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.
- Getting to know Yihui Xie, and the introductory part of his talk on knitr.
- Having lunch with Hopkins Biostat students.
- Twittering, particularly with @StrictlyStat and @hspter.
- Hadley Wickham’s ggplot2 tutorial, in which I really learned how to teach. (Can I put it into practice?)
- Matthew Stephens’s talk, and spending time with him.
- Jeff Morris’s orientation to Epcot.
- The large data visualization session, with John, Hadley, Amy Heineke, and me. (Thanks, Bruce!)
- 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.