I need a room for SXSW 2014

Austin Panorama during SXSW 2011

Greetings! I have plenty of thoughts and ideas I’ve been writing over the past few years. Y’all will be able to feast your eyes on them one day. For now, I have a request.

I have visited the SXSW Festival since 2009. This year — 2014 — wouldwill be my sixth year. I just need some accommodation. Airbnb hosts have become wise to the event and some have raised their rates to ~$200-400/night during that week. That’s more than a lot of hotels — which all sold out in 2013. The closer the dates get, the more I’m coming to terms with not attending… but then I remember how amazing Austin is and all of the fantastic people I have met there. I digress (I’ll get nostalgic at another time).

I don’t need much:

  • Sleep – A floor, couch, or bed. I take up very little room and can sleep on almost any surface.
  • Dates – I’m planning for the 6th-14th March, but I’m flexible. These will cover the Interactive and Film events.
  • Proximity – Walking distance (less than 2km/1mile?) from the Austin Convention Center.
  • Friends – I have a friend or two in the same situation as me. Any extra space would be used by them.
  • Cost – Yes, I’m willing to pay for accommodation. Just not an arm and a leg. I’m happy to split a room with one, three, or ten people.

If you don’t know me, then you can gather a lot of my personality from this blog, my Twitter, and/or my Airbnb profile. The best way to contact me is on Twitter: @djsteen.

Photography tips for SXSW

I guarantee every single person attending South by Southwest 2012 will bring at least one camera with them. (If they don’t, then they’re consciously going technology-free at the event — I’m not sure why anyone would do that though.) Hence, these tips aren’t just for people that consider themselves photographers; everyone will benefit from these.


As with all devices you take to SxSW, you’ll want to bring extra batteries and/or portable battery chargers. If you’re smartphone is your main camera, then I recommend any of these Duracell USB chargers (they can charge any USB device).


US Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 a.m. Austin, Texas, is in the CST (GMT -6) timezone. After Sunday, it will be CDT (GMT -5). – You want to make sure you have an accurate date/time on your camera(s). Many SxSW attendees will be traveling across multiple states and one, two, or more timezones. Most smartphones will automatically adjust their date/time as soon as you have a connection in the new timezone. Many of the latest standalone cameras will have some kind of timezone support. This will not automatically adjust unless the camera has GPS. I recommend changing the time (and date, if necessary) as soon as possible. If that’s now, then go for it. Personally, I change mine when the airline flight attendant says “prepare for landing”.


These days it’s rare that even the most snap-happy people will fill up their camera’s memory card in a single day. That is, unless you’re shooting RAW and/or HD video. Even if you only take 10 photos in one day, I recommend offloading those photos to your computer or external hard drive (if you brought either of those). Additionally, if you don’t have any backup devices (computer, hard drive) with you, then upload those photos to Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug, Picplz, Twitpic, and/or all of the above as soon as possible (at the latest, every evening in your hotel room).

Follow these tips above for a jolly relaxing and fun time at SxSW. If you enjoy photography, then join me and many others for Trey Ratcliff’s Schemer PhotoWalk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10th, 2012.

I’ll tweet and add more tips to this post if I discover more during the event.

SXSW. Now with less Parties.

Yes, I’m attending SXSW — as I have every year since 2009. I’m hardly an expert about the conference or the city of Austin, but I reckon I have obtained some decent experience during the past three years; albeit badgeless (I had the opportunity to share a friend’s SXSWi badge last year. I did meet some great people on the expo floor, but otherwise the badge wasn’t advantageous to me.)

I read C.C. Chapman’s post regarding parties at the event, and I felt compelled to share my own thoughts.

Last year, Rachel and I RSVP’d and organised our schedule (mostly the parties/nightlife aspect) with a lot of detail. This year, we’ll be just as organised, but I’m slashing the amount of parties I attend.

Noisy environments (concerts, clubs, crowded rooms) have never been pleasing to me (especially for my ears), and my fondness of schwag has decreased significantly over the past few years. Being badgeless and trying to get in to badge-only parties was a challenge, but it ultimately comes down to who you know. When we weren’t able to enter a specific party (badge-only or not) then Rachel and anyone else with us would get very disappointed.

“I just prefer smaller gatherings where you can actually get to know the people around you.”
—C.C. Chapman

The Bigg Diggnation Shindigg was always the best party because it had something interesting and interactive (makes bloody good sense, right?) during the duration of the party. Sadly, our position at the front of the mosh pit resulted in my iPhone screen shattering on the ground last year. I digress. Diggnation concluded at the end of last year, so I’m not sure if Revision3 will be hosting an event this year. If they do, then I’m not even sure I’ll attend.

The other only other event I have interest in is the Austin on Rails Happy Hour. They always have a decent selection of food (chicken wings, fries, chips, salsa, cookies, etc.). We don’t have much experience with Ruby on Rails nor are members of the Austin on Rails community. That’s not a problem though; as long as you register and know the secret word (2010) or the name of the party (2011), then you’re in.

Another event-that’s-not-a-party-but-will-be-partyrific I will be attending is Trey Ratcliff’s Austin Photowalk on Saturday, March 10th… I don’t care how many badges or invites to 12-star hotel rooftop parties you have on this night. This is a free, badgeless event you won’t want to miss.

So, what will I be doing while everyone else is losing their voices at parties. Well, either working, stalking The Ice Cream Man, and/or exploring more of Austin (it’s a great city!).

Will you be joining me?