June 21, 2009

Packing for NECC 09!

It finally hit me! 4 days of school left (I'm taking a Personal Day on Friday) and I'm on my way to DC & NECC '09! I CANNOT wait to meet up with friends (some I've only known online, others I haven't seen for a year) and I'm starting to gather my things together to start packing.

Last year was my first NECC and I voraciously read all the posts related about what to pack for NECC. This year I decided to 'pay it forward' and share what I learned last year and what I'll be packing for this year's NECC.

First off, I decided not to fly (too much time traveling & waiting around airports), driving was an option, but with a $30/day parking at the hotel I soon ruled that out (I mean, come on, do you know how many new purple hair styles I could purchase in Second Life at that rate?), so I finally decided on taking the train (a first for me in this country). Train travel was a preferred mode of transportation growing up and living in Europe so I'm truly looking forward to this journey (not to mention the fact that with the $$$ I was saving on the parking I decided to upgrade my seat).

Now on to my packing list:

1. Laptop - This one was tough. Do I bring my Asus laptop? Do I bring my MacBook? Do I bring my Acer Aspire One netbook? Scratch the MacBook -- I'm still much of a newbie to feel comfortable trying to navigate the Mac platform and absorb the information during sessions. The Asus? As much as I love my Asus the thought of shlepping it around the conference (and looking like a hunchback by noon was not at all appealing to me. The only downside to taking my netbook? I won't be able to go into Second Life (netbooks just don't have the power to efficiently run the Second Life client).

2. Camera - another game of 'eeny, meeny, miney, mo'. Going with my Kodak M753. Small, light (top priorty), and easy to use.

3. Flip Mino - I brought it last year and it got a lot of use (especially at the ranch at the DEN pre-conference! Hmmm, wonder if they have any 'ropers' in DC?). And since the Mino is both PC & Mac compatible I'll be able to share it with friends of all persuasions! And if you have a Flip, I hope you've checked out the new FlipShare software which was recently updated.

4. Blackberry Curve 8330 - yup, hubby came through on our anniversary and bought one for me (of course, it helped that my Twitter peeps told him how much I really, really, REALLY wanted one). Would love to be able to bring an iPhone, but where I live AT&T doesn't provide coverage. One of the features that I know I'll be using on the Blackberry is the voice memo recorder. I normally carry (pre-Blackberry) a digital voice recorder for all those BRILLANT ideas I get on the run. Now I've programmed one of the side buttons on the BB to do just that.

5. Labels - yes folks! LABELS! Trust me on this one. As you wander the Exhibit Hall and fill out the endless forms from the vendors you'll thank me if you have some lablels you can simply peel off and put on their raffle forms (though, thinking about it, you might not want to bother as I plan to WIN lots of cool stuff).

6. Business cards - stuff them in your pockets, your purse, your laptop bag, etc. You might want to consider two different sets. One for people you want to have ALL your contact info and another set for those you want to have only limited contact info. Things to put on your business cards: name (including your Second Life name if you have one), Twitter id, Skype id, Facebook id, phone number, e-mail(s), and mailing address.

7. Small ziploc bag - that's to store all your plugs and cables in one location.

8. Large ziploc bag(s) - to store all the small schwag and flyers, business cards, etc. that you'll be collecting at the conference (and trust me, you'll be collecting A LOT!)

9. Flashdrive - ya never know! This makes for easy swapping of data between friends. I'm taking a 2GB flashdrive which I'm sure will be sufficient.

10. iTouch - [remember, I don't have the iPhone!] I've got my music on it and my favorite games (Bookworm, Wurdle, etc.) plus I plan on being at Vicki Davis' session, 'Birds of a Feather, Using iTouch and iPhones for Teaching and Learning' manning the 'Fun' table (please consider stopping by and seeing what I've got on mine -- but only if you'll show me what you've got on yours!).

11. Sony e-reader - I love to read and rarely have the opportunity to 'read for pleasure' during the school year, so I've uploaded a number of books. It's light and slim and I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without it.

12. Small notebook and pens - yup, I know, it's a tech conference, but there will be times when you either won't be able to use your laptop (dead battery, no outlets nearby, etc.) where you'll want to jot somethings down.

13. Water bottle - you know, one of those metal ones that you can refill. I've found that food and drink at these conferences can add up quickly and you really need to keep yourself hydrated. They're light and you can fill them with your favorite beverage -- can you say, 'Mojito'? LOL

14. Pashima wrap - OK guys, you might want to skip this one! Looking at the weather for DC, it looks like it's going to be muggy (ugh), but you can almost be guaranteed that the Conference Center will be cool (and maybe even downright cold). I don't want to be bogged down with a jacket or sweater. I can throw this wrap in my bag (or wrap it around my waist) and I'll be able to keep warm if need be.

15. Tote & bag - FORGET the wheeling laptop bags (they're TOTALLY unmanageable in the Exhibit Hall)! I'm going with a matching (of course!) coral colored leather tote (large enough for my netbook, my tech gear, water, and still have room for whatever I collect in the Exhibit Hall) with a matching small bag to carry my personal items. I'll be fashionable enough to go from conference, to dinner, to evening gatherings, to bar hopping without having the need to return to my hotel.

16. COMFORTABLE SHOES!!! - Take it from this Imelda (that's my hubby's name for me -- granted I do have 146 pairs of shoes), I'm leaving those 'come hither' pumps at home and I'm only packing shoe that I know can withstand 15 hours of pavement pounding. Side Note: You might want to pack a product called 'Band-Aid' (it's in the foot care department of your local drugstore and looks like a deodarant stick the size of a floss container). You rub it on spots that might rub on your shoes and VOILA! NO blisters!

OK.....Did I miss anything? And for you NECC Vets out there, is there anything else that should be added to the 'gear list'?

Oh yeah, one final item....my purple wig! I mean, how can I be part of the group presenting 'Personal Learning Networks in Second Life Networks' on July 1st at 10:30 (BEW11) without my purple wig! LOL


Mrs.A said...

Great list of suggestions. I am checking your list with what I have out to pack. I would add umbrella or rain poncho as I see it may be raining over the next 10 days. I also carry wet wipes or purell with me. Also a small power strip is nice to have to charge up all those electrical devices either at the convention center, or even your hotel room, as they don't always have enough outlets.

I packed liquid skin, hadn't heard of "BandAid" - will go see if I can find that today. Even comfy shoes with all the walking we'll be doing can cause blisters, so if I can avoid them, I will.

Can't wait to see you again f2f!