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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Rootstech - the first day dawns

Strictly speaking it hasn't dawned yet, but the sun might be up by the time I finish typing this. the weather in Salt Lake City at this time of the year is unpredictable, and as far as I can gather it's unpredictable all year round. It's a source of great amusement to a Brit when the locals keep apologising for their weather - you do realise where I've come from, don't you?

Rootstech 2013 conference bag and some of its contents
Registration opened yesterday, and while it's a good idea to pick up your registration pack the day before the conference, I'm told that it was incredibly busy when registration opened at 4pm. Hardly surprising when there are 6,800 pre-registered attendees!  When I got there a couple of hours later I didn't have to stand in line at all to pick up my Rootstech bag and all-important conference badge and lanyard. This year's name badges are a departure from paper tickets is plastic badge holders I am used to from other conferences. This time there are plastic credit-card style badges colour-coded to show whether you have full admission or have only signed up for a single day or the Beginners' stream, for example. If you have pre-booked any of the lunches workshops or evening events this is also indicated, instead of having a bunch of small (and easily lost) paper tickets. This is a great idea, and if the events listed on my badge were the ones I had actually booked, it would be even better! I'm sure it will be sorted out.

There are some leaflets in the conference bag, but not as many as in previous years - we haven't achieved the paperless conference yet, but we are getting there. There is still a paper Conference Guide, but it is smaller that before - in European terms it is A5 as opposed to A4 last year. The flier I shall look after very carefully is the prize draw card that needs to be signed at several of the sponsors' stands go into the draw for a iPad and other (as yet undisclosed) prizes. At the first Rootstech I did this so that I could get a free Rootstech T-shirt, and I genuinely forgot that there were prizes too. I won a 7-night stay at the Salt Lake Plaza!

Having collected my Rootstech bag, the first thing I did was take it to my room and leave it there. It's a very nice bag, and I will use it, but absolutely NOT here, where there will be literally thousands of identical ones. Really nice conference bags are for taking home and showing off. That's my conference tip, as well as the 'wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers' one.

For the speakers, exhibitors, official bloggers and FamilySearch everything is about to kick off, and they are bracing themselves for a very busy three days. By contrast, I can start to relax, because I gave my pre-conference talk for the Family History Library yesterday; in fact I gave two, because two of my fellow Brits, Else Churchill and Alec Tritton, were badly delayed en route and couldn't get here in time to give their scheduled talks so I gave an extra one to help fill the gap. That was a much busier morning than I had been expecting! Now, although I have a pretty full dance card for the next few days, I just have to turn up, I don't need to prepare or perform. Having recently had three very busy days at WDYTYA - Live!, I can really enjoy the fact that I am not working at this event, just attending. I'm sure it's going to be great.

Well, the sun isn't up yet, and I have leave now, to collect my Geneabloggers bead from my Genie-godmother, Dear Myrtle, and get a pre-show tour round the Expo Hall. Good luck everyone, see you at the show, or online. If you can't be here, you can follow proceedings on Facebook or Twitter #rootstech and view live-steamed events through the Rootstech site.

Let the games begin!
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