Today I had to give two presentations; one summarising a paper about systems consolidation in memory, and another covering my research project this year. The research project presentation had been prepared for quite a while in advance, but as luck would have it, yesterday afternoon we struck on a different way of statistically analysing my data which completely changed all of our conclusions. So last night I had to revise the best part of my project presentation.
As for the paper presentation, well, I had to prepare that from scratch last night as well because I’ve been really busy all week. I managed both perfectly well and just before going to sleep I uploaded both to the Internet so I could download them from the room I’d be giving the presentations at.
Fast forward to this morning. It’s a grey and dreary day as usual in Cambridge, and when I get to the Anatomy department, which is where the presentations sessions are, I think to myself, ‘Why hasn’t anyone bothered turning the lights on.’ Grumbling a bit, I walked up the stairs into the team rom and flicked the light switch on. Nothing happened. It turned out that power had been lost to the entire site.
This didn’t prevent my workshop group from doing their presentations; a few people had brought laptops and others had theirs on disk. Alas, mine was too big to fit on a disk and I don’t like the idea of burning a new CD every time I make a new presentation*. Because, of course, without power, we had no Internet connection.
As luck would have it, the power turned on before I had to give my paper presentation. Except the net connection was still down. Since I didn’t have any notes on me for it, I had to spend the tea break rapidly drawing diagrams on the whiteboard and trying to remember what I was supposed to be talking about; it didn’t help that the first presenter didn’t talk about the study results, which meant that I had to do some quick thinking.
So this was about 11:30am. I had to give my project presentation – the important one – in about an hour. I jumped on my bike, cycled back to college and burned a CD with my presentation on it. On a whim, I decided to test it on my normal CD drive to see if it worked. My computer hung for a few minutes while it mulled over whether it wanted to read it (during which time my urge to throw it out of the window reached startling proportions) and eventually I just manually ejected it. I then burned another CD, which produced the same results. At this point, I was feeling a bit hard done by.
Finally, I decided that given my CD writer is professional grade and that my CD reader is quite temperamental, it was probably the reader that was wrong. So I took the two CDs and zoomed back to the Anatomy department, where the ageing iMac put my own computer to shame and read the CDs without a hitch. Which is how the presentation ultimately went – without a hitch – although I was literally battered with probing questions about my results, interpretation and conclusions. Interesting questions all of them, and I was quite pleased to find that I could respond to them all.
And now I’ve just discovered that my Orange SPV phone has finally been repaired. So maybe things will calm down now.