Well, that was a more unpleasant experience than it strictly had to be. My usual nervousness over talks aside (and the traditional realisations that I’d forgotten at least one point on every slide ignored as well, of course), I still ended up horribly hoarse over the course of the talk. The silence when the floor was opened for questions was deafening. The chair filled the gap manfully, but I fluffed answering one of the simpler ones. Well, fluffed answering it fully anyway, which is almost worse. Nevertheless, it was the lack of interest which was the real killer. Thus far I’ve spotted two other presentations which weren’t on transition metal or f-block chemistry, and of those I missed one due to a combination of a rambling speaker, an incompetent chair and my own poor decision in sitting somewhere from where I couldn’t politely and quietly escape. When you consider that it’s a five day conference with four simultaneous streams, that doesn’t really look like good odds.
Oh well. At least it’s over now.
I have, on the other hand, discovered yet more in the eternal quest for bandwidth. My hotel does offer free WiFi access. This is of course only in the hotel lobby, and following their odd model is for 30 minutes or 8MB, once per day. Thankfully I have two WiFi enabled devices, but it’s still a pain. There are also two desktop computers set up in the lobby which allow coin-operated access for something like 2AUD for 20 minutes which is better than the short-term WiFi rates at least. The conference centre is even odder – they’ll sell you WiFi access in hourly blocks, charged at 10AUD per hour, or 24AUD for 24 hours, but with no bandwidth caps. Well, I presume not. When I inquired if there were bandwith caps, the lady in the foyer informed me that I could get a decent wireless signal sitting out on the steps, but that it was otherwise limited to the conference halls. At that point I made a polite goodbye and left.