POWERPOINT OR A PENCIL IN YOUR EYE?

Zzzzzzzzz another boring powerpoint presentation. No doubt we would all rather stab ourselves in the eye with a pencil than have to suffer this fate again. Unfortunately the reality is we all suffer from having to look at them, and also present them.

Surely there must be a better way… or at least some help and inspiration to better refine them and make it more interesting for all parties concerned.

Here are a few top tips to think about when you are next pulling together your slides.

Subject
What are you going to address and does the audience care about it?

What is your role
Leader, Expert, Cheerleader?

Audience
Are they there because they want to be, or have to be and what will they learn?

Format of presentation
What story are you telling?
To make it more interesting please use multimedia, illustrations, photos etc, not just text, graphs or tables.
Stick to one idea per slide for biggest impact

Takeaway
Is it clear and concise, and are there any next steps?

And remember like anything with good taste…. Less is more!

Here are some great examples for inspiration – http://www.slideshare.net/mrcoryjim/smoke-the-convenient-truth-5602255

TOYS FOR DUMMIES

I bought a new toy last night, and can’t wait to really see what it can do. What did I buy? A new ultra-light laptop (such a geek!)

After doing countless research I landed on one and found out it was only available for sale this week… so my timing was perfect.

Working in IT means I have half an idea of what I am buying, but I realized most people don’t really know what to look for and what all the terminology actually means.

So here goes I am “dumbing it down”…
a WTF does that mean when buying a laptop!

Going Fast.
This is the processor which determines how fast things boot up and load. Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs are excellent for most users, and if you really want to step it up go for a quad-core Core i7 processor

Pretty Pictures.
Graphics – how well everything looks on the screen (including You Tube videos). ATI or nVidia are usually the best, but built in Intel Core i5/i7 CPUs are fine too.

Remember.
This is the memory that drives everything. Go with a minimum of 4GB, but as always – take more if you can get it. To make this memory go even faster choose DDR3 (Tip – the higher the number eg 800HMz versus 1066MHz, the better)

Watch.
This is the size of screen and resolution/quality, backlighting, and surface. Look for things like LED backlit displays (saves energy and battery), an antiglare or matt surface (my preference), and a higher resolution screen is usually the choice of most people.

Space.
This is the storage where you will keep photos, applications, music etc. Normally the HDD won’t be above 256GB (great if you can get it), standard is more likely 128GB. Another factor is a SSD (solid-state drive) versus a standard hard drive. SSDs tend to cost a lot more, but take up far less space, are more power efficient, faster and more durable.

So what did I buy? A Samsung second generation series 9 15” – bigger screen, thinner and lighter than the Mac Air!!

Now I am off to buy a new laptop bag to match.

WIRED WEDNESDAY – Networked

A Cisco survey of 2,800 twentysomethings across 14 countries said they would accept a lower-paying job in exchange for more latitude regarding the use of social media, ability to work from home, and choice of mobile phone talent.

If you are lucky to be able to access social media sites already at work – you may want to bookmark these and use your online time to your advantage by networking across the globe from your desk.

LinkedIn: a networking site to connect online
Ecademy: connects business people through its online network, blog and message-board chats
Focus: where business professionals can help each other with their business decisions by accessing research and peer expertise
YorZ: networking/job site
Xing: helps you find experts at the click of a button, market yourself and open up new sales channels
Facebook: not just for posting photos… advertising opportunities, event promotion and alumni
Care2: the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference… is your business going green?
Gather: this thinking community talks about books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.
MEETin.org: acquire contacts in your city on MEETin.org, and then organize an event so that you can meet face-to-face.
Tribe: Unique online communities where you can search for favorite restaurants, events, clubs and more (but not available everywhere yet).

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Plugged In


Trying to remember which converter to take to a country to make sure you can charge everything, dry your hair and do the ironing.

Start by taking a look at the back of the device you want to use. If it says something like “100-240V, 50/60 Hz”, it will work anywhere in the world with the right adapters. Connecting a device to a lower voltage than it was designed for is generally not dangerous; the device may not work correctly, but no dramatic failure is likely. Giving any device a voltage higher than it was designed for is dangerous eg if you put 230 volts into a 110V it will melt or explode!

There are only two main types of electric systems used around the world:
100-127 volt, at 60 hertz frequency (in general: North and Central Americas, Western Japan)
220-240 volt, at 50 hertz frequency (in general: the rest of the world, with some exceptions)

Originally Europe was 120 V too, just like Japan and the US today. It was deemed necessary to increase voltage to get more power with less losses and voltage drop from the same copper wire diameter. At the time the US also wanted to change but because of the cost involved to replace all electric appliances, they decided not to. At the time (50s-60s) the average US household already had a fridge, a washing-machine, etc., but Europe did not.

But don’t despair, most mobile phones and digital cameras chargers work with both 110V and 240V systems, though you may still need an adaptor plug or have to use the shaver socket.

Here is a list of plug sockets and voltage for your next trip – http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

WIRED WEDNESDAY – Snap Happy

Link


FREEZE FRAME! Always trying to take the best possible picture but end up using your phone as you can’t be bothered carrying around your “good camera” with the big lens? I am a convert to small, easy and tough!

Personally I am a fan (and owner) of the Casio Exilim EX-G1 camera.
Rated the best rugged compact camera , it is also acknowledged as the best waterproof camera in its class. In addition to this, it is shock resistant and freeze proof (great for ski holidays!) of course the colour is important too – it comes in army green, red and black.

Nikon Coolpix AW100
16 mega pixels means great quality shots in both daylight and dark environments. The Nikon is waterproof and shockproof too.

Canon D10
It has 18 different scene modes and numerous different special effects that can be used. It is a bit more clunky that the others, but still rates well for an all-round waterproof camera.

They are all perfect for taking photos to upload to Facebook. According to recent stats over 200 million photos are uploaded to Facebook per day, or around 6 billion per month. There are currently almost 100 billion photos total on Facebook. This means they are by far, the largest photos site on the Internet.

MUST HAVE MONDAY – Writing


Call me old fashioned, but I still like to write, as a keyboard just doesn’t seem to have the same flair or creativity compared to having a pen in your hand. There are some new great digital pens around that capture everything you write and make up it easy to upload to your computer, but here are some others that may take your interest.

Inkless pen – This solid metal ‘nib’ of this particular metal pen is made from metal alloy rather than silver. It leaves a mark on most types of paper and works best on standard copier/printer paper. The mark it leaves looks like that of a pencil however it cannot be erased.

Cramp free pen – This pen eliminates the strain usually associated with writing for long periods of time by employing the weight of your hand to provide downward pressure. The ergonomic pen has rubber grips on three sides for your index finger and thumb, ensuring reliable, smooth writing without hand cramps for left- and right-handed writers. http://www.hammacher.com/Product/Default.aspx?sku=78633

Colour Picker Pen (by jinsu park) – Innovative concept pen allows you to scan any color from your environment and instantly use it for drawing. The color is detected by the RGB Color Sensor inside the pen, then the red, green, and blue inks are mixed together to create the desired color.

And here are some interesting facts I have “penned” -

1. On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
2. More than 2 billion pens are manufactured in the United States annually.
3. There are 5 main kinds of pens used worldwide; ballpoint, fountain, soft-tip. rolling-ball and specialty pens.
4. In World War II, pilots used ballpoint pens because they do not leak at high altitudes.
5. In October, 1945, Milton Reynolds, after a previous visit to Buenos Aires where he discovered the Biro pen, (invented by Laszlo Biro) copied the product in 4 months and launched his own massive campaign in New York City, selling USD 100,000 worth in the first day.
6. Black ballpoint pens manufactured by Parker have a lifespan five miles long of writing before the ink dissipates.

WIRED WEDNESDAY – Sports Watches

A great way to incentivize yourself and keep your new year’s resolution of getting fit going, is to of course buy another gadget that makes it more fun (but unfortunately no less painful) As running is my number one choice of exercise, here are the latest and greatest watches that will help track just about everything you do. Now all you have to do is lace up your shoes and go outside and run!

Garmin Forerunner 210 – $200
While not the most expensive in the Garmin series, it has a broad set of features that caters to everyone from the beginner to elite Triathletes. It is GPS-equipped and lets you check data like time, distance, and pace at a glance while you’re running. You can then review that same data, along with maps of your routes and more detailed workout information when you’re back at your computer. It can also be paired wirelessly with a heart rate monitor.

Garmin Forerunner 910XT – $400
Then grown up version of the 210, it is a serious watch for the serious athlete. If cycling and swimming are going to be part of your routine then this is the money!

Polar RCX5 – $350
A slimmed down version of the old Polar watches that were a chunky feature on everyone’s wrists for years. The ZoneOptimizer feature measures complex heart rate calculations (calculates your level of fatigue before each workout – very cool!) And of course it plugs into Polar’s web app, where you can view your progress, recovery time, and training loads. It’s like a having your own magic endurance coach, without the part where they yell at you!

Nike Sportsband – $59
I have an expensive sports watch, but personally I like simplicity and found it in the Nike Sportsband. Water resistant so you can run in the rain, and just one touch of a button to start it. You can easily toggle between time, calories, distance and average speed without losing a step. Easy to upload info, and the online program to track your runs is pretty good. Just one catch, you have to wear Nike shoes to run in!