Almost there! With (almost) all speakers for the Second Weekend in September 2020 (SWiS2020) having had a chance to test their presentations, this weekend’s session is primarily a chance for the speakers to meet up, exchange any questions and tips for next weekend and a chance to share a few beers.
Topic: Last meeting before SWiSS2020 Time: Sep 6, 2020 07:30 PM London
It has become a tradition to leave the speaker of tonight’s rehearsal until the last minute. Tonight is no exception, as Eunice Thompson from Bellflower, CA cancelled her drone flying again, this time stressed by the high number COVID-19 cases and by unrest caused by use of violence against black people in the USA.
So we’re pleased to welcome Alain Buffel from Oostende back to show us a brand new version of his presentation featuring strange plants and animals that he saw in 2018 on his trip to Australia.
Topic: Alain’s Zoom Meeting Time: Aug 30, 2020 07:30 PM London
Again, today, Eunice Thompson: ‘Looking for Cacti and Succulents by drone’ was the planned program. Last week she asked to move the presentation to this week to enable her to replace her hard drive. Although she has successfully replaced her hard drive, testing it on her changed set up revealed a few more flaws.
So once again I’ll step into the frame. The last few years the Tephrocactus Study Group have had a slot at ELK. I asked if they would like to propose a speaker and/or subject to fill the slot for 2020. So far I have not had a reply, but have been asked by a BCSS Havering branch to dust down a talk entitled ‘But I don’t like Opuntias!’
I gave a presentation of this subject at the AGM of the Tephrocactus Study Group some ten years ago. It was meant to be a one-off talk – no body likes Opuntias, right?! WRONG! Each year I get at least one request for this talk, but I was never been able to find the images again. Once I put together another set of images that did the trick, gave the presentation … and misplaced the images again.
This time I have put together Version 3 (2020) and will make at least three copies of it, specially made for Zoom! With age, I have found my memory lets me down just when I need it, so this time I rely a lot more on information being displayed on-screen. This means that each slide will be displayed a lot longer rather than my usual jam-packed program, so tonight will indicate if I need more or less images.
Could all speakers please contact me with the final title of their talk, a brief biography of themselves and a brief description of their chosen subject.
The Plan It’s good to have a plan! If only to suggest what needs to be done when what is planned does not happen.
Today, Eunice Thompson: ‘Looking for Cacti and Succulents by drone’ was the planned program. Like Jonathan’s ‘Cacti in 3D’, this too has some technical challenges to overcome. The things we like about Webinars is that they allow us to share information with a large audiences (the BCSS Tuesday evening meetings now regularly attract audiences of 300 plus people from all over the world). Brian Bates from Sucre, Bolivia is a regular attendant (has he actually missed any Zoom meetings?) and we’ve enjoyed meetings where the speaker delivers the presentation from his home in Madagascar to our living rooms in Europe (including the UK), the US with clusters in Brazil, in fact anywhere in the world where people with internet access and a computer and a hunger for information about Succulent plants, including cacti, are motivated to switch on their computer at the right time.
We learned that things that work fine on a laptop in a hall with a digital projector and a screen (or sometimes just on a painted wall), can look less impressive when shared with a large audience over a great distance: movement!
This can be a dashcam video of Al driving down Cerro Perales in Chile, through fields of Copiapoa and Eulychnia, or it can be the subtle shift of the camera’s view to create the sensation of movement and depth in Jonathan’s 3D presentation. Eunice and I developed an interest in looking at our plants of interest from a different angle by using footage shot by a camera mounted on a drone. Again, it is the movement that can be tricky to share in a webinar.
Eunice has asked me to postpone her presentation while she installs and tests a new fast hard drive in her computer. Fine! So I’ll fill the gap this week by sharing with you how Jonathan and I opened the box and set up my first drone (in Jonathan’s kitchen) in 2015, flew it through a series of short test flight in the UK and then eventually for real in Chile. Once it got safely back home, my youngest son ‘borrowed’ it to help with his photographic work. It has never been seen again! I have since bought two more drones that had overcome the space and weight issues of my #1 drone. Health issues (my own and now COVID 19) and my location on Salisbury Plain, much of which is MOD owned, which means that much of it is a ‘no fly’ zone.
Fingers crossed that Eunice can show us her footage next week.
Today’s session is on Sunday 16 August 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST) Just click on the link below at the right time.
Jonathan has been taking 3D images and movies on trips in Chile and Mexico. In the old world of meetings-in-halls and digital projectors projecting images on screens, it was necessary for the audiences wear ‘funny looking glasses, to obtain the full benefit of the 3D effect.
Tonight he’ll show us how we can enjoy 3D without the need to wear the funny glasses and explain how the magic is achieved. It should also take a good deal less time to carefully set up the necessary equipment in the hall, but I gather it is quite time assuming for to prepare the material for 3D presentation.
Next week: Eunice Thompson: ‘Looking for Cacti and Succulents by drone’ Date and time: Sunday 16 August 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST) Meeting ID: to be announced Password: Bellflower
Tephrocactus Study Group – Speaker and subject to be announced Date and time: Sunday 23 August 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST) Meeting ID: to be announced Password: WhoTCSG
Date and time: Sunday 30 August 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST) Meeting ID: to be announced Password: BuffelRoo
Just to confuse you, I thought that I’d announce Sunday’s meeting a few days early. Rikus is back from holiday and would like to entertain us with his trip to Tanzania that ran into a few technical problem a few weeks ago.
Rikus van Veldhuisen presents Magical Tanzania A presentation about his latest trip to Tanzania last January with a lot of Euphorbias.
Yesterday I had been invited to give a BCSS Branch presentation Zoom presentation to the Reading & Basingstoke Branch entitled Brazil 2018.
We experienced a few technical hitches which meant that the planned 45 minute presentation – a travelogue through the Brazilian States of Minas Gerais and Bahia – took closer to two hours. As a result we ran out of time to run Part 2 – Succulent Conservation Issues – including Cacti. Those that lasted the course suggested that we’d run Part 2 tonight.
Brazil 2018 pt 2 – Succulent Conservation Issues (incl. Cacti) Time: Sunday, Jul 19, 2020 07:30 PM London BST
We hope to have some friends from Brazil with us: Marylan and Caio Coelho, Marlon Machado and Gerardus Oltshoorn will comment on he current position on Arrojadoa marylaniae , believed to be the first cactus species to have become extinct since the IUCN started to monitor the status of living organisms in 1964, on the Melocactus conoideus project to which the BCSS Conservation made a financial contribution and to the threat posed by quarrying posed for populations of Coleocephalocereus taxa. To give the presentation a more optimistic note, Marlon took us to some populations of yet undescribed species of cacti.
I will be recording the meeting for learning and training purposes.
I have a Zoom Pro Account that allows for up to 100 attendants. Like any cactus meeting, when the hall is full, there is no more space. Please email me if this should happen to you. If this should happen a lot, than I can look into alternative solutions.
Zoom has a ‘record’ function that can be operated by the host, for host and speaker to both learn from these informal meetings and are then deleted. Many speakers do not give permission to record the talks, so if you have unfortunately missed the meeting, do not embarrass me to have to refuse your request. If you know that you will have to miss a future meeting by all means contact the speaker and ask them to grant me permission to record their talk. After the meeting, I can send the copy to the speaker and let them distribute them as they want. Files are quite large so you may need to use free software such as WeTransfer to send the files. Without explicit written instructions from the speaker, I will ignore requests.
In these days of the Covid pandemic, I am happy to learn and gain experience of Zoom meetings by paying for the Zoom licence out of my own pocket. I would encourage everyone who attends these or other hobby Zoom meetings / presentations either by the BCSS or any other hobby organisations to share lessons learned.