Friday 3 February 2012

We have lift off! - Rootstech Day One

Today's new badges and my fabulous blogger beads!
The much-anticipated Rootstech 2012 got off to a flying start when thousands (yes, thousands) filled the main hall for the keynote session at 8:30 am. Many more were following it remotely, and from the comments on Twitter the live-streaming seemed to work pretty well. Most of the tweets were in English, but I saw one who was tweeting in French, and another in a Scandinavian language, judging by the characters he was using. Some of the tweeters behaved like responsible adults and relayed the key points of the session to the outside world. But some of us couldn't resist having some fun, too, including a new tweeter @jayverklershair.

Jay Verkler gave the keynote address, but several other people took part too, including two guys from Google, and Chris van der Kuyl of brightsolid. The session was streamed live on the Rootstech site, and has been repeated. Hopefully it will be available there after the conference too. It's well worth watching, as there was a lot to take in. Jay Verkler is stepping down after ten years as the CEO of FamilySearch where he has overseen major developments in the integration of technology in genealogy. He set out his vision for the future, a key element of which is cooperation between companies and organisations like FamilySearch. My note-taking skills are not up to giving an adequate account of the proceedings, so I recommend that you read the comprehensive accounts by some of the other bloggers present; Dick EastmanGenealogy's StarAncestry Insider, Randy Seaver, and of course my partners in rime later today Jill Ball and Amy Coffin.

I spent most of the day in the Expo Hall, and I still haven't seen all of it, there were so many people to gossip network with. I was able to catch up with Jay Verkler and other senior FamilySearch people to tell them that I appreciated the recent changes to FamilySearch, namely the restoration of the British Isles category; in the course of meetings with them over the last couple of years, and in my blog posts I must have sounded like a broken record on that subject (I was starting to bore myself). 

I had a ticket for the very well-attended brightsolid lunch, addressed by Chris van der Kuyl. He gave an overview of the company's various websites, and some interesting facts and statistics, especially about the British Newspaper Archive. He also made some important announcements about their entry into the US market, important enough to be reported on the BBC. I couldn't resist tweeting his comment that he their hot new signing D Joshua Taylor as the Michael Jordan of genealogy! Predictably, whenever Chris appears in the US, or to be more precise when he is heard in the US, Twitter feeds are suddenly full of comments about his accent (he's from Dundee), mainly from female tweeters - I can't think why :). I also noticed than more than one wanted to know why he wasn't wearing a kilt. Maybe next year? In fact, most of the brightsolid people were dressed in 1940 style costume, to mark their participation in the 1940 census project; Cliona from as Rosie the Rivetter, some sharp-suited (and hatted) men, and Elaine Collins is a stylish suit (I believe they were called 'costumes' then), complete with seamed stockings! These people just love dressing up, and this was quite low-key - you should see them at WDYTYA Live! 

I can't believe it's almost time to leave my hotel for the second day; I should try to be on my best behaviour because Jill, Amy and I are having our panel discussion later this morning. I wore all my badges and pins yesterday, but I'm leaving them behind today. I don't want to jingle and clank when I am miked-up for the session!


1 comment:

  1. Had great fun with you and Amy - thanks for your contributions to the panel discussion