Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Day So Far

For the past couple of weeks I've been working on a presentation for my boss to deliver to the entire organization - some tweaks here, a new animation there. It was looking very good and my boss was very happy with my vision for the presentation and for putting it together with minimal impact on his time. I was happy because when your boss is happy with you that is good. Very good.

So, yesterday I was given a product demo to insert into the presentation which was being delivered - both in person and via webcast - this morning. Did you all know that Powerpoint isn't compatible with Quicktime files? Yeah, me neither. Must be that whole "Apple hates Microsoft hates Apple" thing we've got going on. So after hours of trying different file extensions that someone else had to convert because my computer is on super lockdown and has no extra software tools, we finally settled on a .wmv file and it worked - the demo played from within Powerpoint. Success! Glory be! Hallelujah!

Only, when we uploaded the presentation into LiveMeeting (effing Microsoft, again!) it wouldn't play the damn thing. Of course not. That would have been the easy solution. So we came up with the brilliant move of uploading both files to the system and we'd just switch between the two when it came time to do the demo. We did a dry run last night at 10:30 p.m. and it worked perfectly and everything looked fantastic. Perfect. Problem solved. Take that Microsoft - I have outwitted and outmaneuvered your idiocy.

Then this morning came and everything fell apart. 

Apparently - and this is my own conjecture so take it as you will - LiveMeeting is incapable of handling more than two people logged in at any one time. When you've got nearly 300 people connecting from across the globe it was just too much for it to bear and everything went to crap. The audio was horrible; it sounded like a bad Skype call. Then the audio would catch up and speed up and my boss sounded like a chipmunk on meth. Then it would cut out again. For an hour's call, only about 30 minutes were clear. HALF OF IT WAS UNINTELLIGIBLE. And the presentation itself? Well, everything started out okay except for when it came time to launch the demo. Suddenly there's music? Um, there was no music in that damn file. WTF is going on?! Then there's echoing and two versions of the audio accompanying the demo are playing. It got so bad that apparently the people that used the accompanying dial-in (I did not) were completely shut down - the company handling the calling TURNED OFF THE SOUND. So no one heard the demo. You know, the one we specifically had a team create a narrative for. Oh, and Mac users couldn't see the demo at all. Lovely.

Then, once the demo was over switching back to the presentation from the demo did nothing. My boss kept talking because his computer onsite was showing the correct slides, but all of us watching remotely? We had a screen that said "demo." Four slides later we finally got to see what he was saying. I wanted to puke. I was beyond annoyed. I was furious. I wanted to punch someone in the throat like an avenging angel. This was totally unacceptable. When it came time for questions, people used that opportunity to complain about the quality of the remote experience. My boss saw those complaints. Now, I'm not responsible for setting up the system, but I was responsible for the dry run last night to make sure that everything worked - and it did. But this morning was a complete cluster-eff. We are NEVER using LiveMeeting again if I have my say.

While all of this is going on and I'm ready to go apoplectic on the world, the construction crew for my neighbor's house arrives. And they begin replacing roof shingles. Bam, bam, bam, bam. Over and over again. It went on for 35 minutes. My teeth have been ground down to stumps and I'm permanently grimacing from clenching my jaw in misery. I'll need a strong case of Botox to get rid of the wrinkle between my eyes. This is the third day in a row this has been going on. How long does it take to replace roof shingles anyway? Apparently it takes days when you only spend 45 minutes a day actually working on the project. Don't you know that people are trying to work over here?!? I don't think anyone in my neighborhood understands the concept of a professional that works from home. They're all hippie earth mothers or street thugs. Home offices are for other people. People like me. People that wanted to slit their wrists with paper and poke out their eyes with markers. People that absolutely and unequivocally hate Microsoft with the passion of a thousand fiery suns and really wish they lived in the country where there are no neighbors to bother them.

I'm better now but it was touch and go there for a little while.