Tag Archives: discussion

You're Invited to the Gnomedex Conference


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Most tech conferences would charge you thousands of dollars for the privilege of being inspired. Gnomedex, however, does not! It delivers more bang for your buck, as it has been for the past ten years. This year, the 10th Gnomedex will be happening from August 19 – 21 in Seattle. Will you be joining us?

We don’t know what is going to happen with the Gnomedex brand going forward. We have a lot of ideas, though. I’ve been talking with potential partners, and am looking for potential partners who may want to help evolve the idea of Gnomedex in years to come… not just in Seattle, but possibly elsewhere, as well.

Gnomedex is a confluence of influence – a tapestry of Human Circuitry. We’re surrounded by technology, but it’s becoming increasingly pervasive. We’re surrounded by stories and discussions that usually get glossed over online. Gnomedex is an experience. That is what past attendees will tell you.

We attract hard-core Geeks who love technology and want to meet influencers. We attract influencers themselves. Heck, we even attract the people who don’t realize they’re influencers. We find them before they are influencers of anything – or anyone.

We Geek out over a few days’ time and enjoy ourselves. We relax and open our minds to new experiences, stories and connections.

One of our partners for the past several years has been Eventbrite. They handle registration for us, and have been a boatload of help during past events. This year, they are offering to help drive more traffic towards the conference, in honor of our tenth anniversary. They asked me a series of questions to help them get a better feel for what we do, and I decided to answer them in a video.

  • What IS Gnomedex? – It’s typically a “tech conference,” but really it’s so much more than that. It’s an opportunity for you to explore a side of yourself you may not otherwise have a chance to. You realize you identify with this Geek spirit. Imagine being around more than 300 other people, and being who you really are. You’ll talk about issues that are on the forefront of our industry. We push the envelope, and even predict trends. Back in 2001, we talked of blogs and RSS – long before anyone knew what they were. It boils down to the experiences people have and the energies they take with them back to wherever they came from.
  • How has Gnomedex evolved in the past ten years? – The ethos was still the same in the beginning: treat everyone like a VIP, connect with one another and offer a single-track event. It has evolved to better facilitate the communication online. We’re live streaming the entire conference. We have a much better venue than in past years. You get an awful lot of awesome things for the low cost of $300.00 that we are charging this year. For a 2 1/2 day conference packed full of opportunities, that’s not a lot of money folks.
  • What sets Gnomedex apart from other events? – People come to Gnomedex because they truly WANT to be there. They aren’t made to go. With a lot of industry events, people are sent by their bosses and managers. They feel that they “have” to have a presence there. With our conference, we just don’t get that crowd. Everyone attends because they truly want to experience what it is we’re doing.
  • How do you think the structure of the event serves your goals? That’s something organizers often struggle with. – I’ve seen organizers have seventeen different tracks with thousands of people pouring in. I’m not down with that. I’d rather make 300 people happy than 3000 miserable. In the past, we’ve had people equate what we do with very large conferences and brands, saying that we have done the same thing for a fraction of the cost. I value those connections. I AM about those connections, so that is what I value most. I keep it as small and manageable as I can. That’s centric to community, which is the core component of everything I do.
  • How did you choose and secure the venue? How will the space be set up? – I’m in the process of negotiating the venue for this year. We’ve used it for the past few years. I have no desire to change things, but we’re working out the cost this year. Bell Harbor is an amazing place, and very comfortable. It’s beautiful there, the location is fantastic and everyone leaves happy. They provide awesome food, snacks and drinks all day long. The seating is comfy. There is plenty of room at the tables. Each person has power strips right at their seat and kick-ass Wi-Fi to use.
  • What is your approach to using social media for the event – before, during and after? – I’ve been using various social media outlets for Gnomedex pretty much since the beginning. Our attendees own and create the event. All we do is set the stage. I encourage people to record things, tweet about things and blog about their experiences. It’s always worked out well. Before the event, our volunteers help spread the word as much as anyone. They are excited to be a part of organizing the event and they show it in their conversations online.

I’d love to do other types of events around the Gnomedex brand. It would be amazing to do one for kids and teens, with speakers and presentations geared specifically towards them. This may very well be the last Gnomedex as you know it now – it depends on the partners we get in the future, and the direction they want to take.

If you want a free event, attend a free event. If you want to be treated like cattle, don’t bother to attend Gnomedex. EVERYONE at Gnomedex is treated like a VIP, whether they are a volunteer, an attendee or a presenter.

We have some amazing speakers and experiences lined up already this year. I promise… you will have an amazing time if you join us this year.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Do You Welcome Conversation from Rude People?

Last night, I wrote here on my blog about people interrupting conversations, and asked for comments as to how to filter out “noise”. I’ve received several follow-up comments and emails today, and I appreciate them. I want to use some of them to facilitate even more discussion, so keep your eyes open for that in the coming days.

Kevin was one person who wrote in, talking about his disgust with people who are rude, and who try to force their opinions on him. He makes several very good points, and I wanted to share them with the community.

I read your recent article on how people often get involved in flaming other people’s online discussions, and thought about that for awhile.

On one hand, I am on your side totally because I like healthy debate and I respect that any other person has a right to an opinion. What I object to is when a person is influential in some way, and figures they can command changes that many of us mere mortals do not support or like.

When this happens, who is right… and who is wrong? The answer is that both camps are, because whatever they are discussing and supporting matters to them. One is not “wrong” because of something they believe in. Just because it is different than what I think or believe, does not mean that I feel a person is wrong.

People who add to discussions online often need to remember that much of what they say is a matter of personal opinion. So often, I don’t even see people bother to try and back up what they claim with any type of cold, hard facts or evidence. Unfortunately a lot of modern day computing is personal taste and I resent someone else trying to force their idea of what works for them down my throat.

I have made significant effort to try and work with Windows 7. I don’t like it very well, but I expect I will have little choice going forward. Sadly, the Windows 7 lovers are too busy trying to shove the product down my throat to stop and listen to what I have to say about the operating system. I am 58 years old, and have worked in IT for more than 30 years. I may be a plodder, but am also a survivor. I value the views and opinions I make through proper testing, solid analysis and a bit of “personal taste” thrown in for good measure.

The fact is that I don’t really like Windows 7. I find a few very large flaws with it for people who are used to XP. There is a problem with not properly upgrading from XP to Windows 7 that is not being addressed as far as I can see. There is no classic start bar feature as we would expect. There is also no repair/restore feature like XP had. These things are killer omissions for die-hard XP users.

When I attempt to talk to people who are touting Windows 7 as the next great product of all time, they don’t want to hear what I have to say. They don’t want any opinion that differs from their own. I get flamed for daring to speak out against the o/s in any way. It’s very annoying to have made an informed opinion, based on facts and evidence, only to be told to basically shut up and go away. My opinion doesn’t count to many people, simply because they feel they are right.

When will people wake up, and remember to respect other people’s views, and take the time to learn more themselves by welcoming opinions that are different than theirs?

Kevin is right. Too often these days, people don’t like to listen to things that are outside of their comfort zone. They don’t want to hear anything that goes against what they think is “right”.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you finding yourself up against a seemingly endless stream of negativity at every turn, or are there only a handful of us experiencing this?

Can Online Discussions Always Be Positive?

I noticed a thread today on Geeks that is talking about how discussions always end up turning negative in some way. This got me to thinking about conversations I have all over the web – on Geeks, over at Lockergnome, here in my blog, and even on sites like Twitter. It seems no matter what you’re trying to talk about, someone is going to be negative in some way. The people in this particular thread are right – it truly is annoying.

I’m not talking about differing opinions. Those are great, and I welcome them. Hopefully, you like hearing them as well. Having different viewpoints on things allows us to stretch our minds in directions they may not have otherwise gone. It can make us look at things in a whole new way, from a completely different perspective.

The negativity I’m referring to is exactly as it sounds – negativity, for no reason other than to be rude/demeaning. You’ll be having a conversation that’s going along nicely, and some person pops their nose in and starts going off on a tangent about something that may or may not relate to your discussion. They may even be completely rude about it, or directly “attack” someone involved in the thread/post. I really hate that. What’s the point of it? Why must Internet trolls even exist? Can’t we just like shoot them out of a cannon or something?

Seriously, though, why does it seem so difficult these days to have a completely intelligent conversation with others without the fear of someone taking it down a road it should never go? What are your thoughts? Are you seeing more and more of this lately, and how do you get past it to continue your discussion? What else are you reading and/or participating in online that has your mind stretching?

We have several excellent new Apps and Programs available today in our downloads center for Windows Mobile operating systems, as well as for OS X!

[awsbullet:conversation starter]

What Do You Read?

Earlier today, I posted a video (and blog post) filled with tips on how to maximize your comprehension when it comes to whatever you are reading. That video made me reflect on the types of things I tend to read. I don’t often sit down with a book. When I do, though, my concentration is so absolute that I tend to tune out everything else. I let myself become absorbed by the text. This allows me to truly comprehend and digest whatever it is I’m reading.

I also spend a great deal of time reading things online. I’m constantly perusing blogs, forums, website postings, news sites – you name it, and I likely read it if it’s online. Even though it’s something I’m reading on a computer screen, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve my full attention. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as important as a book I can hold in my hands.

What do you read the most? Do you spend time curled up with a book, or are you like me… preferring to read what people in the world are up to, thinking, feeling and writing about? If you haven’t been keeping up with what people are doing on Lockergnome and Geeks, now is as good a time as any.

Be sure, as always, to keep your eyes on our downloads pages. We’re constantly updating it to bring you the very best and hottest software and apps at the lowest prices we can get for you!

What 100 Things Will Your Child Probably Never Know?

I came across an interesting article online today. With this week being the 40th anniversary of man landing on the Moon, many adults are nostalgic. Nathan Barry blogged on Wired, talking about the many things that kids today have probably never gotten to see and do – and likely never will.

But Moore’s Law and our ever-increasing quest for simpler, smaller, faster and better widgets and thingamabobs will always ensure that some of the technology we grew up with will not be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks. That is, of course, unless we tell them all about the good old days of modems and typewriters, slide rules and encyclopedias …

I couldn’t help but shake my head as I read down the list. I remember nearly all of these things. I recall the day Dad brought home our family’s first microwave, and proclaimed it to be the biggest piece of high-tech equipment the world had ever seen! For all of you other 30-somethings… remember the first CDs that came out? We happily traded our vinyl in for these little discs. These days, many kids just stare at you blankly when you mention a compact disc, as though you’re talking about some foreign object.

What other similar things do you remember? Leave me a comment, and share your stories of wonder and amazement, about the “best” and “awesome” gadgets and gizmos you recall seeing for the first time.

Take a read through the article, and then sit down with your kids (if you have them). Tell them about some of the advances in technology that you have already seen in your lifetime. Don’t let the strides that have already been made be swallowed and forgotten due to the ones yet to come.

Once you finish that, you might want to wander around on Geeks and Lockergnome. There is some excellent content being posted there, as well!

You Need a Thick Skin to Participate Online

Earlier, I read a thread on Geeks about Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman, deleting his Twitter account. Trent embraced Twitter quite awhile ago after discovering what an amazing outlet it can be. He quickly recognized the excellent means of communication Twitter provides. He helped raise over a million dollars via Twitter for a fan of his needing a heart transplant. He talked about the band’s upcoming tours and album, and reached out to fans. Trent loved the fact that fans got to know the “real” side of him, and that they learned there is more to him than just being “the NIN singer”.

Trent told the truth as he saw it on Twitter. He wasn’t afraid to say what he thinks about anything or anyone – positive or negative. However, this created some “hate tweets” from users. Reznor wasn’t happy when people lashed out at him for something he thought or said. He withdrew from Twitter for awhile at one point, and posted about his hatred of the site on his own blog. He returned recently for a short while, but it didn’t last. The account is now completely gone. He has stated that “idiots rule” on social networks.

My advice to Mr. Reznor is to grow a thicker skin. When you are in any type of spotlight, you are going to have critics and haters. Heck, I’m not even famous, and I have my share of people who leave idiotic, hateful or rude comments on each and every social networking site I’m on. You just let those roll off your back. If someone gives constructive criticism – learn from it. If they are simply a troll, ignore them and move on with your life. There are thousands upon thousands of GOOD people on social networking sites, ones who support you. They are the ones who buy tickets to your concerts. They are the ones who purchase your CDs. They are the ones whose opinions you should care about.

There are always going to be trolls, idiots and haters. Why let people like that rule your life, how you conduct yourself, or how you perceive yourself? Why would you judge all people on social networks based on the idiocy of a few? Isn’t that a bit much?

This wasn’t the only good story that caught my eye in our community today, but it is the one that spoke to me the most! All of you have been posting some excellent things on both Lockergnome and Geeks. I hope you take the time to check out what others are doing, as well.

Summer is Half Over Already?!

I can’t believe we’re already into July. Where the heck did June go? How did I miss it? I haven’t gone out to tan yet, nor have I played any beach volleyball. Wait a minute… I must have had some odd out-of-body experience for a moment there. Let’s call it a momentary lapse of sanity, ok? I don’t tan. I’m as ghost-white as it gets. The only “sun” I get are the rays that come from my monitors. We all know I’m not one to play sports, either. I’m not sure who took over my keyboard and wrote that garbage!

In any case, summer is half over I suppose. Time flies when you’re too busy to stop to breathe. Gnomedex is only six weeks away, and the team is working hard to get everything ready. I want to thank all of you who have offered your help and services to help make this year rock more than ever before!

Never fear, young grasshoppers. Even though I’m busy, I still make the time to see what you have to say! Your community contributions are the backbone that makes everything I do so much fun.

How Has Social Media Changed Your Life?

What a powerful and loaded question that could be, eh? I came across a blog post on Geeks earlier, where the writer discussed this subject. He talked of the ways that social networking has changed his life. I can’t help but to sit here, and think of all the ways being so “out there” in the social media world has changed me. Have you ever stopped to think about this? How has being on Facebook changed you? What about Twitter and maybe LinkedIn? Heck… what about Geeks? What about you is different, now that you have incorporated all of these fantastic ways of meeting others into your daily routine? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so leave me a follow-up comment with your story!

This author wasn’t the only one to put something thought-provoking on our sites today. So many of you are busy, writing your thoughts and opinions. Make sure you take the time to nose around, and see what others are doing, as well!

Geek Meets Paranormal Meets Musician

The title says it all, really! What… you don’t get it? You must not have been reading what’s going on in the World of Geeks and Lockergnome today. You all know I love to talk Tech. I love hardware and software, and I can’t get enough of gadgets. Gadgets are an addiction, really. Anyway, I digress. It’s not just the “normal” Tech I’m interested in. I love to read and learn about things I normally wouldn’t even think of. There were some excellent articles written by all of you today, including one discussion on Geeks about how Technology is used in studies of the Paranormal. That is just very cool!

Gettin’ Geeky With It

Trying to get ready to fly out of town for a confernce is hectic enough. Add to that being sick and coughing my head off on top of that. I’ve been going insane! However, I’m really looking forward to SXSW in Texas! At least it’ll be warmer there, right?

I’ve stayed pretty quiet today, resting my voice and such. I’ve tried to spend more time than usual just sitting and reading through things others have done – including you! Here are some links to interesting things I came across today in our community.