Another important gadget for your presentations

All the laptops I have owned have had some degree of noise on the audio out. Not annoying for regular listening, but when doing presentations the noise can be quite disturbing. It is due to the fact that the conversion from digital to analog audio is done inside the computer. Together with all kinds of electronics that produce noise. After posting an article about a very cheap external volume control and audio switch I had some comments about replacing that one with an external USB based audio card.

The theory is that when doing the conversion from digital to analog outside of the laptop itself you would get rid of some of the noise. So a while ago I received my Creative Xmod. Now I’ve had the possibility to test it at some venues. And it works very well. In some cases I went from horrible noises when connecting the internal audio to no noise and crisp audio when switching to the Creative Xmod.

The Xmod has lots of stupid so called enhancement effects as well. The X-fi crystalizer is supposed to clean up some compression artifacts in MP3 audio and might actually clean up the sound a bit, but the fake 3D effect that you also can add is not my favorite.

Regardless of the effects, my conclusion so far is that this gadget now is nicely placed in my box of essential presentation equipment.

Another important gadget for your presentations

Essential equipment for your presentation


I am doing a lot of presentations. For about 10 years running Powerpoint on Windows based laptops. And for the last 10 months running KeyNote on a MacBook Pro. First some words on “the switch”.

The experience with the Mac is simply much better. Period. And I am an advanced user that actually have been able to use Powerpoint to play videos, do transitions and behave quite well on all my windows boxes. But KeyNote is in general a better application than Powerpoint. The way it renders the slides, support for better graphics with proper shadows, effects, transitions, alpha channels and everything that simply makes your presentation look better.

And the Mac handles the projector with better stability and ease of use. The video always plays on the projector and the Mac always switch to the proper resolution when the projector is connected. When I save my presentation it is saved like a package that includes the media files. No more “can’t find the movie clip”.


But the best thing is that I always get both the current and the next slide on the screen in front of me while the projector shows the current slide. That makes it possible for me to do presentations with extremely fluent transitions and exact timing. Because I don’t have to memorize the presentation and remember what the next slide will be. I know that this is possible in Powerpoint as well. But my engineering degree has not been enough to make it possible for me to use that function with confidence on the laptops that I have used. On my Mac it simply works. Always.

But I have a couple of mandatory accessories to make the experience even better.


For my Mac I need to remember the converter from DVI to VGA. Apple have this tendency to ditch old technology a couple of years too early. About 1% of the conference halls I have been to support DVI directly. The fact that you need this connector is also the reason why Apple computers have this bad reputation regarding presentations. And personally I think it was a bad decision from Apple to ditch a proper VGA connector on their MacBooks. But let’s go on. I have learned to remember this connector along with my other three mandatory accessories.


My beloved remote. Covered in detail here.


The USB key. Always keep a backup of your presentation on one of these. The full KeyNote copy. In addition to a Powerpoint version and a PDF. Keep the USB key separated from the rest of your equipment. When your laptop gets stolen on your way to that important presentation it is very nice to have a backup in your pocket.


For the advanced users. You only need it in about one out of fifty presentations. But when you need it it is extremely valuable. The VGA amplifier. In some conference halls the cable to the projector is very long. This degrades the quality of the signal. This small device has done wonders a couple of times. Everything from making the image from my computer look way better than the person before me. To making me the only person actually getting an image on the projector.

Google “Extron P/2 DA1 Peaker” or something like that to find a shop near you selling this device. More details: “P/2 DA1 USB”. “Line Driver”. “P/N 60-319-03″. It was pretty expensive where I found it. About $200,-


And the last one. Some small loudspeakers. My experience is that most meeting rooms and conference halls have a projector that works. But the audio might be a problem. Especially in small hotels and meeting rooms. These speakers won’t help you in that large 500 people hall, but is very valuable in a small conference room.

But, as always the most important thing is your content. Start following Presentation Zen immediately. And some valuable advice from earlier eirikso articles here:
Working with one slide
How to avoid making boring presentations
Presenting Software

And my main guideline. Seth Godin’s “Really bad powerpoint“.

And comments are open. Do you have something to add? Something more you want to know about my presentations?

Essential equipment for your presentation

Speaking

Some of the events I will be presenting at this autumn:

IFA, Berlin (Sept 1.)
Presentation at the Consumer Electronics Trade Foundation press conference on Saturday

EBU Finance Assembly in Marrakesh (Sept 5. – 9.)
Economics of New Media

IT-Tinget, Tønsberg (Sept. 19.)
Your employers take control!

Nordic Sound Symposium (Sept 28.)
Audio production and new media

Social Media And User Generated Content, Stockholm (Oct. 18. – 19.)
Social media an professional broadcasting

Speaking

Blogres in Ljubljana

Ljubljana
(Image by Kim Erlandsen)

A while ago I was invited to do the keynote presentation for the national blog conference in Slovenia, Blogres. I am honored and of course I will use this opportunity to meet some interesting people, see the beautiful country of Slovenia and have fun with the challenge of making a very interesting presentation for the conference. See you in Ljubljana on saturday! :-)

The official english page for the event is here.

Blogres.si

Blogres in Ljubljana

Presentation and images from EBU Connect 2007

I have published my presentation from EBU Connect 2007 on SlideShare. You find it embedded in this article as well. If you read this blog in an RSS reader you have to jump to eirikso.com and view the post there to get the full picture…

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=47581&doc=back-to-the-future-12362

I have tried to include relevant links in the presentation. I will also try to post more articles on the content during the next couple of weeks. Trying to make the presentation interesting for the people that didn’t attend as well.

You find the full photo set over on SmugMug. And at this point a quick flashback to Croatia 2006 could be interesting as well.

As you can see, I have abandoned Gallery on my own site in favour of Flickr. I will get back with some thoughts on this.

Update:
…and now it seems like Flickr is out and SmugMug is in.

Presentation and images from EBU Connect 2007

Change of schedule

Recently I promised that I would speak at the Rose d’Or festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. However, I had to change my schedule because I need to do a very important presentation for the board of directors at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation the same day. Colleague and blogger, Mr. Oyvind Solstad of Brilliantdays is replacing me at the Rose d’Or. I am sure it will be a fantastic presentation.

But, I will still be talking at the EBU Connect conference in the same city this friday. See you there!

…and for the people that will not be in Lucerne the next couple of days I promise to report here on the most interesting presentations. That is, if I have the time to attend to anything but my own presentation… Now I need to make it. Rehearsals tomorrow at 1800…

Change of schedule