For the rest in the posts in this series please see the series index.
Part of presenting a good presentation is using the right tool for the job. Often that may mean PowerPoint to present content, or demos to help get the point across. Sometimes it means building an entire slide show system out of the technology you are showing off to (as I did with jQuery). In this post I will open my bag of gadgets I tend to use in my presentations.
Now first off, I do not use every gadget in every presentation (right tool for the job again), but these are my favourites which I use often.
I have a fairly standard wireless mouse from Logitech which is actually a great tool for a presenter, because you can use it to move forward through slides like a slide clicker device from around the room – no more being tied to the table. I can use the mouse wheel to go backwards too. While there are more dedicated mice for this job, a simple wireless does it just fine.
Windows 7 is my choice for presenting because of a number of great features it has specifically for presenters, which are all available via hot-keys!
ÿ + P
|Easily enables you to turn on a remote screen in either duplication or extended mode. No more funny fn+F something that is hardware specific.|
ÿ + X
|The mobility centre is only on laptops, tablets etc… but on those devices you can change a number of settings quickly. Most important for presenting is the Presentation Settings option which allows you to |
To configure it click the projector icon (that is actually a button).
ÿ + + (That is windows key and the plus key)
ÿ + -
|These two keyboard shortcuts enable the Windows 7 magnifier which allows you to zoom in on something with the plus, and zoom out with the minus. What makes this really great is the fact it is a live zoom, so you can type and work still while zoomed in!|
I know it’s still in beta, but it really has replaced VS2008 as my IDE for demos for a few reasons:
SysInternals has a tool called ZoomIt which has been a stable of my demos for ages as it contains three powerful features:
ZoomIt Screenshot is taken from Ben Craigo’s blog
The core idea is that while in a demo, I often need to type code on the screen however this is error prone and time consuming, so what else can I do? Visual Studio does support putting text in the toolbox, however this has failed on me in the past, so I do not trust it. Visual Studio also supports snippets which are a bit of overkill to setup, especially if I have a number of back to back sessions. Also what about outside Visual Studio? What are my options in PowerShell for instance?
For a while I have used a simple text file and copy/paste which is great since it means I can include it in the slide deck, I won’t forget about it, and it works everywhere. Yet it is not elegant, and remember what I said about changes on the screen – flipping to notepad the whole time is very distracting.
So I built a Rule 18 which is a simple application, where you put snippets of text into it, the application will automatically assign each snippet a keyboard shortcut and when you press that shortcut the snippet is copied to the Windows clipboard – ready to be pasted into any application you choose to use. Now you just have to remember the shortcut keys (which is why they are in my demo scripts)!
Rule 18 also stores the data as XML which means if I do not have the app or it is crashing, I can fall back to the notepad way of doing things!