This year at Tech Ed USA, the booths had slightly different badge scanning hardware than at past shows. Instead of removing your badge from the holder to be swiped, the boothies could just swipe a bar code on the front. This was used not just at booths, but also for session attendance. Here you see Canada's Technology Triangle guy himself, Dave Totzke, being swiped before my Friday talk:
I know at other TechEds they have used RFID in the badges, and then when you go to do evals you can choose from the sessions you actually attended: makes it easier for attendees and gets an accurate count of attendance. I don't know if session attendance and evals were linked here because I hardly attended any sessions at all. In fact, for those I did attend, I arrived with the speaker before the badge swipers so I never got swiped. I know looking at my own evals they told me how many evals were submitted but not how many people were in the room.
Knowing how many people actually attend sessions and comparing it to how many indicated they would in the scheduling tool helps to put talks into the right rooms... it's as awkward to talk to a cavernously empty room as to a busting-at-the-seams-full one. So I like this. But then, I liked the RFID chip, and I've been told it would never be accepted in North America.
BTW, little piece of language-specific trivia: apparently C++ talks get way more "didn't put it in the schedule" attendees than other languages. Is it because all languages get the same number of spontaneous dropins, and all the C++ folks who planned to attend follow through? Is it because C++ people don't like to use the scheduler? Who knows? I'm just happy that while the number of C++ talks may be less than in previous years, I'm still not in the smallest room.
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