Last week I attended most of the WEIS and PET sessions. The topic is a bit removed from my interests but it was good to hear what is out there and chat with all the interesting people. The most valuable thing I learned, however, was that I am happy where I’m at, as far as research interests goes.
I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop, better described as a “desktop replacement.” It’s a great computer, but not for hauling around. I don’t take it to conferences or workshops; some of it has to do with the weight of the thing, but mostly, I believe that if I am somewhere, I should be fully there and give my undivided attention to the person on the podium–they deserve it.
As an experiment, I tried to phase out the speaker’s voice and listen to what I’ll call “conference clicks,” it’s quite astounding, you should try it. Looking around, I see that many people stare at their screens, meaning that they are not fully there; I can only imagine how the speaker feels (I have not spoken in front of this large crowed before.) I’d feel quite insulted, to be honest; I’d rather people not be there at all than not being fully there.
My solution? Cut the WiFi during sessions and have cabled ports outside the hall for people who choose not to attend the lecture. This may sound outrageous to some, but I think this is where we are headed.
To tie in one of my other rants, I’d ban laptops from business meetings too. When I am king/CEO, that will be corporate policy and I think this will become more wide spread soon as well.
Say no to “conference clicks”!