Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Information Online Conference Day 1 wrap-up

I am absolutely pooped after a big day one of Information Online.  I'll give a few general impressions in this post and then post summaries and observations on the presentations in separate posts.

First of all, I looove the conference satchel.  I promptly ditched my tatty old laptop bag that ONLY fit the laptop, because this one fits the laptop, my leather folder, and probably half of Asia too.  AND it sits on my shoulder better.  Sadly one of the handles tore away but a lovely conference goer promised me she will bring hers around to the stand tomorrow because she doesn't want it.  Woohoo!

Second of all, great organisation and efficiency all round (with the exception of a couple of timing issues but nothing major).  The conference committee and volunteers I chatted with were all very helpful and friendly.  Nice work.

Thirdly, our CCH stand rocks! (yes I know, shameless corporate plug.)  It's all shiney and white and green and fresh (which was the whole point).  It's a pleasure to hang around.  Plus we have mints.  And pens.  And who can say no to mints and pens?  Everybody should come and visit me there tomorrow, we're not far from the main lunch area (stall 111). 

Fourthly - one major disappointment.

No free wifi.

So instead of loading up my notes after each session, I will be doing it in one big lump tonight.  Huzzah.  Plus I missed the opportunity for direct interaction with other people online via tweets and live blogging.

This is something I really don't understand.  If Maccas (and many libraries) can provide free wifi, why can't they manage it in hotels and conference venues?  Charging $20 an hour in hotels or $165 for three days of a conference is exorbitant.  What a rip off.  When it comes to an Online Information event it should really be included in the cost of conference attendance.  Not that I blame the organisers, they are probably subject to the whims of the venue. 

On that note, I should technically have internet access because I am representing a vendor in the exhibit (and we did buy wifi access!).  However I couldn't seem to log on with the password supplied, although the rest of the team could.  Today was just too busy for me to sort it out, but I might try and get it fixed up tomorrow.

The conference offers a net cafe, but this seems very 2002 to me.  The day was so jam-packed that I had no time to visit it, plus all my notes were on MY computer so I would have had to USB them across.  Tedious. 

Next year I would suggest one of two options.  The first is obvious - free wifi for all!  But if that is not possible, I suggest encouraging bloggers to register as such in advance, and then give them sponsored wifi access.  After all, we are providing free media and exposure for the conference, so it's a fair exchange.


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Veena said...

Hey Linda,

Yes, I had a similar experience at London Online Information (Dec. 2008)! WiFi was not available even as an option in the conference hall, internet was only possible through a wired connection at the stand, where only one computer could be plugged in at a time. It was all so ironic given that the topics being discussed were cutting edge (semantic search was all the buzz). I also had awful problems with connectivity in my hotel (the Hilton a block away), again not WiFi, only wired (as I lamented at length on the Web 2.0 Blog on our Wolters Kluwer intranet).

I really think this illustrates the disconnect between popular internet practice/use and infrastructure in venues, not to mention culture! Web 2.0 culture is about openness, participation, transparency. This does not correlate with older business and communications models. Let's hope next year's online conferences have found a way to harmonize this better.