So how does a married woman with 4 kids and 2 cats and no knowledge or interest in tech, other than a collection of little Android Mini Collectible Robots, end up at an Android based tech event? My solution to tech problems are; switching the device off and on, curse, swear and press all the buttons, ask my twitter friends for help, and the as a last resort; ask the smug techie husband to fix it.

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My hubbie is tech obsessed, and although I had Facebook for friends and family I joined other social media sites as he was always tweeting, on hangouts etc; I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  The community spirit just blew me away. The people are amazing and I have made many friends from 16 to 65.

MOTD Bournemouth was my 2nd Android event, the 1st being Manchester 2013. I honestly wasn’t sure about going to an event full of techie, nerdie, geek guys. I thought it would be way over my head and rather boring. Happily, I was wrong. Instead I met a great bunch of guys; many of whom I follow on twitter. At no time did I feel unwanted or made to feel stupid due to my lack of tech knowledge. I was one of only two women at the Manchester event. This year there were over 10 with some of the guys bringing their wives and girlfriends.

This year’s event was organised by James, Gary and John. They took on board all the positive and negative comments, and made improvements for 2014.  I get to see  behind the scenes first hand and witness the hard work that goes on in organising this event as my hubbie is Gary, who many know as Ubuntubhoy.  The guys are only human, and yes they do make mistakes, sometimes things work  andsometimes they don’t. However, credit where credit is due, this year was, in my opinion, a great event.

The event is non-profit meaning all ticket money goes back into the event.  Contrary to what some people think the guys do this for their love of tech and bringing people together.  All prizes/donations given went into the prize draw.  The event hire used up the majority of the ticket money and what was left paid the additional cost for tea /coffee.  No food was allowed which meant no buffet and the venues buffet costs were out with the budget. No drink meant the event room was a booze free zone. I’ve previously heard people refer to the event as a boozefest and can happily say this event showed that is not the case.

A load of people make a weekend of the event travelling from all over the country to meet up on the Friday and stay two nights in the same hotel (separate rooms, of course).  As adults it is up to you whether you drink alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages.  Sure some people drink more than others, but we had many non drinkers who came out on the Friday, and the Saturday night after the event.  There is no pressure to drink it is entirely up to you. I, like many others, attended for the amazing company and the chance to meet up with old friends and meet new ones. However, the waitress in Wetherspoons was not amused when over 30 of us took over the top half of the pub and rearranged the tables, seriously confusing her when it came to delivering the many food orders.

The event this year in my opinion was better organised, attendees got checked in and a no expense spared sticky name label.

Many guest speakers attended –

  • Paul O’Brien from Modaco who gave a talk on Google Glass that even I found interesting and simple to understand, I now know why people want this device and how the cost makes it unavailable to the ordinary working public. A bonus was the surprise give-away from Paul of two Pebbles Smart Watches. Much to the delight of the lucky winners.
  • Jon Love who brought his team from Clove Technology and even though I didn’t win the Mega Android I can honestly say what a great bunch of friendly welcoming guys, who genuinely put the customers 1st. In no way was I influenced by the free gingerbread cake, Kit-Kats and jelly beans at their table.  Clove had the android  mega give away with various other prizes given away in a draw.
  • Laura from HTC went above and beyond to get a Desire 816 to the event, with many HTC freebies for those who didn’t win a main prize.
  • Matteo Doni from Skyscanner gave a talk and had a great give away which involved using his app and the lucky winner’s got a Skyscanner hoodie.  Matteo for those that missed it is recruiting so check out his site if you are interested.
  • Inspire home automation limited had a display on their product, internet room thermostats and kindly donated money off voucher. More importantly I now know I can lock my kids out of the heating controls with this device and stop them turning my heating off when I am freezing and unaware they have switched it off.
  • Tom from @joypadjedi might be a wee guy, but his huge personality and enthusiasm was catching.  He had a top gear leader board style competition with the fastest time to complete a game winning an amazing phone and a runner-up prize of a watch.  It was so much fun watching everyone playing the game trying to beat the previous score.

The format of having speakers with everyone having the chance to ask questions and socialise after each talk while waiting for the next talk seemed to work well.

Finally the guys had the prize draw and everyone at the event was entered into the draw. The prizes were broken into 10 bundles, and each winner drawn got to choose one of these fantastic prizes. And it didn’t stop there, if you weren’t lucky enough to be one of the 10 chosen. Two lucky attendees then had the chance to win the runner-up prize a HTC desire 816 and a goodie bag with the overall winner winning an Xperia Z1 phone, Sony Smart Watch 2 and a goodie bag.

For me, the event is all about meeting the people. The prizes are a bonus, and yes much to my surprise I won a bundle – usually I win nothing.

A special thank you has to go to John Scullion who went above and beyond to help when our car broke down on the way to the event.  He not only organised, he also paid for the hire car until we could reimburse him at the event. I have never met him, and that people is the community spirit of twitter that amazes me.

Looking forward to MOTD 2015 hope to see old and new friends.