Post Reply 
HHC 202x - thoughts?
12-19-2019, 04:50 PM
Post: #2
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts?
Where to start.....where to start?

The conferences began in 1979 just after the HP-41 craze was gaining steam and the HP65 Users Club (later "PPC") turned five years old. The attendance numbers built up to as high as 180 people both in 1981 and 1982. In 1981, there were conferences in Rockville, Maryland and Corvallis, Oregon; and in 1983 there were actually three conferences - in Las Vegas, Nevada, Providence, Rhode Island and Orlando, Florida. Other than those years, the only other years when multiple conferences were held was when the British Handheld and Portable Computer Club (HPCC) held their anniversary conferences in 1992, 2007, 2012 and 2017. Of course, other events were held in Europe, such as the Dutch PROMPT-group conference in 1994 in the Netherlands, the HPCC conferences in 1997 and 2002 and various other events, such as the recent Allschwil getherings. The more-recent U.S. gatherings have had their attendance taper down to around 40 people or so, but they all have been interesting and enlightening to me.

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Hello all!

First: Thank you for the effort of writing and posting the reports and videos of the last, and previous, HHC gatherings. And of course for organising the events in the first place. This is an excellent source of information - and entertainment - for every calculator afficionado.

I have so far watched as many of the conference videos from 2019 as my time permits (the others will follow soon) and read Richard Nelson's recently published writeup. This, together with his "RIP HP Calcs" talk is food for thought, and the resignation of committee members certainly does not paint a bright future for these events either...

I should mention that my videos are available from the U.S. conferences going back at least as far as 1989 and other calculator-related events as far back as 1986 - check if interested.

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  So I started this thread in order to collect ideas about what people are really interested in to provide some input for the remainder of the organizing committee. To find out what can be done to keep these conferences going for many years to come.

As I only really know about myself, I will begin with the reasons why I have not attended so far and what would be required to make me come.

1. Location. We do not live in the United States. Altough I fly aircraft for a living (business jets) my company does not have any connection with an airline and therefore I have to pay regular ticket prices. Because of that, undertaking such a long trip really only makes sense I it can be connected with a holiday, 7-14 days minimum, for which I would take my wife along and maybe our son and girlfriend. This would bring the total price up to somewhere between 5000 and 10000 Euros (been there, done it...)

This means that the conference needs to be held in a touristically interesting/scenic location with no need to waste precious holiday time for onward travel. A place where the rest of the family can already do something interesting while I am attending. Everybody has his own interests and needs of course, but many of the previous and suggested future locations would not fulfill these for me and my family members. Considering the total price of the trip, the extra cost of holding the conference in an "interesting" location does not make much difference. Even if it adds 50 or 100 Dollars to the conference cost (which is about the amount that is being discussed in the conference writeups). So what I am thinking of (and what would convince my family members to come along) would rather be places like San Francisco, New York, a ski resort (if the conference is held in winter), somewhere in or close to a National Park (Old Faithful Lodge...) or similar. Reno or Nashville certainly can entertain the family members for a day or two, but from there, a day of flying or two days driving will be required to get to anywhere worth visiting for the remainder of the holiday...
Or otherwise, schedule the conference so that it can be combined with another large event that attracts attendees and family members alike. Like a rocket launch from KSC or the San Diego Comic Con (which are both open itenms in my personal bucket list).

It probably goes without saying that throughout the past four decades, many many people have come out to express their desires for modifying conference logistics and details, but the only way things get done is for someone or some group to volunteer their time and effort. There are probably a hundred times as many people who have made suggestions as those who actually did work to make them happen.

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  2. Conference schedule. There were really many talks scheduled into the 2019 conference. Too many for my taste, because the schedule does not leave many gaps. What I am equally interested in - or even more than the talks themselves - is meeting and talking to the people in person. And not only during coffee and lunch breaks. There is a wide variety of interests involved here. Myself I am rather a collector/repairer/restorer/DIY type of person and not really a calculator user or programmer. I would therefore welcome meetings and discussions in small groups with similarly minded people. Maybe even half a day out of two days of conference.
And also I would like to see more disgressions from the actual calculator topics, like for example David Ramsey's excellent talk on watches. Many collectors have more than one interest and somehow watches and calculators go together well.
So for me, less presentations and more social life would be a good reason to attend.

This "tug of war" - between wanting to be able to schedule as many people as possible who wish to present their materials (in order to maximize the amount of "stuff" in the short period of time allocated) and those who wish the conferences to be a more "stretched-out", less-formal affair with additional interspersed time for folks to meet and have casual conversation - has been going on for a long time. In the earlier days, we even had conferences with "dual tracks" in order to squeeze the most number of topics into the available time - and many (including myself) complained about having to miss important topics because other important topics were being simultaneously presented. More recently, the HPCC group has had the more informal events with fewer talks and more "down time". I guess it is a matter of preference, and it is impossible to please everyone.

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  3. Modern technology. The online availability of the conference videos and also Gene Wright's talk, which was presented via Skype, show what is possible. Maybe instead of one large conference held in a single location, local gatherings in small groups could be networked together for a "virtual conference". This would still be better than only watching the videos from one's own home.

It took a good deal of effort from a few people to dedicate hours of time during the conferences and with loaned equipment (some free, some costing rental fees) to make those "remote" talks happen. In earlier conferences over the past ten years, we've been treated to presentations by Cyrille and at least one other HP person in the same fashion. These are not necessarily trivial to pull off - they take work and equipment. Others have suggested in the past that the conferences ought to be streamed over the internet but again, it would require real work, coordination with conference-facility people, a good deal of preparation and possibly expenses which haven't been factored into these event up to this point. Who wants to volunteer their services to make this happen? (For what it is worth, I personally feel that getting to watch the presentations "live" should be the reward for being there. Surely, it will all be recorded for viewing later.)

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  4. Door prizes. I understand that this is kind of a tradition of these conferences, probably originating from the days when HP was still sponsoring them, but is that really so important now? In my view it takes away too much time and attention from the real important reasons for traveling to such an event.

Perhaps that is the point in the event when those who wish to do more "social things" can wander off to do that. Maybe there should be an opportunity to "opt out" of the door prizes for that purpose. Also, I am curious as to what percentage of the actual attendees over the past several years feel the same way as you do. How many have you asked?

(12-19-2019 01:33 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  i have a few more items on my mind, but now it is time for others to post their thoughts!


We have also already discussed when and where the 2020 U.S. conference will be held, so there is no concern over the conferences disappearing yet. I know you probably know just about everything I mentioned here, but I feel that it just had to be said. Those who want things to be different should volunteer to organize additional events and have them done the way they perfer. Thankfully, nobody has a monopoly on HP calc-related events.

I apologize if I came off sounding offensive, but that was not intended.

(Attendee of 42 conferences)
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 

Messages In This Thread
HHC 202x - thoughts? - Maximilian Hohmann - 12-19-2019, 01:33 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Jake Schwartz - 12-19-2019 04:50 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Eric Rechlin - 12-19-2019, 05:37 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Gene - 12-19-2019, 10:59 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Dave Britten - 02-27-2020, 02:35 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Gene - 02-27-2020, 10:24 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Dave Britten - 02-27-2020, 11:40 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Guenter Schink - 02-28-2020, 05:31 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - David Hayden - 03-02-2020, 09:16 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Sylvain Cote - 03-03-2020, 04:07 AM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Felix Gross - 03-03-2020, 01:17 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Jake Schwartz - 03-03-2020, 09:30 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Gene - 03-03-2020, 10:02 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Dave Shaffer - 03-04-2020, 06:18 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Gene - 03-05-2020, 01:32 AM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Namir - 03-05-2020, 03:44 AM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Sylvain Cote - 03-05-2020, 01:37 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - rprosperi - 03-05-2020, 04:15 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Dave Britten - 03-05-2020, 12:20 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Albert Chan - 03-12-2020, 01:05 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - Eddie W. Shore - 03-06-2020, 03:31 AM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - WillMarchant - 03-12-2020, 08:39 PM
RE: HHC 202x - thoughts? - rprosperi - 03-12-2020, 11:51 PM

User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)