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Speaking at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University

Gardens at St Catherines College

This is St Catherine's college at Oxford University - built just on the outskirts of the City, and venue for the 12th Oxford University IT Support Staff Conference last Thursday, where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be invited to speak.

St Catherines college - eating hall

There are hundreds of IT staff at the University, and this annual day takes a lot of organising; my congratulations to those organisers for pulling off a big event seamlessly. Here's the main lunch hall, with around 250 delegates. Many old friends of ours there - even on this small picture I can look and see quite a number of people I've got to know well as they book or attend our niche courses.

St Catherines college - preparing a lecture

Facilities for my talk? Excellent - I was prepared for any evenuallity as I've learnt is necessary in this business ... everything I needed on my local laptop in case there was an issue with internet connectivinty, but of course OUCS have the excellent OWL / OWL Visitor system and had a wireless and wired account set up and available for me in less than a minute.

My audience gathers ...

My audience gathers at Oxford University

With a choice of four separate "tracks" for each part of the conference, and at the end of a long day, I was delighted to have well over 50 sign up for my somewhat oddball "technology behind a geek hotel" talk. My choice of subject, but based on a seed sown in jest by one of the OUCS staff. I was aware of a lot of protentially high-tech specialist talks and wanted a contrast for people.

How did it go. Well - it was fine (but not, IMHO, excellent). I had been asked not to make it too commercial and I probably took that request too much to heart - dumming down good points that should have been raised. And the audience size is an order of magnitude bigger than I'm used to.

But then perhaps I'm being too harsh and self-critical. I had sat in on an earlier talk in the same room to get a feel for the atmosphere of the place, the logistics from an audience viewpoint and, frankly, had found a talk on "saving the planet" (which turned out to be all to do with using archiving systems that could be kept on line, but unpowered, for years) dry to the extend of stiffening the audience and nearly sending me to sleep ... I had sat through that and I can re-assure you, 100%, that my audience didn't have a chance to drift. Questions throughout. Points being made, members of the audience interacting ... laughter occasionally, and more excellent questions at the end.

Yes - perhaps I should uprate one notch from just describing it as "fine". It was cool. Still room for improvement, mind you; each such event is a learning experience and requests come in from varous quarters these days. The very morning that I went up to Oxford I got a request to speak in Ely at the start of November, sharing a platform with some nationally known and respected figures. Perhaps you'll see more of me on "the speaker" circuit in the future.

But I want to end today with a big THANK YOU to my friends at OUCS for the opportunity. I look forward to seeing you next time there's a training requirement we can help you with.
(written 2007-06-24, updated 2007-06-25)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G901 - Well House Consultants - Talks and lectures
  [4284] Talk and walk to promote train service - Melksham Carnival - (2014-07-11)
  [3834] Geekmas 2012 - celebrating open source languages such as Perl, PHP and Python - (2012-08-11)
  [3351] Research and development with the help of your tutor or guide - (2011-07-09)
  [3221] How long is a speech? - (2011-03-29)
  [1459] Interactive training, and advancing techniques further - (2007-12-05)
  [1422] Wiltshire - speaker / after dinner talker offer - (2007-11-05)
  [1419] National Speaker - now to get the talk ready - (2007-11-02)
  [1101] Mushroom Curry and Perl Courses - (2007-03-07)
  [924] The LAMP Cookbook - Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP / Perl - (2006-11-13)
  [310] Just in time - the talk is writ - (2005-05-13)
  [247] Extreme training - (2005-03-16)
  [134] Geekmas - a brief review - (2004-11-29)
  [128] Technical Weekend / Geekmas - (2004-11-23)
  [99] Should we call it 'Geekmas'? - (2004-10-25)
  [62] Technical Open House - (2004-09-25)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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