21 April 2005

LCA2005 - Jeremy Malcolm, the champion

The saga of Jeremy’s presentation reads like one of those stress-tester jokes. His (Mac) laptop wouldn’t sync with the projector. Then NeoOfficeJ crashed. And crashed again. And put the presentation on the background, leaving shells etc over the top of it. And scaled it, er, interestingly. Jeremy started everything from scratch a few times, all to no avail, then finally asked if anyone in the audience had a laptop. So, knowing that mine works with the ANU projectors, I volunteered it.

Then I wrestled with Jeremy’s recalcitrant notebook, on stage, finally giving up and depowering it – and meanwhile, Jeremy was giving his talk, without notes. When I got the beastie up (very, very slowly) and managed to kill off the zillion and one automatically restarted PITA tasks – email, calendars, NeoOfficeJ, Lord knows what else, Jeremy took a ten-second break to find and copy the presentation onto a memory key, and went right back to his talk with no obvious signs of the massive stress-point hits he must’ve been taking.

I copied the presentation onto this laptop, then went back and re-copied it from the Mac (this time remembering to “eject” it before I hauled it out of the socket, half expecting the thing to leap out of the side of the Mac), loaded it into OpenOffice, switched on the external monitor output and hit a flurry of PageDowns to catch up to where Jeremy had got to.

This drew a round of applause from the audience. Gotta love geeks (just ask our new Minister of Love :-).

Jeremy smoothly reintegrated the slides with his talk and pressed on again.

Then a few minutes later, this poor wee ancient OpenBook 1547 popped up a “15 minutes of battery left” warning – the PSU brick had become disconnected during the scuffle with the Mac and the battery had earlier been substantially discharged. Five minutes to automatic shutdown.

Jeremy looked at the message, then turned back to the audience as cool as a cucumber and kept right on presenting again while I found the PSU brick, held it up for the audience to see, and pushed the cloverleaf demonstratively plug back into it. More applause. And on he went.

For a professional to face hundreds of people without notes, knowing that his presentation has turned into a shambles and having no assurance at all that it will ever be deshambled, and still convey his message smoothly and clearly is pretty exceptional. I'd be stuttering and panicking. Round of applause, that lawyer. (-:

Oh, yes. The presentation.

The effect of the US-FTA is not as even as one would expect. The most damaging effects are not so obvious, and some things which I'd expect to see changed up front (patents, for example) weren't (while others, notably copyrights) were. Changes to the patent system are expected later.

Meanwhile, Aus is running around roping other bits of Asia and Oceania into FTA agreements with us which will effectively tie them to America’s coat-tails as well. As one would expect, the USA and the states involved in their end of the FTA (not all states are involved, and the degree of involvement varies) haven't done much changing of laws, and Aus has.

It seems that all to many of Australia’s politicians are still totally blind to the garden path that this is leading us up.

There doesn't seem to be any obvious silver bullet for the growing “IP” (patent, copyright, trademark) mania, but Jeremy provided several clear steps to avoid and reduce our own damage until the rest of the world realises just how much damage this legalistic selfishness is doing and revolts.


Jeremy Malcolm said...

Thanks, Leon! :-)

Rich said...

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