Blog Pile

When Your Presentation Turns into a Gong Show

Stuff goes wrong, what do you do? Wait for the gong or just keep the patter going?

Last Thursday I was slated to do a half hour session for Thom Cochrane (Auckland University of Technology) who is leading a multi-institutional New Zealand project on mobile learning. He asked me to do a 10 minute mini version of the Affordances of Open Learning talk I did last month at AUT.

I actually had thought I could do it previously, but my calendar got unraveled with my travel to Canada, and twice I had to cancel. GONG.

As much as I love the live show format and that Google Hangouts automatically archives them (and fast), every time I run one, it feels…

About an hour before, I had remembered that there was a hitch with screen sharing presentations; Hangouts can only share a window that is already active, so anything that goes full screen (Keynote, Powerpoint) cannot be shared because that full screen is actually a new window. You can try it yourself– Chrome still blanks on the GIFs. GONG

I did a quick test, and exported my presentation to HTML from local files. I opened in Chrome. Blank screen. GONG. But it did play in Safari, in a normal browser window. So that I can share. With more time I would have tried a Google Doc Presentations, but I recall having trouble getting the animated GIFs to export. And I need my GIFs.

Thom fired up the hangout, invited 3 or 4 guests, and we were set to go. Escept that the button to go live for him was non functional. GONG.

So we had to restart the hangout. I kept getting server errors on joining til about the 4th try. 1/4 GONG.

But we eventually were in motion. I went to screen sharing from Safari, and just talked talked away. Since I could not see the hangout screen… well when I returned to it, the screen was blank. And my connection to the wireless network was gone. BIG GONG.

I joined a second network and was able to log back in; they said I disappeared about 1/2 way in. So I repeated what I thought I said.

Obviously this is not optimal, but I consider it my loving example that technology can let you down, and the only recourse is to keep going.

If you want to see the whole Gong Show (and how Thom just keeps rolling too), well, it’s your time

If it’s going to be a Gong Show, it might as well be Gene Gene

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Here’s a fwiw…(and I hesitate because you are FAR more technically adept than I…and heck, a good deal of what I know about Adobe Connect I actually learnt from you way back…) but here goes:

    When I am running live AC sessions (and I know this is way different from Hangouts for sure) I log in as Guest using a different browser – so I can actually see what users in the room are seeing. Granted i have the luxury of 3 screens in front of me…And….I’m not entirely sure how or if this can work in a Hangout (I guess there’d be 2 of you – Alan 1 and Alan 2…but there it is. It keeps me out of a lot of trouble when I am talking away about what I think is actually showing on the screen…

    I have yet to venture into Hangout territory…have been a participant only so still very much a novice there. I’d like to give it a whirl for sure.

    1. You would need separate computer because you would need to be logged in as a different Google account.

      Actually I would have been ok just leaving enough of the hangout window open so I could see it was active (or use a bigger screen was on my laptop).

      I really love what you get in hangouts; the way the camera moves to the active speaker feels more natural.

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