Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another Day Another Dollar

At work I spent almost all the day in a meeting, which to us means a WebEx presentation. For those normally spared these, that is a period of time where instead of looking at your own computer desktop, you can look at someone else's. If you're unlucky, the someone else has cleaned up the desktop and has nothing on it except a presentation which you are now going to suffer.

In this case, to make it easier, the presenter's computer screen was projected onto a plain screen at the front of the room, and all of our places were equipped with intranet access. This means that all of us susceptible to these things had the double joy of looking at their own laptop screen while simultaneously looking at someone else's.

These meetings can be fun if the presenter isn't together and has left porn, or really any files or emails with interesting names and subject lines, on their screen. Unfortunately, this presenter was together, so all we saw was a demonstration of Quality Control.

At least, some of us did. I noticed that almost everyone was either checking their own email on their own laptop, or writing proposals etc. and only occasionally glancing at the presenter's screen. The totally hardcore were watching the presentation, checking their emails on their laptop AND checking their BlackBerrys with their other hand.

I hadn't brought either my laptop or my BlackBerry. I was writing longhand in a Steno notebook. I felt like Jack fucking White with the refusal-to-go-digital thing. What was I writing? Why, these words, of course. If I had to write a proposal or something I'd do it on a laptop like everyone else.

The advantage of the Steno books are:

a) Can tear out used pages
b) Steno book is optimized to stand upright on its boards so you can copy your notes on to a computer when needed.
c) Nobody can read my writing. (Even me.) This means I can write blog posts in meetings.

Everyone in the room had signed an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement, a swearing-to-secrecy document that's ubiquitous in today's business world) and so it was amusing to see fifteen people with 100 Mbps connections all typing away. I did check, as it happens, and no-one was visibly ripping off the presentation. (To do that, you have to have the presentation showing on your own computer screen and then hit "print screen" and paste the information into whatever graphics program you have, such as Paint.) It's my job to check - I'm Quality Assurance and Compliance. Also, I'm nosy.

I'm so glad to be out of there, and copying my nice Steno notes. In a minute I'm going to go do something not involving a computer screen.

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