fhtagn (fhtagn) wrote,

Terror Australis

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.
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Just a conference. And yes, if by wintery subzero craziness you mean "Average temperatures of 15C, light breezes and clear, sunny skies". It's really quite pleasant - I'm far enough south that the low winter sun isn't too unpleasantly bright most of the time.
The (lack of) reaction of an audience can be a real downer, can't it? I gave a paper to a bunch of miserable historians a few months ago and they completely failed to laugh at the jokes - I gave the comic pause, and there was silence. I think eventually I got a titter at a tongue-in-cheek comment about Welsh bilinguals (don't ask), but it was disappointing. Lack of interest is even worse. It could be that you simply hadn't left questioners anywhere to go though? Often that can happen with a very comprehensive paper, even if people found it interesting.

Oh well. At least it’s over now.

Sometimes, this is as good as it gets! At least the stress is gone and you can 'enjoy' the rest of the conference.
Ech, mostly I think it was somewhat stuttery and nervous delivery combined with only tangential at best relevence to any of their work which did it. I did get some people speak to me afterwards and say that it looked interesting, if difficult to do and not really their field.

On the other hand, variety and all that.

For the joke, did you do the hand gestures? Sometimes they only need to be quite small gestures.
I don't think I had any hand gestures. Come to think of it, I'm also not sure the joke was funny...
Bah - as you say there're few closely-related talks, it's perfectly possible that a good number of people did find it interesting, but just didn't feel they knew enough to ask an intelligent question!

*hugs* Also, stop being on the wrong side of the planet before too long, you!