I'll be completely and totally honest here. Gnomedex 2004 (Geeks Gone Wild) has been awesome this year. Unfortunately, in contrast to the overall experience, the panels haven't been compelling at all.
I think it was very different because last year, although a lot of the same people were speaking, I'd never heard most of this before. But post-GD2003, I started reading a lot of the blogs etc. of the corporate geeks.
I've heard it all before, now. Telling me that news feeds are the future of the internet is nothing new. Telling me that the DMCA is evil is nothing new. Telling me that security measures are failing is nothing new.
In fact, telling me is nothing new. I'm tired of being told. These panels are supposed to be in the service of geeks—but if the conference is for us, why are the panels made up of those entrenched in the industry? I propose that Gnomedex would be vastly improved if the panels were split in half—half industry reps, half geeks. Or, for something truly revolutionary, have the industry reps sitting in the audience taking notes. Let us tell industry what we want, instead of industry telling us what we're going to get.
I mean, this is the internet, right? We're talking about blogging, which is overthrowing industrial-strength news in favor of personal insight. We're talking about news feeds, which give users the power to (hopefully) dictate their own consumption flow. How about a little variety of opinion, here? Maybe your users have something to say that's new.