Disaster Recovery for Speakers

I have seen a few comments and remarks being thrown around about speakers doing a bad job because a demo failed or a machined crashed when getting plugged into a display adapter. I wonder why these IT professionals making said remarks still have day jobs, I mean clearly they are 100% awesome and everything always works. Surely they have more important things to do. PFFFT!

So I recently blogged about melting down and losing a machine. I had my slides & my data all backed up on OneDrive or still in email. So there was really only getting everything together and having the NEW MACHINE ready to present. That only took a couple hours on Friday afternoon. I have a somewhat bad habit of not backing up/uploading items while I am actively working on them. OOPS!

In the middle of the night I wake up and  realize this is a new machine with a 4k screen and I don’t have a display adapter for it. Hell I don’t even know what type of video out it has. But this was an emergency of swapping of machines at the last minute. When I arrive early at the event (I was holding down the Pass table) I ask the organizers what connection are there in the rooms, HDMI. Holly moley I am in luck! That is until I get in my room (last speaking spot of the day) and discover I am in the one room with no HDMI. Never sweat this folks, there is always someone around to borrow one from. I hollered upstairs for my darling husband, thinking he would hunt down a connector but much to my surprise Eugene saved the day again! He came running down with an adapter and all went well.

This morning I ordered HDMI to DVI and HDMI to VGA adapters for my visual pack. Yes I have a zipper pouch that has a remote c licker, Microsoft Wireless Display adapter, a display port to VGA/DVI/HDMI adapter, and a USB 3 hub with Ethernet.  Guess it will now contain 2 additional adapters.

Although I had busted my ass, worked out the minor issues I still ran into one problem. Okay 2. First the resolution on the display was terrible and I was scared to death to try changing any settings (see previous comment about device crashing). Second the built in zoom (on my Logitech M705 mouse) didn’t work on SSDT, but I was able to work around some of the horrible display issues. I feel terrible but I worked with what I had and didn’t skip a beat.

When my new adapters arrive I will be trying several different TVs and monitors around the house to see how they react and hopefully test out some options for if this happens again.

This is what I would say makes a good presentation packing and backing up check list:

  • Slides backed up to OneDrive and possibly a thumb drive if you are really worried.
    • My slides usually contain step-by-step instructions for doing my demo. My new deck doesn’t have them yet but should before Indianapolis. This helps me remember and gives attendees something they can use later.
  • Data being used backed up to online storage and possibly a thumb drive especially if it is large.
  • I normally carry a print out of my slide deck for reference and in case of emergencies, maybe you can get copies made.
  • A display adapter with multiple options.
  • A network adapter if your machine doesn’t have one.
  • Mouse/pointer clicker/office remote on your phone – I have all three available but generally stick with mouse or phone.

Last year (2016) for #SQLSaturday Nashville I put together “Speaker Ready Kits” with a cute note about this being the first event of the year and I wanted everyone to be prepared; in it are items that I also find super useful when traveling but even more helpful for speaking. This year we left refills in the speaker room and handed out first aid kits. Here is what my kit now contains:

  • Throat coat tea bags. Yes this stuff works.
  • Throat lozenges
  • Chap stick
  • Advil, I have been advised the kits need more Advil.
  • Pepto tablets
  • Individually wrapped dental floss
  • Individual eye drops (wetting drops)
  • Packet of Kleenex
  • Lens cleaning wipes
  • Shout stain remover wipes
  •  Safety pin
  • First Aid kit
  • 2 AA batteries & 2 AAA batteries

While you can never be prepared for everything you can be prepared for common things. Pay attention when other speakers tell stories, because there is more than likely a lesson to be learned there. And now that you know what’s in my wallet you should never be afraid to ask me to borrow something. Honest I still have a few pouches if you want one just ask, need refills – JUST ASK! 🙂 Also, let me know if there is a must have that I am missing. I’d be happy to try and work that in for 2018!


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