SWAG!The trade show at SXSW is always a great place to get swag. Usually you get a suitcase full of t-shirts and this year is no different.

It’s also a good place to find some new companies doing cool things. My only issue with the the trade show is that there are a lot more film and music related booths than interactive (web). The line is definately blurring in some respects as the web becomes more like your own personal tv channel (among other things).

There was some fun booths put on by the ‘good’ browser companies….strangely Microsoft was absent (so was Apple for that matter).

I bumped into some nice folks from Opera Software at Starbucks on my way to the convention center this morning. I still haven’t been able to use their browser on my desktop/laptop on a regular basis (but it is good) but love it on my Nintendo DS lite and Wii….I even went to the lengths of buying the DS browser from eBay since it was only available (at the time) in Japan. It’s also been a fun way to kick back on the couch and surf on my Nintendo Wii. They were giving away t-shirts, some fun underwear (tighty whiteys) and cool Wiimote straps (probably meant for cellphones).

That said, I still like Firefox the most on the PC platform which I use at work. As I wrote in a previous post, I use Safari/Firefox/Camino on my laptop (Powerbook) and mostly Safari on my desktop (iMac).

KillerAt Screenburn, I was given some ‘bling’ in the form of the ‘K’ logo from the Killer NIC guys…they make a specialized network card that bypasses the Windows networking drivers and is supposed to be optimized for online gaming.

Too bad I’ll never find out since I have a Mac and they sell a PCI card for Windows machines. Should be interesting going through customs with this thing in my bag.

Another cool company I came across is Lucky Oliver who sells stock photos and illustrations for cheap. You can also submit your own works and get paid when people buy them. That’s pretty cool and there is a good chance you’ll find something unique instead of what the big sites have that everyone uses. Yeah they gave me a shirt if I would blog about them but I think it’s a cool idea. The shirt is nice too.

Despite getting a ton of free shirts, I still bought one from the guys from the Creative Commons…it’s a good cause and they need to keep doing it. Plus the shirt was green…I can never have too many green t-shirts.

AOL had a unique contest too. Despite my not being a user, they were giving away nerd shirts (promoting their site) and if you came back to the booth at a specific time wearing it, they were going to give away an iPod Video to someone. I figured why not and came back and put the shirt on. There was only about 25 or so people that did so my odds were pretty good…even though I already have one, a free iPod would be cool for a gift or eBay. They gave all the shirt wearers a playing card and we tore them in half and put them into a box. I didn’t win and they ended up giving away a Video, a Nano and two Shuffles. They gave everyone that participated a free 1gb USB key so it’s not so bad being a nerd.

I’m glad I brought a big suitcase this year….I’m going to need it.

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