Euan Semple tells it like it is, exploring the value of physical connections at conferences which -- unbeknownst to some U.S. UberMouths -- still matter in places other than the valley, boston, and new yawk. And they don't even need to be "un" to count!!
I was also very aware of the unconferencing meme going around at the moment but to be honest I am getting pretty tired of a small group of people who have attended mind-bloggling numbers of conferences, along with pretty much the same group of geeks, over the past four years in the US getting bored with themselves and declaring conferences dead. I know from experience that there still a lot of people for whom "real" conferences continue to have value - especially for people who are new to a subject and not one of the chosen few.
And anyway - people like Chris Corrigan, Jon Husband and Johnnie Moore have been applying open space principles to group working for years very effectively. Getting a bunch of people to self-organise round things they feel passionate about wasn't invented by Dave Winer.
Amen. As a soloist, I wish I could afford to go to more of them and get burned out too. More reasons for a nap!