The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

Alagad BackpackI have a bunch of promotional laptop backpacks I purchased for Alagad taking up precious space in my garage. These are very nice swiss gear backpacks with the Alagad logo tastefully embroidered on the back pocket. They’ve got, I’d guess, a zillion pockets, lots of storage space, can fit a 17″ laptop, and are tough as heck. I’ve been using mine for a couple years and it still looks like new! I really want to give them away to good homes, but I’ve been struggling on how to best do this. Maybe you can help?

A few weeks ago I posted a contest where entrants would make a word search generator in an unfamiliar language. And, well, honestly, that went over like a lead balloon. I hadpreciselyzero entrants. Maybe I made it a bit too complex?

I’d like to turn this into a game or a contest or something of the sort and have a little fun with it! Furthermore, a little promotional activity can’t hurt since it looks like Alagad will be winding up their current contract in April. (It’s never too early to be looking for the next gig.) If possible, it’d be really nice to be able to help people learn something new or, perhaps, help out those who are less fortunate, especially durring this time of year. Winners of these contests would get an Alagad backpack.

So, this time I’m having a contest to come up with ideas for contests, games, or whatever. If you have an idea on what I should do to give away these backpacks post it in the comments below. I’ll pick one or more of the ideas and run with them. If your idea is picked, you’ll get a very nice backpack for your troubles!

So, how should I give away these backpacks?

Comments on: "Contest: Help Alagad Give Away Swiss Gear Backpacks" (15)

  1. My idea is just give me an Alagad backpack and I’ll give you free advertising.

    Also, is it too late to do the word search generator? I’ve been meaning to play with Python, and I could use a new backpack.


  2. @Bucky -You know, I don’t think the word search thing got as much visibility as I thought. It seems that HootSuite stopped publishing my feed back in July or so. So, as far as I know the word search thing wasn’t really as widely advertised as I thought. I say go ahead and do it. If no one else submits anything I’ll give you a backpack and blog about your entry.


  3. Daniel Garcia said:

    How about a contest to do something cool using CF and jQuery Mobile?


  4. My ideas for you Doug:
    1 – I like Bucky’s idea, but think I should get the backpack! 🙂

    2 – Fill it with jelly beans, and have us guess how many are inside one pack (which could require some code to calculate bean size and pack size, etc, etc. Plus you’re using BEANS! It’s OO already! Hehe

    3 – Pick places around town and either hide some sort of ticket with a generated number 9for proof). If we find a ticket, we win a pack. Sucks for me as I am not in town, but whatever!
    – OR –
    Pick places, give clues, have people follow you on FourSquare or Gowalla (whichever you use). The first person to check in at each location wins

    4 – Do a Follow me and retweet this to win twitter / facebook contest. In your case let people RT as much as they like so we can write code to do it. Person who writes code to generate the most combined tweets/FB posts wins! It’ll annoy the hell out of Dan Wilson!

    5 – Ray Camden just did the whole “tell me a charity you’re supporting this holiday season” contest thing. Something like that might go over well.

    6 – Just give them to the first how ever many people who suggest ideas for this contest!!!

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you choose and who wins! Have a great holiday!


  5. Best first time open source contribution. It could be documentation, a code enhancement to a project, or a new project.


  6. A programming contest is always good, it just needs proper promotion.

    Maybe a visualization challenge to show different ways to visualize and mine certain data. Give someone a stock market feed or something and then have them work with the data and analyze it and then you can give out awards for creativity, simplicity, and overboardity.


  7. Jeez – I just bought one of these last month for my Thinkpad W701. It really is a nice bag for 17″ laptops – pretty lightweight and lots of pockets. (Lightweight before stuffing that behemoth into one of those pockets.)


  8. Thanks for the suggestions everyone! So far I’m leaning towards Kurt’s suggestion. I think that’s nice and beneficial to a broad range of people.

    I also like programming contests. The challenge though is that I tend to make them too complicated and it turns people off.

    I also like Phillip’s hiding tags, etc. It sounds like geocaching. But that locks out anyone who’s not around me, which I don’t like. I wonder if there’d be a practical way to do a treasure hunt online….

    Maybe a contest where entrants create some sort of OSS tool that might be of use to nonprofits and charities? I’m not sure what that would be though…

    Keep ’em coming!


  9. What about a contest to create an API wrapper? For instance, pick a popular service that has no ColdFusion wrapper for its API, then see who can code up the best one. You’ll be helping the CF community at the same time as clearing out your garage.

    For instance, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about SimpleGeo, and they have no CFML API library.


  10. @Doug perhaps you could do an online tag hiding scheme. Get together with some folks who have blogs that are all picked up by the same aggregator (fullasagoog,, etc) and ask them to subtly include a coordinate in a blog posting on one or sometime in the same week.

    Then the people doing the contest would have to be able to grab and parse an rss feed, search the contents of those blog artciles, identify pieces of information that look like latitude/longitude and then finally resolve the coordinates into a list of place names. Submit the list of place names (and code perhaps) as the solution.

    I think that would be a fun version of online geocaching.


  11. What about ‘write a tutorial’, it’s a bit vage, but it’s up to you to determ a skill level (beginner, intermediate, advanded) and narrow it down by limiting the technology and/or the type of project the tutorial is related to.

    Some example:
    Write an intermediate tutorial on ORM in ColdFusion
    Write a beginners tutorial on css for mobile devices
    Write a tutorial for [an FOSS project]

    People that are limited in time could write down something they already know, others can use this opportunity to challenge themself to explore something new…


  12. @Everyone – Thanks so much for the suggestions for contest ideas. I’ve decided what I’m going to do! Before I announce that let me say that I may pick more than one idea from this list while work through the backpacks in my garage. So, as an example, if I didn’t pick your suggestion this time that doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. If I use your idea I’ll be sure to send you a backpack. So, watch the comments on this blog entry to see if I pick your idea in the future.

    For this round, I’m going to go with Kurt Wiersma’s suggestion – best first time open source contribution. I’ll be announcing this in another blog entry shortly.

    @Kurt – can you please send me your address and I’ll get a backpack in the mail to you!


  13. Oh – and since I’ll be referring back to this blog entry in the future, please feel free to keep adding ideas for the time being! If I use them I’ll send you a backpack (as long as supplies last).


  14. Tis the season…how about looking into local a “Adopt a Family” where there are less fortunate teens that would love to have a cool backpack. It just might spark them to further their education by having something to be proud of. Each donation would be a write-off, not to mention the joy you would bring to a less fortunate student. You seem like a nice person. Thanks for that. There aren’t many left in this world today.


    • @Danny, unfortunately, this contest is long post. However, I really agree with you. I’m not concerned about any write offs, but I do want to help support the less fortunate in general and I’m trying to do so!! Thanks for the encouragement.


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