Attendees - the story.
Firstly there was a question about how many people who were out
of auckland and how many are within. David Mill, are you asking
about nznog attendees or people within the mailing list (who are
the target audience of nznog). I mention nznog attendees as most
of the time there was a core group who were active in the nznog
mailing list and attended the nznog streams.
There were groups of attendees. For example the U of Waikato
contingent was strong (10 - 15). They drove up to Auckland.
There were seemed like quite a few but perhaps it was their
larger than life (or high profile). After all without them
we'd have been without that wonderful wireless network. 
South Islanders were very few within nznog. IIRC they were from
Nelson, Queenstown (or thereabouts), Chch and Dunedin.
I am sure people are going to send me email saying they were left
out of the list etc. I am not trying too hard to recall everything.
In terms of companies people worked for the following industry
players were represented: Telecom, TelstraClear, Citylink, 2day.com,
Iconz, Intel, Erricsson, Allied Teltsyn, Esphion, Cisco
No one (that I can recall) from Auckland based ISPs like Orcon,
Attica/Callplus, Web Internet/Maxnet, Walker Wireless, Zip, Tangent
or Xtra. I am quite happy to be corrected if I am wrong.
No I am not trying to make people uncomfortable but I wonder if the
groups attending and those not attending tell a story in themselves.
It would be nice to hear from those who didn't make it the reasons
why they couldn't or decided not to attend.
What factors made you decide not to attend or were a barrier to your
attending? content of programme? Was it of no interest? Or too basic?
Or too advanced? Or did you have not enough information about it to
decide whether or not you were interested? date and time? location?
cost? work? (eg project coming due etc) Was it because it wasn't the
type of conference the decision maker would understand about? Was it
because it was in NZ? Don't laugh but I have had views expressed to
me often that some people don't think they can learn anything from a
conference in NZ and would happily pay thousands to go to a conference
overseas. This is prevalant both within academia and commercial sector.
Would you consider paying for yourself to attend if your employer
declined to cover the cost?
I think knowing these things would help the organisers of nznog
and/or uniforum. Perhaps if it was lack of information, someone
could get together with the nznog organiser and put together a
glossy flyer so you have something to show the manager when asking
for funding? What sort of info do you need in it to convince
the decision maker?
Would going to Waikato reduce the likelihood (ie the fact it was
on a lower budget scale and so didn't look as credible? The no
frills way is quite nice for people like me who end up paying for
myself to attend as I go for substance rather than rah rah rah and
gloss. However it could affect how the decision makers decide
on whether to fund their staff going.
I actually quite like this option but I think one has to be realistic
about the costs and what is involved. While cost is very low in terms
of registrations, if certain things aren't included, they will still
be added costs (but just not seen upfront in the registration fee).
What I am trying to say is there were frills that we could have
easily done without (eg satchel, pen and paper) and yet others that
Let's take meals as an example. In the Uniforum option, you know that
what you pay covers all meals. The Waikato option requires you to
factor in your own costs. However since you still have to eat and
that you are likely to be buying your food (whether directly or
Firstly for something as intense as NZNOG was, self catering for meals
doesn't seem practical (unless everyone brings their own packed sandwich
or filled roll in the morning). The discussions at lunch and other
breaks are often very useful. Self-catering means people will go out
to buy something from the fastfood place nearby, a possible queue at
the microwave (if there's one), etc. That may mean making it harder
to re-gather the group after a break. Anyway I think setting it up so
everyone eats together for lunch (ie catered meal or cafeteria) is a
However the meal and other food costs doesn't have to be as expensive
as a hotel provided meal. So tea breaks could be easily catered for
by someone going to the supermarket before the conference starts each
day to pick out tea stuff (eg muffins, scones, pull apart breads etc)
and even bags of cookies and biscuits. electric kettle for hot water,
disposable cups, tea, coffee, sugar, milk and stirrers. The other
thing I would have is fresh fruit (apples, mandarins, bananas, etc).
You definitely need a watercooler or two. If it is one of those that
needs refilling(as opposed to the ones connected to a water supply) ,
then perhaps some refills too. There were many bottles of water at
the back of the nznog room last year. They were refilled often.
Having bottles(or jugs) of water were not ideal as the need to be
refilled more often. The bowl of mints were popular. Not hard to
What I am trying to say is if this is held in Waikato, you should
seriously consider providing the morning and afternoon teas and factor
it in as part of the cost. If the Uni cafeteria isn't open then I
also suggest looking at catering options. They don't have to be
expensive. Lunch at $10 per head is easily found. I am sure the cost
could be driven to down as low as $6 - 7 per head. It won't be
elaborate. Just edible and filling.
Suggestions for either Waikato or Waipuna
I think we should consider asking all presenters to allow their
papers or presentations to be put online. That will negate the
need to worry about proceedings being printed (or CDs being
compiled and written). If organisers are worried that that would
detract people from attending because they will prefer to get
it online rather than attending the conference, then ways should
be found to overcome this problem.
Most conference proceedings can be purchased by non attendees for
a fraction of the price of the conference. That hasn't stopped people
from attending those conferences. Universities put their courseware
online still have students enrolled and paying fees (probably because
they want the qualifications).
What about having a site where logins can be issued to attendees and
people who purchase a login? Similar to a non attendee buying the
Obviously not all presenters will want their papers put online. For
example Paul Vixie came with a whole lot of presentations and did his
workshop based on what the audience wanted him to cover. He has
declined to have any of those presentations put on the CD. The CAIDA
presenter had something similar to his presentation on the caida
website (well it was where when I looked after the conference - not
looked at it recently).
Presentations not available:
In fact the organisers should find out before the conference who will
be giving their presentations to be put in the proceedings (book, CD
or website) and who won't. The ones not going to be in the proceedings
should be tagged as such in the programme so attendees know they'll
need to take notes rather than assume it will be available in the
Seating - I think we were a bit cramped in that room that the NZNOG
was in. Chairs were eventually spaced out a bit more.
Perhaps have a section for people who didn't have laptops as I know
one or two was annoyed about the tapping of keys on a laptop. It
wasn't that bad once the people were made aware of how loud their
key tapping was and the ones who were distracted by it moved to sit
elsewhere. That is easily engineered as the people with laptops
often need a power point when their batteries run low and so having
multi plug powerboards only in certain areas would solve the problem.
It would be ideal if there was a big fridge or vending machine where
we can get coke (diet or normal), V, and other popular drinks. That
is one thing both Centra and Waipuna will be lacking unless the
organisers organise this as well (don't forget that oasis is just
about across the road from Waipuna. Perhaps they can come to the
game). I am sure waikato uni will have heaps of vending machines
around. Like there's jukeboxes, portaloos etc for rental, there's
probably someone out there who installs vending machines at special
events. IIRC coke was either from the bar or restaurant at Centra
and people wanting V/Redbull/favourite non alcoholic softdrink of
the time etc had to walk to the shop next to where we had our
thursdaynightcurry meal (only a short walk if you knew the shop
 I am not going to start listing all of those who donated
time and things to the conference. I am sure the conference
organisers would have thanked them for their help and pitching
in even at last minute (as is the case of the wireless network
and the packeteer)
 In fact I would very much rather avoid the conferences that are
very corporate, advertorial, and wishy washy. Lucky for them there's
people who are wililng to shell out thousands to go to those.
To unsubscribe from nznog, send email to ***@list.waikato.ac.nz
where the body of your message reads: