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Artist Badges ... I wasn't even allowed to my own table.

#1 User is offline   Kikai 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 12:09 AM

Because of both work and class I was not able to pick up my artist alley badge thursday. So, I got there two hours early friday morning during set up to pick it up. They weren't even printed! Furthermore, I was weary of leaving my table to go outside in case I was not going to be allowed back in. I left to go help a friend with her stuff getting to the table (they had HER badge printed) but when I tried to get back in I was stopped by IRT. I tried to explain to them that I was in the alley, and that my badge just hadn't gotten printed off yet, and they still refused to let me in until they had to ask a higher up or something. It frustrated me greatly because I didn't even get my badge until late Saturday.


I would have at least liked something, anything, signed that would have allowed me in and out during this time. D:

#2 User is offline   Christy 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 11:55 AM

There has apparently been printer problems the last couple of years for AA badges at the con which is what causes the problems.

However, since AA has advance registration, badges really should be pre-printed, pre-labled and ready to go when we arrive on Thursday. I don't know if this is a registration or alley issue, but it does appear to be a consistant one.

#3 User is offline   Kitchan 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 05:32 PM

View PostChristy, on 24 May 2011 - 11:55 AM, said:

There has apparently been printer problems the last couple of years for AA badges at the con which is what causes the problems.

However, since AA has advance registration, badges really should be pre-printed, pre-labled and ready to go when we arrive on Thursday. I don't know if this is a registration or alley issue, but it does appear to be a consistant one.



It's more that we didn't HAVE a printer given to us until Friday or Saturday. This is an issue that we are working to get resolved EVERY YEAR (seriously, we keep requesting it to be fixed) and we know this is a problem.

As the departmental ADH (in charge of Artists' Alley / Art Show) I would have been extremely happy and willing to write anyone that needed it a 'pass' or something - in fact, I spent all time Thursday and Friday telling people to feel free to tell IRT to talk to me (Jasmine) if they had ANY problems getting to the Exhibit Space. If I was not personally in the staff booth (between the Alley and Exhibit Hall where the vendors were), my assistant Cat was, and she had the authority to approve people in and out as well in my absence.

I'll have a talk to see what happened on our side as well so we can fix this issue in the future.

This post has been edited by Kitchan: 24 May 2011 - 06:07 PM

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#4 User is offline   bunnybeth 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:16 PM

Our studio has 4 members and only 1 badge was printed prior to late Friday afternoon. I have to agree that this is an issue that needs to be fixed for future cons.
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#5 User is offline   Voltaire30 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:12 PM

If studio members were not submitted before the deadline, they didn't get printed before the convention, as stated in the AA emails. We hear and understand the complaints, but we can't get badges printed before the convention, unless we know who we are printing. In fact everyone who submitted the information on time, were printed. I did it personally, and even went to wendy's to celebrate when I finished them all. There was some organization issues, and when people didn't remember their badge names, it caused more problems. Given everything that happened, I believe things went well, but there is still room for improvement. Posted Image
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#6 User is offline   tiarah 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:43 PM

View PostVoltaire30, on 24 May 2011 - 08:12 PM, said:

If studio members were not submitted before the deadline, they didn't get printed before the convention, as stated in the AA emails. We hear and understand the complaints, but we can't get badges printed before the convention, unless we know who we are printing. In fact everyone who submitted the information on time, were printed. I did it personally, and even went to wendy's to celebrate when I finished them all. There was some organization issues, and when people didn't remember their badge names, it caused more problems. Given everything that happened, I believe things went well, but there is still room for improvement. Posted Image


I have to say that this is not correct. I received a confirmation on April 4 at 1:55pm from Jasmine that my 2 additional studio members were added and they did not have badges printed until late Friday afternoon. We were able to roll with it since I had my badge, my studio members were able to use mine when they needed to leave the area, but it was quite frustrating for them (and me). I know we were not supposed to share the badge, but that was the only way we could ensure they would not have any problems with IRT during the day.

#7 User is offline   Kikai 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:46 PM

View PostVoltaire30, on 24 May 2011 - 08:12 PM, said:

If studio members were not submitted before the deadline, they didn't get printed before the convention, as stated in the AA emails. We hear and understand the complaints, but we can't get badges printed before the convention, unless we know who we are printing. In fact everyone who submitted the information on time, were printed. I did it personally, and even went to wendy's to celebrate when I finished them all.



I'm sorry, but I have to say that on this you are wrong on this point. I was FOR SURE added as a studio member before the deadline. I have the e-mails between you and the person who registered the tables to show it. There was only ONE studio member whose info did not get added on time. Me, my boyfriend, and my other studio member's boyfriend were all registered on time. (Some people who even registered the table themselves, like, Zeiva for example, whom I waited in line with, did not have her badge ready.)

#8 User is offline   MuffinSquire 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 08:47 PM

View PostVoltaire30, on 24 May 2011 - 08:12 PM, said:

If studio members were not submitted before the deadline, they didn't get printed before the convention, as stated in the AA emails. We hear and understand the complaints, but we can't get badges printed before the convention, unless we know who we are printing. In fact everyone who submitted the information on time, were printed. I did it personally, and even went to wendy's to celebrate when I finished them all. There was some organization issues, and when people didn't remember their badge names, it caused more problems. Given everything that happened, I believe things went well, but there is still room for improvement. Posted Image


...Are you sure? I realize that sounds bratty, but I am pretty certain I submitted my studio mates before the deadline, and neither of them had a badge printed on Thursday evening. There was one name that I was uncertain about, since it's a Latin genus name, but the second one I was 100% certain on spelling and real name and it was not there. So unless the deadline for submitting studio mates was in early January (which is really early), we at least got missed.
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#9 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:00 PM

Ok - let me step in and make a correction: Voltaire30 did not speak out of turn - they did run a FULL print job for all users who got in before the deadline. We (the reg system admins) did have a FEW studio mates that did not properly pull in the badge print reports that AA was not aware of. We were able to find the issue and correct for it but not in time to get them printed before the con. This HAS been fixed for next year. I deeply apologize for the inconvenience.
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#10 User is offline   tiarah 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:31 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on 24 May 2011 - 09:00 PM, said:

Ok - let me step in and make a correction: Voltaire30 did not speak out of turn - they did run a FULL print job for all users who got in before the deadline. We (the reg system admins) did have a FEW studio mates that did not properly pull in the badge print reports that AA was not aware of. We were able to find the issue and correct for it but not in time to get them printed before the con. This HAS been fixed for next year. I deeply apologize for the inconvenience.


Please understand my intention is not to come across as an angry con-goer. Or hostile, or bratty, or anything like that. I really try to make an effort to stand back and objectively look at things before I say anything. I do, however, understand that this may come across as offensive. Please don't be offended!

I just have one question..... why was that not communicated to AA?

My biggest gripe overall is the lack of communication across departments. In all honesty, it's amazing and appalling... if anything will be fixed, please make communication a #1 priority.

#11 User is offline   chainedbyroses 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 11:18 PM

View PostKitchan, on 24 May 2011 - 05:32 PM, said:

It's more that we didn't HAVE a printer given to us until Friday or Saturday. This is an issue that we are working to get resolved EVERY YEAR (seriously, we keep requesting it to be fixed) and we know this is a problem.

As the departmental ADH (in charge of Artists' Alley / Art Show) I would have been extremely happy and willing to write anyone that needed it a 'pass' or something - in fact, I spent all time Thursday and Friday telling people to feel free to tell IRT to talk to me (Jasmine) if they had ANY problems getting to the Exhibit Space. If I was not personally in the staff booth (between the Alley and Exhibit Hall where the vendors were), my assistant Cat was, and she had the authority to approve people in and out as well in my absence.

I'll have a talk to see what happened on our side as well so we can fix this issue in the future.

Have you guys / con as a whole considered purchasing a laser printer off ebay & bringing it to con? My dad picked one up for starting bid (about $10) & drove to pick it up in Lisle (from the City) -- if you know how to eBay Lurk Moar, you can almost guaranteed find a cheap one by July, and certianly have at least one someone near enough to pick up locally. Ink-wise, if you know how to refill cartridges, you will have no issues with the ink & print badges ad infinitum before even needing a refill. (And if you can only find busted ones for cheap, perhaps my dad would be able to help out/fix em up --35+ years in IT/Studio Engineering/Electronics-- I'll ask him when he wakes up.)

Or, in a super-pinch, you can grab a Canon Pixma for $10 or less off eBay. Ultra-portable, prints a few hundred 8x11's in full color before needing a refill, or a couple hundred more B&W/greyscale. In the event of a missing con printer, it could be a life/line-saver, and you could just heads up the IRT that low-res or B&W (or whatever the case) badges are legit via a printing snafu.

If you guys need help in the printing dept here, just gimme a holler or PM me & I can give (or at least try to give) what help is needed~ :3




@Frzndaqiri "We (the reg system admins) did have a FEW studio mates that did not properly pull in the badge print reports that AA was not aware of. We were able to find the issue and correct for it but not in time to get them printed before the con."
I don''t mean this in a rude or sarcastic way (if it even comes off as such), but have you guys considered just printing those badges up at home when these things happen? Yeah the paper won't be the same, and the quality might be a little lacking, but at least they'll be printed & the persons will have /something/ to utilize until y'all can print the nice ones up for them. ~



@tiarah "My biggest gripe overall is the lack of communication across departments. In all honesty, it's amazing and appalling... if anything will be fixed, please make communication a #1 priority."
As I saw working the con, many of the radios were having trouble signal-wise, getting garbled, hard to hear, or otherwise. I don't know if the Hyatt changed or renovated anything (if they have a wireless internet router on that channel it could mess communications up a fair bit- ie, like wireless internets on the same frequency as the handhelds would garble the signals enough to make trouble), or if the radios are just old, but regardless, this is something that should be addressed. Either replace the old radios, or find radios that use a different frequency than the hotel wireless/signals do. (I'm making a '11 constructive criticism thread & this is one of the main points, actually. :3) Ultimately though, please don't ignore it 'til the last second before '12. Waiting to the last moment provokes Murphy's Law even more than usual (as a lifelong procrastinator, I can vouch for this.) @__@;;
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#12 User is offline   bucktick 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 11:41 PM

The head of my artist alley table never did get a badge printed out for her the whole weekend.

It's not like she was added later as a "studio mate" as she was head of table and, by fact that we had the table and had then clearly paid for said table on time, we weren't late additions to the system. A badge was at some point printed out on Friday for me, which I then refused because according to the note on the badge, AA wanted me to pay them 35 dollars for this badge for some freak reason even though I was one of 2 panelists of a 2 hour long panel (according to panel programing one comp badge is to be provided per hour of programming). As far as I could tell the staff members of whom I had to give that badge back at were as confused as I was since AA staff appears to not only to never communicate with each other but also not with any other departments.

Since it took me forever last year to get my badge from AA I knew better this year and had, on thursday, waited 4 hours in line at panel programing to get badges for me and my studio mate there and then on friday morning had gone to AA badge pick-up and had gotten the background portion of the badge switched out for an AA background paper. The badge panel programing provided was just them scribbling our names on a white sticker with a sharpie. Could not AA have done the same technique in reponse to the printing woes?

This post has been edited by bucktick: 24 May 2011 - 11:54 PM

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#13 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 11:01 AM

First of all - no offense taken from anyone. No worries. You guys just want honest answers to your honest questions. I appreciate everyone keeping it civil.

Second - AA wasn't aware because WE weren't aware at first. I won't go into the technical details - but I ASSURE YOU it will not be an issue next year. We had the very daunting task of completely overhauling the reg system (which affects Vendors/Artists as well) in a very short time. ACen has a lot of entanglements to be accounted for (artists can be panelists, and panelists are comped, but the panel approval comes AFTER AA reg closes for an example).

Quote

Have you guys / con as a whole considered purchasing a laser printer off ebay / have you guys considered just printing those badges up at home

So...

1. We have plenty of printers all around. AA HAD a printer the whole time HOWEVER - it doesn't do much good if there's no system connected to it. IT had nearly the ENTIRE staff not show up for their shift - so we had to put together the entire infrastructure with a skeleton crew. The fact that AA was up and running to print badges by mid Friday is a testament to how hard those remaining staffers worked (and a few borrowed staff from other depts).
So - you need a computer, and a printer, and internet access to the the server to have anything functional.

2. In a word, security. Who can access the system when and where is a concern. Again though - it was that there were a few sets of circumstances where the system did not properly extract users to the printing report. AA couldn't identify who they were without us fixing it, and we had it fixed after everything was packed up for the move to the convention center.

Quote

Could not AA have done the same technique in response to the printing woes?

I am not management - so my word is only my take on this: An AA badge is a pretty serious thing. You get into the Hall before the public - you have the right to be sitting at a table - and that is a HUGE concern. We need to have an accurate list and tracking of everyone who has been given those special rights - and we asked that they wait for that official system to be running - which WAS by Friday mid-day.

I can't speak to why anyone did not get a badge in the end. I was PERSONALLY at the station most of the weekend handling badges and training staffers. There is no reason we shouldn't have been able to sort everyone out one way or another.
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#14 User is offline   ranefea 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 11:48 AM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on 25 May 2011 - 11:01 AM, said:

1. We have plenty of printers all around. AA HAD a printer the whole time HOWEVER - it doesn't do much good if there's no system connected to it. IT had nearly the ENTIRE staff not show up for their shift - so we had to put together the entire infrastructure with a skeleton crew. The fact that AA was up and running to print badges by mid Friday is a testament to how hard those remaining staffers worked (and a few borrowed staff from other depts).
So - you need a computer, and a printer, and internet access to the the server to have anything functional.

2. In a word, security. Who can access the system when and where is a concern. Again though - it was that there were a few sets of circumstances where the system did not properly extract users to the printing report. AA couldn't identify who they were without us fixing it, and we had it fixed after everything was packed up for the move to the convention center.


As like several others, I had an issue with my table's badges, too. Mine was printed, but my table mates' were not, even though they were in and confirmed long before the deadline.

That said, is it not possible for there to be a local copy of the AA server data for the AA staff (and other departments) to have ready and use in the case of not being able to access the server? Something that can be updated server side once access is restored? Or is that a security risk?

I do want to express that although I am disappointed with the badge problem yet again this year, I do appreciate what the staff does and other than the badge issues you guys were great. =3

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#15 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:12 PM

Ok there's some confusion on how you have to set up a local network: ;)

It IS a local copy that is being accessed - however you still have to run networking to it. We can't plug the computer directly into the server from several hundred feet away. We (IT - I'm in IT too) have identified better ways all around of doing this - and we (Reg System Admins) have corrected any issues with the badge printing reports. I PROMISE (and you can hunt me down in AA next year otherwise) that we will not have the same issues next year for you guys.
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#16 User is offline   Lord Warhammer 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:02 PM

What ranefea means to question is why the list, badges, all our fun software and information isn't local on the PC at our information/ badge pickup booth.

I'm not sure if it can be done with the software we are using, but I can see more problems relying on doing it that way vs networked. However, it might make for a good backup plan if the networks ever give us issues.
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#17 User is offline   bucktick 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 01:10 PM

Quote

We need to have an accurate list and tracking of everyone who has been given those special rights - and we asked that they wait for that official system to be running


Well on Thursday at 4:30 pm when AA had neither the artist alley head's badge nor my own we asked specifically "Since we are panelists does that mean that panel programming has our badges instead?" and we got a response of "I don't know, you could try". So if AA wants people to follow a specific path to get their badges they should communicate that properly to alley participants, it's own staff and the staff of other departments. I feel offended to be scolded for not following procedure that wasn't communicated to me. And clearly this was not just a "studio member" problem if the head of my table never got a badge from AA all weekend.

Last year, one hour before my panel and with AA's printer still down I got my badge then from registration. I was, of course, assured last year there would not be issues with badges this year.

Quote

There is no reason we shouldn't have been able to sort everyone out one way or another.


One would think. In January we spent several weeks interacting with both AA and PP staff trying to sort out how to remove the AA badge from our cart so we could just pay for the table. The table payment was due before paneling choices would be announced. AA staff more or less washed their hands of us and told us to figure it out ourselves with panel programming. Panel programming did the best they could and even manually switched the panelist-head names in the paperwork in the system to no avail. In the end on the eve of the AA table due-date we did plan B and submitted a fake panel in order to trick the system into removing the badge. Honestly in my experience this year with dealing with staff the ONLY way to get things done is to do it yourself no matter how outside of the box it is because it won't get fixed otherwise.
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#18 User is offline   ranefea 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:12 PM

View PostLord Warhammer, on 25 May 2011 - 01:02 PM, said:

What ranefea means to question is why the list, badges, all our fun software and information isn't local on the PC at our information/ badge pickup booth.

I'm not sure if it can be done with the software we are using, but I can see more problems relying on doing it that way vs networked. However, it might make for a good backup plan if the networks ever give us issues.


That's exactly what I meant! Thank you~! =) I think I worded my questions a little strangely, and not very clearly, so I apologize for that. I do IT support at my university so I've gotten too comfortable to using "local" to refer to a user's individual PC and not the LAN. ^^;

I don't know what software you guys are using, or how your networks, servers and databases are configured, which is part of why I raised the question about this, on whether it is possible or not. =3

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#19 User is offline   frzndaqiri 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:50 PM

Gotcha - no worries! In a nutshell: Because that's not how our systems are set up - and honestly it would be very difficult and time consuming to do so. The database of attendees, orders, badges, etc is large and complex and to have an individual copy on 20+ machines would just be a logistical nightmare. Even on one or two machines means having to import, compare, strip and create a new database at the end of the con out of all those differences.

Bucktick - since yours is a very specific issue I'm going to address it privately. Rest assured I WILL be following up on that with the various departments.
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#20 User is offline   ranefea 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:10 PM

Thanks so much for the explanation. =3
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#21 User is offline   Rakuen 

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 05:25 PM

View Postfrzndaqiri, on 25 May 2011 - 03:50 PM, said:

Gotcha - no worries! In a nutshell: Because that's not how our systems are set up - and honestly it would be very difficult and time consuming to do so. The database of attendees, orders, badges, etc is large and complex and to have an individual copy on 20+ machines would just be a logistical nightmare. Even on one or two machines means having to import, compare, strip and create a new database at the end of the con out of all those differences.

Hmm... couldn't you separate badge information by badge type? Split them into categories of staff, guest, dealer, artist, panelist, prereg, and on-site reg. You can make a relationship with a master table by a badge ID. Then each department could have a local copy of the database which attempts to update the main server every so often. Things like AA could probably get away with an update once an hour, while the more volatile attendee databases would probably need to sync every few minutes. That way you always have a live copy available locally, regardless of network conditions, with a backup copy available on the server should anything explode.

Just throwing that out there. I have no idea how your systems are setup, and I'm not an expert at setting up databases, just accessing/programming against them.
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Posted 26 May 2011 - 12:14 PM

I wanted to first state that I appreciate the staff remaining so friendly as I bugged them all of Friday about their printer (Conversations usually went "Hey, got a printer!" they reply, "no! Alas!" and I'd go on my merry way). It was a bummer, but it seemed to be a year of technical difficulties so I can sympathize and understand the frustration of it all (both artists and staff appeared to be less than happy about the situation, so it's not like they were leaving us high and dry).

I did actually have one question though. I felt terribly awful about the whole "Adding Studio Members after the Deadline thing" (some of the names I did not have until the final sign up date for badges), so I went and looked through the rules and posts (and even the thread with "How to add studio members")....and I didn't see a deadline date anywhere.

I just wanted to make sure that maybe it's something at least placed on the main forum threads on "how to add studio members", or perhaps bolded somewhere that's easy to find.

There is always the chance that maybe I was just blind in reading all the posts, but I really couldn't find it listed anywhere. I would have certainly adhered to it if I had known there was an absolute deadline cut off date, I like to make things as easy for you guys as possible.

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