Fiasco @ presentation!

Tagline: Was it a mockery to my capabilities? Reminding me the obvious truth that no matter how well prepared I am, anything can happen that would knock me off my feet!?

In details : Well, it was on 21st January, 2008. After having rehearsed on my 20 slides long presentation with my group, I was all suited-booted for my presentation – the scheduled ‘leap over the fire to show you are capable’ ceremony. I was feeling void, couldn’t see past the thought of “how many copies of presentation handout should I print out?”

The room was filled with the due people. I plugged my Laptop, spoke to others about the seating arrangements and ventured out to seek assistance from the print-shop. My presentation is at the last, so I have time before the stage is mine.

The printshop-assistant had to prompt me twice asking for which file I wanted to print before I replied, ‘the pdf file called – thesishandout’. She claimed there was none named like that! Shit! I might have forgotten it over the laptop-desktop. I rushed back, presentation has already started. I saw grunts in the faces of people, so gave up on the adventure of taking printouts, I sat down plugged my USB and tried to relax.

And there it was.. Windows :: Blue Screen of Death! I was sure I was not seeing this. Come on, you must be kidding right? So I shutdown the machine and smiled at people sitting around.. 30 sec .. ticked by, I tried again, there was a more scary version of the blue screen this time! “Boot Disk failure!” I tried my “This is just a nightmare, I’ll wake up now and see a sunny day!” therapy on myself. But even after 4 more restarts, the nightmare confirmed itself to reality.

I jumped to my conclusion, there must have been virus in print-shop’s PC. Instead of waiting on the presentation to be finished, I rushed out, trying to check for a converted version of my presentation.
FYI : Just to make matter worse, I was working on powerpoint 2007 that saves document in a format (*.pptx) illegible to previous versions of powerpoint.

I went to the Internet Lab, only to discover shortly that my password has expired due to university’s protective policy that discards all password that is more than 6 months old! So I went to Lab support group’s room and pleaded to the first person I found – “F1 F1”. I asked if he could help me convert a file from (*.pptx) to (*.ppt).

While he was plugging the USB I warned him that it might contain a virus that made my laptop’s HDD crush and I suspect it came from the print-shop’s PC. He nodded his head assuring and plugged my USB. hey what do you know?! It didn’t cause his laptop to crush, so I asked him again, whether he could take a quick look at my laptop. Having said that and without even waiting for his response I ran to retrieve my laptop from the presentation room. The first presenter, Carlitoz was still at the projector.

The laptop played the same trick on the Lab people. He spent some time figuring out how to make Dell’s Bios detect the HDD. But it was as un-user friendly as anything! So, he took the HDD out, removed the casing and plugged it to USB port only to find that there seem to be no partition and few folders that seems to be corrupt! Of course I was chanting all the Surah’s I could think of and all cross-able fingers in my hands were crossed for good luck.

After 40 min of rigorous search and Linux sudo-ing when nothing was raising hope, I was thinking may be I should take the time off and try to update my old retrieved presentation , one of the guys had brain-blast that predicted there must be another HDD in the laptop and we are searching in the wrong HDD… and it was found, the Dell had second IBM HDD that had its file system intact. As soon as he copied my presentation I rushed to the room only to be there at the neck of the time!

The presentation was ok. I told my supervisor about the HDD crush and they took some time to believe the story. After lunch I took some pretzel to the lab for the people who helped me out, and it was nice cause they reported that even the laptop was working.. You know what? I was just thinking, the fate was playing “Ha-du-du” with me! Well, its the national game, so Da! it should be played.. but I mean Come ‘on, while you are at it, let the sky burst down in red rains.. but on my presentation day? on my agni-pariksha Tag? heheheh.. that was complete jibrish! anyway, thanks for reading this crap.. hope you enjoyed. Have a great day and don’t challenge your fate to play games on you!

[Special thanks to Mr. Kersten Tandel  of Rechenzentrum Hochschule Esslingen.]


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