediaries, and have better results than they used to. Plus, they have fewer ads and fewer of these intermediaries than your biggest competitor, Bing.

Yes, I’m watching Techmeme and seeing the businesses that are hurting. Quora has a very good list of such.

But I just wanted to say “thank you” for trying to do something about the resultsets that are growing less and less useful because more and more sites were getting low-quality content into the result sets.

By the way, these changes don’t help bloggers but I don’t care. I’m a user of Google first and the results have definitely improved lately. I just searched for “Motorola Xoom iPad” and see that my blog is nowhere to be found, but the reprint on Business Insider is on the first page. Definitely Google is much more biased to big brands now than it was eight years ago (eight years ago bloggers were able to be seen much higher than brands).

First look: “no editing” iPhone video editor in HighlightCam

Editing video is a real pain in the behind. Here’s the workflow I use:

1. Hook up my card reader.
2. Copy my video files off of my video card or iPhone to my local hard drive.
3. Import them into a video editing program like iMovie on my Mac or Windows Movie Maker on a PC.
4. I need to edit it, pulling out bad footage, figuring out how to make transitions look good, etc.
5. Export it to a file that can be uploaded to YouTube.
6. Upload it.

I did all that to get the video on this post done today.

But, most people don’t want to do this just to get a video of their kid’s birthday party done, or a ski trip, or a school play.

They just want to shoot, and have it go up to somewhere they can share, like YouTube or Facebook, automatically. Or, even better, they just wanted to email it to grandma so she could see it.

When HighlightCam told me they had a better way to do videos, I was pretty skeptical. After all, I already have iMovie on my iPhone, which lets me edit videos, but then I remembered that most people don’t know what I know about video editing. I have a professional editor, Rocky Barbanica, who taught me a bunch of stuff. You probably don’t have a “Rocky” to help you out and you probably don’t care anyway.

So, what Highlight Cam does is replace Rocky with an easy-to-use system. You just tell it the clips you want to upload and what they are for. It does just that and edits them together into a great video.

Watch the video with CEO Robert Neivert and see how it all works.