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A slice of SXSW Interactive 2013

SXSW Interactive 2013 packed tens of thousands into Austin, Texas. The world's largest Internet conference included hardware hacking and mechanical bulldogs.
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By Violet Blue on
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1 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Interactive 2013

One part festival of tech innovation and one part idiotic marketing stunts, SXSW Interactive 2013 brought an estimated 65,000 attendees to Austin, Texas. In addition to Interactive's panels and sessions about everything from digital rights to the personalization of big data, SXSW emphasized gaming, hardware hacking, and education in the form of the "maker movement."

Photo by John Adams.

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2 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Game of Thrones Pedicab

Attendees could get around downtown Austin in regular taxis, but many companies employed gimmicks to get attention and publicity. Uber gave its customers free pedicab rides, and for $75 Uber customers could be picked up in a Rolls Royce Ghost (among other luxury vehicles). One startup offered SXSW attendees piggy back rides.

HBO cleverly partnered with local pedicab drivers (through Mr. Rickshaw) to transport attendees around town in a fleet of Game of Thrones "Iron Throne" pedicabs as part of its season 3 promotion. South by SouthWesteros, anyone?

Photo by John Adams.

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3 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Google employees in Google Glass

SXSW 2013 was well attended by Google employees who wore Google Glass (glasses) for the duration of the event - no surprise, as Google also had a SXSW Glass session/PR pitch this year prior to the upcoming release of the (rumored) $1500 toys. Around the con, the Google employees soon became known for using Glass to hit on girls, and being less than forthcoming to people when asked if the glasses were in operation or not at any given time.

Photo by John Adams.

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4 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

BBC's Doctor Who Dalek Hats

BBC America's "Roadhouse" set up shop across from the Austin Convention Center and had promotions for its top-level shows, including Doctor Who. Above is a line of fans in Dalek hats. waiting to see Eclectic Method perform its "50 Years of Doctor Who" tribute set in the Roadhouse. 

Photo by John Adams.

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5 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Visitors to BBC America's Roadhouse could recharge phones at Gizmodo's 'phone detention center' or take a ride on "Lord Humphrey" - a bucking mechanical bulldog.

Photo by John Adams.

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6 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Create - Boosted Boards

This year SXSW Create - hands-on hardware hacking - was larger and took place in large tents next to the Austin Convention Center. Exhibitors included Austin's ATX Hackerspace, Autodesk, MIT Media Lab, TechShop Auston and many more.

Photo by John Adams.

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7 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Boosted Boards

Boosted Boards exhibited at SXSW Create; the eclectric longboard was a very successful Kickstarter project and received nearly half a million dollars in crowdsourced funding.

Photo by John Adams.

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8 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Create: Chaos VPN

Spotted at SXSW Create: Chaos VPN.

Photo by Violet Blue.

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9 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Create - King Beat

Drumming robot King Beat (from Arc Attack) rolled around the SXSW Create tents looking for things to hit, delighting children of all ages.

Photo by John Adams.

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10 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Create

Spotted at SXSW Create: Jeff McAlvay's own pick n place, from Board Forge.

Photo by John Adams.

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11 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Create

Spotted at SXSW Create: a homemade flight simulator, from ATX Hackerspace.

Photo by John Adams.

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12 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 Robert Scoble at Rackspace

There were many company-sponsored free lounges open to badgeholders (with free beer, coffee, food and more). Robert Scoble hosted the informal and informative Rackspace Lounge across the street from the convention center.

Photo by Violet Blue.

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13 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 - MIT Media Lab party

The MIT Media Lab party - Eric Michaud (SXSW Create exhibitor), Joi Ito, and a director from the Knight Foundation.

Photo by Violet Blue.

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14 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Yahoo Lounge at SXSW 2013

The Yahoo Lounge was a comfortable place to cowork, though it was often empty.

Photo by John Adams.

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15 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Yahoo Lounge SXSW 2013

After Yahoo's recent controversial layoffs spearheaded by Marissa Meyer - firing Yahoo's telecommunting employees - some joked that the beautiful seating in Yahoo's SXSW Lounge was comprised of lovely chairs from which Yahoo employees could never, ever work from.

Photo by John Adams.

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16 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 - Brian Solis and Scott Beale

Spotted almost everywhere: Brian Solis, who launched his new book WTF Business and sponsored many free events (including the all-day coworking space, Samsung Blogger Lounge) and Scott Beale, founder and operator of Laughing Squid.

Photo by John Adams.

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17 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Taskrabbit at SXSW 2013

Many companies had marketing gimmicks in an attempt to make their brands more visible in a morass of in-your-face marketing stunts. Taskrabbit had cute bunny vehicles.

Photo by John Adams.

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18 of 18 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013

Fron of the Austin Convention Center, SXSW 2013: more attended than ever, over 5,000 events, and the place tech companies increasingly flock to for big announcements. SXSW is a lot of things to a lot of people, and it's always interesting.

Photo by John Adams.

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