BioIT in Boston: What I shall say and How I shall say it

I am talking on Wednesday at 2009 Bio-IT World Conference which unites life sciences, pharmaceutical, clinical, healthcare, and IT professionals. It is the perfect place to learn, be recognized and network. Well I hope I can be recognized as I’m meeting Steve Heller at 1600 and Antony Williams tomorrow. And networking is good they have wireless everywhere which is great relief as so many of these conferences have no wireless or charge zillions per day. And I’v found a free lunch (again many of these places are really mean, but you can often sneak in at the back to special functions.

So what shall I say? I was going to talk about the Chemical Semantic Web, but then looked at my program and found I had offered:

Open Semantic Data in Science

which is much better because (a) a Pfizer article in the conference magazine says the SW doesn’t exist, but Semantic Data does and (b) it will fit well into the revised program. Antony Williams is now just before me and Rajarshi Guha is just afterwards. So we shall try to meet beforehand and see if we can make a seamless program.

The conference asked us to upload slides a month before I argued that my style of presentation didn’t use slides and anyway I didn’t know what I was going to say. I therefore generally work it out the day or night beforehand. This isn’t because I am casual about it I take my presentations seriously and put a lot of work into them but a lot of this goes on in my head in the preceding days. I don’t recommend this to others and in Cambridge we require colleagues to present dry runs a week beforehand.

But the main thing is that what matters to me is what I say rather than what I write. I try to adjust my words to the actual audience there could be 10 or 100 people in this session I have no idea. I often use a blog to work my ideas out and I’ll do that here. The blog serves as a record and now that I have ICE as an authoring tool I should be able to add images to the blog. Here goes…


[Question what is the name of the panda? Who is his famous companion ? And if you didn’t know how did you find out]

So, yes, images seem to work great! So I can start to use blogs with things other than words.

So how can this technology compete with the awful Powerpoint? Its main virtue and it’s an important one is that it has a good editing tool and it acts as a container for various types of content. Not a robust one, as anyone who has transferred it from or to Mac or Unix knows.

So what alternative is there?

I suggest Word or Open Office. Ideally I’d like to use this for the complete presentation but I have got fouled up with the page flips. I like my HTML presentations I like the ability to scroll. The problem is packing them together afterwards (I can’t do this beforehand as I don’t know what slides I will use).

So my current approach is to blog my main message before the presentation. By doing this with ICE I can author the blog as ODT. Then I can convert this to DOCX and upload it to the conference site. I’ve talked about this with Peter Sefton and we’re thinking about a way to manage some of this.

Ideally I’d like to be able to record which HTML slides I showed (I assume this requires Javascript). Then it would be useful to combine this into a single ODT/Word/HTML/PDF document for the later reader. That’s exactly what Peter does for the courseware at USQ.

So I’m blogging with ODT and will upload several blogs of my talk during the meeting.

I don’t know whether they will make sense, but at least they’ll me more semantic than Powerpoint.

This blog authored with ICE + Open Office; thanks to PeterSefton and USQ

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to BioIT in Boston: What I shall say and How I shall say it

  1. Pingback: Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - Chemistry in the Digital Age at PSU « petermr’s blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *