Google sent a couple of their people to BarCamp2 in Grand Rapids, MI this weekend.
First, they raffled off a tee-shirt on Friday night. I put my name in and lo and behold, I got a cool Google tee-shirt with the coyote howling at the moon. I'm wearing it now. Google also brought other schwag: pens, notpads, blinkies. My wife already snagged the notepad. Should have scarfed up two of them. The blinkie was cool, LEDs in the letters of the google logo. I figure the nieces and nephews will be fighting over it.
Second, they also gave away a iPod, I didn't win it, but the fellow who did looked awful darned happy.
Third, one of the Google people gave a talk on Linux systems administration and handed out Ubuntu live CDs and talked about Ubuntu. I learned it was a Debian distro of Linux and thought, what the hey, and I booted it on my work laptop that runs Windows XP. It came up smoothly, detected all the networks and stuff and everything "just worked." I was impressed.
So, my daughter's laptop has been sorta sick all summer. It runs for a while, then flakes out. (I took it in but the fellow was completely useless in diagnosing the problem. Couldn't find anything. That was $40 very mis-spent.) After BarCamp I went to my favorite hardware store and bought a 60GB hard disk, brought it home, installed it in my daughter's laptop, then booted Ubuntu. It booted fine. I told it to install on her new hard disk and walla. Everything "just worked" and has been rock-solid all evening. I'm terribly impressed with the Ubuntu CD the Google guy handed out.
Thank you, Google. You've got some great people working for you!