Posted by: Steven Harris | May 4, 2008

Be Prepared

Free Range Librarian is talking about buying a small power strip for traveling. Indeed. I just got back from a conference (Utah Library Association/Mountain Plains Library Association). A co-worker and I did a presentation about Second Life, which was pretty media-intensive: still images, video, audio. We were never sure if our room setup would be adequate for the task. Of course, we brought backups and redundancies:

  • power strip
  • extension cord
  • mini computer speakers
  • extra computers
  • presentation backed up 5 ways (well 2 anyway)

We used the power strip. Conference rooms always have plenty of power, but it’s not always close, or with enough outlets. Orange cables constrained with copious duct tape! We also used the speakers. There was no PA system in the room and the VGA cable for the projector did not have a mini-stereo cable combined with it. It was for these reasons that we said, “no,” our Second Life presentation would not include a live Second Life demo. Hotel internet connectivity. Ha Ha!

Our video and audio worked pretty seamlessly because we had embedded the files in the PowerPoint. Hey! It was PowerPoint! Get over it! Not like it was a bunch of bullet points. It was media! Anyway, the presentation was a great success. Many compliments. The next day people said, “I went home and set up a Second Life account,” or, “I never understood Second Life until your presentation.”

I saw several other presentations at the conference that also made use of media. It did not always go well. People had to flip back and forth between PowerPoint and Quicktime…fumble fumble. Or had no amplification for the audio on their computer. Bending the podium microphone down to the computer speakers! Or using the clock radio from the hotel room. Ingenious. Ineffective.

You’ve got to be prepared people! Especially if you are going to make use of media. Things go wrong. The arrangements are never like in your office. Bring power. Bring playback options. Bring backups. I also wonder when hotels and conference facilities will catch up with the media needs of presenters. We got a thing going here called the 21st century! We should all join it!



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