First look: Hurricane Party gets us ready for SXSW (look for parties with friends)

In two weeks SXSW is coming. You know, “spring break for geeks.” All through town will be tons of parties.

But how do you find good parties nearby?

Even better, can you find good events and parties for your friends to attend back at home after SXSW is over?

Hurricane Party has the answer. It is an iPhone app that helps you do everything from getting your friends together after work to making a bigger event happen.

Here Rene Pinnell talks us through it.

UPDATE: Hurricane Party hasn’t been released by Apple yet. That’s expected to happen by this weekend.


I really like Techcrunch’s new “Facebook comments”

Techcrunch today changed from Disqus comments, like the ones I use on my blog, to Facebook comments. That decision was discussed on Techcrunch, including by me (see the comments).

They are hated by a lot of people, see the comments on this Techcrunch post, but I really love them.

Why? The quality of the comments went up 1000%. More on that in a second.

Plus, everytime I comment now I can shove that answer over to Facebook, which brings them more readers since most of their potential growth will come from Facebook.

So, why has the quality of the comments gone up?

1. Much less anonymity. I really hate anonymity. In 10 years of blogging I can only remember a few really great comments done by someone anonymous. But, anonymous people are far more likely to try to destroy the conversation and not be constructive. Even when they are constructively critical, you don’t know where they are coming from or who they are. The simple addition of a real name onto their comments makes their critique much more useful and interesting and more likely to be listened to, in my experience.

Think about it for a second. If someone anonymous says “your post sucks because it didn’t consider xyz point.” Now, what if Tim O’Reilly said it? Or Bill Gates? Are you more likely or less likely to listen to the feedback? Is it more or likely to lead to better conversation?

2. A provable social graph. On Facebook there are quite a few Bill Gates. Lots of people love to impersonate him. But I can pick the real one out because the real one has certain people in his social graph (his friends are people who match who his real life friends are). This means impersonators are easily thrown out of the system.

3. The font is smaller and more compact, so I can see more comments in one stream.

Anyway, for now, I’m sticking with Disqus. I’m watching Techcrunch’s experiment. Over on Quora Techcrunch’s MG Siegler explained more about why they switched.

What do you think? Would switching to Facebook help or hurt here?

Rob Glaser’s next thing: SocialEyes, group videoconferencing

This post was republished, in part, from Rackspace’s Building43.

Rob Glaser got known by starting Real Networks so we wondered what he was going to do next. Here it is. He joined up with CEO Rob Williams, who used to be on the Netmeeting team at Microsoft. In other words he’s been doing collaborative real time video software for a long time (Netmeeting was hot in 1995/1996). In this conversation we cover a lot of videoconferencing history and what’s changed since Netmeeting.

While video conferencing via the web has been around since the 1990s, the concept hasn’t kept pace with the radical changes in social interactions made possible by services such as Facebook. SocialEyes is changing that with a new tool that introduces video into the Facebook experience.

“The way that people collaborate now in the age of social networks is very, very different than the way they used to,” explains Rob Williams, CEO of SocialEyes. “SocialEyes is a social video product that lets people connect with their Facebook friends in much more dynamic and powerful ways than they have before and to go beyond their Facebook friends to connect with people who have a shared interest or passion…both in real-time and asynchronously.”

SocialEyes is a free service and works directly within your browser using Flash. You can have multiple video conversations going on at once in separate windows, and if you want to combine conversations, the software has tools to connect windows and create ad hoc group meetings.

By associating with Facebook, SocialEyes has an enormous potential pool of users, and the goal is to make it easy for each of them to use the service. “One of the very powerful things we do with SocialEyes,” says Williams, “is rollout something that works across every [Facebook] user–500 million users around the world–with essentially no software download.”

UPDATE: GigaOm covered SocialEyes too. More coverage is on Techmeme.

More info:

SocialEyes web site:
SocialEyes on Twitter:
SocialEyes profile on CrunchBase: