Okay, so we have some pretty cool presentations which are going to be happening and I thought this a good place to provide links to more information on them. So....
* RepRap - Awesome 3d printer that's able to replicate a good portion of it's own parts (around 70% I think?) It's Free in that you can get one, make alterations to the design. This is already happening to some extent. Some people are after the Rolls Royce of these things. Others want to make it as accessible as humanly possible (bamboo can even be used for parts).
Speaker: Vik Olliver
* POINTS - This has kept me busy the last month or so. Basically we're trying to bring the open source philosophy to schools. Share information and build on it. It's a fairly natural link I think. Computer people are about information and how that information is managed and stored which leads us to psychology to some extent and then of course, kids are probably the most interesting of subjects. SFD will mark the launch of this although most of the work has already been done.
Speaker: Nevyn Hira
* OpenOffice.org - Most people will probably know what this is. It has some very exciting aspects to it. Being an office suite that is free, you're no longer relying on hoping that people have a copy of a proprietary office suite. I find this very exciting for education. Instead of having to submit in a proprietary format, students should be encouraged to take a copy (and share) of the office suite and use it for their assignments and the like. The reason I find this so exciting is that we're also teaching people to go down a more... legal road. Use this legal to use software which anyone can afford (given that it's free as in beer as well as Freedom), or pay for a proprietary solution which may find you locked into a particular product or pirate that same proprietary product.
Speaker: Graham Lauder
* One Laptop Per Child (OPLC) - this is an innovative project which started out with a tagline "the sub-$100 laptop!". The tagline was soon dropped (you can imagine why). The OPLC was aimed at bringing computers to developing nations and was designed with their needs in mind. From the rubber keyboard, different charging options (including a crank handle!), high contrast screen etc. It made huge waves in the computing world. Netbooks (those dinky little computers which are small enough to fit in most handbags) were kind of an offspin of these.
Speaker: Vik Olliver
* Arduino - Proving that Free approach isn't just restricted to software, but can be used for hardware as well. The Arduino is a fairly simple processor which can be hooked up to sensors and other devices (I've seen screens and control pads and other such things hooked up to these things). It provides a great entry into the world of robotics and electronics. Given that you can see instant results with very little wiring up, this would be a great way to have a play. It's also used in the RepRap.
Speaker Tim from Mindkits (sorry don't have a surname)
They'll also have a stand at the University of Auckland event so you'll be able to buy and play with some of these great little devices!
Well - those are the ones I'm excited about. There may be a couple more though I can't remember them off the top of my head. I hope to see you all there. This is going to be awe [wait for it] some!