THE LINE TO END ALL LINES: There are few certainties when attending SXSW, but one of them is waiting in a massively long line to get your badge. This is my fourth tour of duty here, and it’s the same every year — a long line snaking around the first floor of the Ausin Convention Center.
The thing that has changed this year is that it seems that the iPhone has reached critical mass with the SXSW crowd. What used to be a series of random interactions between similarly stranded people has turned into a series of folks checking their e-mail, surfing the Web, etc. Sort of takes the “interactive” out of the SXSW Interactive Conference.
But I’m not here to complain. In fact, there are a lot of new things to be excited about at this year’s festival. For one, a new shuttle bus will connect the convention center with the major theaters – the Paramount on Congress and the Alamo Draft House on South Lamar. That’s a major plus for moviegoers, as that frantic search for parking before your screening has been eliminated.
Another step up is the Internet access in the convention center. In years past, it was always ironic, I thought, that one of the largest collection of high-tech people in the world was subject to the world’s slowest Internet connection. I always imagined a hamster trying to run a little bit faster each time I clicked on a new Web page. Things seem to be going much faster this year, which means I’ll be able to send stuff to the blog more quickly I hope.
So in summary: Line to pick up badge – still slow. Connection to the Net – now fast.