There must be some secret competition among the organizers of different conferences, aiming to to invent the most fancy gadget to offer the participants. While probably the organizers sincerely put some effort in this conference gadget business, reality is that the average participant rarely uses them, and often tosses them to dust in a remote angle once is back from the conference.
For instance: why do we get a backpack of messenger bag with the conference logo at every single conference? I mean, nowadays everyone goes to conference with her laptop bag: why should we be always came back home with two of them? And to be fair, the quality of the conference backpacks usually ranges from horrible to barely acceptable: these bags usually fall apart after a couple of months use. Conference organizers, couldn't you spare us? Please!
For the record, this is the content of my brand new ICHEP backpack I got yesterday:
- The backpack itself! I suspect the average organizer believes that the quality of the conference is directly proportional to the number of pockets the conference bag. The ICHEP backpack has even the never-used-by-anyone cell phone pocket on the backpack strap: if my theory is correct, the conference will be a huge success.
- The conference badge. How many of them do you have at home? Do you keep them or do you trow them away? But beware, the ICHEP one might become very important in the next days (but I cannot yest tell you why)!
- The ICHEP fancy gadget: this year we got a pen that is also a laser pointer and a 2 Gb USB drive, with the conference program and booklet already loaded on. This could probably sound great, if only the gadget pen was not so over-sized to be difficult to use as... a pen.
- Paper, paper, paper. Including: the conference program, the list of participants, a issue of the CNRS magazine, a few fliers from the conference sponsors, a map of Paris, a map of the Musee de la Science, the tickets for the various social events, and even a booklet with Summer events in Paris this year.
- A weird mouse-pad (or is it a magnetic badge?) with the periodic table of elements. Who ordered that?
- A 10%-discount coupon for the Galerie Lafayette, that - as someone put it yesterday during the coffee break - is possibly the best gadget we got! 🙂