Tag Archives: conference

Can You Get Gnomedex Tickets for Free? Maybe!

Since 2001, we have been producing Gnomedex, a conference that brought to the stage hundreds of thought leaders and many influencers before they were influential. We started Gnomedex 10 years ago in Iowa, and the conference has since grown to one of the premier tech conferences in the nation. After last year’s event, I announced it would be the last Gnomedex – but we’re now bringing it out of retirement (if only for a day) to join the Seattle Interactive Conference on November 2, 2011 in Seattle (naturally).

As always, this year we will continue to feature even more exciting and innovative speakers, including John Wilbanks, Kent Nichols, Michael Haley, Christopher Burgess and Pascal Schuback. Granted, this will be more of a Gnomedex Lite, considering we are working within the construct of another conference for just a single day.

If you think we’re excited to bring back Gnomedex, we can’t wait for you to see what we’re doing this year. Tickets for the event are available via the Seattle Interactive Conference site, but we’ve got a way for you to get two FREE passes to this year’s Gnomedex. All you have to do is enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a pair of tickets to Gnomedex. The rules are simple – just follow me personally on Twitter at @ChrisPirillo as well as the LockerGnome Twitter account at @LockerGnome. You can also earn an extra entry by “Liking” the LockerGnome Facebook page, too. Don’t worry, you’ll see more from us on Facebook soon.

The giveaway is open now and will run through 12:01 a.m. next Monday, 10/24/11 (EST). We’ll announce the winner on Monday – and may even have a special offer for everyone else who enters the giveaway, too. And if you don’t like giveaways, you can always register for Gnomedex and the Seattle Interactive Conference outright.

Enter below for a chance to win a free pair of tickets to Gnomedex on November 2, 2011!

How to Diet and Exercise When You Travel

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Conferences are a fantastic way to educate yourself and make new connections with people. They’re also a great way to network at after-parties and gain a little weight. Let’s face it: most conference parties offer food which is full of carbs, sugars and other icky substances. Even though it tastes fantastic, our bodies may not thank us for partaking in the morning. What’s a geek to do to stay in shape while spending so much time attending events? Jake met up with Tim Ferriss – author of The 4-Hour Body – to find out.

Sticking with proteins and veggies can be done at SXSW and any other event you may be traveling to. Don’t feel you have to sample all of the food offered to you during conference lunches and dinner or during parties thrown for attendees. Additionally, if you feel you must drink alcohol, try ordering a NorCal Margarita. This is comprised of soda water, high-grade tequila and the juice from at least four limes. These drinks are the “lesser of many evils” according to Tim, since many types of booze contains a lot of calories.

Exercising in a hotel room can be tricky, and you usually don’t quite feel up to going for a morning run during conference days. Tim has a few ideas to help Jake out there, as well. Packing a few mini bands allows you to quickly do your resistance exercises. You can also adapt several normal types of exercise to give you more of a workout: try doing one-armed pushups against a desk at an angle. Do your squats with one leg raised. Make sure you aren’t a klutz like me before attempting any of these things, though.

If you don’t have any weights in your suitcase or hotel room to help with your workout, try making your exercises much slower than usual. If you’re performing squats, go down slowly at a count of five and come back up at a count of five. The same goes for many other types of stretches and lunges.

Lastly, Tim recommends looking into doing an intense workout the day before traveling which requires giving your body 5-7 days to recover before doing another. This sort of covers you for the days you are gone and cannot work your body to its usual pace.

MacWorld Expo 2011 – Worst of All

This is a guest post written by Imei Hsu as a follow-up to her MacWorld 2011 – Best of All post.

When I do something wrong, I apologize. Making errors can be embarrassing, which probably has something to do with why I’ve taken so long to share with the community my Macworld Expo 2011 Worst of All post, a.ka. face palm edition. I don’t like people to feel ashamed for what might be experienced as anything between, “WTF?” to “I don’t get it.” But here are my thoughts on this year’s MacWorld “Worst of All” picks.

Worst of All

iFusion – OK, I get that for those who work in an office space with more than ten employees who have iPhones, being able to turn your iPhone into a desk phone via Bluetooth using the iFusion could be a viable solution. I do not understand how a business owner would justify paying $169 per unit so you as an employee could enjoy a charging station and your music over the speaker without getting a neck cramp. Nor could I understand that the unit is only for iPhone, and not for other kinds of mobile phones, because what is the likelihood you’ll know what employees have iPhones (unless you bought them yourself)?

I also could not see the home market taking off with this either. I hardly know anyone who uses their landlines much. I could see a much older market finding this product useful, but I was left scratching my head. The handset phone market is dying, isn’t it? Do we really have use for the iFusion? Call it iConfusion.

Yet one more iPad case with a strap. – Anyone who has used an iPad and tried standing or walking with it immediately discovers that typing with one hand while holding it steady with the other takes a little practice. If I recall, that might have been what caused Chris Pirillo to drop my first iPad [BTW, I may already have a buyer for that one when I get the iPad2, hee hee]. However, at Macword Expo 2011, there were quite a few vendors specializing in iPad accessories dedicated to that strap issue. How many iPad case strap vendors does it take to cover a conference? Really?

I’ll admit there were just as many iPhone case vendors as well, but to their credit, quite a few of them had some interesting offerings, including one that made your iPhone look like an old cassette tape, and another that put more bling bling on your iPhone than Zsa Zsa Gabor and Queen Elizabeth combined. At least they were interesting. No picture here. To include one would be flog you with the one corner of the Expo I didn’t wish to revisit.

HatTV. – Or is it TV Hat? Apparently, they are one and the same! Debuting in 2009, the 2011 version comes in all black, converting outdoor mobile phone movie watching and gaming into a mildly pervy, voyeuristic, claustraphobic, and definitely morbid (a la guillotine hood) experience. Inside the hat is a magnifying custom lens and a mobile device holder; outside, the dark material keeps out the sun so you can watch your porn anywhere. But now, the vendor will suggest you to watch your porn while fondling your mate in bed in a seamless user experience. It was declared one of the weirdest products at CES 2010. When the vendor suggested one could cut a hole in the front so the camera could be used to film others for up to six hours of uninterrupted use (yes, he actually did say that in front of me), I laughed so hard I thought I might just throw up. Strangely, I imagine this product would do well in an elephant gift exchange or as a novelty gift in a Mac-centric adult toy store.

Spotty wireless coverage. – The two times I mentioned the spotty wireless coverage (you can get on for a few seconds, but like a speedy merry-go-round, everyone eventually falls off), my friends shrugged their shoulders and smiled. Apparently, this problem isn’t going to be fixed any time soon. But if you wanted to try out that new app you just downloaded, better remember to increase your data plan before attending MacWorld 2011, or it’ll cost you.

Thought: couldn’t vendors raffle away free wireless coverage for the day through their routers if we stood on our heads or flapped our lips about how much we LOVED their product?

Unimaginative booths with even less function. – My parents took us to some conventions back in the early 1980’s, and booths look about as boring then as they do now. I don’t need to remind you how much these spaces cost, and what great lengths some companies go to in order to build ceiling banners and structures to make their booths stand out. Problem: to make a temporary structure not look so temporary. Solution: be creative.

Rather than show you example after example of really plain and sometimes downright ugly presentations of booths, I’ll show you the one that did it “right”. Pictured here is the backside of the structure Gelaskins built. It reminded me of an urban street corner with planned art, and the front side looked like a bar where you could slide up and select from a menu of devices and designs. The fact that Violet Blue and Ben Metcafe are standing in front of it just makes it all that much more attractive.

Gelaskins got it totally right at the conference. At least no one dared to cover their entire vending space with brown paper and leave crayons behind (I won’t tell you what conference I saw that offering in).

The mini kioks were nice, but I had wished the entire thing was arranged a bit more like Disneyland and a bit less like a backyard carnival. Kudos to the small business owners who prepared for purchases by using Square. Boo to those who resorted to carbon-copy receipts (are you kidding? really?).

No road signs and no escorts

The big “face palm” of the Expo isn’t what you’d expect. Isn’t the live demos, panels, and presentations supposed to be the crowd gatherers? Didn’t we come here to learn something new? Instead, I heard some disappointing feedback about the workshops and presentations. Some complained how the presentations barely scratched the surface of the subject, lacking depth or direction. Some were in rooms tucked away from the main floor and poorly advertised. While the MacWorld App had up-to-date information on the locations and times of presentations and panels, I would have missed the best if people hadn’t grabbed me to come along.

I admit I missed a demo that sounded interesting. Some time ago, I had downloaded MorphWiz on my iPad, but I never really used it all that much. The app seemed to draw more “mehs” from other casual users. A man sitting next to me during a music demo started asking me a lot of questions, and the flirt-dork that I am, it took me a few moments to register that he was hitting on me. He wanted me to check out a presentation about to start in another room. I said no, simply because I was uncomfortable. Later, he returned to where I was still seated, saying, “You missed a really good presentation.You should have come,” and he walked away.

That evening, several attendees mentioned they had sat in on a “fascinating” music demonstration by the one of the creators behind the MorphWiz app, Jordan Rudess. Oops. That was the presentation the man had wanted me to attend with him! While I might not be a fan of MorphWiz because I am simply not familiar with the potential of the app, I am smart enough to know that you always start with the inventor if you really want to know the soul of an application. [Ladies: do not ask me if the man was cute. It’s a room full of geeks. They’re ALL cute.] Now, if there had been an indicator of what the actual presentation was going to be, I might have made a different decision. Redemption: I pulled out the app for the ladies and let them play on my iPad, which they had only seen in the demonstration. Score!

Will any of these things in the Face Palm edition of Macworld Worst Of All keep me from attending next year? Doubtful. But I hope next year’s offering continues to inspire, improve, and wow us in the same way as the Apple products themselves. While Macworld doesn’t have the kind of money Apple does, I am confident that Macheads the world over will think of ways to make it work. I am counting on it as a newbie to the world of all things Apple. If I didn’t believe this, I wouldn’t have changed my brand motto to got iMei?

B. iMei Hsu is a nurse psychotherapist, performance artist, guest blogger on Lockergnome, and writer for Lockergnome’s Psycho Nurse as well as her own webblog Hips For Hire. Her visit to MacWorld 2011 included a field trip to the Mothership, where she ended up coming home with a Mac-mini and a second iPad for Dj’ing. When she’s not playing Battlestar Galactica reruns for her Applehead iCat Siamese Charles-Monet, she’s heating up the dance floor and pouring the red wine in her art loft in Seattle, WA.

Will You be at ceBIT This Week?

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Sprechen Sie Geek? I’m brushing up on the handful of German words I already know because I’m headed there this week to speak at ceBIT. If you’ve never heard of this conference, then you certainly need to have your geek card taken away. ceBIT is billed as “the digital industry’s biggest, most international event. Thanks to its unique combination of exhibition, conferences, keynotes, corporate events and lounges, CeBIT represents an unrivaled tool for doing business and sealing deals.”

Thousands of attendees are expected to grace the conference and exhibit halls with their presence throughout this week. I will be but one lone man navigating my way through the maze of gadgets, gizmos and Germans! If you’re going to be there, be sure to look me up and say hello.

The only device I’m really planning to take with me is my iPhone 4. I’m paying the extra twenty-five bucks in order to use up to 20MB of data while I’m in International territory. However, I plan to connect to the ‘net via WiFi as much as possible. My phone takes fantastic videos and photos, so there’s really no need to pack a lot of extraneous gadgets.

If I see anything interesting – or meet really cool people – I plan to take several videos to share with all of you. So if you know of a particular vendor that you feel would make for an interesting video, then let me know!

The subject of my keynote deals with connecting communities using various technologies available to us. As much as I find the commentary on YouTube difficult to swallow at times, it IS a large part of the communication that goes on within our little corner of the Internet. Yes, I get agitated at times. But hey – I’m human, just like you. Many of us have different facets to our lives. In my mind, that’s what makes a community grow and evolve.

My keynote will be live-streamed. Keep an eye on my Facebook page and my Twitter stream this week. I’ll let you know when the live stream is going and whenever (and wherever!) my keynote may appear.


Zumobi Network Brings App Within App Ads

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

The Zumobi Network is the creator of several free mobile applications across multiple platforms. Because of their creation of rich mobile apps, they’ve been able to partner with brands such as HP, MSNBC, Southwest Airlines, and Mercedes-Benz to acquire premium ad sponsorships.

The idea is simple. Create great consumer mobile apps that draw lots of downloads, and partner with big-named brands to provide guaranteed and exclusive advertisement placement within the app. These ads are often rich in media themselves and Zumobi likes to call the term an “app-within-an-app.” An example of this is Mercedes-Benz having exclusive ad placement in the MOTOR TREND app, created by Zumobi. This proprietary technology is called BrandBlast.

Having 12 apps in the top 10 on iTunes of their respective category, it’s not surprising companies with lot’s of money to spend on advertising flock to the Zumobi Network. The company has proven they can create well-designed mobile applications that draw lots of interest and hits/uses per day. Their app portfolio includes the official apps for MSNBC, the Today Show, MOTOR TREND, Inside Xbox 360, TLC, and REI. Recently, Zumobi was featured in Fast Company magazine to highlight the reasons to choose a premium mobile app network such as them.

If you’re a developer, you should check out Deploy 2010 on Monday, November 08, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (PT). Deploy 2010 is an all-inclusive conference for technology builders to give you new tools to create the applications of tomorrow. The conference will be held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.

Prepare Your Eyedrops for a Travel Bidding War

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

A Seattle Startup located in historic Pioneer Square is looking to change the way you compete for the best price in vacationing. Off & Away is a hotel auctioning site that puts a little twist on things and truly promotes staring at the screen and watching the timer count down to zero.

At this auction site, hotel packages are offered and the bidding begins. Every bid made costs $1 to the bidder, and adds 10 cents and 20 seconds to the current bid price and time. If you’re the lucky one to bid last and have the timer run down to zero, you win! Since most people will bid towards the end of the time limit, the price will usually go up during that time. But, the savings are huge if you work for it! And you must work, since every bid adds 20 seconds and only adds $0.10, it really comes down to who can outlast the other at the computer. Their very first auction was 2 nights in the Tata Suite Pierre in New York… listed for $40,000 and finally sold for $938! Can you say, DEAL? That’s typically what you can expect from the website. Classy hotel stays usually worth a few thousand dollars are able to be sold in for only hundreds.

So what if you lose? What happens to all your one-dollar bills? Don’t worry if you lose an auction and just blew $300 trying to lock in your dream vacation, Off & Away makes sure you get your monies worth. Any money you “lose” from bidding is reusable via the site’s Book Now section. Just like other hotel booking sites, you can book at over 100,000 hotels worldwide using your credit. But pay attention to the rules, the credit is only valid 30 days after the auction.

Off & Away has a good strategy and lots of potential. Madrona Venture Group, who also backed Amazon and Farecast, and have an advisory board that includes top executives from Orbitz.com and Alaska Airlines, backs them.

If you’re a developer, you should check out Deploy 2010 on Monday, November 08, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (PT). Deploy 2010 is an all-inclusive conference for technology builders to give you new tools to create the applications of tomorrow. The conference will be held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.

Seattle IT Pros Should Head to RetroDex

On Tuesday, November 16, 2010 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (PT) in Seattle, WA, local IT pros should come to RetroDex 2010 (and use code “LockerGnome” for 25% off the already-low price of $38.00)! I will be on stage throughout the event as the emcee with Larry Walsh speaking.

IT professionals, service providers, vendors, bloggers, and media come together to hear predictions from leading technology industry thinkers and discuss the present and future with their technology industry peers. During 2010 virtualization and tele-presence made their mark and Comdex returned to a virtual Las Vegas. RetroDex 2010 is the perfect place to meet real live technology people whether or not you are participating virtually in Comdex.

Leading up to the event we will be conducting a One Question survey of IT decision makers where we ask: What one technology product changed your business computing the most in 2010? And what do you think it will be in 2011? We will be presenting the results of this survey at the RetroDex 2010 events. RetroDex 2010 events are being held simultaneously at incredible venues across the country on the evening of November 16th, 2010.

Register for RetroDex 2010 (and remember to use code LockerGnome for 25% off)!

How Much Are You Worth?

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

If you ask most people the question, “Do you get paid enough?” You’ll most certainly always be answered with a NO. Salary is a top concern and there’s always that certain number that will make you a happy worker. Fortunately, there’s a Seattle Startup to let you know what you should be making after all.

PayScale has a service that determines how well you are being paid compared to others who have a similar job. The service is free in a limited fashion, but your scale is determined based on many factors including work environment, education, your professional experience, company size, etc. This is all information you must provide. Some of it is optional, but the more you provide, the more accurate PayScale will be in determining how well you’re being compensated. In the end, you receive a report and graph that shows where you are in relation to other people who’ve reported. The report is anonymous, so don’t worry about your co-worker giving you dirty looks because he found out you’re making much much more than him.

You can also upgrade to their premium service for $19.95. By doing so, you’ll gain insight to a lot more information that you could leverage to get that raise you know you deserve! With the largest online employee salary database according to PayScale, I’m pretty sure you can confident your scale of pay will be compared accurately.

If you’re a developer, you should check out Deploy 2010 on Monday, November 08, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (PT). Deploy 2010 is an all-inclusive conference for technology builders to give you new tools to create the applications of tomorrow. The conference will be held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.

Smilebox Makes Scrapbooking Easy

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

Are you in to scrapbooking? Do you like to make decorative web cards to celebrate the birth of a baby? Does the thought of making a high school prom collage online to share with your Facebook and Twitter friends excite you? Well, don’t worry about taking out the heavy-duty scissors and craft glue. The online service, Smilebox, was created solely for the purpose of creating fancy photo crafts.

The Redmond-based startup has developed an online platform around the popular homemakers craft of scrapbooking. The website offers hundreds of designs to use to create scrapbooks, collages, greetings cards, or photo albums. The tool itself is not web-based, it’s a native application you must download and install onto your Mac or Windows machine. But the unique service itself is worth trying if this craft is your passion.

Smilebox is still a very small startup, but they are growing a fast pace and recently moved to a new, bigger office this year to accommodate the growth. They are gaining lots of traction even though their product is niche, but the fact that they don’t have too many competitors in their market will help them to expand products and make business quick.

Smilebox will be featured at Deploy 2010 on Monday, November 08, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (PT). Deploy 2010 is an all-inclusive conference for technology builders to give you new tools to create the applications of tomorrow. The conference will be held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.

Find Your Way Around the Mall with FastMall

If you’re not a power-shopper, then I’m betting you’ve gotten lost in your local mall a time or twelve. All of those twists, turns, stairways and hallways can be daunting to any of us who don’t make mall-walking a daily habit. The mall is a scary place, but FastMall wants to make life much easier for us all. It is the world’s first TRUE turn-by-turn navigation app – even showing you where to find stairways, elevators and bathrooms!

Samuel Feuer, CEO of Fastmall creator MindSmack, is one of those guys you just want to hang out with. He’s full of jokes and laughter, but he’s also very dedicated to the work he’s doing. His enthusiasm is contagious – the service is beyond awesome. It was easy for my assistant Kat to be convinced to download this app herself during her meeting with Samuel last week in New York. Kat is picky and doesn’t download many apps. However, she assures me that this is one she will be using on a regular basis.

The beautiful thing about FastMall is that it’s not only for malls: the service can be used to create navigational apps for pretty much any place you can think of… hospitals, theme parks and even convention centers. Anyone can request a customized app simply by talking with Samuel and his team. The idea originally came from Sam’s wife, Amie, who was completely fed up with static mall directories and the overall lack of restroom guidance when she was pregnant. Sam and his partner Marcelo took a chance and created a startup that I feel is going to become extremely important in the very near future.

Some of the features of the app include:

  • Shake your iPhone for the nearest restroom.
  • Tell FastMall where you parked and it will remember for you. Feel free to use this voice recorder as a shopping list too!
  • Turn-by-turn guidance inside the mall, from store to store, without using GPS!
  • Sync your status on Facebook as well as Twitter.
  • Add reviews of restrooms, restaurants and stores.
  • Make a wish list of things you must have.
  • Find a deal and save money.
  • Add data to FastMall to make it a better experience for everyone.

Think of what this could mean, folks. Let’s say you’re about to attend SXSW – and you know you’re going to be lost as usual. How great would it be if the powers-that-be behind the conference contacted FastMall to create an app you can use to guide you through the experience? The same could happen with any major hospitals… large corporation complexes… and so much more. The possibilities are literally almost endless here. I’m excited to see what the future brings for Sam and his team.