November 3rd, 2006


The people you usually don't see at conferences

I've been at a visualization conference all week. Today is the sixth and final day of presentations. The technical content has been pretty good, the result of a lot of hard work by all the authors, reviewers, and so forth, but there's a different bunch of people I think need to be thanked. I'm talking about the A/V guys.

Over the course of the week we've had a couple hundred presentations using a couple hundred different computers. These guys made it all work. They went farther than that: they'd do things like manually adjust the mapping between screen resolution and projector area when the laptop output got it wrong. They're always there before a session starts helping everyone get set up. They know the arcana of when a movie will and won't show up on an external display. (For those interested, if you're mirroring your external output and your laptop's display you're usually going to get into trouble.) It's all Just Worked.

I think it must take a fair amount of humility to work in a field whose nature is to be less and less visible the better you are. They're expected to deal gracefully and quickly with anything that gets thrown at them even when it's a keynote speaker with a dead laptop battery in front of a room with thousands of people in it.

So, to the AV crews who work Vis and SIGGRAPH each year and by extension all of you who do this sort of thing: thank you for all your excellent work. The conference wouldn't happen without you.
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