Powerpoint - 'boring on-screen business wank'
Love that quote.
"I'm sorry, who are you again?" I am being challenged by a polite but slightly baffled receptionist. I repeat the declaration I shouted into the video intercom at street level a minute earlier: that I have been hired for the day to train a number of staff on-site. Not being expected when I turn up at a customer site is an …
I, for one, have never in my entire life met a single person who "relied on Power Point" who wasn't completely superfluous to the organization. As a consultant, if a middle-manager is introduced to me as "our Power Point expert", that manager is usually the first to be fired. Power Point has wasted more man-hours, more CPU cycles and more meeting-dollars than any other line of purely corporate bullshit that I can remember in my over four decades of trying to teach Corporate America to work efficiently with computers.
meetings are how work gets done
And there was me, in my simple way, thinking that meetings were what you had to get out of doing any work.
Especially if you volunteer to do the notes and somehow mistakenly forget to write down the tasks you have been given. Or, preferrably, push them onto someone who wasn't actually at the meeting..
"Don't blame the tool, blame the corporate culture full of tools who think meetings are how work gets done..."
@DropBear and Jake and all
I'm a teacher. I once had to address a 'breakfast meeting' with the local business-education link organisation. I used PowerPoint in design mode as I usually do when there is only a projector and did my usual spoken presentation and then did a q & a with recording of answers/next actions with names &c in the ppt. I then emailed the resulting file to the facilitator.
Apparently, this was regarded as radically novel.
I was never invited back. Quite a relief as the meetings were scheduled at 7:30 am at a location difficult to get to by public transport.
Unfortunately I was asked as part of a job interview to prepare a Powerpoint presentation about how I would improve technical support in the new amalgamated school. I tried to get out of it. I wriggled and squirmed but my boss wouldn't let me get away with simply using a flip chart or an OHP.
I got the job, but I felt a little bit deader inside.
I also do not believe ANY report or analysis that is presented to me in landscape format. I mean, an incident investigation report, professional and independent, allegedly, was circulated as a landscape document. WTF?! That told me all I needed to know. Where's the real report?
The thing is, Powerpoint being landscape and designed for large text on small pages forces the author to be succinct and focus on key messages.
I can write 60 page documents with all the detail on the planet. Nobody reads them.
I can now summarise the stuff from those documents in seven powerpoint slides. They get read, and they get acted on.
It's that forced brevity that makes me a fan. And all good diagrams are landscape anyway, so it's a nice fit; one good diagram is all you need for 90% of communication tasks.
" Hey, guns don't kill people, people kill people. Don't blame the tool, blame the corporate culture full of tools who think meetings are how work gets done... "
The problem is (as Professor Emeritus Edward Tufte argues -- https://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_pp) that PowerPoint encourages through it layout options, workflow and template structure, a certain way of working that doesn't mesh with how the human brain works. And then you get style guides and corporate templates that compound that problem.
Meetings do get work done, but the word "meeting" implies some reciprocity. The single biggest problem with PowerPoint is its fixed, linear nature. A presentation given using PowerPoint is so rigid that it removes any opportunity for anything other than superficial interaction between the presenter and the audience. It also disempowers the presenter, making him or her a slave to the slides... even if they were his or her slides in the first place.
Oh yeah. You know, I remember an Apple brainstorming seminar / presentation thing I went to once. It was mainly for the education sector, and it was just as the iPad was coming out. They had a brilliant sort of two way Powerpoint like thing. You could draw on your iPad and it integrated with the "presenters" iPad. It was really good. But I never saw it again. It would be typical Apple, I reckon. Brilliant ideas, developed almost to the point of release, then the project evaporates and is never heard of again. It was the same when they were bringing PowerSchool to the UK. It was a superb product which just needed a slight bit of tweaking to get it ready for the UK market. I saw a pre-release of the UK edition and then POOF! nothing.
typical Apple, I reckon. Brilliant ideas, developed almost to the point of release, then the project evaporates and is never heard of again
Actually, if it was typical apple, then the software was either
1) Developed by a third-party company they eventually decided not to buy or
2) Developed by a third-party company but so locked down by patents and copyrights that they couldn't just steal the idea.
If you can graph it, then you can get fund it!
That's my experience of 35 years of IT, if you can sling enough bullshit figures together to make enough confusing graphs ( it seems to be pie mostly as pie seems to hide all details! ) then you can almost without fail, convince enough management above your current level to fund your latest jolly to software developer HQ 300 miles away and subsequent software toy purchase request. Once you're bored with it, pass it to some minion, who in turn will use it 5 times and then leave to slowly drain support contract money from said company for 3 years until the bean-counters start whinging about belt tightening!
I was completely with you on this (it echoes my own experience over the years) - and then you let yourself down with the licence issue.
There's not much you could have done about your host forgetting the session was happening, there's not much you could have done about no room being booked, but you could have done something about the licences.
After a very similar experience early in my career I always confirmed all of the session details with my host beforehand in writing/email. This always included confirming the requirement for everybody to have their own terminal* or PC with a copy of the software on it. That leaves them with no wriggle room to blame you.
*I am old enough to have trained people in the use of software running on a mainframe and accessed by a dumb terminal.
The problem is, you can't accuse them of lying in front of other staff. You have to accept it, when they give you the blame for their cock-up.
Yup, otherwise you won't be asked back, which is crap for your revenue stream.
As a matter of fact, in my consulting years that was often the EXACT reason for some of the work we had: being the bearer of bad news, and thus taking the taint with you when you exit - the consultant took all the blame for the utter cockup made by management so afterwards they were blame free and ready to do it all over again (because an absence of blame means lessons are not learned either).
Not my preferred kind of work, I like to fix things so they stay fixed.
All trainees having the software in advance? you try that with us and we'll probably tear up the agreement you're negotiating to give us the course. Licences cost capex. Beancounters ensure we don't have any of that until shit actually physically hits the fan- opex is fine though, if you can get a rent agreement in place.
As for installing trial licences, on the day no less, well, that would also never happen. Software version (that'll be a no as it's a trial) not on the company whitelist? thats a 3 week SLA for IT, not forgetting that you have to provide 3 quotes from different manufacturers, so I hope the product has mutliple resellers...
And I think we have 1 guy on the 8,000 employee site with the admin password for the standard install, and he only works 2 days a week (just on the weekends when no one else is here).
You'd be showing us stuff on your laptop. Well, we might be able to get the OHP working I suppose, you'd better hope the bulb holds out as we can't order a new one until the year after it's blown. (Capex)
There aren't many of us left who even remember dumb terminals.
I used to write assembler code to talk to the dumb things, Then (as things advanced - cough!) I used to write code on more intelligent (but cheaper) terminals that emulated the expensive (but dumb) terminals. This was even before PCs.
Progress is a wonderful thing.
you forgot the:
me. can i have the guest wifi to demonstrate the software.
they. sorry we dont have guest wifi.
me. you do realise it is SAAS with a stub install for hardware connectivity to your presses?
they. yes, we read the specs you sent along with the requirements. dont you have a 4g dongle?
me. sigh, yes but here in the highlands you dont seem to use mobile phones judging by the signal on my EE or Three or O2 dongles.
IME IT staff are pretty lax at it as well, I'm currently spending my days rebuilding servers as a previous member of staff used Datacenter Edition on everything no matter what. There was an unholy glint in the eye of the Microsoft Partner who carried out the audit when he found that....
I do get the similar half accusing, half polite "Who the fuck are you?" attitude when I go to sites. Last time though, it was for an interview, where of course the Recruitment Consultant had doctored the job description so I had no clue exactly what the job was and the guy interviewing me had forgotten to tell reception I was coming. Both things my fault of course.
"used Datacenter Edition on everything no matter what"
Not clever, but if you're running reasonably dense VMs it means that you license the hardware once and all of your Windows VMs on that hardware are covered. Of course, Microsoft have got wise to the ever-increasing number of cores on a CPU, and there's an element of per-core in there now, but it rapidly works out cheaper than Server Standard if you're cramming the VMs in.
I don't know how this works with Server 2016 and Containers. Anyone?
It's fine on the Hyper-V hosts, but this guy was using the same license on VMs and standalone servers when enough licenses had only been bought for the hosts.
It's 2012 R2 licenses so still 1 license per 2 CPUS in this case, 2016 has changed to per core licensing I belive.
Yeah - 2012R2 was per-CPU with minimum 2 CPUs. 2016 is per-core with minimum 8 cores.
Of course, most of our servers are 10-cores per socket. Sigh...
Also - I am not Microsoft Licensing. I just have to steer people in roughly the right direction from time to time. They have an 0800 number if you need to speak to them and they've always been very friendly with me!
guy interviewing me had forgotten to tell reception I was coming.
Many years ago, in a universe far, far behind, I started 'working' for a large US company that manufactured cellular base stations.
I knew it wouldn't last long when I had to wait in reception for two hours and then, once let in, sit at a desk with no power, networking or PC.
My new manager had managed to forget that his staff numbers were doubling and had forgotten to tell anyone else in security or IT that I was starting.
Fortunately, HR and Finance knew. Which meant that I got paid. For the 30 months that I managed to put up with one of the most dysfunctional IT organisations that it's been my displeasure to be employed by.
 One of the few things that they actually did correctly there.
I worked as a systems administrator at an accounting firm for a few years.
This was just after they had absorbed a smaller firm.
It turned out that the smaller firm's IT guy had purchased 1 legal copy of Windows 2000 and one copy of MS Office and installed it on all 50 machines in the firm. He did the same with all the accounting software.
He was fired as soon as that was found out, and I was hired on. It was a mess to fix. It also wreaked havoc with our IT budget that first year.
I did internal training stuff for BT for a while.
Someone else did the booking etc, all had to do was turn up with a laptop and get going.
"Room? you say?" nothing out of the ordinary, but 'sorry our 'loan' projector is not working, we've supplied a white board and some A1 pads for you."
I did one session, in a projector-less manky room at a phone exchange for line managers and totally baffled them by whipping out a VGA lead and plugging it in to the big TV that looked abandoned and covered in dust. Looks of "What devilish sourcery is this?" abounded.
What is all this saucery you speak?
Brown. To eat a bacon or sausage sarnie without it is to condemn oneself to the raging fires of eternal hell.
Or, as we prefer to call it, the "Service Desk"
 Cos you sure don't get helped. And it's usually 'service' as in the barnyard setting..
"Service Desk" really shouldn't be used as a synonym for "helpdesk".
The idea of a service desk is supposed to be that you don't need to know which number you've got to call to get someone to fix your computer/the photocopier/the coffee machine/the toilet that doesn't flush. From a business perspective, it makes a whole load of sense to have one group of people who know where to direct all calls to, because it stops the employees from wasting an entire morning trying to find out how the hell you get a particular problem resolved.
I say that as someone who's been on both sides of the phone. The last thing you want as an IT guy is to be called "service desk" (as the number of irrelevant calls goes up) and when something goes wrong in an IT company, there's more chance you'll be needing non-IT services than IT (because it's quicker to just fix an IT problem yourself than wait for a ticket to get through the call handling system).
It may seem pedantic, but I genuinely like the idea of a proper service desk, and it irritates me to know that abuse of the term leads to lack of awareness of the concept, and me having to do the constant runaround to find out who the hell deals with X, Y or Z.
Death Of Rats
No - he's probably sleeping on the sofa at home.
(Several times a year we tend to find a row of ratty corpses lined up along the garden path. Presumably, population pressure in the cat-free zones pushes them into our cats territory and Senior Male demonstatrates that, even though he is now over ten years old, he still won't tolerate rats in his garden. They are never eaten - they usually just have a small bite-wound in the back of the neck that severs the spine. I also think he sub-contracts some of the work to Small Tortie.).
I did internal training stuff for BT for a while.
1. There was a TV
2. There was working power in the room in the first place.
That frankly was an achievement for the overspill rooms in exchanges.
Those were used only because the secretaries in BT Central immediately booked rooms as they became released/available on the calendar and had a roaring trade (with some fairly hefty "presents" being exchanged) when you needed one. So in theory, there was a necessity to spill-out to other facilities in London. In practice, one could walk past several floors of meeting rooms in BT central at peak time and only 2 or 3 would be occupied.
Coming back to Alistair's adventures, I have no idea what would it take if you wanted a room on the day. I preferred not to know.
By the way, I have done the trick with the TV a couple of times as well (when was power and a TV).
1. There was a TV
2. There was working power in the room in the first place.
That frankly was an achievement for the overspill rooms in exchanges.
Ah, exchanges. In fact in one exchange I went to there wasn't even an exchange, let alone a roof.
I must write in that tale before I pop off this mortal coil...
At one previous employer, the end of the open plan office was glazed off and new meeting rooms created.
Staff inclusivity in this momentous event extended to being invited to take part in a competition to name the new rooms. My team's suggestion of "The Fully Booked Room" for one of them wasn't taken up for some strange reason.
Me: "I'd like to book The Fully Booked Room please"
Receptionist: "I'm sorry, but The Fully Booked Room is fully booked..."
Ah the hilarity.
my experience of a BT meeting room was that it was hotter than the tropical greenhouse in kew gardens.
It appeared to be in an abandoned office floor with empty desks broken chairs, no water cooler and a screen projector with a colour missing so every slide in black and orange-y brown.
I am sure you can guess that no windows can open, and even if you could it would simply enable a better view of the storm force rain outside.
On another job, at a well known bank, I arrived, was welcomed by the boss, and the bigger boss and shoved into a meeting room - the people I was to train swayed in and one of them actually started to snore (and that was before I had started) great day to spend my entire day travelling the client getting charged £1000 day and all to apparently waste my time. Apparently there has been a good party the night before...
"my experience of a BT meeting room "
my experience of a post-BT meeting room was at a Regus office in the City, previous occupants from BT had left their stuff on the floor-to-ceiling whiteboard, plus two flipcharts, including a proposed reorg & changes to product positioning. Someone wearing BT credentials even came back, saying please don't tell anyone what you've seen?
@DB - Indeed I have done that but the room naming contest got suspended for the suspicious reason that they wanted to refurbish the entire building instead - which I felt was a bit of an extreme way of stopping me winning. I did get a box of chocolates instead though.
(I'm allergic to chocolate)
@AdamT You've reminded me... at our office Christmas party a few years ago, all the raffle prizes had been purchased by one of the admins, who had her own interests & hobbies and assumed everyone else felt the same. So people won spa sessions, Lush bath bombs, hair straighteners and so on.
But the real hilarity was when a colleague of mine (from Sri Lanka, hence let's just say dark of skin-tone) won.... a free spray-on tanning session. Cue the whole room (including said colleague, who has a sense of humour and has since gone on to great things in the company) erupting in laughter.
There's a meeting room at the office in Bracknell that got nicknamed The Fridge because everyone thinks it is too cold in there. I suspect it got partitioned off after the AC was set up, so gets cold air all the time.
Handy for me when I visit because a) I like it cold and b) no-one else ever books it.
Along those lines, when our office space was being converted from cubicle farm to open desks and "flexible seating" and management asked for proposals to name the various areas of the floor my colleagues and I suggested naming them after various homeless camps and shantytowns. Management wimped out and used local bridges, although in a rare flash of humor one area was called "Bridge to Nowhere".
The sole bright spot was getting the VP of global facilities to admit that tearing down the cubes was really about money and not being hip, trendy and attractive to younger employees.
Personally, if you're turning up to train people I would expect the following:
- That you've emailled your contact a list of requirements. Including counts of software, PC's to run it on (Or are you supplying those? No? Then we need to know!), and whether you need seats, boards, pens, whatever. And to request numbers, what the training is to focus on, and what level the people you're training are at.
- That you ask for the IT contact if you're demoing an IT product. This isn't hard. If you were demoing a new boiler for a swimming pool, you'd expect the guy who does the boilers for the swimming pool to be there or at least aware of your training. If nothing else to check that your antique three-plug horizontal sync laptop will display on the 8K HDMI projector. Also for wifi, software installs, licences, audio, mics and whatever else. They could have pre-organised that for you and queried licencing (which I don't expect random-person-who-clicked-Buy-Training to know).
- Also that you show the guy any materials you'll be training people on, so he can spot that your URL from 1986 embedded in Word in Powerpoint in Publisher in Powerpoint again and then shown through Prezi won't work on their systems.
- That you get the name of people you'll be meeting, so you can ask for them by name if people "don't know you're coming". (You may have done this)
- That you get the room you'll be doing it in (which means someone has to book you) and request setup 15-20 minutes before you start (so you get a cup of tea, sort out the room hassle, and can say "Well, I did ask that we could set up an hour ago but nobody knew where I was supposed to go).
- Also, that if you don't get the above, you just badger people until you do.
I deal with trainers all day long. When they turn up with their sticky-tape covered laptop, with zero battery power, a charging plug that only works in the United Arab Emirates, a laptop that doesn't have a port invented this millennium, at 2 minutes notice, to show their QuarkXpress file pulled from some Chinese file-sharing site over GPRS from their phone, which they want to present using a clicker which connects over PS/2, and then crowds 50 people around their laptop because they can't get anything to work anyway and nobody can hear it because they never booked the audio system speakers, and then they have the cheek to blame IT for not just knowing all this automatically (whether or not some other member of staff at the company bothered to ask!), and then proceed to give me the "Well, other places don't have this problem" line which makes me tell them to take our staff to train there next time, I literally see no reason to be sympathetic.
Even more so when THE NEXT WEEK the same trainer with the same laptop does the same thing to the same company for the re-iteration of the course because nobody understood a bloody word of what was going on anyway because they were such a poor and unprepared public speaker, and their video failed half-way through leaving them to improvise on a bit of software that they've probably never actually used themselves in their lives.
Just a side remark: if you hired someone to train 50 people, you could have inferred that speaker system would needed.
I was once tasked to train a group of people to using Office. I spend some hard time preparing a presentation for MS Office, it turned out they had OpenOffice. Oh well, CRTL+S and CTRL+O worked the same.
Only if IT / the audio people are aware of that.
If you speak to them, rather than some random person on the phone booking on the course, you can be sure they know.
And, to be honest, 75% of the speakers I deal with don't have any need for sound, even for 200+ staff training.
The sensible ones actually have buttons set up for sound / nosound / widescreen / 4:3 / Internet / offline etc, so that their one presentation handles all situations.
if you hired someone to train 50 people, you could have inferred that speaker system would needed.
Not if your speaker is trained to project properly.
I remember a demo at a university a few years back, in a 200+ seater theatre. One of the students was demoing something, and he had a microphone. Even with the volume just under howlround levels, and many requests to "speak up, please" it was impossible to hear more than a few mumbled words. When he finished he was thanked and the microphone handed to the hosting lecturer. He smiled, put the mic down on a table, and then effortlessly addressed the entire room without even appearing to raise his voice.
a bit of public speaking training should be in every professional or degree course
Isn't it ? if not then the world is going backwards. Because it sure was in my elec eng degree in '73-'76. Along with "associated studies" in a mostly-vain attempt to make engineers "well-rounded"
Then again, I suppose Imperial's always been ahead of the curve. I see the Pimlico Project is still going after over 40 years. Sinclair Goodlad led the way.
> I spend some hard time preparing a presentation for MS Office,
> it turned out they had OpenOffice.
A very long time ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the land without mobile phones and internet, I was hired by an American client to do a series of workshops in their European offices.
So off I went to the lovely port of Genoa in Italy.
On the day of the workshop I asked the hotel concierge for a taxi to my intended destination. After much head scratching and lively discussions with a gaggle of taxi drivers, the poor man told me that there was no such address in or around the city.
Thankfully, I had a contact number - which did not work, until the concierge realised that it was not an Italian number! I was rapidly connected with my client's European offices a few hundred miles north of my current location in Geneva, Switzerland - Not Genoa, Italy.
The client initially accused me of being a total moron, until I pointed they were the ones who had booked my plane and hotel for this mission and that the error came from one of their geographically challenged US staff.... Got me a nice scenic train journey through the swiss alps to rally my destination :-)
My first boss used to say something similar.
Of course, he was both a manager, and a physically imposing bloke (his brother used to play for the All Blacks), so it worked a lot better when he said it to some ranting department head who'd forgotten to ask us for something weeks before and was now attempting to make it our fault. As the PFY, it didn't cut as much ice coming from me.
"Bad planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an automatic emergency on my part."
Mine was slightly shorter: "Your incompetence does not constitute my emergency".
Another sign I had up in my cube at $BIG_BASESTATION_MANUFACTURER until forced to take it down. The Sales team there (to an even greater level than usual) combined an utter lack of planning with a huge sense of entitlement.
Tuesday I went off to a remote site.
All went flying well, customs let me through and did not have a gefingerpoken at my carryall.
Until I arrived at the other side, and want to collect my rental (car).
Things went downhill from there. Seems the booking was made, but never paid for.
Person responsible for that gaffe got a dsiciplinary hearing, as it was not the first time this sort of thing happened.
Other colleagues of mine from the same company had to sleep in their cars after a guesthouse booking was never confirmed nor paid for.
"Other colleagues of mine from the same company had to sleep in their cars after a guesthouse booking was never confirmed nor paid for."
There was a time when I was always out of the office fire-fighting for a new product. All I ever received was a frantic phone call to move on to another customer who was threatening a Red Alert situation. One such visit coincided with a large conference in the destination city - every room booked out. I slept in a lay-by in the middle of nowhere that night. I had always carried a sleeping bag in the car - just in case.
I remember carrying a portable inkjet printer, my own supply of acetates and pens because at the time everyone had a lowish tech reliable overhead projector but a higher tech thing which could display laptop output was almost guaranteed not to work.
Oh, Millenials may not have seen an OHP.
Think horizontal flat glass screen with a bulb underneath which shines light through a sheet of transparent A4 then uses a mirror and lens on an arm above the glass to project the image at 90 degrees onto a screen or wall. Apart from blown bulbs, quite hard to break.
It would work until the LCD display unit started getting hot from the light underneath ... The LCD units were equipped with cooling fans, but the fans were pretty much useless being selected more for quiet operation than maximum CFM ... The refresh rate on them was gawd/ess-awful slow, too.
Oh yes. Hand written presentations on acetates.
Or worse still trying to photocopy things onto acetates since the printer couldn't print them, then inevitably some **** of a manager coming up whilst you were in the middle to demand immediate access to the photocopier. [There must be a book to be written in 'Reminiscences of AT&T Istel - when British Leyland managers tried to run a software company]
>> IIRC you could get laser-printer-grade acetate sheets
You have jogged my memory ... a little. I had a pack of laser OHP sheets that I used for lectures back in the 1990s but I can't quite remember what I printed on most of them. One use that I *do* remember was printing off grids of greyish, round-edged squares to represent an enlarged line screen of a print job, then overlaying them and gradually rotating them until they produced a moiré.
"One use that I *do* remember was printing off grids of greyish, round-edged squares to represent an enlarged line screen of a print job, then overlaying them and gradually rotating them until they produced a moiré."
I used that trick to show animated data flow paths by moving one slide over another. Then we got one of the monochrome LCD panels mentioned up-thread. As mentioned, you had to be careful with animations due to the rather slow refresh rates in those days.
The other kind would - and frequently did - melt inside the printer.
And, given that the proper ones were more expensive than than the standard ones, guess which most companies used to buy?
We ended up putting a big sign on the buyers desk saying "if you are buying OHP acetates, come and see us first". And, given that not doing so had cost us several printers, eventually the massage got through.
Ah, but have you seen the OHP's Big Bro On Steroids - which does the exact same thing except it projects images of stuff that _isn't_ transparent - such as pages of books...? It's the same principle, but differences include having a flap-closed compartment to hold the item to be blasted with the light of a thousand suns so there's something to project, having an extra 100 kilos or so and just looking like the frankenchild of a Panzer tank and Big Bertha in general. I can't say we used it much but it certainly dominated the room it was slumbering in...
>> "OHP's Big Bro On Steroids"
Yes, the Epidiascope. They had one at my school in the early 1970s. My friends and I tried it out but never saw it used in anger.
Spent the first 25 years of my professional life using OHPs for various conferences and training courses. With its sad demise, you can no longer do the joke at the end where you say "Here's a quick overview of the whole course" and put the entire stack of a week's worth of slides on top of the projector.
It's these little things that get you through the day...
"Yes, the Epidiascope. They had one at my school in the early 1970s."
The epidiascope also had a slide projection option (the dia bit).
Although most speakers had 35mm slides someone turned up with over-sized slides. No problem, we have the biiig slide projector fitting on the epidiascope. Except his slides were too small for that one. They ended up being suspended in the gate of the epidiascope with sticky tape.
He was a local speaker. The lecture room was the one his own department shared.
That reminded me of a prank I once witnessed.
Imagine a stack of seemingly random doodles on the slides such that individually none of them made any sense, but when combined in the correct order created a rather amusing scene of cartoon porn.
Most of the audience laughed themselves silly, some gasped in surprise "Oh My!", & the rest howled in purient dismay. The guy whom pulled the stunt got a reprimand, the acetates got confiscated, & I bought the culprit just another round of drinks the more good natured audience members treated him to after the meeting.
Whenever I come across an epidiascope in the dusty cupboard in the room where they keep the broken things, I get it out, clean it off and see if it works.
You can display student work (with appropriate warning before hand of course) to the whole group - worth their weight (considerable) in projectors those things. Art departments will often have one squirreled away if you ask nicely.
I did see a quite snazzy fold-up portable one with a quartz bulb in an art shop in Liverpool a couple of years ago but didn't have the readies then.
Coat: I'm a teacher - so I have bluetak, marker pens, index cards, postITs, squared paper and mini-drywipe boards stashed in various pockets.
The opaque projector was a common sight during my school days but I've never seen one in a general office environment. Outside of schools it more of a specialist artist's tool, replaced by scanners and cameras.
I have seen some rigs with a a camera on a stand that perform a similar function in my children's classrooms, although digital projectors have replaced both the old overheads and the LCD panel on on OHP kludge.
saw one in a skip outside a house near mine the other day.
Thought 1 - "haven't seen an OHP in use in years"
Thought 2 - "wonder if it still works/could be repaired/could be turned into something else"
Thought 3 - "you haven't even replaced hinges on a door that needs sorting, what makes you think you'd do anything with an OHP except keep it in garage and then (years later) throw it in skip"
I did a stint teaching Computing for a year at a UK Polytechnic, filling in for a lecturer who was on sabbatical (there's a story about how I got the gig. Another day.)
My first lecture was to a group of brickies (brick layers - really, teaching computing to brickies who wanted to move into site management was a thing in the '80s) in a part of the poly I'd never been in before.
I found the room, unpacked my carefully prepared OHP slides, introduced myself and turned on the OHP.
The bulb blew (very loudly).
Good bunch of guys, really. They took it well, even if I didn't. Was not a confidence building experience, and did not really bode well for a generally miserable year of teaching, which included bearing the brunt of the HNC/D students ribbing, because I did not look any older than them.
Still, I've never been nervous presenting since that year of purgatory.
"[...] which included bearing the brunt of the HNC/D students ribbing, because I did not look any older than them."
A new teacher was straight out of training and was rather "diddy". Unlike the rest of the staff at our secondary school he didn't have a car - so travelled on the same morning buses as the pupils. One day he gave his destination and the conductress said "half dear?"***. He took the laughter well.
***anyone under 13 only paid a half fare - but some conductresses bent the rules in marginal cases.
One conductor was unusually pedantic and disputed my pal's eligibility when we both asked for "halves". At about 6 feet 3 inches (1.9m) my pal didn't look his 12 years - whereas I had actually passed the threshold to 13.
"[...] a screen or wall."
Assuming the wall is near white colour.
OT: in my teens the local radio club's Christmas party had organised what passed as a blue film in those distant days. Unfortunately they forgot the screen - so it was projected onto the newly wallpapered wall.
The film's "model in an artist's studio" was a fairly corny striptease - overlaid on a pattern of large bunches of orange flowers acting like a dancer's fan. As my first pr0n film it has left me with the expectation that such scenes in real life should be accompanied by raucous laughter.
"At least you didn't use the large window blinds of your front room like a neighbours son did, once!"
A neighbour's teenage daughter and her boyfriend thought that because their large lounge window had frosted glass in the bottom half - then any rabbit action on the carpet could not be seen from outside. However - bright sunshine illuminating the room made the frosted glass almost clear. A discreet mention to her was required before the local net curtain twitcher saw them.
Turn up early, press the intercom, get through to the organic firewall, 'Who? sorry I have no idea what you are talking about'
Give up, go in anyway, find they only booked the room this morning so left in a cupboard with ten people.
Projector with no cable - check
No Wifi - check
Offer of a drink - of course not
The toilets are more salubrious than the meeting room.
Just another day in the world of IT freelancing
About a billion years ago (Internet time, call it 1985ish), I was booked on an "emergency" flight to LAX to fix some computers for Disney. I got the call at noon, was in the air by 1PM. Unfortunately for me, the Disney offices were in Glendale, so I should have been flown into BUR ... which might as well be on another continent at 4PM on a Wednesday if you're using wheeled transportation.
Fortunately, helicopters exist and I was only 2 hours late. My fault, naturally.
Did the job, staff came in Thursday morning & were happy with the change, customer signed off on it at noon, and I was home in time for supper. Job well done, right? Maybe not ...
The PM (or necropsy, as I prefer to call such things) showed the temporary secretary assumed that everything in the LA area had to go through LAX ... but it was my fault anyway, as I should have known better & flagged the bogus destination before I boarded! This despite the fact that my instructions were oral "Take this briefcase full of hardware, fly to LA and install it. You will be met at the airport and taken to the site. Further instructions by telephone will follow." I didn't even know the name of the destination company until I was on the ground in LA. But my fault, so no bonus for the emergency call. It was right about then that I started thinking about going freelance ...
I learnt years ago to refuse missions where the target was improperly identified, uncontactable or simply unqualified.
REQUIRED: Post (ZIP) Code, name ideally title, landline and mobile (cellphone) number. Oh! and in this marvelous brave new internet world Google (or whatever) the company and the location at least the night before.
Wanders off muttering something about a mix up between the University of Essex and the Universitry of Exeter.......PP
"Can you do a site visit tomorrow in Doncaster?"
"It's DN37 xxx"
That's not Doncaster, that's Grimsby.
Or, mixing up DN (Doncaster) with DL (Darlington)
Oh, and of course, just giving a postcode and no address. "You do realise DLx xxx" covers three hundred square linguinis/is a road three hundred elephants long don't you?"
My worst torment training was in the early 90s where we had a lovely laptop that you could fold the display back and put it on an overhead projector to use the light and lens of the projector to project onto a screen, before the days of decent portable projectors.
The LCD thingy obviously was of non-zero thickness therefore what was in focus for slides would be out of focus for this and vice-versa therefore.
Fold LCD over projector
Remove LCD thing
put slide on
You are, obviously, wondering why the slides weren't shown by PowerPoint. My recollection is that that was the rules. One of the many times I should have put my foot down but didn't. Sigh.
It's simple enough to decipher - Oreos mean they don't want you coming back, custard creams means you are a welcome visitor, and jaffa cakes rather counterintuitively mean they love you *that* much.
If the Oreos were yours that you brought with you then you are beyond redemption.
Custard creams are standard cheap biscuits now. Better than Oreos, but then what isn't?
Hobnobs or choccie digestives are a better sign. Even better if you get KitKats or something nice in a selection box.
If all you get is plain Rich Tea, then you're in real trouble.
When there was a meeting with finger food the leftover trays were often brought in to the network team before the restaurant staff arrived to throw them away. The team snacked happily throughout the afternoon and into the evening. I was the only person who ate the nicely ripe half kiwi fruits that looked like decorations.
I was 'enticed' (read: ordered) on to a 'presentation skills' training course in the early 90s (despite having already spent several years doing training presentations of various IT natures for various IT purposes).
To be fair, it was a fun day: we were banned from using PowerPoint or any electronic devices - only OHPs and pens were allowed and we had to do everything from scratch. I had a great time, although I'm not sure the other attendees did. The takeaways were basically: "plan for the least common denominator" (an OHP) and "always have a backup plan" (i.e. getting stuck with only an OHP). Oh, and "don't talk whilst changing slides"....
A/C (because, like I'm letting on I'm that old... )
My worst was being booked into a flight from "nottingham airport" to fly to a client's site by our administrator, and arriving to find I couldn't check in, only to be told by one helpful person on reception that the details I had been dicated over the phone was for a flight out of what was then named Robin Hood Airport which was in Doncaster, and that they had about 40 people a DAY with the same problem but if I was quick I could still make it.
I'd arrived in my own vehicle with a couple of hours to spare to make sure I got the flight, and I managed to run back to my vehicle, hot foot it to Doncaster and check in with 4 minutes to spare.
I don't really blame our administrator, the name Robin Hood airport was apparently selected to gain publicity for being a little contraversial and make some twee point about a detail in history amongst other reasons, which it certainly did for me. Its also the last time any of our team flew out of there.
Way to go marketing twonks.
Flying out of Jo'burg airport in the 1970s - people from Pretoria could book in at their airline local office. There was then a small bus to take them the 30 miles to the airport. One day the bus broke down en route.
When we finally arrived at the airport we found they had held several flights that the passengers might be catching. There was apparently no correlation to indicate which passengers were on the bus.
I used to train small groups of six or so who would travel miles to a training centre for the day.
Some wanted to lap up what I had to say, some couldn't be bothered at all.
Worse were the ones who simply saw it as a day to get out of the office and a nice place to chat to their buddies.
One group went to the pub at lunchtime after scoffing the complimentary luxury sandwiches, and came back pissed two hours later. I so wanted to tell them to FO home.
"One group went to the pub at lunchtime after scoffing the complimentary luxury sandwiches, and came back pissed two hours later"
On a very technical course lasting a couple of weeks there was an elderly guy who was being retrained even though he wasn't really very technical. After lunch the room was quite warm and it wasn't unusual to hear him snoring loudly.
When giving courses I had to tell the organisers not to lay on a buffet lunch with wine. Otherwise immediately after lunch it was hard to find a face to look at that was not struggling to stay awake.***
***I like to think it was the wine and not my lecturing style. Had no problems once wine and pub excursions were removed. Although on one residential course the students put in voluntary unscheduled late sessions after they had been allowed their first trip to the bar after dinner.
A quarter of a century ago my US bosses were astonished that I declined a free trip back to the mother country on business, on the grounds that when I got there nothing would be ready, nobody would be available, and I'd probably be shunted off somewhere else to do something I wasn't prepared for while recovering from the jet lag. So they sent one of their own, and sure enough, the tragedy played out as scripted.
I was *never* the AV support on any training sessions I've been to. I almost *always* however end up fixing what is wrong with the AV system. Including a presentation by a BOD member in the 350 seat theatre setup that used *gag* BLUETOOTH (Q#$%#$%^#$%) for the microphones.
(Did you know you can use a blackberry 9 series as an audio relay station in bluetooth?)
that brought back so many memories ..
1. I ran a training course for Saudi Telecom in Riyadh. I checked everything worked in advance from the hotel. All went well on-site until I wanted the class to log in to a large Oracle database back in blighty. The great Saudi firewall kicked in and wouldn't let us connect, no matter what devious route we tried. I took a chance on inviting everyone back to the hotel for tiffin, where we could bypass the firewall using the hotel's satellite connection. I still get goosebumps thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong with that.
2. Oreo break. That same class in Saudi almost gave me a heart attack. I took a few packs of shortbread with me to share at the coffee/prayer breaks. With a deadpan face the local boss picked one up, pointed at the list of ingredients, and said that it contained pork fat ... he let me stew for a about 30 seconds before the class burst out laughing. [I believe a flogging is the standard punishment for importing pork products]
3. meeting rooms. This time I was running a course in Mumbai. I did my preparation, and confirmed a room had been booked. I turned up early to set up, and yes, a room was available. It was a bit on the small side, with no ventilation, but would probably be fine for the small IT group that I was due to train on some super new stuff (real time GSM fraud). The grapevine must have been working overtime, as more and more folk turned up .. I abandoned the idea of a formal course and ended up doing a high level presentation and live demo to a couple of hundred folk in a lecture theatre ... now, if they'd only asked for that in the first place.
The British government had made a gift of an IT system to the Indian government. A team were assembled to spend a year in India training the local support staff on the hardware and software.
The first hitch was Indian Customs demanding an exorbitant import tax on the kit. After several weeks the government departments finally sorted it out and the kit was delivered to the newly built computer room.
Unfortunately the room was awaiting its final touch - the air conditioning. A query about when it would be finished elicited the answer "in three weeks".
A year later the team returned to England and the kit was still in its boxes in the room - and the air conditioning would be finished "in three weeks". The team said that while waiting they had set themselves a target - not to make the local staff efficient - but just to try to explain what the word meant.
....sounded like a tit and the type of IT guy/girl and the type of IT engineer I've never liked. I've never said that to any trainer who's turned up without me knowing. Because I always know it's not their fault and the fault of the person organising the training. It amazes me how much people balls it up. Its quite simple, make sure you've booking an fing room for TRAINING!
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