Category Archives: RootsTech

RootsTech 2013, Day -1

It’s RootsTech time again.

I had some regular research to do today so I spent some time at the Family History Library. It was more crowded than usual. And the Internet cut out before it closed (an hour late for the conference). But the outage was bigger than just the building, so I heard on the way out.

Someone here for RT lent me a microUSB cable to copy my files to my Android, since I forgot my flash drive (again?!). And I helped someone else on the way out who had coincidentally visited this week and had a fabulous old photo album. I suggested she try to get a consult with Maureen Taylor at RT and did a bit of sleuthing on my cell phone to show here where to look for more info.

I still haven’t seen any of the Twitterers and bloggers that have been gathering together. I must keep missing them during meal breaks or something. Or I’m walking right past the ones I don’t know well enough to recognize.

App Updates

A little follow-up on the RootsTech app. Things have changed since my review. The main icons have grown to number 16. I’ll skip the details. Updates are pretty constant. Hopefully they’ll get the unconferencing in there quickly so I don’t screw up and add something I want to go to on the wrong day again like I did last year. I will likely be using my phone this whole conference, since I’m expecting the same behavior as last year from the provided Internet. In that case, at least, I’ll be connected more often and get any updates in a more timely fashion.

The bad updates are when it tells me to download a new version, then takes me to my browser. I’m not logged in to Google Play in my browser and I have to go out and back through the app store app instead.

App Syncing

They activated some syncing between devices. I set my phone as device #1 and my 5″ as #2. My schedule was on #2. Two days moved to #1 and deleted from #2. Day three disappeared from both. Later, probably after some update, day three reappeared and the others vanished. Eventually it was all wiped out, so I had to go through it all again. I did it again on #2 and it appeared on #1. I didn’t double check everything, but it looks about right.

More App Stuff

Exhibitors no longer looks bad with the one category and all are just listed. I’m pretty sure they changed the look of each exhibitor screen, and they removed the phone numbers entirely.

There are some Conference Documents and App Tip Sheets that, when I have clicked any of them, try to download or email. I haven’t bothered to download or email any of them, so I can’t say what they are. It’s just not important enough to me to bother at this point. Maybe if I run out of other things to nitpick, but I doubt that could happen.

Day -1

I arrived at my typical time to the FHL and got some work done. I didn’t see anything on Twitter, so I asked about crowds at registration. A couple of replies made me feel like I wouldn’t be stuck in long lines, so I went for a walk to the Salt Palace. A certain sign greeted me as I walked into the side door.

At least I knew I was in the right place. The registration line was nothing. I knew to stay away at first and I showed up about three hours after they began.

Registration at 7pm

Jeanette Rosenberg (our Tuesday night UJGS speaker) and Mark Nicholls were hanging around so I said hello to them, then headed to the Exhibitor Hall. I was kind of expecting more security but I just walked right in, but not before being greeted by a certain sign.

The previous registration picture, I posted on Twitter, to which I got a fabulous reply from Alex Coles, @wychwoodnz: “my eyes! #carpet”. I later realized it hasn’t changed since last year. Also, I prefer that wild one to this one.

You just scrolled back up to check out the carpet, didn’t you? :-)

In the Exhibitor Hall, it turned out that the person I was looking for was the first one I saw, and closest to the door, talking to someone. We walked back to the FHL, but not before I snapped a couple more pictures.

Unconferencing Schedule

It appears that Unconferencing is already about half scheduled even before the conference begins. There are two boards, and the other is similarly filled.

Little Things

I like the bag colors better this year than last. And the style of it too. I looked through the ads in it and found the card for the usual iPad giveaway, but with no mention of T-shirts. Did they skip them this year? I saw tweets about 6,800 registered attendees, not counting almost 2,000 children. Last year, they said they had limited shirts, fewer than the attendee numbers, and still had some left near the end.

The badges are a different type and smaller, so the usual ribbons do not fit properly. Daniel Horowitz already had a MyHeritage ribbon on his for me to see that.

I had some more nitpicking here, but I could write whole blog posts about those topics (and I’m sure I will), so I’ve deleted them and saved them for future articles. Thus, I’ll end here and see lots of genealogists tomorrow at RootsTech.

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/2013/03/21/rootstech-day-1-3/.

RootsTech App 2013 First Impressions

RootsTech 2013 is approaching and the app is finally out. The Google Play store says it came out on the 21st, but I didn’t see any mention online until the 26th.

Once again, the app comes to us from Core-apps, a developer of conference apps. The app was pretty glitchy last year, so I was hoping it would be improved this year; they’ve had at least a year more to learn to program it. So far, it’s doing better.

Main Screen. Do you love the “screen captured” message that shows up *during* the screen capture?

The bulk of this article was written last night, but some things changed overnight.

There were eleven icons on the main screen last night, but this morning, there are twelve. And I’m pretty sure the background color changed.

Exhibitors

The exhibitors seemed empty at first. Under the categories, there was only one: movie theatre. Only when someone online mentioned checking on the exhibitors in the app did I realize that no one was categorized and they were all in there. Several are listed twice. Each can be bookmarked and marked as visited. There is also a space for notes, with an option to email those notes. I’m not sure about the schedule option. Can I schedule through the app to visit with the vendors? Title is required. Title of what? That part, I don’t get it.

I didn’t check all of them, but my favorite exhibitor listing right now is MyHeritage: their phone number is 9.73E+11. Yeah, try to figure that out. I guess the app is US-only and not adaptable.



Maps

The map for the Salt Palace is typically confusing, as it always is. The downtown SLC map looks familiar. Did they really have to include the QR code in the scanned version? Is someone going to look at the map on their device and use another device to scan the code or something? Things like this are the reason why some people write articles saying that QR codes are dead — because they’re used in dumb ways.

Thursday Schedule. What am I doing sometime after 4pm?

Events

This is the place to find the schedule. I don’t see the keynotes or any special events. Are there special events this year? I can’t even remember hearing about anything.

The events take some time to get through, especially when you want to bookmark overlapping events. You get a pop-up warning that you’ve scheduled multiple things, and you get a separate one for each, so you can’t see anything behind it while that’s cycling through each time. I don’t need a warning when I can clearly see on my calendar that I have multiple things marked.

There are a lot of typos in the schedule. I haven’t checked the RootsTech web site lately, but some seem familiar, like they were also on the site. A simple spell check would probably fix half of them.

There are an awful lot of sessions without a speaker listed. That’s a really bad omission. It’s common to find multiple sessions of interest at the same time and sometimes the tie breaker is the speaker.

 

Friday Schedule. Does that come with lunch and dinner breaks?

My Schedule

This is a very useful part of the app, as long as it works.

There was an issue last year where I was adding an unconferencing event by hand and the white board showed the wrong date, so I added it on the wrong date. An update that came too late showed those sessions and would have added it into the schedule for me, hopefully on the correct date, so I wouldn’t have missed it. I hope that information also ends up in the app again with a more timely update than last year. Obviously, that can’t be in here yet since those are set up after the conference begins.

After going through the schedule and marking some of the sessions, I have four time slots marked with sessions on Thursday (image above). One has six sessions, so the ones I marked are: Conte, Curati, Findin, Mappi, Next, and Beyo. No, that doesn’t help me much to see what I’ve selected and I have to tap through to each one just to see the title. There probably isn’t any better solution to programming this, other than giving me more information to narrow down my choices.

Friday gets much more interesting, with sessions running from 9:45 AM to 10:45 PM — three of them. Is there a lunch break?

After going through all three days, I noticed that some sessions repeat. Having this somewhere in the description would be helpful. Maybe I have more time to attend on the other day. Or I might mark it for both days and not realize I’m repeating a session, since there are several similar sessions. Maybe telling me the speaker will help me choose which I want to attend?

After setting up the schedule on my other Android to take a proper screen capture, those pop-up warnings went on for about a minute, even after I closed the app. I don’t need warnings that I’ve set sessions at the same time. I can clearly see it when I go to the schedule.

Twitter, Facebook

Twitter is already pulling up the hashtagged posts, Facebook apparently goes to the mobile version of the Facebook page. My Android browser is not logged in to Facebook. (I’m not sure the app is either, since I don’t really use it on the go.)

News

News looks like an RSS reader of selected blogs — not all official bloggers, at least not all of the official bloggers. The problem is that tapping on an article opens up a web browser. Not only that, but I tapped on the first article on About.com and the browser went to an article on The Ancestry Insider. I tried tapping on the article it actually brought me to and nothing happened. Trying several others at random mostly did nothing, so this part of the app, which should be pretty simple, is really bad.

Photo Gallery, Videos

Photo gallery is empty for now. Videos was added overnight and is already populated with videos from 2012.

Friends, Attendees

I’m pretty sure that last year’s app had these features, but didn’t run them very well. It used the app Bump to add people in proximity, but the app wasn’t working well for me. (It could have been the non-phone Android I was using.) There were also randomly-generated six digit codes to add your friends, but when people posted their codes to Facebook or Twitter, they would quickly expire and you’d have to post them again. That was not good.

Error. “Yes”, there was an error. No, I can’t do screen captures from this Android. Yes, it was 2:25AM.

This year, the attendees can add themselves to an app directory, listed by name. You can then add them to contacts or add them as friends. Dear Myrtle was the first person to show up twice. Having installed the app on two Androids, I thought that I should be listed twice as well, but maybe I’m not seeing myself listed, so I only see myself on the other Android.

I had some trouble adding a friend, or rather, a friend adding me. Jill Ball was, well, on the ball, and quickly sent a friend request, which when I tried to accept, I just got an error. However, this morning, trying it again, it did add her as my friend, and a couple more who had added me since.

The problem is that there is no connection between my two Androids in this app. It doesn’t even recognize that I have identical contact information between them, so the friends I have in one app do not show up in the other. The same goes for the schedule and all the marks I have made. I think this was mentioned by others last year and I think there was eventually a solution that allowed syncing somehow, but it doesn’t seem to exist now. Will they add it before the conference?

Settings

This is not a main icon but an option from the top of the screen. The menu button should take you to this, but the developers have ignored the Android buttons. Within the settings, you can edit your profile and send emails — either inviting friends to download the app or email all of your notes. I haven’t added notes to try this, so I’m going to imagine that it works.

Conclusion

The glitches of last year’s app seem to have gone away. I can’t remember specifically what they all were, and don’t want to reinstall it just to find out again, but this one works much smoother, save for the adding a friend that didn’t work last night, but does now.

The problem with the typos in the schedule is a serious problem. Some, if not all, of those typos have been around for months. Are they going to fix them before the conference if they haven’t already?

Not syncing between devices is also a problem. I am not the only person with multiple devices. Lots of people have a smartphone and a tablet these days. The app needs a way to either sync online or import/export the data between devices. I certainly don’t want to edit my schedule on two devices constantly, or add everyone as a friend twice. And what if I decide to put this on my tablets?

That’s about all I’ve got to say about the app for now, but that last paragraph didn’t seem a suitable ending to this article. I look forward to seeing my genea-friends next month at RootsTech.

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/2013/02/27/rootstech-app-2013/.

The Nitpicker’s Critique of RootsTech

I had a great time at RootsTech. Besides all the issues that annoyed me, I knew I’d see a lot of people I know and meet a lot of people I previously only knew online. For me, genealogy conferences have really become about seeing the people and not about the conference itself; all the conference does is bring all the people to one place.

That being said, the nitpicker can’t help but critique things. Note that these are not in any kind of order of best to worst or anything, just as I thought of them while typing.

1. For the first keynote, I was delegated to another room because the main ballroom was full. The Salt Palace is a very big building. Couldn’t they have found a part of it big enough for everyone? I was late to the second keynote but got into the main room. I watched the third online from home. Apparently fewer showed up each day, but I did not like the first day being split up. Also, it might have been nice to have the Who Do You Think You Are? viewing there instead of trying to cram everyone in to the FHL. The overcrowding I expected was one reason why I helped arrange for a more private party (which probably turned out multitudes better).

2. The developer’s challenge was greatly improved over last year for a number of reasons. FamilySearch employees were excluded last year, thus limiting the entries. However, one rule this year was vague and not followed by half or possibly more of the participants (and the judges). I spoke to the person in charge and confirmed that I understood the rules as they were meant: create a brand new program, not submit something that’s been in-progress or already completed. He also said they will be more clear next year. I did like the idea that the first place winner was a brand new program, whereas most if not all of the other finalists were in development for much longer. Still, a big improvement over last year, with only three entries.

3. I could count the female developers in the sessions on one hand. Were they in other sessions or were there that few female developers? I wonder if something can be done to attract more. I wonder if the guys in the room were looking at us like we were lost. I did like that many developer sessions were easier to understand and not technically ridiculous, or maybe I chose my topics better this year. I thought some were labeled incorrectly when they said intermediate as they were incredibly beginner for developers, but they would have been advanced for users.

4. One speaker was a no-show. There was no indication that the session was cancelled or that anyone from RootsTech knew he wasn’t there or going to be there. However, it did turn into one of the better conversations at the conference.

5. The mobile app was good and also seriously lacking. It was not created exclusively for RootsTech, but by a company who does this, and some parts still were non-functional. Also, it was released about a week before the conference and should have been tested and released sooner. I got a notification about an additional update that had to be downloaded from the market the day after the conference. (It might have been out the day before, but that’s #7.) Also, notifications about updates took me to the web browser and never to the store to actually update the app, which was wrong. I could go into a lot of details about the app problems, but I’ll skip them and hope the company cleans up their code by next year. The schedule was the best part of it. I could choose the sessions I was most interested in and see them on my schedule.

6. The big white board of unconferencing sessions was labeled as February 3rd and 4th, though it was actually the 2nd and 3rd. I added one session to my schedule and missed it by a day. If the app had been filled in with the sessions (and wifi worked so it updated), I could have just chosen it from the list and it would have landed in the right place.

7. Wifi was abysmal. Even when I was connected, I often couldn’t even send a single tweet. Many times, I wanted to tweet “Hey, this speaker is really great!” By the time I had tried sending for 30 minutes or more, that tweet had always morphed into “The wifi sucks.” Sometimes the tweet never got through. Sometimes I couldn’t even connect to the wifi. Usually, I could find at least a dozen hotspots, so many others were activating those to have access. Please, RootsTECH, get your tech improved. I could stand next to the router and not even see the network in some rooms. Apparently the vendors had to pay dearly for their wired connections and even those were problematic. If the Salt Palace has bad hardware, RootsTech should provide their own. The FHL has good connectivity, so I know that FamilySearch can figure out how to make it work.

8. In 2011, there was a closing session. In 2012, it just kind of ended and everyone had to slink away. I think I preferred the first year for that; gave it closure and gathered everyone together to say goodbye. (In 2011, I was so tired, I just tore out of there after the session to go home to sleep, but still…)

9. Some of the handling of the official bloggers could have been better. Having been (kind of) asked in 2011 to be official in 2012, I was disappointed not to be included. When I asked why, I never received an answer. They asked for more blogger suggestions, then more ethnic bloggers, and still I didn’t even get a response. I had a discussion with Paul Nauta about it, which un-annoyed me a bit. If every conference promotes the same official bloggers every year, the others never have a chance to catch up in popularity and readership. It occurred to me after talking to him that I don’t think they had an official blogger who is a developer, so they had no one reporting from that side of the conference. Maybe they should take that into consideration for next year too, and not just who blogs the most and has the most readers. It doesn’t help if all of the official bloggers are blogging about the same sessions.

10. I had an interesting discussion with two other developers when a speaker didn’t show up where this topic was discussed. One of the goals of RootsTech is to bring together genealogists and technologists to learn the needs of the other. But how does that actually happen when the users are going to the user sessions and the developers are going to the developer sessions? Personally, I can just talk to myself, because I’m a user and a developer, but few people can really say that. Also, I don’t use all the apps, so I don’t know what the genealogists need, and I’ve fallen a bit behind in technologies that the developers would know about — so I really need to talk to both. Instead of separating us out by sessions, there needs to be something that literally brings us together: a social event or maybe some kind of game, or speed “dating” of sorts. Put us in a room, let everyone be labeled user or developer, and force us to talk to people on the opposite side about appropriate topics. I understand the unconferencing was better for this also, but alas, the one I had picked out ended up on my schedule on the wrong day.

Conclusion

So, in order to improve for RootsTech 3.0, I suggest that they be far better about responding to emails, be more clear in the rules about the developer’s challenge (and the judges should follow the rules as they were written and intended and not accept the entries that break the rules just because they’re good), make sure the mobile app creators can create a functional app instead of the partly broken thing they released, possibly try to reach out to more female developers, really bring the genealogists and technologists together (not just by being in the same conference center), and get serious about providing reliable Internet connectivity to everyone everywhere at the conference.

I can’t wait to see everyone again next year. And a few more people who didn’t make it this year. Or at other conferences this year. Who’s going to other conferences? I think I will be.

RootsTech, Day 3

Though I was up later other nights, last night my eyes just couldn’t stay open even long enough to post some photos. It was a less busy day. I stayed home for the keynote, arriving later for a couple sessions. I skipped one and the other speaker was a no-show, but three of us sat in the room and had a nice, off-topic conversation about development.

I stuck around after closing to watch what happened with the MyHeritage balloons. I witnessed the carnage of the deaths of more than half of them. Then I headed south to Janet Hovorka’s house for dinner. I had no idea how many people she had invited, and was surprised that I was one of the earliest arrivals, having left at least an hour after the conference ended. I met even more people, including Jim Ericson, where we discussed the developer’s challenge a bit. I learned some interesting details about last year too.

In the end, of course it all turned out great. No matter how annoyed I was at a variety of things, I knew I’d still enjoy myself since, for me, it’s not about the conference, it’s about all the people I get to see there.

RootsTech, Day 2

Sometime after posting yesterday’s blog post, I realized how many people I met in the media center that I didn’t mention. But I’m so tired now, if I tried to list them, I’m sure I’d miss most again. I went to some more developer sessions. One was great, one was not. I was the only woman of about three in one (so that makes twice) and the only woman in the boring one; I also left that one early.

I seem to have a lot of overexposed pictures today, along with plenty of blurry shots too. Not sure if I just shot badly or was tired and couldn’t see what I was doing.

Caroline Pointer had mentioned wanting a Who Do You Think You Are? viewing party, along with the drinking game, in a hotel bar or someone’s room. Terryn Barill heard this and immediately called her hotel, the Peery, for permission to take over the TV in the bar. We invited the bloggers and a few others and had a blast. Back at the FHL after, I kept Daniel Horowitz company for a couple hours.

RootsTech, Day 1

I can’t begin to list all the people I saw and the new ones I met. I didn’t get pictures of a lot. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be even more snap happy with the camera. I also have a lot of blurry ones today. I wasn’t allowed in the media hub, but later I got past the guard dogs while they were talking and sat in for a while with the bloggers. Finally met Caroline Pointer, Denise Levenick, saw Thomas MacEntee, Amy Coffin, Kerry Scott, Ancestry Insider, Randy Seaver was in there, Pat Richley, and I’m certain about twice as many as I’ve mentioned. Later, I was spotted by Terryn Barill and Brooke Ganz.

I went to a developer session of about 60 people and I think there were maybe three other women; I could only see the backs of their heads, but was sure at least one was. I verified it was Brooke later.

Overheard at the after dinner event:

“Sweet potatoes are a lie.” – Daniel Horowitz
A French cat food story – Steve Morse

If only I could remember every word that was said, that list would be so long. After the comedian, Daniel wanted a steak. The rest of us (six of us) just went to keep him company and had a great time. I also learned that I am now the very last person to be using Eudora; Daniel has switched to Gmail.

RootsTech, Day Minus 1

Genealogists have been coming to SLC for a week. One person today thought she came in early by arriving the day before the conference. That was cute.

Let’s see, who did I see and meet today?

Carol Starin, Elise Friedman, Jill Ball, Robert Ball, Randy Seaver, Russ Worthington, Jan Brandt, Elyse Doreflinger, Jan Meisels Allen, I saw Elise and Elyse meet (so cute, I should have gotten them to pose for a picture), Pamela Weisberger, Steve Morse, Dan Lynch, Daniel Horowitz, Mark Olsen, and Yuval Ben-Galim.

Yep, it was a fun day already.

GenAssist – RootsTech Reject

RootsTech has once again put me in a bad mood. They’re getting too good at this. This time, it’s the developer’s challenge. The challenge was to imagine and then write a brand new program in less than two months. And I got started late. Looking at the finalists, I’d say that either some of them have been working on their programs for more than two months, or I have been left in the dark ages of web programming.

I’m not sure what I was thinking. The prizes are pretty significant this year. Maybe I should have looked at this program as if it was my full time job and put that much effort into it. Maybe that’s what the finalists actually did. Or maybe I somehow knew that I would be left in the dust in the end, so I didn’t.

Either way, I created a program to help beginning genealogists: the people that have just gotten started and found sites like FamilySearch and Ancestry, or maybe a few more, but don’t really know what they’re doing; the people that haven’t been to conferences, webinars, or society meetings; the people that want to know their genealogy but either don’t know how or don’t want to take the time to learn.

Genealogy research is a puzzle. Not only are there methodologies to learn, but you must also learn what records are available. Were your ancestors in Florida? Did you know there are state censuses for 1935 and 1945? Certainly a beginner wouldn’t know. So how does a new genealogist easily find out what’s available?

GenAssist.

In order to research your genealogy, you have to know how to do the research, to know what to look for, and to know what records are available. With GenAssist, you just enter the information about an individual and it will suggest document types in which you might find your relatives.

And while it’s telling you what records to search, it is also teaching you. It will explain why to search for certain records.

However, my program has been left in the dust of this contest. The judges found an error and only informed me when I pestered them that they were behind schedule to announce the finalists. They also hadn’t entered the sample information, because my database is extremely limited at the moment. When they finally entered the sample data, they didn’t do it correctly. (When I say to enter 1980, 1908 will not produce the same favorable results. Genealogy and programming are both more precise than that.)

Therefore, I am opening it up for you to try. Login with username “blog” and password “gjg” (without the quotes). Try the “View History” to see the two sample entries, so you can get an idea what kind of data is already in the database. Then add your own if you like. Keep in mind that your individuals are recorded and visible in the history, and this is a shared login for whoever reads this blog post, so don’t use the living. Besides, you probably won’t find much about the living in my database.

http://GenAssist.info/

Remember that this is just what I got done in about a month in some spare time. Clearly it is nowhere near complete, nor is it incredibly pretty, because I spent my time on the cool programming part instead of the web design part. There is almost no error checking, so don’t test if it can figure out your misspellings. But let me know what you think of it and if I should keep working on it. I do have a lot more ideas for it (you’ll find some on the “RootsTech 2012″ page), besides the obvious of filling in the database with genealogy record data.

Also, I will likely not leave the login open for very long. Since my blog gets a lot of spammer comments, who knows what they’ll do to my program.

So, is my program worth working on more? Or should I let it fade away into oblivion?

RootsTech – Photos

Since I didn’t embed any pictures into my recaps of RootsTech posts, I’ve decided to post all the good shots together. I have a new camera that fits into my shirt pocket, but it took me a couple days to start really taking some pictures. Still, it’s better than I’ve done at other genealogy conferences, so it’s a start.

With this new camera, I haven’t yet figured out how to do a serious zoom (or even kind of a wimpy zoom) and still get a non-blurry picture, so I took a picture of the audience and the camera from the keynote on the first day. I arrived a little late and stood in the back, clearly.

I ran into Rochelle Kaplan, an officer in UJGS, in the Expo Hall the second day. She took a picture of me leaning on the red phone booth that brightsolid brought, but she didn’t get the booth in the picture. She did get all of my ribbons.

In return, I took a picture of Rochelle Kaplan while we were at the MyHeritage booth.

Minutes later, I got a nice photo of Daniel Horowitz and Shelly Dardashti and the MyHeritage booth.

Later, I spotted another UJGS member, Gary Bowen, chatting with Shelly Dardashti.

At the showing of Who Do You Think You Are? I caught Amy Coffin and Lisa Alzo tweeting. Judging by the timestamp, it looks like we had a few more minutes before the show started.

An audience picture at Who Do You Think You Are? night at the FHL.

The next day, back in Blogger’s World, I met Kerry Scott (@cluewagon), Missy Corley (@baysideresearch), and Kimberly Powell (@lovegenealogy).

Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin were often found at their favorite seats when in Blogger’s World.

And another shot with Laura Prescott, Kerry Scott, and Missy Corley.
[Thank you to Amy Coffin for identifying Laura.]

Tami Glatz came to Blogger’s World a few times. I was at her session, so we talked about it for a bit and then I asked for a picture.

I stopped standing at their booth and finally sat down inside, where I got another shot of Daniel Horowitz. (I needed to make sure a got a decent picture of him. He just spoke at his second UJGS meeting and I still didn’t have one.)

I learned something from Jill Ball (@geniaus), who is from Australia. Apparently, down under, they pronounce the A in genealogy, unlike how it’s sometimes misspelled as geneology around these parts.

Steve Morse visited Blogger’s World after his DNA presentation. I also captured Shelly Dardashti (@TracingTheTribe) and Lorine McGinnis Schultze (@LorineMS) in this one. I believe that’s Lorine’s husband, Reg, in the hat.
[I have learned from another blog that the backpack was standing in for the @AncestryInsider; no wonder it wouldn’t get out of the way, it was posing!]

Seems that by the third day, I was finally behaving more like a shutterbug. Moments later, I captured Lorine, Illya D’Addezio (@illyadaddezio), and Jill Ball.

Oh no, I didn’t get a picture of Pat Richley. Someone took one of me and her together, so I hope that shows up somewhere.

RootsTech – Day 3

I thought I’d make it to the keynote on time finally, but didn’t. Twitter was buzzing about the keynote as I prepared to leave, so I watched for maybe ten minutes then headed out to make a 9:45 session.

I went to hear Christopher Starr speaking about Family Social Graphs. From the syllabus, it sounded like he would be speaking about an idea I had for the Developer’s Challenge. Unfortunately, he was having trouble getting his laptop to work with the projector; tech support finally got it somewhat after 20 minutes. I stuck it out for another 20 minutes but lost interest, as the topic didn’t seem to be what I thought it would.

More Blogger’s World Perks

Back at Blogger’s World, I met Missy Corley (@baysideresearch), chatted again with Pat Richley and Dick Eastman (who I’d seen in the Radisson lobby the day before), and then Kerry Scott (@cluewagon) and Kimberly Powell (@lovegenealogy) came around too.

Grant Brunner from Geni came over to talk to us, bringing T-shirts. I had a conversation with him for a bit about the privacy issues on his site and the private and public trees, and he informed me that the GEDCOM upload which I’d once had trouble with wasn’t even available anymore. Really? I’d have to add all my 3000 names manually? Not likely to happen, sorry. He said they were also working on supporting adoptions too, which was their biggest priority.

What’s a Blog?

Visiting my friends at the MyHeritage booth again (yes, I was there more often than I’ve mentioned, if you hadn’t already noticed), we saw Steve Morse sitting in Blogger’s World. So I asked him about his blog, he said, “What’s a blog?” I then relayed a question from Schelly Dardashti, inquiring when he was coming out with the one-step tool for being in two places at once. He explained that that was a two step tool, and he didn’t cover those.

Blogger’s World seemed a little nuttier each day. It was a blast.

A new set of bloggers had sat down including Jill Ball (@geniaus) and Illya D’Addezio (@illyadaddezio), who I’d seen for two days before, but I finally engaged him in a bit of conversation.

A quick lunch before the next session with my previous dinner companions Schelly and Christine, and I took off for the Developer’s Challenge Presentations.

Session 1 – Dev Challenge

This was kind of sad. There were only three people who had done enough to present something for the challenge. I had an idea that I think was better than two of the three. If only I hadn’t wanted to attend the conference and sleep for 8 hours (spread out over 2 days), I probably could have won one of the prizes. But even though I read about it just before RootsTech started, I knew I didn’t want to take the time to try to program something for it. Sadly, I probably should have.

That’s All Folks

The closing session gave away a bunch of prizes, announced the winners of the best speaker votes (which I had forgotten about) and the developer’s challenge (the results were exactly as I thought they should be).

Conclusions

Unlike NGS, a lot of the Twitterers/bloggers that I chat with online attended, so I got to meet and talk with them in person. Blogger’s World was a fantastic idea; we loved hanging out in there together.

Tech support was sadly lacking for a conference that should have been about half “tech”. With each presenter needing to hook up their own laptop, they needed more tech support at the start of every presentation in every room to be sure things worked smoothly.

Wi-fi was also badly missed. We did figured out that there was wi-fi in the session rooms but not in the expo hall. That was just goofy. Blogger’s World had wired coverage, which I used with my laptop the one day I lugged it around.

I had lunch twice in the expo hall, so that was convenient to have a huge area of tables and a few choices for lunch. It was pricey, but that was to be expected for the convenience.

The MicroSoft Playground was a great idea. I didn’t use it much but wanted to.

Repeating myself here, I thought the Developer’s Challenge had sad results. I might have participated, but I had this silly notion of actually participating in the conference instead. I saw it in the syllabus just before the conference started, but was it anywhere on the site sooner? Maybe next time, they’ll start that a week earlier so we have some time to formulate a clever idea and get working on it.

There were other things going on that I didn’t pay attention to like the uncoferencing and product demos. There was just so much happening at once sometimes that I focused in on a few things to keep from being completely overwhelmed.

Overall, I enjoyed this conference immensely and I’m looking forward to next year. Hopefully with the feedback from this year, and a few more than seven months for planning, it will be even better. Twitter is full of people declaring their attendance in 2012 already. We should probably warn the committee that Blogger’s World may need to be even bigger.