If you find yourself making a couple presentations a year or a month, I would recommend purchasing the Logitech 2.4ghz Cordless Presenter. It run’s under $45, Amazon: http://tr.im/iTm9, and frees you from being in front of or near your laptop. A USB connector, neatly pulls out of the back and plugs into your computer and sliding the on button on the remote to On allows you to connect with PowerPoint, Keynote or your favorite presentation tool. It allows for forward and backward movement as well as a built in laser pointer to assist in focusing the audience’s attention and parts of your screen. There is also a built in timer, which you can preset for a time limit and the remote will buzz to make sure you know you are running low on time and its time to wrap-up. I’ve plugged it into Macs, PCs with XP and Vista and no software is installed for quick use in case you are presenting from a client site. The display also displays how much battery life is left and it lasts approx 6 months based on your usage.
I’ve tried several other remotes over the years and found this to be the perfect size, feature set and ease of use to be able to quickly use during daily presentations.
I’ve been using Apple based laptops for several years now and I migrated to the 17″ model when they were originally announced by Apple. One thing I have noticed is that with the last 2 generations of the unit the high-res screen of 1920 x 1200 is a must have when working with several applications or windows. The extra real estate makes it easier to multi-task or move data around while brainstorming or wire framing. I ordered the new 17″ when announced at the January Macworld and got my hands in early March. Shortly after getting the unit I added the 8 gigabytes of RAM, from http://www.transintl.com/, which cost about $750 but wow was it worth it. My previous units had 4 gb’s which I always thought was enough but the 8 gb’s has made for a smoother experience especially running VMWare. I can now easily have Windows XP Home and alternate open or even Vista open with XP. Now Vista is slow and goofy but it runs comfortably now while running several mac apps at the same time and dare I say its usable.
So if you been debating adding more memory to your workstation or looking at a new laptop, check out the Apple MacBook Pro 17″. The higher end MacBook Pro 15 also now supports 8 gb’s of ram as well.
Update, last week I got my hands on the 7200 rpm 500gb hard drive and its nice to have some breathing room on the hard drive again. Great drive, quiet, and have not notice any additional heat or hit in battery life. Now, just have to find the budget to upgrade my team’s systems.
Next on my wish list is a 30″ monitor.
Hollywood Storytelling 101
presented by: Gordon Lewis
Gordon???s Hollywood storytelling 101 has 10 rules for using storytelling techniques to engage learners: know your audience, appeal to the emotions, show, don???t tell, know what???s at stake, let plot flow from premise, open with tension, keep it moving, up the ante, highlight the turning point, and end with tension resolved . Gordon will show you how to engage your learning audience by creating and producing interesting and engaging e-learning scripts. He will use stories to create an environment that supports learning. Using several styles and techniques, he will show you how to light up the screen and peak your learner???s interest.
Gordon???s screen credits include TV comedy hits such as Amen, Family Matters, and In Living Color, as well as documentaries (Small Steps,Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood) and animated fairy tales (Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child). He is a member emeritus of the Writer???s Guild of America. In the late 1990s, in the interest of shorter hours and career longevity, Gordon transitioned to instructional design. He has since developed interactive courseware for United Airlines, Price-Waterhouse, Cisco Systems, Traveler???s Insurance and other corporations. He is now employed as a content strategist for the University of Toyota, where he designs online courses for Toyota, Lexus, and Scion.
If you are using Twitter and looking for a desktop tool, take a look at TweetDeck. It’s in beta, it’s free and it’s available for both mac and windows.
The interface can be used as a simple 1 column feed and tweeter or you can customize it to include groups of friends, Facebook Status, Direct Messages and include several columns of information based on the size of your monitor and your needs.
For a quick tutorial, check out this getting started video by Cali Lewis/Geekbrief.tv <a href="http://www.geekbrief.tv/gbtv-517-how-to-tweetdeck-like-a-pro.
If you are looking for a tool that can help you track your web sites and alert you if your site is having a problem then you need to check out http://www.aremysitesup.com. The site offers several options, including a free service. Based on your needs they offer an iPhone app for monitoring as well as e-mail, Twitter and SMS support for getting an alert if your site goes down. You also get a follow-up alert once the site is back-up and running to confirm the service has returned. I had been running an older Mac based service which no longer is support and we had tested several web based solutions over the last several months and I loved the options, pricing and solution here. Monitoring can be setup to test a particular url or for a word on a particular page. You can also get warning if the site times out or does not respond.
A look at services:
If you need a quick site checker, try the Instant Site Checker at: http://aremysitesup.com/sitechecker
Guy Kawasaki posted The Art of the Tutorial, an article for his American Express Blog . In his article, he discusses how companies, or any web site should be able to explain their business in under 2 minutes to a new client, customer or visitor. He show cases some examples for his newer startup AllTop, which I’ve posted about before as well as the production company who designed the tutorials and has produced all 3 examples he demonstrates.
They do a great job of showing, in this case, how to cook something using still shots/photography, a voiceover and simple directions. It’s a great example of how designers, instructors and everyone involved in e-learning should take into account on how to teach our audiences. I love the treatment and its effective. This technique can be applied to any business, idea, or training, think about it when you start your next production. Would love to hear your thoughts. Web Link: http://www.startcooking.com
Looks interesting – The Wharton Evolution of Learning Symposium, Philadelphia, May 13 – http://tinyurl.com/dey32h
If you are in Philadelphia are, check out this conference. Looks great and only $60. The keynote is Daniel Pink. Great writer and speaker. Check out A Whole New Mind @Amazon > http://tinyurl.com/b4jrd8
The latest beta release for the Safari browser looks great and is fast. When you first try it out, the tabs (now above the title bar) seem a little out of place but once you play with it for a while I’ve come to the conclusion it is an improvement. So far I have not run into any problems on my routine daily sites, blogs and apps.As you type in a url or in the search area, a auto-drop down appears with choices which is a great time saver. There is also built in spell and grammar checking now. The new zoom in/out page view is nice implemented as well. The beta is available for both mac and windows. Full feature list at: http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html Learn more at http://www.apple.com/safari/
With the current economy you may be looking for opportunities to cut costs but you may still need to purchase a new computer. Apple offers the latest and previous generation computers via their refurbished section where you can save $100 – $300 off the original price. The purchase comes with a full 1 year warranty and after getting several machines via this discount the only difference I’ve seen is that the machine is delivered in brown recycled box typically. Take a look the next time you are looking to add a new laptop or workstation. Some of the specials currently include:
Macbook White 2.1 – 2.4ghz $849 – $999
iMac 20-inch 2.0ghz – $949
Macbook 2.0ghz $1,099
If you are looking for a desktop app for mac or windows, check out TweetDeck at http://www.tweetdeck.com/. Its an Adobe Air based application that lets you split your feeds into smaller bites to allow for easier management as well as posting tweets. Its currently in Beta and available for free.Also check out this great getting started video by Cali Lewis/Geekbrief.tv <a href="http://www.geekbrief.tv/gbtv-517-how-to-tweetdeck-like-a-pro.
Remember that classic story that you parents told you everytime you complained, asked for something or misbehaved? Mine was always the “classic” myth about having to go to school everyday in the blizzard with a foot of snow, walking uphill both ways.
One of the area’s of a web site that is often forgotten is the error or maintenance page. Here’s a couple of creative examples of major names, Adobe, Twitter and LinkedIn that I’ve grabbed over the last couple months. Would love to see any great examples you might have to share with everyone.