About, People, Tropentag2020

Some savouries from the conference

A super-senior professor, standing around live in front of cameras and the attendees in the huge (and almost empty) lecture hall, saying nothing and staring with sunken head to something small in his hands – where did I land?

(By the way: Kristian Johnson and a team took care for all hygiene regulations in Hohenheim.)

Ah, Mister Asch is hosting the Tropentag, right now moderating a discussion (in a highly hygient-compliant lecture hall) – and catching up new questions from the WHOVA App – so everything is fine! Our perception seems to be slower than the technical adaption in our days …

The hygiene-compliant coffee bar in Hohenheim.

Despite all the possibilities, I still find some things incompatible. How to bring a 12 MB PDF-file, downloaded and converted to a *.jpg in order to embed it in a slider module in the content management system? Well, of course I know how to do it. But the result is poor, as it is content-wise a scientific poster with loads of information. And – it´s format is upright, and not landscape format. Hm, I could edit the module to upright, but if people would watch this later e.g. on their smartphone, they´d need a fine microscope to be able to read it.

So, I dropped it. Some savouries from the conference? Cheers!

  • The conference app, WHOVA (sounds like a UN health agency, but it´s an US company) brings conference attendees together – zigzag and there´s a new group, called “mushroom lovers”! Okay, here´s the rest of my personal top five: “melons and other fruity vegetables” | “underutilized fruit lovers” | “sugar cane ash” and “Togolese on this event” … please don´t misunderstand me – I´m very thrilled, who easy it is, to stick together virtually (not: virually). Imagine, you´d have to ask several hundred people on a offline conference: “Excuse me, are you maybe a mushroom lover?”
  • It worked worldwide? Almost, as some countries (or, better: their regimes) decided to block parts of the internet, here – a common conference application. Greetings to Havana!
  • The definitely two most heard questions: 1. “Can you hear me?” | 2. “Can you see my shared screen?” (everyone, who was presenting and didn´t asked these questions, was pre-recorded!)
  • Okay, and for data lovers: 638 persons signed (and mostly, at least once, showed) up! They come from 67 countries! Eric, the “head of engine room”, counted 2.700 hrs of viewtime through 6400 clicks. Wow!
  • I am wondering: how many flight miles (as well as km by car) were being saved by having a only virtual conference? Could someone please work on that and present it next year?!
  • While producing this blog, I produced epic fails. Example? Well, today I spent a lot of energy in “filming” the keynotes speeches. What I did not knew – the tool I used, is not only recording the sound and the pictures of the live transmission, it somehow also put on the microphone from my computer! So, I listened to Petra Schmitter, thought by myself ‘oh, she´s an excellent presenter, cool’. And started to make me a nice coffee. When editing later, the file sounded like live from Mars … What a bummer!

I finally admit, I didn’t think it was possible that a mammoth project like this could technically run so smoothly! Wow, there were really hardly any disruptions, failures or frustrating experiences for speakers and viewers. Well, probably too many people thought that too early in the end – because it happened on the very last meter. From lecture hall B1 in Hohenheim, Prof. Asch invited his colleague Mizeck Chagunda (also in Hohenheim!) to briefly talk about the coming Tropentag (also in Hohenheim!). That was too much for the worldwide web – and there were absurd time, tone and basically philosophical loops and feedbacks.

It´s a miracle how things went well in the end and that the world was able to get to know the motto of Tropentag 2021. Uff!

If I was invited again to train the student reporter next year, what´d be a pleasure, I´d take the train (Stuttgart-Hohenheim is not that far), I´d support and celebrate them for doing a really tough job! I always guessed so, but now I experienced it, live and alive.