Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya

That Tall Bald Indian Guy...


A long long time ago, back when dinosaurs used to roam the earth, there used to be these things called “Overhead Projectors”. You’d print — or write! — your presentation onto “Transparencies” (sheets of transparent plastic), and that would get thrown up on the screen, or much more commonly, the wall that you were projecting stuff against. You could also draw on the plastic in real-time, updating your preso to make a point. Mind you, there were no animated transitions, though that’s probably a Good Thing 😝. The best part to all of this was that there were basically three things that could go wrong

  1. The bulb blew out: Easy to deal with
  2. No screen: You moved the furniture out of the way, and used the wall.
  3. You forgot your slides: If I had a goat for every time somebody did a last minute “scribble the preso on the transparencies”, I’d be the world’s largest producer of goat cheese…

And then, along came laptops.

(Ok, I know what you’re thinking, I’m about to say something like “And milk was 5¢/gallon” or “Get off my lawn”, but that’s not where I’m going)

As I was saying, along came laptops. And with the laptops, came PowerPoint.
Unfortunately, cosmic balance required that along with all the awesomeness of PowerPoint — Blessings Be Upon It — there also be the chaos of ensuring that you had the right adaptor 😡.


So yeah, first you walked around with a VGA adaptor, because that was easy.

And then things got digital, so you got a DVI adaptor, but you also kept the VGA one around for backward compatibility.
And, because you’d leave them behind every now and then, you started buying the adapters in bulk (look behind the sofa, you’ll find a couple along with spare change)

And then came HDMI, and Mini Display-Port, which meant you were never really sure what you were going to find, and you never had the right adaptor because you can only buy so many things in bulk, so you just gave up and hoped for the best.

Which was OK, because there was usually a little “display adaptor kit” next to the projector that would have the adaptor you needed. Except it didn’t, because now you were the one walking off with the adaptor, so the office (or conference, or whatever) was now buying adaptors in bulk. Which was not a bad thing, because, hey, transfer the costs, right?

Except then some of the “smarter” people started hard-wiring the adaptors to the projector (Or duct-taping it. Or screwing it in. Whatever). Which resulted in at least one person’s laptop being yanked to the ground when someone tripped over the cable (A friend. Yeah. That’s right. A friend).

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, we now have USB-C ports on the new MacBooks, which means everybody now needs USB-C to DVI/HDMI/Mini DisplayPort adaptors to go along with everything else, and at this point it’s just way too complicated and we may as well just give up and start using transparencies again.

So yeah, maybe y’all do need to get off my lawn…

(This article also appears on my blog)

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