Projecting the Future

by JL Beeken on 4-25-2010

Yesterday was Convocation Day for the college. Exams are over and all but the summer students are now scattered to the winds. Just us few peons left to organize for next year. Next thing on the agenda is a brain-storming meeting. Basically, what that means is that I get to show up with a clipboard and a list of work to delegate.

Actually, a clipboard and a computer would work better. Here’s a question for those of you who get around. How do you project a computer screen onto a wall? I’ve seen this in photographs of genealogy conferences. There’s 400 people sitting in an auditorium and the person down at the podium is teaching what’s on his/her computer by having it enlarged on a wall behind their head. We have computers, we have walls, we have bedsheets. What else do we need? Overhead projector – any particular kind? The last time I was in a room with a projector I was a teenager watching a home-made slideshow. VGA-DVI adapter? Will this work from a laptop? Any special instructions?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

TheQ47 4-26-2010 at 4:42 AM

What you’re looking for is a data projector. They can vary in price from (on this side of the pond) around €200 upwards, but they can go as high as €2000 and even more. It basically depends on how frequently you will use it, how portable it needs to be, Etc. In Ireland you could expect to pay around €500-600 for a good standard one. The one I use is a Panasonic PT-LB50NTEA which costs around €900, which also has a very useful wireless feature, i.e., I can connect it to my laptop wirelessly with no need for cables.

As regards setting them up, it’s really quite simple, a cable usually runs from the laptop to the projector (unless you have a wireless projector), which is plugged into a socket, and that’s it. All projectors should come with the correct cables, and set-up instructions.

You may need to make some minor display changes to your laptop to enable the slideshow to be shown on 2 screens, i.e., the laptop and the screen/sheet. Why? Well, this then enables you to stand facing your audience, with the laptop in front of you, and the screen behind you. You can see what’s on the screen without having to face away from your audience.

If this is something you’ll be using on a regular basis, you could also invest in a wireless pointer. I’m sure there’s a more technical name for them, but basically they allow to connect a small USB dongle to your laptop, and then you can change your powerpoint presentation slide, with the click of a button on the remote in your hand from anywhere in the room. This means you’re not tied to standing right beside your laptop, and can walk around if you wish (see http://us.kensington.com/html/11190.html for the one I use).

As a training specialist, I use data projectors and wireless pointers very regularly, and because my job requires me to travel regularly to deliver training, the projector I use (see above) is very small and portable. In fact, it’s exactly the same size as a ream of 500 A4 pages 29.7cm x 21cm x 5.7cm (approx 11.7 x 8.25 x 2.25 inches) and weighs about the same, a very light 1.9 kg (a little over 4 pounds).

However there are plenty of cheaper ones out there, it all depends on how much you have, and how much you want it.

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JL 4-26-2010 at 6:40 PM

Wow! An answer. An encyclopedia almost. I love it when people comment. Almost lost you, Q, amongst the spam though. Everything is now automatically sent to the spam queue.

Fortunately, I will not be purchasing a projector myself since this is only for the school’s use. I talked to the Registrar this morning and she already knows so much about it I couldn’t even finish my query. Just a matter of borrowing one from one of the doctors who teaches there and plug it into the port that’s used for an external monitor. How simple. Done!

I think I have one of those ‘wireless pointer’ things. It’s called a mouse. At least the one I have. I bought it as part of a set because I wanted the keyboard, and then found out I can stand across a room and wave it around to move things on a computer screen. Not something I ever do.

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TheQ47 4-27-2010 at 2:54 AM

Glad my coment came through, anyway. I always look forward to your blog posts, they’re usually vevry interesting, and I often get a laugh from them, particularly when I see someone else struggling with some new piece of technology, or something genealogy related (my 2 hobbies, both of which I’m learning all the time).

Keep up the good work on the blog, there are a few of us out here reading along!

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JL 4-27-2010 at 8:48 AM

You know you have a ‘few’ readers when you recognize their usernames :) Go, Dublin!

Speaking of technology, have you heard that Google expects desktop computers to be obsolete within 3 years? Rats! I’m just starting to get used to mine.

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