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Must-Haves From South By Southwest

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Our favorite books, albums and tech from the upcoming 2015 festival.

By Rachel Phua

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BOOK: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, MIT PRESS

Written by communications lecturer and Digital Ecologies Research Partnership fellow Whitney Phillips, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is an intriguing and in-depth look at the Internet- trolls phenomenon that has been dismissed as an unnecessary annoyance. Phillips argues that this childlike behavior is relevant to our current social media use, users and the business-marketing climate. Whether you are a web junkie or are unfamiliar with Internet trolling and its effect on contemporary media, Phillips’ book will provide you a critical take on seemingly frivolous online conduct.

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Music: Arum Rae

Austin-raised, Brooklyn-based electro-rock artist Arum Rae returns to her hometown to perform at South By Southwest. Schooled at the Berklee College of Music, the artist, previously known as White Dress, released her latest EP, Waving Wild, on last November. Jam to the grunge and deep bass beats before heading out to her gig this March.

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Gadget: EDGEhome

EDGEhome, another finalist in this year’s Innovation Awards, is a sustainable home technology that has long been needed. Using built-in wireless devices installed into electrical outlets during home construction or renovations, EDGEhome allows users to control and keep track of the power usage through their smartphone or tablet. So in case you forgot to switch off the lights or air conditioner, you can easily fix that worry in your office or while on the go.

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Game: Shovel Knight

If you haven’t started on this 8-bit of nostalgia, it’s time to get it. Shovel Knight is the only indie game under South By Southwest’s Video Game of the Year category. Its creator, Yacht Club Games, funded the successful campaign through Kickstarter. You play as a valiant knight on a quest to kill the Enchantress and to save his princess. The gameplay will surely remind you of your old Mario-wielding days. What Old School goodness!

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PROGRAM: Disconnect

A finalist in South By Southwest’s Interactive Innovation Awards’ Privacy and Security category, Disconnect is a new practical, user-friendly and powerful open-source tool that works to protect online users from hackers and trackers that haunt web pages. The program allows users to discover these invisible trackers, encrypt their Internet use so that personal information and the IP address is protected, access blocked sites through their VPN servers and make anonymous searches. For a safer and freer Internet, Disconnect is the way to go.

Mark Your Calendar

Catch all of our top picks at the 2015 South By Southwest conference and festival.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things book reading

March 16, 4:30 p.m., Austin Convention Center, Ballroom G

SXSW Gaming awards

March 14, 7 p.m., ACL Live at the Moody Theater

SXSW Interactive Innovation awards

March 17, 6 p.m., Hilton Austin Hotel, sixth floor

Arum Rae


Photos courtesy of MIT Press, Arum Rae, Yacht Club Games, EDGEhome and Disconect.  


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