I happened to be looking through some of the free stuff I’ve gotten from the software vendors at various conferences, workshops and classes. Some of you will point out that “nothing in life is free” and, indeed, getting these things usually requires spending money on a training session or for travel, at the very least. Still, I like keeping these things around and remembering when and why they came into my possession.

I have two Beckman CALS: The LIMS With a Track Record of success mugs, both of which I got because my employer paid to send me to training courses. They’re a reminder to me that the absolute top LIMS product doesn’t necessarily stay on top forever.

Somewhere around here, I still have my old LabWare LIMS mousepad that exclaims that a client-server system can be created in less than forever. This reminds why so many up-and-coming products grab market share from the established companies. Just as with the initial LabWare system, they might have few options and little functionality, but a jump in technology can be the thing that helps a product to get its foot in the door. And, considering that the LabWare system is now massive, with just about every feature imaginable, it’s a model for other little companies that they have the potential to do the same thing.

Right this very moment, I’m wearing my Thermo t-shirt. It’s so old that it says “Thermo Electron Corporation” on it. At a Pittcon some years ago, Clive Higgins handed me a package that turned out to contain a t-shirt that said “Question Everything.” At the time, I over-thought this and wondered if he was encouraging me in some way but, in essence, he was probably just madly handing out t-shirts to everyone that passed through his booth. For anyone who knows me, you know I don’t actually need this t-shift to encourage me to ask too many questions (but wearing it makes me feel great!).

I have the usual Pittcon duffel and travel bags, most of which are a bit cheap and are getting fewer and fewer due to wear-and-tear, giving me fond memories of some of my Pittcon adventures, but also reminding me that it’s not the place to shop for travel gear.  😉

Last but not least, is my iVention LLC (US) double-walled glass beverage container. Join up and you can probably also con one out of them! Every time I drink out of it, it reminds me that I still haven’t finished my time sheet, so I guess it serves its purpose!  🙂

Beyond that, I’ve gotten USB hubs, tons of pens, jar openers, and a wide variety of other junque. What is the most useful or most fun thing you’ve gotten, from whom and from where? If you want to tell what you had to go through to get it, that could be interesting, too.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

2 Thoughts to “The “Free” Stuff We Get”

  1. Brian Meadows

    Maybe not quite the sort of freebie you were envisaging, Gloria, but how about a crate of beer, courtesy of a DEC representative in England?

    We got this for crashing a PDP-11 running RSX-11M, using only a non-privileged account and entering standard commands as per the reference manual.

    Crash in this instance means rendering the entire system unusable and the only way out was to break in and reboot from the system console.

    1. One beer is just a friendly drink but I’ll count an entire crate. 🙂

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