Green conference bags

One of the popular mainstream media items at the moment is shining some light on the "green" reusable bags that many stores and other places have these days. See it turns out that if you use a bag that is made to be reused just once it is a terrible waste of energy and generates a mountain of additional waste. However in many cases such as Friday's Wall Street Journal article on the matter talk in the same breath about how many conferences are giving these bags away. What is incongruous about this is that it completely misses the point that the conferences would not be giving away the light-weight grocery-store bags but much heavier, more costly and resource intensive bags. And that instead of attendees taking an easily reusable bag away they would have once taken a bag that could only be added to the closet or recycled.

OSCON, Drupal and the greener conference circuit

OSCON is nearly done. It has been a great week and a couple of great days at the Drupal booth on the Expo floor. Sometime I hope to get a little more written about the experience. For the moment I'm in the Greening the Conference Circuit session where we're discussing many issues related to encouraging vendors to be more environmentally friendly. It is nice to see how many of the great ideas being discussed were implemented by the Drupal booth.

One of the best ideas relates to reducing the amount of unused, non-recyclable material in the conference bags. The suggestion in the room is that we should spend more time with conference vendors, who like Drupal, didn't produce materials in the bag and aren't handing out things at the booth that will be taken by many folks and used by few. Not having a handout has several positive effects first and foremost there isn't the waste, either in unused materials or in folks who casually pick things up but don't really ever look at it again. On the other hand at the Drupal booth we were often stacked six or eight Drupalers deep each talking to one or more interested people about Drupal. And more than a handout placed quickly in somebody's hand we could direct individuals to the best places to get information for their particular needs.

As with most conferences the really good bits have come in the hallways and in the meeting of great people. The sessions have largely been solid with a few outstanding sessions to punctuate the week.

Safari RSS

Dave Winer comments on Apple's announcement of Safari RSS today. He mentions a wish that they had respected the orange-on-white XML icon that represents RSS feeds. I'm not certain I agree. I know what the icon means but is it clear to users. If I'm trying to educate somebody about blogs then it should be simple.

Although the browser is named Safari RSS it also supports the Atom format. Should it use a different icon for each format or the white on blue text that it uses?

It would be nice to see Apple give credit to the folks who came up with the RSS spec.

University of Washington

As the CALI conference draws to a close I feel compelled to comment on the University of Washington. The Law School at UW has been the host. As a member of a family with a long-standing history at Washington State University I may have arrived with an unduly negative preconception of the school. However, everything I have seen and experienced has shown that the school is among the best of conference hosts around. It is quite remarkable how attentive the caterers are with nary a need unmet. The quality of the food as well is very good.

Wireless access in the hallways at first proved somewhat spotty but by changing the wireless setup in the powerbook to use 'g' instead of 'b' or 'g'.


BloggerCON is going on this weekend. The best feed I've found is the quicktime feed. There is a great discussion of Blogs in education going on right now. I hope it will be available later as there are good suggestions about how education can be enhanced by encouraging students at all levels to publish to an audience wider than their teachers or classrooms.


Subscribe to Conferences