These were supposed to be Notes from a 6-hour trip to Boston, but mechanical issues delayed the inbound flight by 4 of the 6 hours, and since this included the 90 minutes during which I was supposed to talk (for 20 minutes) answer questions (10), and attend a panel (30), the lecture had to be pre-recorded and the questions will have to wait another day. So anyway:
- Despite the delay, I have to give kudos to JetBlue. I am not their frequent traveller — though that is now likely to change — and my status with them is “Group F”, yet they refunded the entire trip without fees and gave additional credit for the inconvenience. The gate staff was on top of reshuffling people with connections to different flights and they handled some heated situations with poise. Granted, I may have been more heated myself had the trip been higher stakes, but had it been higher stakes I would not have had such a tight itinerary. Hurray for risk management.
- The stakes are not high because I was able to pre-record and send out the talk as soon as I realized I would not make it there on time. Now, could things have gone better? Yes: using AirPods to record over the background airport noise led to less than ideal audio, and a few times I had to yell over a person who decided to take a phone call right next to me, but hey, it’s a free airport, I hope we had annoyed each other equally.
- Speaking of sound quality, of course there is a study that shows that poor audio quality leads to distrust (sponsored by Shure, by any chance?). The original article had some 200 of Amazon’s “mechanical Turks” — what a charming way to describe low-wage digital labor — listen to manipulated and clear NPR recordings and grade them by how trustworthy they were. Now, this rhymes so much with the now-debunked study of illegible text leading to better retention due to increased focus that I’ll decide to throw all of it onto the ever-growing pile of things that just don’t matter, and will keep telling myself that my sub-$100 Samson is more than enough, if I just used it more.
- But anyway, it is a good idea in general to pre-record your talks — maybe during a practice session? — and save the best take for cases like this. It will also help you get rid of ticks both verbal and facial which you won’t even notice until you see yourself speak. Nowadays even PowerPoint has built-in recording.
- And if you didn’t come here via the homepage and/or RSS, do have a quick look at the good and the ugly of Washington National airport, DMV’s premiere flight cancelation destination.