In which Ruth feels like a complete idiot

I’ve been planning for Advent for a wee while now. A few years ago in another church far, far away I used some material from USPG called Born Among Us which explores Advent and Christmas around the world. The pack includes some lovely pics on acetates for an OHP so I’ve been asking around to see if I can borrow one. Enquiries brought forth the offer of a dodgy one without an arm in a cupboard in Buckstone, an old fusty one over in the west somewhere, and eventually an offer of a lovely slimline one in Linlithgow. Enquiries also brought forth many cries of ‘Why are you not using a digital thingummy and doing it on your laptop?’

Now let me tell you something. I have indeed been to many occasions where Powerpoint was used as a visual aid and I have to say that not one of them worked for me. I’ve watched words flying in from left, right, above and below. I’ve squinted at text that was so small even my cataract-free eyes could not make out a word. I’ve seen every colour of the rainbow and special effect all thrown into one page that gave me a migraine. And I’ve also seen umpteen men footering around with cables and usb things pleading with us to ‘talk amongst ourselves for a minute while we try to figure out why this is not showing on that lovely big screen up there’. (Most of the above can be seen at Synod any year.) So, as a result, I’ve never learned how to use Powerpoint.

However, this week when I got in touch with the lovely person at Linlithgow and asked when I could pop over for her super-duper slimline OHP I was informed that her husband had taken it to the dump. Well who uses them these days when you can use a digital thingummy? Quite.

On to Plan B. Plan B was to scan all the images, learn how to use Powerpoint, create a wee slideshow, and borrow a digital thingummy and a large screen. Oh, and get my neglected Netbook, which I’ve barely used since getting a smartphone, up and running again.  And really it was all going terribly well. The digital thingummy seemed quite easy to figure out considering there were no instructions with it and once plugged in to my netbook there was white light shining brightly on my study wall. But what I couldn’t get were the images from said Powerpoint slideshow to appear on the wall.

I tried phoning the lovely CofS minister who’d loaned me the equipment for help but he was engaged. Then I tried a certain Provost who has a great dislike of Powerpoint and he suggested I tried a few things but they didn’t work. So I phoned the meenester again and he tried to talk me through it. “It’s one of the F keys,” he said. “Which one looks like it has a picture of a laptop on it?”  Em, none. We tried a few F keys until I lost the picture all together off my netbook at which point he said he’d come down. Bless him. Meanwhile I tried pressing a few buttons on the digital thingummy (what IS it called?) but to no avail. It took me the next 20 minutes just to get my netbook back working and by the time he arrived I was all ready to be impressed by his computer savvy.

It was at that point that he noticed I still had the lens cap on. Doh.

6 thoughts on “In which Ruth feels like a complete idiot

  1. Well at least you had the power on. I had one incident where the person I was helping had plugged his computer into an outlet with no power (wall switch was off).

  2. A “digital thingummy” can be referred to as a:
    * digital projector,
    * LCD projector, or
    * DLP projector, if it uses a particular Digital Light Processing chip developed by Texas Instruments. But that’s a bit geeky, so I’d stick with using “digital projector”.

    Microsoft PowerPoint (with two uppercase ‘P’s, for the pedantic amongst us) presentations do no need to have any annoying animation or screens full of bullet-points. I think watching the evening news to see how they illustrate stories with simple graphics or still photographs is an inspiration for how effective the technology that PowerPoint gives us can be.

  3. I was at Trinity Cheltenham last Sunday (big Evangelical church: their worship group plays for some of the New Wine CDs).

    The had a *very* impressive (and very funny) cartoon video of the middle of Acts that they’d produced in-house, which they’d been using in what they would *never* call Sunday School. So they evidently knew what they were doing.

    Apart from that, the songs were in large bold white text on a black background, with about five lines to a screen, and the sermon slides were at most six words in the middle of the screen, at the same size. And they used *no* transition effects.

    That’s pretty much how I do it, so I was pleased.

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