Eating the Dog Food

I’m sitting here working on a presentation on AspectJ and listening to Dave Slusher’s Evil Genius Chronicles. I’m trying to convert a completely awful presentation (almost all bullet slides, way too many words, no pictures) into an engaging presentation to give via Webex. It all started when I followed a link to Kathy Sierra’s essay Stop your presentation before it kills again! I gave the awful presentation to a lunch time get together with some of my colleagues last week. They kindly overlooked the deficiencies of my slides and one of them looked me up afterwards to ask me to present to a more formal technical exchange that he regularly attends. This got me motivated to rework my slides.

I’m also using Dave Winer‘s OPML Editor to organize my thoughts before I attempt to translate them into something visually appealing. The hardest part of preparing a talk like this is narrowing the topic to fit in the time allotted. The second hardest thing is structuring it so that it can become a dialog instead of a lecture. The main reason I’m creating a Powerpoint presentation is that I am giving the presentation remotely and I want to have something to talk to.

This brings me to the title of this post. I believe in the things that Kathy says about not using Powerpoint slides. I am, however, intimidated by the fact that I am presenting to people “above” me in the hierarchy that expect slides. I feel a need to meet their expectations. I hope that I can come up with something that both meets those expectations and at the same time is visually exciting. I’m not holding my breath.

Posting for posting’s sake

Here I am, avoiding work because it is so depressing. Waiting for my copy of Getting Things Done to come in so that I can make an informed attempt at getting organized. My car is officially on its Very Last Legs so I am desparately looking for another one (in better shape than this one) that I can afford. I hate buying cars, shopping for clothes, and waiting on anything.

I usually do a pretty good job of finding something constructive to do. Is blogging constructive? In the sense that it is practice writing, I guess it is. It all depends on what (and whose) goals you’re trying to achieve.

There is so much that I want to do, it’s ironic that I’m sitting here at work unable to do most of it. I suppose I can call writing this blog “taking a short break”. It certainly helps improve my mood right now.

The Muse strikes …

I got back on the photography kick this weekend. I took a number of pictures, mostly of my in-laws new house. I have been accumulating quite a collection of contacts on Flickr. Many of them are extremely talented artists. They inspired me to actively pursue photography as art again.

While I was in the bookstore the other day I discovered that Tom Ang’s book Digital Photographer’s Handbook was out in trade paperback for a good bit less than the hard cover edition. It covers the spectrum from a brief explanation of how digital imaging technology works, through a catalog of the different photographic genres, a section describing common photographic challenges and tips for how to use image manipulation software to overcome them, and an extensive section on output options.

I joined a Flickr group called Utata. They publish a web zine that links to their images and discussions on Flickr as well as hosting original content. According to the about page,

Utata is a collective of photographers, writers, and like-minded people who share a compelling interest in the arts. We began (and continue to exist) as a salon-style gathering of photographers who came together on flickr. As a group we are continuously evolving; Utata is more of a process than a final product.

I hope this group helps me get into the swing of things.