Friday, August 10, 2007

making lemonade

So as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, today I was busy making lemonade.

A bit of context. Today was the first of two days of presentations about the state of the competition. In attendance were a number of the Group Program Managers as well as our VP. For me, I was responsible for a 30 minute presentation covering my little piece of the Windows Live offering. Good times.

I had my slides ready, I had my demos scripted, so what could go wrong? A lot. A few days before I started getting a sore throat, and I was pretty certain that I was going to lose my voice right around the time of the presentation. This morning I woke up, and crap. My voice was pretty much gone. Great. I figured I'd just deal with it. Practice using a deeper voice and not using the same intonations that I usually use and I should be good, right? Issue number 1 resolved... kinda...

Not quite... a few more technical difficulties. Google Calendar, one of the sites that I was going to demo was behaving pretty strangely in the morning. First off, things were just acting weird. Then after a bit, the whole thing just shut down. Issue number 2. Thankfully, it came back up shortly afterward, but not much that I could have done in that time frame as CYA if it decided to die again.

Third issue? When I got to the building where the presentations were taking place, my laptop was having some issues getting a network connection. I wasn't the only one. Quite a few people were having the same issue. Thankfully, Alpa found a solution so the network was up and running a few minutes before the presentations started. Without a network connection, most of my demos wouldn't have been possible.

Fourth issue. So I knew that the combination of my laptop, external monitor, and powerpoint slide shows spells trouble. The presentation mode likes being on the main screen and there is no way to change it (annoying). So in preparation, I spent a few hours in the morning running an external monitor under some pretty terrible settings just so I can just plug and go at the real presentations. Well... it didn't work out so well. First off, my laptop reverted to the dual display setting which Powerpoint doesn't like. Thankfully, I had the control panel handy to change the settings again. Problem solved, right? Wrong. The software problem had turned into a hardware problem. My luck had it so that my laptop's VGA port flaked out on my at that precise moment. End result? Swapped laptops. Good thing I had a reasonably up to date copy of my presentation out on the Sharepoint server (yes, the occasional Microsoft plug). Phew.

The unfortunate thing about the laptop swap is that I didn't have my two browsers open with the sites that I needed for the demo. Why two browsers? Because IE7 had been flaking out on me all morning... especially with Facebook (I did a side by side comparison. For some reason IE7 just didn't feel like loading Facebook for a while even though it worked fine on FireFox. It continued to load other sites fine). I knew the order of sites that I needed, so that wasn't going to be a big issue. The bigger issue ended up being me not knowing what login and password I use for certain sites. 30 Boxes, for example, I completely botched. I was trying as my e-mail, and a variety of passwords. Somehow I managed to integrate this into my demo. It made a really nice premature segue into how 30 Boxes in integrated into Facebook. Basically after two failed attempts I explained that I forgot the login information because 30 Boxes is so easy it never asks me to log in and that I could bypass my whole login fiasco by just accessing the thing directly from Facebook... which I did... while crossing my fingers hoping Facebook wouldn't ask me for the 30 Boxes login information either. It didn't. Issue number 5 solved.

At the end of the whole thing I just couldn't help but laugh at the situation and how many things went wrong. It's like my visit to Kellogg. Hopefully this has better results.

What do I mean by that? I have my final review next week on Tuesday. We shall see. (-:

By the way, does anyone know where the scenes in the Paul Newman film Hole in the Wall Gang was filmed? Reminds me of Zion National Park and Canyon de Chelly. Shaker Heights, baby!

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