All posts by Tim

How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck – Lifehacker

Image of the non-existent MS BulletPoint 2007 from s_p_a_c_e_m_a_n via flickr

Though the title of Lifehacker’s post is tasteless, it gets to the point: that too many presentations fail to have the impact they should. Too many teachers and professors, people who are professional communicators speaking to groups, do so not very well. The post covers five key problems and offers solutions for them:

  1. Too Many Ideas on One Slide

  2. Clichés and Clipart

  3. Lack of Emphasis

  4. Random Design Choices

  5. No Relationship to the Audience

So read up on how to reduce the suckage in your presentations!
How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck – Lifehacker.

“Good narrative is the essential tool.”

How it all fits together

Is this a great sentence or what?

Good narrative is the essential tool in a world drowning in data points and content.

It comes via yesterday’s “Immersed in ‘The Art of Immersion’” post at Inside Higher Ed’s Technology and Learning blog.

It’s the most succinct way of thinking about everything web that I’ve come across. I am stymied by the implied responsibility of having a blog (two, actually), a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Flickr account, a Posterous account, and on and on. But I should know, and remember, that almost all of life is about how humans try to understand by imposing a story on what happens to us, and making stories out of our lives.

Tell your story.

iPad app: iMuscle

The iMuscle App interface. Image courtesy 3d 4 Medical

The Unofficial Apple Weblog points to the iMuscle iPad app, saying it’s a “must for exercise aficionados.”

With iMuscle, users can select virtually any muscle in the human body and see a list of exercises and stretches for that muscle. However, that feature in itself is nothing new or groundbreaking as many apps do the same thing. What is unique about this app is that it uses the 3D Nova engine to show users animations of the exercises using a model with exposed musculature. Think Body Worlds brought to life.

In addition to more than 450 high-quality 3D animated exercises and stretches, you can create custom workouts and the app even supports multiple users. Anyone who is into sports training or rehabilitation science will immediately see the usefulness of this app. After all, instead of telling a client they need to work on their butt muscles, it’s a lot more helpful to tell them that they specifically need to work their glute med and be able to show them a 3D model of its anatomical location and what it looks like in action.

I haven’t used it; I’m only pointing to the article, but I would guess that the folks in our Kinesiology and Health department might find this of interest.

R.I.P Flip Video

Flip, you brought video to lots of people and places that wouldn't have had it otherwise. Thanks, and rest in peace. reports: Cisco kills Flip Video – Pocket-lint.

“Stopping the business rather than selling it was the best course of action,” Cisco’s global head of public relations exclusively told Pocket-lint on Tuesday, in response to our query on why the sudden decision.

In the dramatic move, the company will cease all production of Flip Video products globally, but has said that it will support the company’s FlipShare service for existing customers, while it formulates a “transition plan.”

“We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy,” said John Chambers, Cisco chairman and CEO. “As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings.”

A shame. Flips are inexpensive and easy, so good for schools and teachers and kids and families and non-techies to make fun and useful video, and do it easily. Flip, we’ll miss you. Perhaps it wasn’t making enough money for Cisco; we don’t know, and the quote above, in its PR-rich gobbledygook, doesn’t enlighten. Cisco, please don’t be such a corporate beast.

iPad Wireless HD mirroring

iPad2 screen mirrored wirelessly on an HDTV. This screenshot taken from the YouTube video demonstrating the hack

Well isn’t this interesting? A presenter can mirror the iPad screen wirelessly – what could teachers do with this? Very impressive, and apparently they spent only about $150.

Teachers and corporate presenters alike begged Apple for video mirroring capabilities for the iPad, and the company delivered the feature in the iPad 2. Apple’s solution still leaves users tied to a cord, however, so two employees at networking service provider Straight Up Technologies developed a simple hack to give their client wireless HDMI output and freedom of movement while sharing the iPad’s screen.

via iPad wireless HD mirroring hack makes for better presentations.

Teacher Layoffs Mean School Turmoil

I am sick of the false economy of punishing schools and schoolchildren because politicians don’t have the guts to ask people to pay what things actually cost. Year after year, school budgets get hammered and kids suffer, and then teachers and school systems get the blame.

Teacher Layoffs Cause Concern Over Turmoil in Schools –

But school superintendents say the consequences of sweeping layoffs are often overlooked in the policy debate. Layoffs, they say, hurt school cohesion, undermine student achievement and rupture ties with parents.“I’m getting nauseous just remembering,” said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who as the Cleveland superintendent in the last decade had to make draconian teacher cuts. “The result was devastating for our classrooms.”

It’s Special

Thrown together quickly to demonstrate finding images at Creative Commons as well as Photoshop's Clone Stamp tool, layers, and bacon

I was asked some months ago to do a Photoshop workshop for rhetoric students assigned to make a “Visual Argument.” The idea was to produce a composite image that made an argument, but ideally without text. The assumption was that the students would know little or nothing about Photoshop. Taking bits from different images with the Clone Stamp Tool and layering them would introduce not only that tool but working with Brushes, including the Eraser tool, Layers, some blending modes, as well as learning to navigate the notorious Photoshop interface(s). Digging through an older folder to clean out some cruft I came across this demo file, and realized it’s too good not to share.