SXSW 2007: All Hail Central Texas

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Well boys and girls, I’m now planted firmly in Austin for this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW). My trip to GDC 2007 reared a few interesting items like Emotiv’s Project Epoc and a nice case of laryngitis. The voice is is a hoarse wisp of my regular boom, but I’m getting by as best I can. It is, I suspect, nothing that copious amounts of alcohol can’t resolve. In the meantime I’m wandering around like a mute, absorbing everything through sight and sound.

So what have I experienced so far? I’m glad you asked:

I arrived in Austin last night aboard a plane full of SXSW revelers. Plenty of kids fresh on their spring breaks ready to run the streets and cause some trouble on 6th St. It’s hard to not get excited around so much energy. SXSW is, after all, on big excuse for several industries to converge and share campfire stories over cocktails. There are also a few little bands playing too, but no one really care about those (seriously, I didn’t just spend $160 on a wrist band or anything, this is strictly professional).

It took awhile, but I finally got settled in at my hotel and headed to the convention center to register early. Unfortunately here were throngs of people who had the same idea. Nevertheless, I thanked my lucky stars that they were considerably more attractive than the denizens ofGDC . The night consisted of a blogger meet-up at Buffalo Billiards where I managed to hang out with many of my Yahoo! friends and drinkJonnie Blacks one other peoples’ tabs.

Saturday started bright and early, well it started bright at least. I managed to commandeer a Chevy Malibu rental because my hotel is more than a walk from the convention site. Despite my car’s 40hp, seriously it has the pickup of a mo-ped, it managed to get me to the site in time for my meeting with Seagate.

Seagate is presenting in the Screen Burn arcade this year. It has setup a center booth in the hall that is tailored toward video game competitions. I sat down with Seagate reps Jay and David for an interesting discussion on the state of the company. According to them, Seagate is responsible for the majority of the hard drives featured in the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It also just developed a 1.8-inch drive that we’ll likely be seeing in iPod’s in the near future.

More interesting, however, is the 1TB hard drives it will be releasing this year. The drives use only four platters with perpendicular data storage. If you do the math, that means that each platter can store 250GB, so I doubt it will be long before we’re seeing 250GB single platter drives on store shelves. We also discussed theFreeAgent series that Josh reported on after CES, for more information on those, check out his piece.

My visit with Seagate, however, had motives more important than simply talking about storage. Indeed, I had arrived at the booth with an altruistic heart. You see, Seagate had invited my to compete in a game at its booth for the benefit of a charity of my choosing. I accepted the challenge, selfless laying my reputation on the line to aid the kiddies at Child’s Play. If I was victorious, Child’s Play would receive a brand new 750GB hard drive courtesy of Seagate — if I lost, I’d return home a defeated heap of worthlessness.

The game was Fight Night: Round 3. I’d never played it before, but I didn’t let that get to me. It was for the kids, I couldn’t lose. I selected the Raging Bull, Jake LaMotta, and Sugar Ray Leonard, who was a professional dancer or something. The rounds were intense. Sugar Ray did some intricate ballroom moves around the ring and the Bull had a hard time chasing him as he fled. Finally, LaMotta raged all over Rio’s face with a barrage of uppercuts, before eventually sealing the the deal with a strong left hook to the right retina.

Final score: Child’s Play 1 – Tiny Dancer 0

Someone from “Dancing with the Stars” should give that Sugar Ray guy a call though. I think he and Emmit Smith would perform well together.