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HolidayBuyer's Guide

SXSW has Macs, is cool

AUSTIN, Texas--Everyone who goes to South by Southwest knows that it's the coolest conference there is.

That's what they tell each other, that is, given its unmatched collection of hip bloggers, rocking parties that go late into the night, and general sense that what's going on here and the people at SXSW are at the true cutting edge of interactive technology.

And that's before you even talk about the film part of the conference, which draws its own celebrities--Kris Krisofferson, John Sayles and others.

But the topper, the very proof that SXSW is the pinnacle of effortless cool, is in the press room, of all places.

Now, I've been to a lot of conferences. In cities like San Francisco, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, even others here in Austin. And in every previous case, if the press room even bothered to provide computers, they were PCs. The sole exception was at E3--the annual video game industry blowout in L.A., where there were a number of iMacs.

But walking into the SXSW press room Sunday, I saw something I never expected: a row of gleaming, brand-new Apple Computer MacBook Pros, sitting and waiting for the scribes to get their paws on them.

Now I can die a happy reporter. Or at least one who has climbed a mountaintop of cool.