I have attended the conference over the past few years. Some of the conference talks are online. This year I had a dual purpose for being at the conference. Recently I have been studying electro pollution or commonly referred to as EMF. The classes that most interested me this year were about facebook. Using facebook has many positive possibilities. A person can create groups on Facebook so only a select audience can participate, so one can turn off all the noise of unrelated topics. The problem I found with face book is that everyone can see your messages and respond so there is a lot of unrelated noise.
Rootstech reminds one of all the resources that are available, but they all come with a price, so be prepared to spend money as entrepreneurs and societies make money selling their wares. It seems that the emphasis is turning away from our standard genealogy programs like Legacy and RootsMagic to cloud computing. Many people will not have a program on their computer, so many will not even know what a Gedcom file is. I remember some conferences ago there was talk of the gedcom being replaced as it was created as a result of the digital age and computers in the 1990’s. It appears it will be used by fewer and fewer people as we turn to the cloud for all our genealogical needs. I am researching in Bern Canton, Switzerland registers right now. Since Familysearch has the registers I can go the family tree and the registers and do all my research right there and connect the records to my ancestors. Bern Canton genealogies on familytree are in need of serious repair since they are a creation for the most part from the pre 1950 era. Switzerland is one country that is not covered at conferences as it is small and its records are closed as of 1875.
I also have my genealogy on the internet. I use TNG (The Next Generation) It is the most dynamic genealogy program on the web. The set back for most people using this type of program is setting it up; and learning how the program works. Your facing the technology as well as the genealogy with this type of program. It is Gedcom based. I have my Scogings Mckenzie and Jaggi Stettler genealogy online using TNG.
I have noticed that when I go to these conferences at the Salt Palace that I get tired and cannot sleep at night making the 2nd and 3rd day of the conference rather hard to stay awake. This past summer I bought an electrosmog meter. It measures the microwaves in the air. Long before cell phones there was a debate about at what level microwaves can be tolerated. The debate in the 1940’s and 1950’s was about the thermal and nonthermal (athermal) effect. They decided that the heating effect of the microwaves was the crossing point for it to be considered dangerous. This is the same standard that is in use today. So basically the United States has no standard on microwaves unless you build a microwave weapon. The old Soviet Union was shooting microwaves at our embassy in Moscow from the 1950’s to 1980’s. Some embassy personnel were getting sick. The only problem was that the density was well below our standard, but it was 100 times more than their standard. A country like Switzerland does not allow Wifi in their schools. One can see that some countries take the microwave question quite seriously. There is a book entitiled, The Microwave Debate by Nicholas H. Steneck published in 1984. Since 1984 our microwave exposure has increased exponentially, so this book is still relevant. It is interesting as it reviews the history of microwave research and use going back to the 1930's.
The first class at the conference I went to I measured the microwaves at 25 times more than I have in my living space. Of course, I don’t use wireless technology. Typically microwaves go up and down in density, but in this case it stayed constant. I measured microwaves at 25 to 50 times more than my living space throughout the conference. Only a few of the classrooms I was in had low readings. It took me a couple of days to get back to a normal sleep pattern. I never have a sleeping problem.
As genealogist we are exposed to electro pollution in the form of microwaves, magnetic fields, electric fields, and dirty electricity which come from wireless technology, computers, and anything that is plugged in. You won’t hear about any of this since the microwave question was settled over 50 years ago. Industry has invested to much in this technology and in an era of litigation they won't acknowledge anything but the status quo, so there is no innovation. It is something that you can’t see, smell or taste. Industry and government makes decisions based on economics and defense rather than health. One has to go out of the way to find literature on the subject.
So Perhaps the moral of the story is if you can’t sleep go unplugged for a couple of weeks; of course, the ramifications of this goes far beyond sleeping patterns.