Today was the opening day of the annual conference of Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). I arrived at the conference site in Fort Wayne, Indiana this morning and found the place to be a beehive of activity.
My primary activity today was to set up this newsletter's booth in the Exhibits Hall. Indeed, I accomplished that rather quickly. I believe everything is all set for tomorrow's opening. (This is a four-day conference but the Exhibitors' Hall is only open three days.)
I had an experience that is a combination of delight, disappointment and amusement. Most convention centers either do not provide free wireless for attendees or else charge a small fortune for such access. I have collected hardware and software to provide free Internet "Wi-Fi" access to conference attendees. All you need is a laptop or handheld computer with wireless networking, or "Wi-Fi," capabilities. Indeed, all laptops sold these days do include such capabilities.
I had planned to offer free Internet access to conference attendees and have written about that in this newsletter. Upon arrival at the convention center, I discovered that FREE Wi-Fi Internet access is available for everyone!
This was not announced in the conference brochures. Indeed, the resident computer guru employed by the convention center told me this morning that free access was a last-minute decision. This convention center usually charges for such access. However, the Allen County Public Library (co-sponsors of the conference) had asked for the access to be opened up to everyone at no charge and the convention center agreed.
So I am:
- Delighted to see that everyone has free high-speed Internet access at this conference.
- Disappointed that I brought along all my hardware, including a Linux-based router, only to find that it is not needed.
- Amused that this happened in recent weeks.
To the conference organizers who negotiated with the Fort Wayne convention center, I tip my hat and say, "Thank you" for a job well done. I hope that more organizers of future genealogy conferences follow your example. My equipment will probably remain available as a backup but I would prefer to see the convention centers provide the free access.
Today was filled with seminars, luncheons and more. Details may be found at http://www.fgsconference.org/program.php.
Several announcements were made and are detailed in other articles:
Elizabeth Shown Mills' new book, "Evidence Explained," is now available as a downloadable electronic file. I suspect that many people will prefer this to purchasing a 885-page hardcover book.
The Federation of Genealogical Societies unveiled a revamped web site.
FamilySearch issued an RFI for the Records Access Genesis Project. I expect the results of this action will become a major resource for genealogists for the next several decades.
And that was only Day #1; there are three more days to go.