Have you ever watched a Technology demo that goes terribly wrong? Like when a computer projector doesn’t work. We’ve been known to tell our audience, “imagine you’re seeing my computer screen, in the upper right corner there’s an icon for … “ Or, when the projection is working but the software is being uncooperative, we’ve had to say, “Well, the way it’s supposed to work …” Or when the projector works, the software cooperates, but there is no microphone and the room is noisy. This happened when I was just getting over a cold, and I completely lost my voice by the end of the day. The last group were perplexed as to why I was whispering to them!
Jim and I really like presenting as a team. There have been many times when one or the other of us had to ad lib while the other fixed a problem. We’d love it if everything always went smoothly, but we also recognize that many in our audience like to see things go wrong, it makes them feel better about when it happens to them! We don’t hide the problems. I hope that we demonstrate the attitude that using technology is a challenge. You need curiosity and a willingness to take some wrong turns before you find the right path. Maybe that’s why travelers are generally more tech-savvy than other groups – we like to explore!
Now we are exploring the world of Live Broadcasts over the Web using Google+ Hangouts on Air. We have all the same potential problems as a live face-to-face presentation, but add to that the fact that we can’t see our audience, we’re dependent on a good Internet connection, and we can’t really see or hear what our audience is seeing and hearing. So far in our live broadcasts, we’ve tried different microphone setups and once presented for 13 minutes where our audience heard no sound at all, another time went for 6 minutes with a reverberating echo that hurt the ears. Not our ears! We didn’t hear what our viewers were hearing. Another time, we were so concerned with the equipment to do the broadcast that I forgot the smartphone that I was going to demonstrate. In addition to multiple microphones, we also have multiple cameras. In one episode, Jim was happily demonstrating something on his smartphone, but that camera wasn’t the one being broadcast. People watching had a great view of me screwing up my face and looking around. At least I wasn’t picking my nose!
Out of 17 episodes so far, I think there was one where nothing went wrong. I would like to say, like Thomas Edison, that we have not failed 16 times, we have found 16 ways that don’t work! But even that is not true. Just because it didn’t work in episode 4, doesn’t mean that with a little tweak it wouldn’t work perfectly next time. So, we keep on tweaking!
Like moths to the flame Jim and I are drawn to technology and live presentations. Tune in on Sundays at 2pm Eastern time, and watch us burn!