The case for your own computer

You know that someone’s having a bad computer day when you see them rubbing their trackpad in desperation.

That was the case for me for one of the sessions that I proctored at the CSTA Conference.  To her defense, this presenter did ask me if she could connect her computer to the data projector over the lunch hour to make sure that it worked.  That’s the way that I handle things myself; I hate scrambling at the last minute and so, of course, I said to go for it.

Maybe it was premonition but I felt myself drawn to the room earlier than I normally would and that’s where I found her rubbing that trackpad.


“Yes, the computer won’t display on the data projector.”

I looked and, yes, everything was connected.  The computer was an ancient computer running Windows 10 so it was really slow to respond.  I thought that it might be even older than my clunker.

As if anticipating my next question, she said “No, it’s not my computer.   It’s the university’s and the presentation is on here, given to me.  I’m much more at home with my own computer running Linux.  Can you help?”

So, I went into the controls and made sure that the computer thought it was duplicating itself.   It thought it was, only, it wasn’t.

No problem, I thought.  I’ll just put the presentation on my computer and let her use it.  I pulled out a memory key and she said “I don’t think that will work”.  True to her word, it didn’t.  Mounting external devices had been disabled by the university IT Department.  OK, on to Plan B.  I’ll just get her to email it to me.  “I can’t do that.  The machine is limited to connecting only to the university wireless”.

I had this urge to start rubbing the trackpad.

People were now starting to come in for the presentation.  One in the audience came up and let us know that he had been in a previous presentation and the SVGA video in wasn’t working on the data projector.

Rats.  (or some such similar words)

I noticed that the data projector also had a connector for HDMI and a cable attached.

Mr. Helpful from the audience spoke up again.  “The last presenter had to use that.”

So, I grabbed the cable and headed for the HDMI port.  It didn’t fit.  The computer had a mini-HDMI port.

But, we were getting warm.

I made a connection with the AV supplier and he did have a mini-HDMI to HDMI converter.  A second later and we were good to go.

The presentation went well and, as we were packing her things, I asked why she didn’t use her own computer.  It was her partner’s computer and, rather than moving the presentation over, it seemed easier at the time to go this route.

“I’ll never make this mistake again.”


3 thoughts on “The case for your own computer

  1. Lessons learned. Always:

    1. Bring your own computer
    2. Bring all possible adapters
    3. Bring the presentation on a usb drive
    4. Have the presentation sitting in your inbox
    5. Have the presentation in the cloud

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Mike’s advice. For important presentations I have occasionally brought two computers. BTW, for future use I have a zip lock bag with about 6 or 8 different dongles in my backpack and not just for my own computer. 🙂 One was borrowed at CSTA.


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