Jonnet M

A home for gnomes

Pervasive gnoming hits Hacker Camp 2009

What is it that makes the common garden gnome the stickiest RFID idea of the year? No matter how much hilarity or derision they provoke, the gnomes just won't go home.


Gnomemeister Tijmen models neoprene gnome hat - At Hacker Camp '09 Jonnet M

With: Tijmen

One of the most memorable brainstorming moments of Day 1 was the delightfully fanciful suggestion to populate the Gashouder with 100+ tagged gnomes. Clearly, a lesser number would pale into insignificance in the vastness of the space. And thus the G-nome project was born, a complex idea to generate each gnome's identity from the social profiles of the delegates with which it interacts.

But alas, the idea foundered at the final pitch. Several obstacles stood in the path of gnome domination at PICNIC 2009, from the "gnomes have already been done" argument to the dubious logic of spending a huge whack of the hardware budget on kitsch ceramic creatures. There was also a tangible sense of gnome fatigue among some hackers who didn't rate the RFID possibilities of an inert guy with a fishing rod as enough of a techie challenge. G-nome just wanted to meet people and be mischievously moved around. He's a social object enjoying human-propelled travel. The onus is on social interaction rather than coding, giving the PICNICkers more fun than the hackers.

G-nome was dead but the spirit of gnome lives on. Gnomemeister Tijmen hacked his own g-nome idea to create ik-gnome, a gnomeless solution in which the PICNICkers themselves become the gnomes. With nothing more than a couple of gnome hats, one red, one blue, every delegate can populate a virtual gnome network by posing for their photo with a hat on.