On the Use of Laser Pointers in Presentations

CursorIn the September 2004 edition of  Crystallography News, Prof A.C.T. North drew attention to those BCA speakers who, in order to use a laser pen to point to some feature on their PowerPoint presentation, turn their backs to the audience and start talking to themselves.  He wondered if anyone could provide a pointer which could be manipulated, with a mouse, on the speaker’s laptop and thus be projected onto the screen.

By March 2005, Tony had found such a pointer, a large Golden Arrow, which he made available to readers. The idea was so successful that the organisers of the Florence IUCr Congress installed the Golden Arrow on all the computers used at that meeting.

Sadly, by the 2009 BCA Spring Meeting in Loughborough, memory of this simple but effective innovation had faded, and speaker after speaker spent part of their time speaking while turned towards the screen.  This might not have been too bad had the speakers been fitted with clip-on microphones, but sadly there was only a static microphone on the lectern.  The effect heard at the back of the theatre was similar to an old-fashioned shortwave radio broadcast from the far side of the world. This was a pity, because there were very many excellent lectures on exciting new work.

Perhaps the BCA can help in future by installing the Golden Arrow on computers, and perhaps also making it available again from the BCA website.

 – Letter from David Watkin to Crystallography News, May 2009

The Golden Arrow cursor file is attached below.

Update August 2009: David Taylor has pointed me to the IG’s host of BCA themed cursors on the IG website — Richard.