• Subject: RE: COMMON in San Antonio (fwd)
  • From: Bob Cozzi <BobCozzi@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 09:00:18 -0500


While I agree that we often do need to have the hand-out in front of us for 
certain highly technical sessions, like some of yours, one or two of 
Barsa's and some of the Client Server stuff I think the practice of putting 
the majority on CD-ROM _in stead of printing them_ is the direction in 
which we want to move. This is, by the way, a personal opinion, not 
anything I've heard about at COMMON.

I've attended non-IBM conferences and most have moved to CD-ROM only hand 
outs. If there is a session where there's something that needs hard-copy in 
the hands of the attendees, then they pass it out at the session. Since 
it's also on the CD-ROM, 5000 printed copies, of which 4900 are disposed 
of, are not required.

Survey's only show so much. Most of the COMMON surveys that I've read, were 
extremely poorly worded, scaled backwards, and repetitive. While I still 
think you can get something out of them, I think the results of COMMON 
survey's have often been meaningless.

Take the issue of 1 hour sessions vs. 1.5 hour sessions. Nearly every 
speaker I talk with wants the 1.5 hour format. It provides time for 
questions, a short break if needed, and more time for the topic should it 
run over. The current 1 hour format is to short for a good topic, and too 
long for others. The 20 minute break is interesting too, in that it causes 
us to start at the strangest possible time during the hour. I think the 
survey for this topic really showed that people want a big variety of 
sessions. I know most people don't have more than a 45-minute attention 
span, but if you plane for that, with a minute or two break in your 
session, the 1.5 hour format works wonderfully, I think.

I think it may be a comfort level too. I mean, if you get comfortable using 
a CD-ROM to read materials on-line, and perhaps you bring it to the session 
and load up the sessions hand-outs, it works very good.

The only issue we, as COMMON, has is that we still don't set up every room 
in classroom style. We still use theater style for 90 percent of the 
sessions. CD-ROM only hand-outs means they'll be note taking. You really 
should have a table in front of you for that. (I like that set up better 

But who knows, perhaps we'll be pumping out copy after copy forever. If 
that's the case, then so be it. I'd just like to see us reduce the waste 
and the cost.  You can always print a copy from your CD-ROM if you need 
hard copy.

Bob Cozzi
AS/400 Books:  http://www.rpgiv.com/as400Books.html

On Wednesday, September 10, 1997 9:27 PM, Charlie Massoglia 
[SMTP:cmassoglia@voyager.net] wrote:
> Bob Cozzi wrote:
> >
> >I can, however, see the day where hard-copy hand-outs are a chargeable
> >item. While there is currently know plans nor is there even a discussion 
> >it that I'm aware of, why continue to print millions of copies that end 
> >in the garbage or on a shelf? Why not just go to CD-ROM as the base
> >hand-out and charge an extra fee of, say $50 to $100 for hard copy of 
> >hand outs. Remember, with the CD-ROM, you can print your own copies.
> >
> The reason attendees need to have hard copy handouts is to take notes in
> context.  When you take a session chock full of information (e.g. an Al
> Barsa System Values session), you can not possibly keep up with the 
> without having a handout on which to take notes.  In addition, it is
> virtually impossible to see the screens clearly in some of the larger 
> Remember, COMMON previously did a survey of the membership in which the
> overwhelming majority indicated they wanted handouts for sessions at the
> sessions even if it meant increasing the registration fee by $50.  The 
> of handouts (or having to pay for them) is a frequent criticism at COMMON
> Regional Events.  I sincerely hope noone makes the decision to eliminate
> handouts at COMMON conferences or to charge for the handouts separately
> without a formal survey of the membership.  If you think the reaction to
> charging for drinks at CUDS was bad, that reaction will be mild in
> comparison to what will happen if anyone messes with copies at the 
> As a side comment regarding the previous discussion of advertising in the
> agenda, while I personally do not like the idea, COMMON previously did a
> survey of the membership in which the overwhelming majority indicated 
> wanted COMMON to sell advertising if it would reduce or prevent increases 
> the conference registration fee.  The action take by the Board to permit
> advertising is not only in accordance with the Code of Ethics, it was 
> in accordance with the wishes of the majority of COMMON members.
> Charlie Massoglia, Massoglia Technical Consulting, Inc.

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