Two questions about an academic conference: (1) voice recording at a distance and (2) networking at said conference as an undergrad.
(1) I'm looking to record the presentations at a conference I'm attending. I've messed with the options on my phone and laptop but I'm doubtful they'd work well at a distance. I'm really strapped for cash, so would there be any dedicated voice recorder or USB microphone for under $50 that would be of use at a distance? It'll be a small conference so I won't be too far away, but there will still be a distance because the presenter (I'm assuming at least) will be spatially set off from the audience. I want something that is useful at a distance because I'm not too inclined in asking the presenters if I could place a device up where they are to record them due to my social anxiety. Which brings me too...
(2) Networking at said conference. I'm an undergraduate (two years until graduation) in philosophy planning to apply to graduate school programs in continental philosophy, with a specific interest in Marxism (and will be thus be preferring schools with said strengths). Obviously not a very large field, especially in the United States, yet to my luck my institution is holding a conference
near the end of this month in said field. This is a great opportunity, and the names and universities being advertised are those that I've come across in my searches for graduate school; needless to say I'm pumped. I'm arranging to miss my Thursday and Friday classes in order to attend everything.
Which brings me to my question on networking: Is this something applicable to some unimportant undergraduate? (My impression of networking comes largely from this
previous MeFi question.)
As I mentioned earlier: I'm a little socially anxious, below average social skills, and not initially personable. Because of all this, initiating contact with others isn't something I typically do. Normally I would just plan on listening to all the presentations, but I want to make contacts because I'm looking at graduate school and want to work in this field. But I get the impression that as an undergraduate this isn't done and any attempts of mine at this would raise questions.
[I wish I could donate money not only to Metafilter, but to you guys directly! I've gotten so much help from my meager $5 fee (which none of you guys have even received from helping me in the past!) that it just isn't fair.]