Rolling Presentations on a Stick

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 10 Mar 2016 | 17:20

We often find ourselves going away to a conference or a meeting - in this particular instance the Big Bang Fair - where we have a booth or space and as part of our dissemination we wish to have a rolling presentation. In the past this has meant either taking a spare laptop with the inconvenience of having to take additional luggage or sacrificing someone's laptop for the duration in order to host the presentation. Well this no longer is the case - we can use one of the fancy new stick PCs being produced for this very purpose. You will not be able to do any supercomputing on it but for a relatively negligable expense you can save yourself a lot of luggage space and weight.

The first thing I should admit is that this was not my idea. Alistair Grant came up with it but I was tasked with setting things up. We bought two Ideacentre Stick 300 sticks which come with an Intel Atom Z3735F Processor (1.33GHz with 2MB L2 cache), Windows 10 preinstalled and 32GB storage. The presentation shown above is being run by the stick below.

The stick PC in this instance has a Par Avion sticker to distinguish it from the other stick PC which is to act as a server for another application (thus saving on the carriage of two laptops). Most of our monitors appear to be quite old (i.e. without HDMI input) so we needed to get a DVI to HDMI converter. The dongle on the side connects to a wireless keyboard with track pad. Alternatively you would need a keyboard with a USB connector for a mouse as the stick PC only comes with one USB connector. I did have an old Mac keyboard connector that had two USB sockets to which I attached a mouse to and a USB memory stick but there was insufficient power to run it. If you want to get any content on to the stick you have to do it over the network or there is a micro SD card slot which you can use to transfer bigger quantities of data.

I installed Microsoft PowerPoint player but the rolling presentations did not roll. It appears that the player will not play presentations in kiosk mode (so they return to the beginning once they hit the end and can thus be left unattended). This was somewhat unfortunate and required a full install of Office 2013 but there was enough space on the device to do this and the rolling presentation now rolled! Taking the components off the monitor one gets:

Consisting of: one stick PC, a DVI to HDMI converter, a power supply that connects to a micro USB socket on the stick PC, a wireless keyboard and dongle (monitor not included). Once you put all the items in their respective boxes you get:

which is a lot less space and weight than having to carry an extra laptop or depriving a colleague of their laptop. Up to this point things have worked well. The presentations roll and do not appear to suffer from not having a fully powered laptop but of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating and we shall see how they perform at the Big Bang Fair - I am quietly optimistic.