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Next Saturday at this time, I’ll be at the Science Bloggers Conference on the UNC Campus in Murphey Hall. Bora and Anton send us this update:

1. Time & Place
We’re one week away from the conference, and we’re looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, January 20 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Note that we’ll be meeting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Murphey Hall; visit the wiki to find driving directions, parking information and campus landmarks. Please plan to arrive at Murphey Hall between 8:15am and 9am to sign in, get a grab bag and swill some coffee.

Important note to those of you flying into RDU: a taxi from RDU to Chapel Hill costs about $50. If you’re on a budget and would like a ride from the airport, please send Anton a message soon so we can match you up with volunteer drivers. And, most of the Chapel Hill hotels are at the bottom of the hill, so be sure to ask your hotel in advance if they’ll be able to shuttle you to UNC’s campus.

2. Registrants
As of this writing, we’re at 164 registrants for the event. We have space for 170, and we’ll likely close the registration this weekend. If you know now that you won’t be able to join us, please contact Anton ASAP to free up your seat for someone on the waitlist.

3. Skills Session

Some of you have indicated your interest in attending the pre-conference skills session Thurs, Jan 18 from 2-4 p.m. If you haven’t already done so, please send a reply message to Anton to confirm your attendance at that session, as we’ve hit our limit of 30 people for that.

4. Program

The conference program has filled out nicely, and we encourage you to visit the wiki to see how the day has been planned. Notice the various breakout sessions — we encourage you to think about which sessions you want to attend and to think now about how you’d like to contribute to the discussions in those sessions. You might even want to post relevant links or questions to the wiki pages for those sessions, or publish a blog entry (if so, see the tagging suggestion below).

5. Mingling

As you no doubt have found at other professional and technology conferences, the most rewarding part of these events are the hallway conversations. Please come prepared to greet old friends, meet new acquaintances and share your knowledge and experiences with others.

6. Group Dinners

One good way to mingle with new and old friends is to join one of the group dinners that will happen after the official conference. Groups will be dining at various Chapel Hill restaurants Saturday evening. This is pay-your-own-way, so we’ve chosen places with good food and good prices. Please sign up now for one of these group dinners at the wiki dining page.

7. Friday night dinner

For those of you who will be in town the night before the conference, we’ll be hosting another group dinner (also pay-your-own-way). At this dinner we’ll be featuring blog readings from any and all
bloggers in attendance. If you can join us, please sign up at the
wiki dining page.

8. Liveblogging & Tagging

When you registered for the conference, you were asked to provide your MAC address for access to the university wifi. If you didn’t provide this when you registered, please send Anton a message with your MAC address. During the conference, you’ll then have free wifi. We encourage you to liveblog the sessions so that others can learn from this event. Please also post pictures, podcasts and video clips — we’ll be using the tag ‘sciencebloggingconference’ at Technorati, Flickr, YouTube and other sites. Bora’s our ringleader on this, so please send him suggestions or your links.

9. Fundraising

Last but not least, this is a reminder that the conference is free and open to all. We’ve found sponsors and donors for this event, and expect to have most of our expenses covered for the day. Still, if you have a rich uncle, a winning Lotto ticket under your mattress, or a benevolent boss with an inclination to support the public understanding of science, please help us secure our last couple hundred dollars. Contact Anton directly.

OK, that’s all. We’ll have one or two more update messages before the conference. Now, head over to the wiki, please: