Saturday, September 18, 2010

Web Presentation for World Computer Congress

I was relieved to get a message from Michelle Hills, Program Coordinator for the World Computer Congress 2010, to say they were able to download a copy of my presentation on Green ICT. Many conference organisers are uncomfortable with the idea of a web based presentation, assuming this requires a live Internet connection. They are unaware it is possible to easily store all the files needed for an off-line web presentation (in Firefox to save a web page: File > Save Page As > Web Page Complete).

I find a disturbing lack of knowledge of web technology in computer conference organisers. What tends to happen is that the organisers send me a request for my "PowerPoint presentation". I reply saying I am going to use the web and they reply saying that is fine. But then I get regular reminder messages saying that I have not yet submitted my PowerPoint presentation.

At one major conference recently, after explaining to the organisers several times and getting their agreement I could use the Web, I turned up to find no one had told the audio visual person I was using the Web. I would understand if these were conferences about coal mining, but at an event for IT professionals discussing Internet and the Web, it would seem reasonable to have the Internet and the web available.

There is a marked difference between academic and commercial conferences. Many academic computer conferences now issue the presenter with a user-id to upload their presentation before the event. This is automatically linked to the program and available from the podium. In contrast commercial organisers waste a lot of their time (and my time), asking for presentations to be sent by email and manually passing these around their organisation.

At a recent commercial conference the presentations were uploaded with random file names and no way to know which presentation was for which speaker. I suggested next time they create a slide which lists the program and link all the presentations to that. Then it is simply a matter of clicking on the name to start the presentation (I did this using an electronic white board at a conference in 1995).

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