ENAR highs and lows

I attended the ENAR meeting in Orlando, Florida, last week. (ENAR = “Eastern North American Region” of the International Biometric Society.)

I had a great time, but I did come to the strong realization that what I view as important is distinctly different from what the typical ENAR attendee views as important. (Rafa said, incredulously, “You knew that already!”)

Let me tell you about the high- and lowlights, for me.

Also see the ENAR-related comments from Yihui Xie and Alyssa Frazee.

Highlights

Lowlights

  • They should have emphasized the cheaper shuttle from the airport (vs taxi); the information was hard to find.
  • They should have emphasized that wifi was actually free; ignore the $14.95/day charge as it gets waived from your bill.
  • Registration on Sunday closed early, so many at the poster session were without name badges.
  • The program guide PDF should have had bookmarks, and the schedule should have included links to the abstracts.
  • Realism regarding the start time for the President’s invited address. But I guess if we knew the awards ceremony would take not 15 min but 45, everyone would skipped.
  • The venue was too isolated.
  • The hotel was too expensive.
  • The $85 admission to Epcot was a required part of the registration fee (23%). The registration fee ($365) was the same as for ENAR 2012 in Washington DC, but it could have been $280. And there’s a striking difference between “It’s free!” and “You already paid for it!”
  • The lighting in meeting rooms was not great. We needed a ladder and a can of spray paint to “turn off” those lights shining on the screen.

As I said at the beginning, I had a good time. But I worry particularly about accessibility to students paying their own way.

It was a really useful and inspirational meeting, right up there with the UseR 2011 meeting in the UK, but less from talks and more from individual interactions.

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