Augment your SXSW reality (News: first indoor AR app released)

No, no, I’m not talking about going to the Diggnation party and downing a couple of drinks. This year there’s some geekier ways to augment your reality while you walk from panel to panel or event to party.

Here’s a few.

1. Win $1,000 by using SXSW version of the Junaio augmented reality app. The game is called ScavengAR and you can get details on the game here. Sorry, only for iPhone 3GS users. If you see me at the Rackspace Revolution party on Monday night (I’ll be working the door so should be easy to find) I’ll be wearing one of the T-shirts that can help you win this game (and the augmented reality stuff it does on my shirt is pretty mind-blowing. ).

2. Get the SXSW QR code app. There will be a ton of QR codes at SXSW, including on everyone’s badges. If you have a QR code app on your phone you’ll be able to easily exchange information without having to collect old-style business cards.

3. Use Gowalla, MyTown, and Foursquare and watch out for other location-based games that will do something fun at SXSW. Foursquare just announced their SXSW badges and I’m meeting with Gowalla’s co-founder later today to get the skinny on what they are doing. Foursquare is releasing a new iPhone app tomorrow, which has a much better design and new features. Gowalla is expected to do a lot too, and has a huge party at SXSW that’s already sold out. Are you not sure which one is best for you? Check out the shootout I put up on Google Buzz that got hundreds of comments.

4. Plan out your SXSW fun with Plancast (a new kind of event planner). They have a whole page dedicated to SXSW and most of my geeky friends are using Plancast to find events.

5. Prepare for wireless troubles. I talk about some of the preparations that AT&T is saying they’ve made to get ready for SXSW over on Google Buzz, but we still expect troubles so some of this stuff might not work at all. I’m carrying a Droid that will be on Verizon. At CES that served me well. Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford two devices. AT&T says they’ll have a bunch of wifi access points throughout downtown, though, which should help reduce the load on their cell towers.

6. Get some Stickybits and hand them out like business cards and stick them to all your friends’ computers like I will be. Hah. What are these? Little stickers with a barcode that you can put information into. Or, turn into a forum. Techcrunch explains.

Stickybits photo

I’m sure I’m missing a ton of apps that we could use to augment our realities, so please leave your favorite apps that you recommend other SXSW attendees to use in the comments here and I’ll probably write another post later in the week.

Oh, and the news? The ScavengAR app is built on top of the new Junaio 2.0 platform that’s the first Augmented Reality app that is designed to be used indoors where GPS might not work properly. That makes it great for using it at parties, or at museums. They are also shipping two new channels, one for BART (Bay Area transit, will show you station locations and estimated arrival times) and one for Eventful, which will show you event data from Eventful, which is a comprehensive calendar of local events. You can download Junaio 2.0 now from the app store (the video for ScavangAR shows you how) and there will be more details on 2.0 on Junaio’s website by the end of the day.

Do we need a new tech literacy? (Behind the "big data" services like Twitter, Facebook use)

The technology that lies underneath the services we use every day is complex and changing quickly. Technologies like Hadoop, MapReduce, are changing how developers and architects build these services. As I was talking with Mike Olson, CEO of Cloudera (a company that builds technology to help developers deal with these larger-than terabyte databases) I realized that by learning about the technology underneath these services I was better able to understand why these services can’t give me some of the features I want.

Anyway, he talks me through some of the changes in the database world and explains the technology and terms that lay underneath. Good primer for people who want to have a better tech literacy of the terms and technology underneath big data services like Twitter and Facebook.

Do you agree with me that we need a new tech literacy? That we should be teaching this stuff in high school so kids can get at least some understanding of where technology is and where it is going? Tons of startups hiring thousands of people have already started up in San Francisco area using these technologies and they will only get more important and people who understand how to develop on them will only become more in demand. But how many people outside of the development world know what Hadoop is? Not enough.