As a software developer that relies on heavy duty hardware, I have been reluctant to attend any of the many tech conferences without my full size and capable laptop. This weekend I decided not to break my back caring my 17in MBP. This weekend, I only carried my first gen WIFI iPad to the No Fluff Just Stuff conference. I was pleasantly surprised it was all I needed. I even attended a git hands-on workshop by Matthew McCullough and was able to complete all the labs.
There were several things that enabled me to do this. First NFJS provides a great iPad app for the conference. It sets the bar really high for other conferences because it includes the schedules, evals, and presentation slides you can make notes on. I personally choose to get the PDFs and use GoodReader to annotate them so I could use them on my Mac later. Second I kept Textastic in the back ground to make notes that had nothing to do with the presentation or something I wanted to do immediately when I get back to the office. Third I used iSSH to ssh into my server for the git workshop. Finally the hotel offered free Internet and for a tech conference it worked surprisingly well.
I am alway surprised at how many people say the iPad is just a consumption device. After this weekend I am convinced the iPad is the perfect conference device. This is probably why NFJS is getting rid of paper next year and will be loaning devices out to all the attendees for the weekend.