Tomorrow sees me heading off to Cardiff for the ISSC-15 conference. Just under a week of geeking my particular variety of science with a few hundred like minded individuals at the UK’s premier surface science conference.
Looking at the program, the will be talks on everything from ablation (my field) to catalysis to xenon adsorption analysis. I’m scheduled to talk for 15 minutes before lunch on Tuesday. My talk, which will appear here some time next week, is about producing ordered arrays of very sharp thing by shooting a very flat thing with a laser causing it to explode.
One problem with giving talks at scientific conferences is that everyone now uses LCD projectors, so gone are the days of hand drawn or printed acetates and the noisy overheard projector. Instead welcome to the world of powerpoint, annoying animations, incompatible screen resolutions, missing fonts, music and sound effects, version incompatibility, the list can continue…
Fully half the time I’ve spent putting together my talk has been taken up with tweaking slide layouts, removing random animations attached by default to every bloody image I’ve inserted and checking I’m not using anything specific to my powerpoint installation that will cause the talk to die when viewed on another machine.
It is just so much faffing around. I’m about 80% sure I’ll need to tweak the file further in the 10 min testing time before the session starts. The only problem is, so will everyone else :-/
In the past I’ve tried PDFs for presentations, but they just didn’t quite work. Powepoint does have the edge for flipping through slides quickly, it is also – alas – the expected format for presentations. Turn up with something other than a .ppt file and expect to get a few blank stares unless the AV people are on the ball or one of the scientists are running the projector. Even if they recognise the file there is no assurance you’ll actually be able to use it.
Well everything I can think of has been taken care of, a copy of my talk exists in 3 different places – laptop, email, pendrive, I might stick a copy on a website as well. The laptop is loaded up with films and southpark rips, I just need to find the GBA for the trip and locate a decent book.