Tech Week makes an entertaining entry
The happy marriage of Tech and Culture sparks the first themed day of Philly Tech Week events.
Your obedient Gizmo Guy falls asleep during deep discussions of business-to-business software, search engine optimization, Big Data collection and other "important" but arcane tech affairs. His eyes perked up with pleasure, though, to see how Philly Tech Week is kicking off its fifth annual fete on Friday with a whole day (into evening) geared to the marriage of Tech and Culture. That is, to discussions of devices and support systems used to make, entertain and enlighten. Essentially, the fun and games side of tech that works both sides of the brain. Who can't get their heads into (and maybe learn) something like that?
Last we looked, there were still openings to register (at phillytechweek.com) for TechniCulture, the Friday morning program hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St. Drexel University ExCite Center director Youngmoo Kim will rally the cause for STEAM ( as opposed to STEM) education in the schools, underscoring how the addition and stimulations of ART build on our understanding and creative application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (Lots of art educators have signed up for this one.) Also in the program mix- a bunch of short 'n' sweet (TED-style) talkers will speak to the ways "techsperts" and cultural institutions are working together for the benefit of both presenters and their audiences. A perfect case in point is the Philadelphia Orchestra's "LiveNote" program – which text-messages music analysis and fun historical anecdotes to concert-goers' smart phones while the Orchestra plays. If you're participating in TechniCulture, be sure to bring (and not turn off) a smartphone or tablet for this and other interactive demonstrations.
Honestly, just a couple participants in the Philly Startup Crawl (4-8 p.m.Friday) fall at all into the day's tech/culture mashup theme. But just the idea of popping in and out of eight creative beehives co-located in a compact, center city corrider for a fast look see and free beer sounds invigorating. And better than mourning the sellout of the Philadelphia Museum of Art's on-point Tech Tour (5:30 to 7 p.m.) PMoA's interactive tech team Ariel Schwartz, Ashley Scrivener and Peter Alt will define their mission, successes and failures, lead a walking tour of technologies installed and prototypes being developed for upcoming designs. Yes, there's more to museum tech than automated tour guide players. Take, please, their new "mobile way finder" to lead you to the art, or touch screen companions that zoom in and explain the fine details of an oft-overlooked Van Eyk miniature or the ornate Chinese Temple sitting in the Asian Wing.
While organizers are hoping for a head count through advance registration, we doubt you'll be turned away, even without a ticket, from the outdoor Philly Tech Week Kickoff event at Dilworth Park (Broad and Market, west side of City Hall) on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. This free, festive fair is ALL ABOUT technology worked for entertaining ends. Start with the App Arcade dominated by more than twenty local game makers – from family-focused funsters Backward pies to educational game provider SmartyPal. In the Maker Corner, discover how to turn your dream product into reality – using gear and collaborating with other creators in local spaces like The Hactory, Hive76 and Next Fab. Also on tap – live performances from hip hop rappers and turntablists Pixel8ter, DJ Cutman and Kuf Knotz, podcasters 8bitX Radio Network plus suds and food stuffs to buy in the Rosa Blanca Café beer garden.