What You Need for a Remote Session
You need an IBM-compatible personal computer running Windows
XP SP2 or later, connected to a VGA projector. You probably
already have this.
My voice will come to you over the computer's audio channel,
so the computer needs to be connected to some sort of speakers
that your attendees can hear, such as a PA system. Sometimes your venue will have this built in; other
times you will have to get something on your own. If your
attendees can hear the Windows startup song, they can hear me
I need to hear you, too. So you'll also need a microphone
plugged into the PC's regular microphone channel. It's hard for
me to hear individual queries from the audience, so someone will need
to act as moderator, relaying questions from the audience to me via
For the best results, I need to see the audience. I've done
it without, and can do it again if that's all you have, but it's
a whole lot better with even the most rudimentary of cameras.
You'd be surprised how much information can be gleaned from
silhouettes. Any old web cam is probably OK, such as the
Logitech Quick Cam for Notebooks ($40 list, $30 street).
Don't go out and buy one or even rent one, but a good digital
camcorder such as the
Canon Optura ($300-$600) is not at all an unusual thing for
people to have, especially proud parents or grandparents.
Plugging one of these into your computer's USB port as a
webcam will allow me to see you better. If you happen to have
one lying around, you might as well use it. You'll probably want
to mount it on a tripod.
We don't need to do remote desktop sharing, which is often
problematical. Instead, I'll email you my PowerPoint presentation,
and the moderator will run it on your local machine. You can use the
full version of PowerPoint (2002 version or later) if you have it.
If not, you can use Microsoft's free PowerPoint viewer
You will need software for the video connection. My
first choice is SightSpeed, available free at
this link. Alternatively, you can use Skype video, available free at
link. I've had better luck with the former, although
occasionally you run into a weird firewall/port situation
that dictates the latter. I'll send you my IDs when we schedule
the talk. I don't want to post them here where the spam spiders
can slurp them up.
Finally, you will require some sort of broadband
connection for the link to run over. A consumer quality DSL or cable modem is usually
sufficient. You will test this link with my system at some
convenient time before the talk runs. The moderator should
have a separate telephone, such as a cell, in case we encounter
This list may sound a trifle long, but if
you add it up, it's not very much at all. I've provided a
summary checklist below. I look forward to speaking to your
group. Call today to schedule yours!
Windows PC, with projector, speakers, microphone, and
Broadband Internet connection, consumer-grade DSL or
cable (or better)
Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista
Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 or later, full version or
SightSpeed or Skype video telephone software