Friday, March 22, 2013

RootsTech 2013 -- Day 2

After two days of RootsTech, I'm actually glad I won't be able to attend tomorrow. This has been a disappointing conference. I'm just glad I registered early (like last October) and didn't pay full price.
I naively thought that the focus of this conference would be on the intersection of genealogy and technology. Unfortunately, many of the sessions I've attended in the last two days haven't met that definition. In one session today, the only mention of "technology" was "do a Google search." Really? That same presenter made the statement that WorldCat identifies ALL locations for EVERY book available in the US. Really?
The "workshop" I attended yesterday that was supposed to teach me something about CSS was a total bust. Half the people left before the session was half over. We were in a computer lab, but never had cause to touch the computers!
Luckily, today's workshop on metadata was much better. The only real flaw was that it (and other "workshops") were scheduled for a single hour. What were they thinking? Workshops that involve hands-on learning require at least two hours.
I was also deeply frustrated in the Exhibition Hall today. After speaking with people in the booth late yesterday, I prepared a Gedcom file and put it on a jump drive to get my free fan chart. I took my jump drive to them at lunchtime today and was told it had to be uploaded from the computers at the Family History Library Mini-Lab. One of their yellow-shirted employees accompanied me to the mini-lab, only to end up in a shouting match with 4 or 5 FHL representatives. I was left to figure out how to upload the file on my own, which I thought I accomplished. I went back to the booth to see if they'd gotten the file and was told they couldn't check for it, come back later. So I returned an hour later and was told it was too soon; they were backlogged by several hours. So I went back at the end of the day (about 4:30) and learned that they had NOT received my file and couldn't do anything until tomorrow. Since we're leaving first thing in the morning, I can't go back and try again. Talk about frustrating!
I spent some time speaking with several other vendors in the exhibition hall and enjoyed meeting the folks at Map the Past and Photo Face Match, as well as Curt Witcher at the FGS booth.
I've got two other complaints about this conference:
--There are very few classes for intermediate or advanced genealogists. For most of the time slots in the first two days, there was only ONE session marked "intermediate"; but tomorrow there are 3 in the first session and 5 in the 3rd session [zero in the 2nd session]. Who the heck planned this?
--What's with all the emphasis on storytelling and what does that have to do with the interface between genealogy and technology?
Quite frankly, if I'd know that a third of the classes would be on storytelling and less than 10% would be designed for intermediates, I never would have even considered attending RootsTech 2013. I certainly won't waste my money on this conference again!

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