GOLDEN VALLEY PROBUS CLUB
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TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR SPEAKERS

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 downloaded from here. [We used to have a link here to the User Guide for the projector but that link appears to have changed and so far PEter has disliked the downloading options he has seen. He will come back to this in due course.]]

Peter has prepared the following notes (on an "E.&O.E. basis"!) and strongly advises every forthcoming Speaker to read them well in advance of the relevant meeting. Peter took on this 'Technical Support' role in January 2016 (mainly because no-one else seemed willing to) and is still learning the ropes as he is a bit slow with such things.

(a) I 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 me earlier than that, or who has not heard from me within that month period, is very welcome to get in touch with me. I do not mind handling some (simple) queries from Guest Speakers directly but ask each Speaker's Friend to remember that responsibility for arranging the talk remains with him.

(b) Unless we have made other arrangements, I will 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 advance warning and I will 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.

(c) Our projector projects. Subject to (d) just below, it cannot process data and so, for presentations that are operated by software such as PowerPoint or Publisher, it has to be connected to a laptop or other form of computer. The projector supports the following types of input: USB-A, USB-B, VGA, HDMI, Audio & Video. [It may do more than that. If you think it does then please point me to the relevant page in the User Guide.]
- I can provide USB-A, USB-B, VGA, HDMI and simple audio-or-video connection leads - but not video-with-audio leads. [Most connections nowadays are done by USB, VGA or HDMI but some computers connect best to our projector using an 'audio' lead - which confuses me as it carries video not audio. I am still trying to work this out!]
- If your presentation involves sound, our PA system should be able to help you, see (g) below, but if you are not sure that that will do the job then please accept that what is reported below is the extent of my ability to help you and either investigate our PA system in more depth yourself (a copy of its user manual is provided here) or bring speakers that you know will do the job.

USB-A USB-B VGA HDMI AUDIO or VIDEO? VIDEO + AUDIO?

(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 have yet to check out what this covers other than simple jpegs & similiar picture files and (subject to some constraints eg. as to resolution) .avi files. [I used to refer here to page 48 of the User Guide but, as mentioned above, the link to that document appears to have changed or disappeared.]

(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 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 me know well in advance, and advise me 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 (mine doesn't) and many owners do not like lending laptops because of worries about viruses (I don't, although I have lent my own laptop on occasion). 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.

(g) In August 2017 we bought a 'Pulse MK3 Megamouth Portable PA System' (image on the right) which I am still getting used to. It offers a choice of 3 battery-powered microphones: handheld, neckband headset and tie-clip. Each connects by VHF (wireless) to a PA unit that will probably normally be positioned either in the middle of the front of the room (if the presentation involves sound) or at the back of the room (if it is just to help people hear your voice). It has USB, SD & audio connection so can be used to provide sound for DVDs and such. It is a simple device but, whilst it would probably struggle in a big hall, it should be good enough for our normal needs. I suggest that, if you want to use the PA system with anything more complicated than a simple PowerPoint (or similar) presentation, you should arrange with me to try it out beforehand. A copy of its user manual may be seen here (opens on a new page). The chances are high that you will be able to make more sense of the guide than I can!

(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. I will usually bring one of those with me 'just in case'.

(i) WiFi is available at The Temple Bar (the venue for 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.

(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. I 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 by/around 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 I am away for any reason then I will try to ensure that someone else is there to provide any necessary assistance.

 

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