3.225 tech wins, meeting

Friday 07/15/2022

Went for the standard walk first thing, all good. Then at 10am I met David G. in the auditorium with all our computers. We set up the all the computers as we had them for the RA meeting last Monday, when we were fighting nasty feedback the whole time.

David G worked on the problem we had switching between multiple different PowerPoint files, from the meeting agenda, to the Gift Shop presentation, back to the agenda, to another presenter’s slides etc. I suggested combining all the slides into one file. David G who knows PowerPoint better than I, had a different plan, using links between files. He was able to demonstrate that working, so good.

Meanwhile the feedback was back and I found the cause. Actually re-discovered it, because when I found it, I remembered having made the same discovery months ago. That was, that on a Mac at least, the Zoom app overrides the mute key on the keyboard. Just hitting the mute key normally mutes sound output, but Zoom ignores it. To make a Mac on Zoom silent, you have to go into the Zoom audio settings and stifle it there. When I did that on all the three Macs we were using, the feedback disappeared.

It was a great relief to understand the problem that stumped everybody (see 3.221). Later in the day, working alone, I solved another long-standing problem. It has been a disappointment that my expensive new MacBook Pro with the Apple M1 silicon, couldn’t talk to the projector in the auditorium. Actually, it could, but after three seconds, the projector would go black. Googling around for ideas it occurred to me to connect to the projector, not using the built-in HDMI jack as seems natural, but through a USB port via a USB-to-HDMI adapter. Why put two hardware conversions in the path? It isn’t sensible, but I hoped it would make the MacOS software do something (anything!) different. And it did! Going through USB-to-HDMI, the Mac drove the projector perfectly, no flicker, no going black, just a nice steady image.

At 4pm I went to a “Tech Parliament” that Bert, head of the Tech Squad, had called to discuss various issues. We talked about what to do with the 10th floor computer room. This is an open room with a couple of PCs, a couple of iMacs, and various printers. Bert services this room daily, putting paper and ink in the printers and cleaning up computer desktops, and is frustrated by the lack of care residents show. There was a tentative offer from IT staff that they take it over. Although the assembled nerds were all very dubious that IT staff has the bandwidth to do this right, we voted to let them try.

There were a couple of other issues but they were confidential until officially announced so I won’t put them here. Had a pleasant dinner with the Allens and the Beelers.

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