Recently in Presentation Software Category
In Part I of PowerPoint Alternatives, I talked about presenters who use HTML to display the visual portion of their presentation. Now that blogs are popular, some speakers are using blogs as presentation tools, including Steven Cohen of Library Stuff fame. Here’s a presentation he created in a blog last February and his post on the
topic. Note that he used Blogger, a tool that is free and can get you up and running with a blog in just a few minutes.
Downsides of using a blog instead of PowerPoint include a busier screen that you would find on most PowerPoint presentations. Also, a blog entry is not going to fill the screen the way a PowerPoint slide will, so it could be more difficult for the audience to read. From the presenter's standpoint, getting the slides in the proper order is cumbersome; you need to tweak the dates and times so as to get the blogs to display in the proper order, then remove the date from the blog template, since in this context, it’s irrelevant.
As with HTML, the advantages of using a blog are greatest when you be presenting using a live Internet connection. You can include the links you want to visit in the blog/web page, and easily link out to web sites. The blog also makes a great "take-away." The audience doesn't have to worry about writing down URLs; they can simply revisit the blog at a later time. If you enable commenting, the blog also can serve as a discussion forum for the audience to use to ask questions, or further discuss the topic.
A blog is a natural tool to turn to when the topic is blogging because it helps illustrate the basic features of blogs. I experimented with using a blog for a presentation I recently gave to the Greater Los Angeles Legal Administrator's Association called Blogging 101.
I recently gave a Powerpoint presentation that included annotated screen shots of an intranet application. Someone in the audience thought I was highlighting the screenshots live, as I was giving the presentation, and asked how I'd done it. That got me to thinking....shouldn't there be a tool out there that WOULD let you highlight, circle or otherwise annotate anything that appears on the screen, whether it's Powerpoint or the Intranet? I looked around a bit, and learned that yes, in fact, there is a utility that will do this called WinPointer.
It's a nice little easy-to-use utility and could be very handy for live presentations. You can also easily create annotated screenshots that can then be inserted into a Powerpoint presentation. I'm glad someone thought of it!
One of the questions I had after my Adobe Acrobat presentation had nothing to do with Adobe Acrobat at all. Instead, an audience member wondered how I managed to include animated segments in my PowerPoint that made it look as though I was working live with the software.
PowerPoint has been getting a lot of abuse lately; it has been blamed for the boredom of millions, and has even been accused of contributing to the shuttle Columbia disaster. Presentations magazine has asked "Does PowerPoint Make You Stupid?" as has CNN. Edward Tuft, a professor of information design at Yale and a dedicated hater of PowerPoint, "believes PowerPoint's emphasis on format over content commercializes and trivializes subjects." He details his reasons for despising PowerPoint in his Wired article, PowerPoint is Evil.
Much of the hostility is directed at bullet points. Luckily for presenters and audiences everywhere, PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 includes a feature that I think may help solve the problem of bullet point overkill.