3.227 docent, tech

Sunday 07/17/2022

Three things were on the schedule for today. Two ended up canceled.

I was signed up to lead a private tour at 1:30, 30 students from Santa Clara U, split between me and curator Dag Spicer. Then at 4:30, neighbor Gloria is giving a talk about her grandfather, Thomas Foon Chew, who founded and ran a large and successful fruit canning business in this area around the turn of the 20th century. Finally, I had a ticket for a TheatreWorks show in Mountain View at 7:30.

So I put on my red shirt and off to the Museum around 12 with a stop to pick up some drinks for my fridge. When I go in around 1pm, I find some confusion. There’s a group of college-looking people hanging around the lobby and their leader asks me, would I know where their docent is? Probably me, I say, are you from Santa Clara?

Yes, it turns out. They are early, ready to go at 1pm, and not 30 but fewer than 20. So fine, I’ll take the tour and Dag can have the afternoon off. Just let me find him. He is not visible and the front desk staff know he’s around but not where. I get myself ready to lead a tour, with my little loudspeaker on my belt and so forth, and Dag shows up along with a different docent, Lowell. For some reason, Lowell had decided to work this tour, and he and Dag had been having lunch together. Now, I had signed up to do the tour, and Lowell had not. I’m not at all sure how he got involved, or why he hadn’t signed up properly. If he had signed up, I’d not have, the sign-up system would have told me the slot was filled. But, he and Dag seemed to have things well in hand, so without making any visible display of my annoyance, I cheerily said “looks like you have it covered then,” and I left.

David G was the lead on the 4:30 talk. As a demonstration of just how insanely complicated it is to do a hybrid zoom, even though we’ve done it a number of times, he started setting up before 3:30 and at 4:15 we were still fucking around with getting stuff working. Today it was the ceiling camera that didn’t work. The one piece of the system that has always just worked, took a holiday today. So we couldn’t use that to show Gloria talking to the zoom audience. Instead we set up David’s iPhone on a stand, signed it in to Zoom, and pointed it at the podium. Oh and Gloria came in at 4:10 with a revised set of powerpoint slides on a memory stick, “can we use this one please”. I like and respect this Stanford Economics Professor Emerita, but really…

Anyway, Gloria’s talk mostly went off smoothly. The slide clicker that works via USB didn’t work right, or seemed to fail, occasionally. Not sure if that was hardware or operator error. Since the clicker’s USB dongle that you plug into the computer just emulates left and right arrow keys, it could be that the keyboard focus wasn’t in the powerpoint window. One more weak link in the chain.

The play, I learned yesterday evening from Patty, was canceled. I just about remember getting an email to that effect weeks ago, but I never took the event off my google calendar or took the ticket out of the Events folder in my desk. So instead, dinner with Stew (who organizes this series of talks) and wife Kathy, Gloria, Tom and Nancy.

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