Avoid Presentation Embarrassment – Keep your Mac Awake

You’ve probably attended one of these presentations before. The speaker is busy talking about quarterly projections, a new product or the slide currently being shown. After 2 minutes, the screen goes dark. Or worse, a slideshow of the 4 month old in the bathtub.

With presentations, there’s so many things to worry about: Did I wear the right outfit? Will I remember my speech? Am I forgetting something? What if I stutter, stumble or otherwise confuse my words?

With your concerns elsewhere, its almost inevitable that you’re going to forget one huge and potentially embarrassing detail during your presentation – Keeping your computer from going to sleep..

Two Methods of Controlling OS X’s Sleep:

With OS X, there’s two methods to controlling it’s sleep functions. Manually via the System Preferences and automatically with a third part solution. We’re going to look at both of them and their advantages.

Energy Saver Preferences:

First off, the easiest way to stop a presentation embarrassment is to set your Energy preferences accordingly. You’d be tempted to choose Apple’s pre-configured settings and “Better Performance” may work for you if you’re plugged in. But, they’ll have your display nodding off within a few minutes if you’re on battery power. So let’s change this.

1. Click “System Preferences…” from the Apple in the upper left of the Menu Bar.

2. Select “Energy Saver”.

3. Set your Mac and Display’s sleep settings accordingly.

Note: Be sure to set them for Power Adapter AND Battery!

Avoid Presentation Embarrassment, set your Energy Preferences

Wow, that was easy, huh? Well for some it will be. For others it won’t and here’s why:

You must be an Administrator (or have the password) to unlock the padlock at the bottom of the Energy Saver preferences to change the settings.

Also, Apple only gives you one custom Energy Saver setting. There’s no saving of the “Presentation” settings if you’re already using a custom setting of your own.

Screen Saver Settings:

If you’re going the manual Energy Saver preference setting way, don’t forget about that screen saver! Often this will kick on before the display goes to sleep. Let’s turn it off:

1. Click “System Preferences…” from the Apple in the upper left of the Menu Bar.

2. Choose “Desktop & Screen Saver”.

3. Click on the “Screen Saver” tab at the top.

4. Slide the “Start Screen Saver:” bar all the way to “Never”.

Avoid Presentation Embarrassment, set your Screen Saver

Third Party Solutions:

Since Apple only gives your one custom setting and you already use it or you just love your screen saver, there’s still a way for you do avoid presentation embarrassment.

Download Caffeine by Lighthead Software.

This wonderful little program will force OS X to stay awake until you turn it off. It goes into the menu bar and when you get ready for the presentation, turn it on. When you’re done, turn it off. I recommend keeping the default settings which are “indefinitely” (no sleeping, ever).

You can tell it’s running by the little icon in the menu bar. When the coffee cup is full, it’s running. When it’s empty, it’s off.

Hardware Solutions:

Ok, not everyone is able to figure out computers. Even with a program as simple as Caffeine. Or, perhaps you’re doing some work on a machine and want to force it to stay awake without installing anything.

For this, you’ll want one of Wiebe Tech’s Mouse jigglers

As crazy as you may think one of these is, I actually use one all the time during the day job. It’s simple and doesn’t affect any of the system’s settings. It’s perfect when you have something to do on a machine that will take a while and you have to step away from it. It’s also very easy to understand if the person using it is technology-declined.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you’re ready for your next presentation!

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