Never Push Your Deadlines

In this age of technology, it is more tempting than ever to leave work until the last minute. But my experience with my conference presentation over the last two weeks is a cautionary tale. I agreed earlier this summer to present a workshop titled “Taking Pictures That Sell” at the SCBWI-Southern Breeze Fall conference on Oct. 18.

I started a few weeks ago putting together my slideshow. I have presented slideshows of my photographs for years: primarily using Adobe Acrobat to build a .pdf document. At first, I projected these on a screen using my Dell laptop and a Dell dlp projector. When I acquired an iPod, I modified my set-up. I still created the slideshow using Adobe Acrobat and I projected the slideshow using the iPod and the Dell projector.

This time I happily set about creating my slideshow in Adobe Acrobat. It included 38 slides — 34 photographs, 2 magazine pages scanned and converted to pdfs, and two InDesign documents converted to pdfs. I attached the iPod to the computer and synced the photographs — expecting it to work as it always has. But, not this time. The photographs landed on the iPod in random order — not in alphabetical order, nor in the order in which the files were created, nor in order by file size. I tried several trouble-shooting steps — including restoring the factory settings on the iPod. Then I tried to load the slideshow onto my husband’s iPod. Still no joy. Still random.

I decided to revert to using my laptop. However, in the intervening years, I gave my 13-year-old son permission to transform my laptop from a windows machine to an open source machine. It now runs Ubunto, which has worked fine. He assured me I could play an Adobe pdf as a slideshow so I used a jump drive to transfer the slideshow over to the laptop. It seemed to work fine on the open source program Evince — until it got to slide #35. This was a high resolution image so I decided to downsample the photo file and reimport it into the .pdf.

Alas, the fix didn’t make the slideshow run any better. In fact, it seemed to run more slowly all the way through. I decided (after consulting with Richard) to create a Power Point-like document using the open source software program Impress (part of Open Office). This document was an .odp document.

Finally, success.

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