From: Allison Ryall
As both a speaker and a conference organizer (NERGC - The New England Regional Genealogical Conference), I would love to put the transparencies to rest however it simply isn't a financially feasible thing for most to do. Most speakers own a laptop computer now a days but most do not own a projector. To buy an LCD projector often costs in excess of $800 and many more powerful ones needed to accommodate large rooms are in excess of $1,500. In addition, the cost to replace the bulbs usually is in the hundreds of dollars. Most places only pay speakers a pittance and in many cases speakers aren't even compensated at all. Unless someone is a national speakers who has the ability to command a higher rate of payment, most local area speakers can't afford or can't justify the cost of an LCD projector.
On the other side conferences can't afford to rent LCD projectors as the cost per projector per room is usually around $400-500 per day. This past year NERGC in Hartford, CT did provided LCD projectors for those speakers who needed them and didn't own them and ended up with a huge equipment rental bill to the tune of around $13,000! OUCH! As a result NERGC will no long be providing LCD projectors (with the exception of the large banquets) at future conferences. Either speakers must bring their own or resort to transparencies.
Just my .02 cents!
Regarding Improving society presentations I agree that people should make every effort to have their presentations so that it is easy for the audience to see and understand.
Having spent all week trying to make a slide show, however, I do understand that some people don't have the most up-to-date software, nor do they have the technical knowhow to make such elaborate presentations. If a presenter has information that I do not, I think I would be willing to be patient with him/her, and be grateful for the new knowledge in whatever format the presenter is willing to share it.
Another reader (whose email I apparently deleted) reminds Ol' Myrt here that we should consider using Open Office, which is a free suite of applications that are similar to Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This is a perfectly legit alternative that can be freely downloaded from: http://www.openoffice.org/
Our favorite genealogy techie guru, Dick Eastman refers to Open Office in his blog titled Modern Day Tea Party in Boston “I have written several times about OpenOffice.org, a free suite of programs that is comparable to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org contains an excellent ...” As late as May and June of this year he has discussed his preference:
- Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Trial Version of Microsoft "In fact, I continue to use OpenOffice on my Windows systems. (This article is being writte in n NeoOffice, an version of OpenOffice for Macintosh."
- Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Alert for Authors "Both Word 2007 and OpenOffice.org default to a format other than .DOC. ... Word 2007 created problem, OpenOffice.org can fix that problem."