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Photo by Laughing Squid/ Scott Beale

By Irene McGee

It's that time again: the annual liquid re-union that is SXSW has begun. While the more massive crowds show up for the music festival on the 17th, SXSW is also home to the world's biggest tech-fest, SXSWi, which runs from the 12th to the 16th.

That means a huge contingent of the Los Angeles and San Francisco tech communities are currently flying to Austin to see all their friends get out-of-their-mind-wasted while disclosing trade secrets (like who accidentally slept with whom last night). I'm kidding, people go to SXSWi for other reasons too — say to replenish their t-shirt drawer or cover their laptops with promotional stickers.

Ever since Twitter broke through at SXSWi three years ago, people have speculated on which start-up will most benefit from the SXSWi effect. There is still debate about which location app was last year's winner — New York's Foursquare or Austin's own Gowalla?

While the geo-location wars continue to rage, one useful party-hopping tool is quietly coming up in the ranks for 2010: Plancast. Launched in December 2009, Plancast has carved a unique niche for

itself in the event notification space. Where other applications tell

us where you are, Plancast tells people where you're going to be.

Plus, people can include a lil' mug shot of themselves, which is vital

for stalking (er, networking). It's important to know what your prey

looks like in real life.

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Plancast is currently experiencing SXSW overload to the point that founder Mark Hendrickson dedicated to making sure every party, no matter how underground, is listed. In fact Plancast recently hired a person to specifically deal with SXSW parties; “[We're] making sure every SXSW event is listed on Plancast. While lists only official events, we have all the events,” Hendrickson told the SF Weekly.


SXSWi is best used for networking over whiskey shots: You always read about any announcements and breaking news on Techcrunch , or the next day. To make Austin navigating easier (wading through the multiple SXSW events and venues is somewhat complicated), Plancast has clustered their feeds into categories, including one for the tech set, one for the music crowd, and one for the alcoholics.

There's even a Plancast category for the badgeless as well as a “featured” attendee list. Because when I think party, I immediately think Robert Scoble or MG Siegler — nothing says “body shots” like a bar full of tech reporters.

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Photo by Laughing Squid/ Scott Beale

Well what are you waiting for? You can't check in yet on Gowalla or Foursquare, so go get your plan on at

or download their just released iPhone App here.

Oh, and one final tip: you might also want to pick up a loofah so you can scrub the bar-hopping-stamp-o-shame off your hand before your big meeting. You are scheduling one real meeting right?

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