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Re: SEAOC Bluebook and ICBO CD-ROM and SEAOSC Seminars

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I have been following the thread on the use of video, CD-ROM, powerpoint,etc.
for seminars, blue book, ICBO, etc. and I thought this was a good idea.
 Let's make use of the latest technology in computer presentations and apply
it to our seminars, codebooks, etc. I usually attend seminars on topics that
interest me and even if they are out of town, I try to go. For those I cannot
attend due to conflict with my jobs or when I have deadlines to meet, I try
to buy seminar handouts or books and hopefully learn as much as I can even
without attending. I bought seminar materials from SEAOSC and I keep them as
reference for future use.

Come to think of it, I don't remember the topics on any of these seminar
books that I did not attend but I can recall seminars that I attended even
those that are 3 to 5  years ago. Especially those that have good speakers
and also those where I learned a lot of new things that are practical that I
know I won't learn in any book or school.

Now I know why I like attending seminars. It is not just the topic, the
speakers, the location or the fee. It is the personal touch in it. Seeing the
speaker in front. Inter-acting with him/her through the questions and anwers
session. 

After attending an average of 5 seminars a year for the past 5 years, I have
noticed the different quality in the way seminars are given. The SEAOSC
seminars are usually good with a lot of experienced, practicing structural
engineers giving the presentation. Some are excellent that they have a very
complete, organized handout with sample calculations and analysis included.
Plus, the Speaker is there in person, not just reading the handout, but more
importantly stressing the important points, giving additional information or
clarification which  are not included in the handout and answering questions
from the attendees, and staying around after the seminar to answer more
questions. The fees are very reasonable too, I guess because the speakers are
volunteers who are members of SEAOSC. Others who do not have a good handout
maybe because they are busy with their work usually make up for it by giving
a very good presentation. If you just buy the seminar handout, you will miss
the good points. The Speakers who are not good in public speaking usually
 make up for it by having a very excellent handout. Plus if he is there to
answer questions, that is good enough.

>From this experience, I prefer to attend seminars than buying a seminar
handout. A video or a CD may be an improvement if it is of good quality but
even then, the personal touch is not there. Besides, for me , I'll just put
it in my Library together with the others I already bought hoping that
someday I will remember that I have such a book available. If I don't
remember any interesting or exciting thing happening during a live seminar, I
probably won"t even know it is there.

I have the Blue Book and the UBC so I won't buy a CD version. I prefer
something I can bring with me anywhere, anytime and just flip the pages and
read what I need to know.  For me, I don't see any overwhelming advantage of
the CD version, at least not yet. This is just my personal preference.

This does not mean that I'm against the use of advanced technology. If a lot
of people wants it, then its okay. I may try some of these stuff when it
comes out and see if its better than live. But right now, I won't be the
first in line. I'll watch from the sideline first. 

In the future, maybe we will have all seminars in video/CD. Schools, colleges
and universities using video/CD, no more teachers and professors. No more
books, newspapers and magazines. Everyone carries a palmtop computer
everywhere. Maybe, structural calculations and plans will not be on paper
anymore but on disks. Contractors will have computer screens at the jobsite
where plans are kept and shown to framers.

Ernie Natividad