What cool conferences have you been to?
September 6, 2009 9:17 PM   Subscribe

What cool conferences have you been to? Last year for vacation, I went to the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual general meeting and WorldCon. I found out about SIGGRAPH too late to go. A cool conference is where there's plenty of new insight and ideas...oh yes and plenty of nifty loot/freebies! Suggestions for non-techie conferences welcome.
posted by storybored to Education (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Personally, I find the AAAI Spring Symposium to be wonderful. It's held at Stanford every year during their Spring break.

The AAAI Spring symposium tend to discuss papers with preliminary results. It seems more "cutting-edge" than papers presented at regular conferences such as AAAI. Also, I found the small setting to facilitate discussion.

There are no freebies except for an outdated AAAI tote-bag.

But I find the ideas and discussion to be valuable.

Best!
posted by jchaw at 9:40 PM on September 6, 2009


I've enjoyed LDI and USITT in the past. If you're not into technical theater, these are going to be pretty worthless to you.

There are conferences and tradeshows about every conceivable subject. I've set up tech shows and comic conferences and medical shows,* to name a few. Some general idea of your interests would be helpful. LDI and USITT always have awesome new ideas and insights about technical theater, but you're probably not going to care about flat socopex cable or the new BTH lamp for 6" and 8" fresnels or a simple way to drive a full stage width turntable.

*Ugh, medical shows. 6 a.m. breakfast meetings with slides of diseased lungs.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:49 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Worldcon isn't really a "conference". If you're interested in fandom events, then Comic-con is the big one.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:52 PM on September 6, 2009


I attended the Scholars' Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches many years ago and it was an amazing and life-transforming experience.
posted by The World Famous at 10:14 PM on September 6, 2009


I go to CENIC yearly conference most years, I've seen SuperHi-Def (2xHD) streamed from Japan to California. HD from the floor of the ocean over satellite. With the bonus pastime of building USB RAID arrays out of freebies. Also, Techs In Paradise... you can't beat Hawaii.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:38 PM on September 6, 2009


The EG. Absolutely amazing. Very small, focused, fantastic. Not cheap, but worth it.
posted by judith at 11:31 PM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


CES used to be a really big deal but it's seen better days. Attendance both by exhibitors and attendees has been declining.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:32 PM on September 6, 2009


In the field of web & user experience, SXSW Interactive is a good social event but kind of devoid of new ideas. For that I'd check out the GEL conference in NY
posted by lsemel at 5:00 AM on September 7, 2009


There is in fact only one worthwhile conference in the known Universe (not that I am in any way biased or narrowminded of course) and that is the annual conference of the International Trumpet Guild. It's usually in the summer, often in the USA, but is also quite often elsewhere in between stretches in the US - the fine cities of Manchester, Bangkok and Banff also spring to mind. In 2010 it's in Sydney. This will be jolly good, nicer than bunny-wunnies in fact, and please don't try any of that "but I don't like trumpets that much" nonsense as it's simply illegal and/or blasphemous and we will have to send "the Guild boys" round to "have a word". I do hope that this helps. :)
posted by vogel at 5:43 AM on September 7, 2009


Ted.com But seriously. Are you even considering anything else? It's not all that easy to get into and it's a wee bit pricey but there is nothing else that compares. It's opening up satellite conferences all over the place these days (Florida, Oxford, India) so you can probably go somewhere exciting too.

Good luck. The general website is at Ted.com, you can find links to conference details there.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2009


I just thought I'd mention that the very coolest convention I have ever attended was the national convention of the BHS, the Barbershop Harmony Society. (Back then it was called SPEBSQSA, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, which has to be one of the coolest acronyms ever.)

But it isn't something you'd go to for "new insight and new ideas". Just for wonderful a capella singing.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:22 AM on September 7, 2009


Wow this is terrific conference goodness. More please!

@mollymayhem - re: my interests - I'm in the mindset of "no such thing as an uninteresting subject". I'm the same way with taking courses, as long as there's a great teacher, I'll like it. So in this case, i'm looking for conferences that bring their subjects alive.
posted by storybored at 7:53 AM on September 8, 2009


Have to add: New Yorker Festival
posted by storybored at 8:53 PM on September 14, 2009


American National Advertisers for would be Mad Men, covered in the NYT
posted by storybored at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2009


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