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Back from the Dead

That was the title of a short talk I gave this morning to the University of Oxford Research Software Developers Network meeting. Although the title sounds like it should have been used on the 31st rather than the 1st of October, the presentation went pretty well, covering the subject of what we can learn from programmes and scripts we have written that have graciously reached the end of their natural life, which never quite made it to release or, in some cases, turned ugly and had to be severely dealt with during their period of operation.

The challenge was that I was anticipating that Powerpoint would run in presenter mode so I could see the script I had carefully embedded in the presentation notes. Instead, I just the same image that was shown on the screen. Eek! Fortunately it was a short talk without too many points. I had to rely on the fact that each section had a picture with some slanted reference to the topic I wanted to mention. Rather than using the images to help the audience remember what I had said, I was using them to remember what I wanted to say!

I think I hit the beats I needed, including the grue reference at the end (it’s a room full of uber geeks – of course they are going to appreciate a nod to a classic part of a classic text-based adventure game!). It also amply justified the main reason I volunteered to give the talk: if you want to be able to confidently speak in public whatever obstacles come up, you have to get a lot of practise in.

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