Stuck in the Past: Projection Woes

Next week, I will be heading to Montreal, where I’ll be giving three different presentations to three different audiences in three different rooms. I’ll be bringing my laptop, my iPad, and my phone with me, any of which has the built-in capability to show a PowerPoint presentation. I’ve given these kinds of presentations before, and I’m not particularly nervous about the content of the talks.

However, there is something about this weekend that is causing me serious bouts of anxiety, and that’s showing the actual presentation. Like I said, I’ll be bringing 3 different computers to the conference, which connect to other display devices via Lightning adapter (iPhone and iPad) or mini DisplayPort (my MacBook Air) to DVI or VGA or even HDMI, or via screen sharing if there was an Apple TV/Chromecast(?) involved.

However, what I *don’t* know is what display technology will be available on the other end, connected to the projector. I am aware that many universities are starting to make sure projectors have connection options for Mac, which means one or more of these options may just be ready and waiting for me. But since I want to actually know at least one of these options WILL be available, does that mean I need to go and buy at least one adapter for VGA/DVI/HDMI just in case any of those is all the projector works with? Should I just buy an Apple TV for the weekend, hook it up, and share my screen to it (again, hoping the projector has an HDMI hookup). The Apple TV method means I’ll also need access to a stable Wi-Fi connection to run the screen share, which isn’t always the case.

I’m very risk averse, but I also like to be prepared for any possibility when it comes to this kind of thing, but it feels like there should be a better way when it comes to giving presentations in an unfamiliar environment. Conferences are a VERY common thing, and it just seems like there’s no good way to do things consistently with so many moving parts.

Side note: don’t even get me started on using a secondary device as a remote to control the presentation. This technology has existed for a decade, but the only software integration that currently exists for PowerPoint is that a presentation on the iPhone can be controlled via the Apple Watch. It just feels like these kinds of things should be further along than they are.

The end of green screen, and possibly the beginning of true 3D movies

Since Lytro’s tech basically captures all the 3D information in a scene, the imagery is unusually friendly to CGI. Placing virtual objects at exactly the right depth in a scene is essentially taking advantage of a native ability of the footage.

This is possibly the beginning of what I’ve been looking for since the re-renaissance of 3D movies in the last 10-15 years. As the new ‘real’ 3D movies came to theatres, what I really wanted was to be able to view a scene in full 3D (ie. with the right visuals, everything could theoretically be in focus at all times) and to be able to focus on whatever I wanted at any time.

You have no idea how disorienting it is (unless you do this, like I do) to be engrossed in a 3D movie, just to glance at something in the background of a scene and see that you can’t focus on it. Is that what living with glasses is like? It’s terrible.

I’m really hopeful that advances in 3D movies along with these Lytro cameras that are capable of capturing all aspects of a 3D scene could mean an overhaul of not only visual effects, but of the 3D movie as a whole. I think if we were to see something like this, we would be able to truly revolutionize cinema. It might take a VR type experience to truly make this happen, but I think at a certain point that’s where we’ll end up, and I can’t wait to focus on the meaningless background part of a scene in a movie, just because I can.

> Lytro’s new Cinema camera could mean the end of green screen

A list of the apps on my phone that can make calls

Doesn’t require phone number:

  • FaceTime
  • Phone
  • Contacts
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Google Hangouts
  • Messages
  • Whatsapp
Can/does use your phone number:
  • Phone
  • FaceTime
  • Messages
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Notes
Announced, but hasn’t shown up yet:
  • Slack
As it turns out, pretty much every remotely social company has a way that people can talk to one another in a phone call-type manner. Many of these apps also let you use video chat, but people have no idea. For instance, you’ve been able to make phone calls (and recently, video chats) with any of your Facebook contacts on your phone, for such a long time. But I can routinely blow people’s minds by telling them that, because approximately nobody* knows about this feature.
Snapchat updated their app yesterday to revamp chat, and added the ability to send video clips or make voice calls to any of your Snapchat contacts who’ve added you back. But none of the features in the update are actually new capabilities your phone didn’t have before, and I’m betting people aren’t going to be making use of this feature any more than they did, no matter how good it is. 
If I were a gambling man, I’d put money on Snapchat continuing to grow at a rapid pace for quite some time. But people who already have a predefined way of communicating, like my generation and those older than me, won’t use Snapchat for voice calls because to us, the way you make a phone call is by calling a phone number.
But the kids, they don’t obey these rules. They do whatever their friends are doing, and their friends don’t make phone calls to a phone number. That’s not cool anymore, at least not until their parents stop doing it.