Schwag at GUADEC?

Dale Dougherty at O’Reilly captures the dilemma for conference organisers and the schwag bag. This something we’re wrestling with for GUADEC – we know that the majority of stuff given in schwag bags gets thrown away and we want to avoid that waste and drain on the environment. But we need a way to give sponsors some way of getting their material out to the attendees. The current idea is to replace the schwag bag with a usb key which contains all the conference materials (conference program, stuff from speakers, as well as sponsors material) and a simple printed timetable / program. However it’s a difficult trade off – if company X wants to be a cornerstone sponsor but insists on a wad of (paper) marketing material or branded doohickey to be distributed can we resist?

Aside: We realise of course that usb keys have an environmental impact, but the thinking is that since it is an intrinsically useful object it’s instantly recyclable. If you already have a higher storage, physically smaller, more stylish key already, feel free to simply hand it over to the first interesting person you meet in Birmingham, or take home to someone in need of portable storage.

Also saying that we’ll simply ‘put it on the usb key’ isn’t necessarily going to be easy. Someone needs to create a structure and design for that – the ability (possibly) for sponsors to brand their little subsection, the fact that they may not have web ready marketing material – whereas they may have print ready marketing material (or already have boxes of printed stuff for conferences). There are probably a million other problems with bucking the trend and trying to avoid paper marketing and other (primarily sponsor) related schwag bag contents.

Having said that we are a community conference, and we do have to provide ways for people to identify with our community, and as a conference ways for people to say ‘I was there’; T-shirts (both male and female styles), badges, stickers are what we’re thinking.

Send us your tutorials!

Just as a follow up to Ross’ reminder about the pending GUADEC 2007 CFP deadline.

One of the things we’ve talked about for GUADEC 2007 is a Gnome Love day focusing on all the different ways that someone could contribute to GNOME – providing tutorials for beginners, regulars and experts (although with the emphasis on beginners). Tutorials could be as simple as a half hour on a focused topic, and hour for more general, a half day or if you’re feeling brave a whole day.

Off the top of my head it would be great to see things like;

  • writing your first GNOME app / applet (great to get tutorials in a range of languages).
  • Using Glade / gtk+ / gnome libraries for UI building
  • Beginners guide to UI design and practical use of the HIG
  • UI testing
  • Overview of the GNOME technology stack (how all the pieces like gtk+, pango, gnome-vfs, gconf, cairo, dbus, hal, gstreamer, X, compiz, etc, etc all fit together).
  • Tutorials on any one or relevant combinations of the pieces.
  • Performance tuning and optimisation
  • Integrating with databases
  • How to write documentation (linguistic / pedagogic approach)
  • How to use documentation tools (Docbook etc)
  • Bugsquad tutorial
  • How to create Icons, Themes, etc (Tango tutorial?)
  • Working with web API’s (RESTian, XML-RPC, SOAP)
  • Sys admin of GNOME desktops – how to deploy and manage 100+ desktops.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. Of course don’t be discouraged if you’re thinking of submitting a paper that isn’t a tutorial we need plenty of those too so GNOME dudes,get submitting.

Authentic Jono Bacon memorabilia for sale

OK folks this is your chance to own some authentic Bacon memorabilia, and not just some picture or gold disc, a real life leather jacket as used by the Internet’s Jono Bacon – yes you too can feel the swaddling warmth of the jacket that looked after Jono for the last couple of years. Currently Jono is in prep for the BigRedRecording and what better way to celebrate that great work for charity (and donate at the same time) than bid on this exclusive collectors item. All proceeds go to the Red Nose Day charity (I’ll even cover any ebay and postage costs, so what you pay goes to charity) so get bidding.

Aside. Some may wonder how I came to acquire such a collectors item. The simple truth is that for some reason when he left to power the Ubuntu community Jono left his jacket in the kitchen at the office. Since he hasn’t popped back to pick it up during the last 5 months of autumn and winter I figured that it could be devoted to this higher purpose.