Existence Proof

imageThe picture is evidence that bug-free Skype seminars are possible! Well, I suppose it only captured an instant, and not the full hour’s worth of two separate bug-free talks each with their own Q&A, but that is what happened. The back story is that two of our invited speakers, Lara Anderson and James Gray, had flight delays that prevented them from arriving in Santiago on time and so I spent a bit of time (at the suggestion of my co-organizer Wati Taylor, who also could not make the trip) figuring out how we could save the schedule by having them give Skype seminars. (We already had to make a replacement elsewhere in the schedule since another of our speakers was ill and had to cancel his trip.)

Two Skype talks seemed a long shot back on Sunday when Wati had the idea, but after some local legwork on my part it gradually because more likely, and by lunchtime today I had the local staff fully on board with the idea and we tested it all and it worked!

It helps that you can send the whole of your computer screen as the video feed, and so the slides came out nicely (I’d originally planned a more complicated arrangement where we’d have the slides locally up of screen and I’d click through them for the remote speaker, perhaps watching their talk on another screen for cues, a solution that would need three separate computers … That would have been messy.) Come to think about it, given what we do routinely with video for entertainment now (remember that HD video you just watched on your device of a cat nursing baby chicks or whatever? Or just glance over at your Apple TV box or google dongle thingy…) it is my suspicion that the main reason everyone expects a Skype seminar to go wrong at some point is the memory of things we tried a decade or more ago and swore never to do any time soon…

So the afternoon 4:00pm session started with Lara’s and James’ talks given remotely. You can see Lara’s talk in progress in the picture, with a little picture of her in the corner there for the audience to put a face to the voice they can hear over the room’s PA system.

Anyway, my two days of moderator and session organizer duties are over. I can enjoy just listening to a few talks… And I may well be seen in a museum or two and a cafe or two around the city before I board my plane for the long ride home…


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10 Responses to Existence Proof

  1. Mark Peifer says:

    I’m clearly missing something (or is it irony)–aren’t the screen images upside down?