Home     About Us     Notices     Archive     Contact     Links



As advised on the SPEAKERS PAGE, and as shown on the Contact page, the Club's Committee includes a Member who is responsible for 'Technical Support'. At present that Member is Peter Barns-Graham. Peter is NOT an expert on any technical matter at all but he is aware of (most of) the facilities available for Speakers and is responsible for keeping the Club's projector and making it available to Speakers. That projector, an Epson EB-S03, is a standard one for connecting to laptops and projecting 'the screen' onto a flat surface. Some more information on it can be seen here (opens on new page) whilst its User Guide may be downloaded here (replaces this page).

The following notes may be of interest and/or use to a Speaker. A summarised view of them is that we can cope with most 'standard presentations' quite easily but have only limited experience of presentations that involve videos or sound.

(a) The 'Technical Supporter' will normally contact each Speaker's Friend a month or so before his 'due date' to see if he is OK with the arrangements. Any Speaker's Friend who wishes to contact the Supporter earlier than that, or who has not heard from him within that month period, is very welcome to get in touch with him. The Supporter will probably not mind handling some (simple) queries from Guest Speakers directly but each Speaker's Friend should remember that he is responsible for arranging the talk, not the Supporter.

(b) Unless other arrangements have been made, the Supporter will normally bring to each Meeting the Club's projector plus a remote screen pointer (which should also be able to control most relevant PowerPoint actions) plus a simple public address system (see (g) below) plus a cable reel & extension lead plus certain types of connection lead (see note (c) below). If a physical screen pointer is required, please give him advance warning as he may be able to provide a small snooker cue or similar. To the extent that that will not suffice, Speakers are expected to provide their own equipment. The presentation is normally projected onto a blank wall. If the Speaker's Friend intends to be the Speaker himself then, subject to any constraints set by the Club's Committee (such as may be required for insurance purposes), it will normally be possible for him to borrow the club's projector (and screen pointer) for a week or so before the relevant Monthly Meeting so that he may practice using it. Whether or not such borrowing will be allowed for Guest Speakers will be considered case by case with it to be expected that such will normally not be allowed.
[Note amended 28.04.22: The Temple Bar Inn, the location of our Monthly Meetings, normally provides a projector (with built-in speaker) that provides a very useful supplement to our facilities. Indeed, we have started to use it regularly instead of our own projector. However, just as we have found that our projector is a little too old for some modern laptops/programs, the Inn's projector is a little too new for some older laptops/programs. We advise that, when possible, Speakers who wish to use their own laptops should bring their presentations on a memory stick as well as in their laptop. That may provide some extra flexibility which might make things easier when we try to get the presentation to work!]

(c) Our projector projects. Subject to (d) just below, it cannot process data and so, for presentations that use software such as PowerPoint or Publisher, it has to be connected to a laptop or other form of computer that has the relevant software. The projector supports the following types of input: USB-A, USB-B, VGA, HDMI, Audio & Video.
- The Supporter should be able to provide USB-A, USB-B, VGA, HDMI and simple audio-video connection leads. [Most connections nowadays are done by USB, VGA or HDMI.]
- If your presentation involves sound, please note that our projector has its own speaker which does work OK in the small room that we use but that is "OK" rather than good. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a way to boost its volume or improve the way its sound is distributed around the room. It may be possible to boost the sound of a presentation using speakers connected to the laptop but that may depend on the type of laptop and the software being used for the presentation. We do not have our own speakers but may be able to borrow some if given enough notice.


(d) Our projector can project certain types of images directly from a USB stick/flash-drive in its USB input port but please note that (i) we have not checked what this covers other than simple jpegs & similar picture files (apparently it can also do .avi files albeit subject to some constraints eg. as to resolution) and (ii) its ability to control how images are displayed (e.g. their size on the screen) is limited though it can normally offer the option of showing images one-by-one or in a timed slideshow. Our projector can also connect to an old (analogue) video player though it offers no extra controls for that (so, for example, it cannot pause the video or control the sound level). For more information on what the projector can do without a computer, see page 48 of the User Guide (linked to at the top of this page).

(e) If you are bringing your own laptop, please remember that it will only 'talk to' our projector if it has an appropriate program for doing so. If it has previously been used to connect to a projector then that should not be an issue (as programs often 'remember' how it is done). However, (particularly if your laptop has not previously been connected to a projector) please do check that you know how to make it do so. Just pressing one of the function keys (perhaps whilst holding down the Fn control) should do the job but it appears that different computer manufacturers use different function keys for this.

(f) It has, on occasion, proved possible to borrow someone's laptop for a presentation but such should not be relied on. If it is necessary for a laptop to be borrowed then please let the Supporter know well in advance, and advise him how the data is to be provided (eg. by memory stick/drive or CD/DVD), but be prepared to be disappointed - not all laptops support CDs/DVDs and many owners do not like lending laptops because of worries about viruses. If you are relying on someone else's laptop, do remember to check in advance that the laptop has the right software to play the program used by your presentation and, if applicable, remember that Macbook-laptops sometimes treat programs in a different way to PC-laptops.

(g) In August 2017 the Club bought a 'Pulse MK3 Megamouth Portable PA System' (image on the right). It offers a choice of 3 battery-powered microphones: handheld, neckband headset and tie-clip. Each connects by VHF (wireless) to the speaker unit which also has physical USB, SD & audio connections so that it can be used to provide sound for DVDs and such. That speaker unit will probably normally be positioned either in the middle of the front of the room (if a physical connection is required such as for a DVD player) or at the back of the room (if a microphone connection is being used to help people hear your voice). It is a simple device but, whilst it would probably struggle in a big hall, it should be good enough for our normal needs.
- If you want to use this PA system as a 'Sound System', perhaps to support a Powerpoint (or similar) presentation that is being projected by our above-mentioned projector, you may be disappointed for that projector does not have an output for the PA System and we have yet to find a way to direct output from a laptop to both that projector and the PA System at the same time. Perhaps you could do better? A copy of the PA System's user manual may be seen here (opens on a new page).

(h) Some laptops, in particular some MacBooks (eg the Air), do not support VGA or HDMI connections. There is usually a USB alternative so there is no need to worry about this unless the computer you are going to use has only one USB connection and you want your presentation data to come through your laptop from a USB memory stick. The point is that, even with the assistance of an external USB multi-port, it will probably not be possible to use a single USB connection on a computer to both input data (into the computer) and output data (to the projector) at the same time. Accordingly, if you intend to use a laptop that has only 1 USB connection and you want your presentation data to come through your laptop from a USB memory stick and you hope to connect your computer to the projector through a USB port, you should check before you come that that will work. Otherwise, you may not be able to use the USB memory stick but instead have to download the data into the computer's own memory before it can be transmitted to the projector. [This sort of problem is likely to be rare - but it has happened!]
- This issue should not apply if your computer has 2 USB connections and you wish to use one of them for a screen pointer and/or presentation page advancer. That is because in that situation it is normally possible to use an external USB multi-port. The Supporter will usually bring one of those with him to the Meeting 'just in case'.

(i) WiFi is available at The Temple Bar, the venue for (most of) our Monthly Meetings, but is probably too slow for acting as a real-time source.

(j) If enough advance warning is given, it might be possible to borrow or hire a projector for old slides (the physical type) or old film ('Super 8', etc.) but do not assume that it will be. On the rare occasions when a speaker has used such a projector he has brought his own. Similarly, if your presentation requires a CD/DVD player or VCR, it might be possible to borrow or hire that equipment for you but it might not.

(k) Our Monthly Meetings start at 10.30am but most people try to get there a bit earlier, in time for tea/coffee & biscuits and a chat. The Supporter will normally try to get to the Meetings by 9.40am to give time to help Speakers get set-up for their talk. [The venue does not open until 9.30am.] It is appreciated when Speakers turn up shortly before 10.00 am as otherwise there can be a bit of a panic to make sure that laptop & projector work together before the meeting starts. If the Supporter is away for any reason then he will try to ensure that someone else is there to provide any necessary assistance.


     Back to the top of the page      Back to the Speakers page