I wrote this blog a while back in August. It included a link to edward tuffe's arcticle about why powerpoint was evil. But recently Dave has been emailing comments around to me and Miles. I decided to sit this one out, but some very interesting comments and ideas have been bounced around.
Emailed from Miles
I've found myself wondering what it is exactly that makes PPT evil. Certainly it is dangerous: a graphic communications tool in the hands of people poorly trained in graphical or graphically assisted communication is a bad thing, and, as Tufte points out, hierarchical outlines can be used to lend a spurious authority to banal or misleading statements (and imply non-existent chains of inference and conclusion). But this, I think, is not enough to make PPT truly evil. For a long time I wondered what I was missing, until I came across this:Leverage your existing presentations so you don�t have to start from scratch. You can import just about any file type into Keynote - including PowerPoint, PDF and AppleWorks presentations - and then enhance with themes. You can paste data from Excel documents into your Keynote charts and tables. Keynote lets you export presentations to PowerPoint, QuickTime or PDF.here: http://www.apple.com/keynote/ ... and I realised that Chomsky had answered the question over a generation ago. PPT, surely, has as its antecedents the blackboard, the flip chart and the ohp. Even used amateurishly, all of these media are effectively deployed in communication. Thinking back to my schooldays, I was always worried about teachers who flourished ohps rather than wrote on the board (for some obscure reason), but they never struck the terror into me that a session of PPTs can. Why is this? And why did ohps make me more nervous than blackboards? In the 1970s Chomsky noted that television was destroying political discourse. He realised that, in fact, discourse was stopping, as television, which demanded immediacy, and is not well suited to the delivery of lectures, encouraged a style of discourse now known as the "soundbite". At first, "soundbites" were the distillation of more complex arguments - and this was the point of Chomsky's objection: that complex political debate was being "dumbed down" into a soundbite for television's consumption. This was television's doing (as McLuhan spotted, the medium is the message), but the political classes soon got with the medium, and, rather than "dumb down" the argument to get to the soundbite, dropped the argument entirely, and produced just the soundbite. By the 1980s, politics had become merely soundbite packaging (consider, since when did "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" actually substitute for a policy on criminal justice?). To be sure, politics has always been about sloganising - wrapping a complex idea into a memorable phrase ("votes for women", "peace in our time", "liberty, equality, fraternity"), but, behind the slogans there used to be complex political ideas. Nowadays, political parties don't have policies as such, they craft soundbites to appeal to target swing voter groups. The party that does this best gets elected. There are no longer any big ideas in politics not because all the big battles have been won, but because there are no big ideas anymore. PPT has achieved the same result for the presentation of complex information. In the past, the notes on the blackboard represented a summation. The teacher wasn't writing all there was to know on the subject - that existed in books, papers, pictures, documents, films, archives, &c. The teacher was merely presenting a synthetic overview of the corpus relevant to the lesson at hand. The teacher was able to do this (if they were a good teacher) because they had some mastery of that corpus. The notes on the board were ephemeral, epiphenomena of the narrative the teacher's master caused him/her to weave around the source material. This is why I got nervous about ohps (on reflection). Ohps were more difficult to produce, and were produced in advance of the lesson. The teacher became preoccupied with the presentation of the ohps - making sure they were laid out clearly, and were legible from the back of the class (as they would be unable to effect significant changes on the fly). They would have to prejudge very accurately the length of their talk, and the level of engagement of their audience. They would, in short, have come to see the production of the ohps as the end in itself, rather than the summative mastery of the subject matter. PPTs, too, has become an end in itself. PPTs don't summarise more complex corpora, they are the sole embodiment of a piece of thinking, information or ideas. The are lavishly prepared: my anecdotal impression is that for every hour a PPT is worked on, 40 minutes are on looknfeel, and 20 minutes are on content. As more and more visual tools are loaded into presentation software, more and more time is spent on the looknfeel. This is what makes PPT evil: it is the primary medium for the expression of ideas in business, and, increasingly, education. PPT is no longer an ephemeral medium, but a medium of record - so what we record is executive summaries and bullet-points. Not only are complex ideas no longer explored (if they won't fit on a slide, there's no place for them), but people are becoming increasingly ignorant of complex ideas - all thought has become slogans. Is there hope? Very little, I fear. But I say this - delete your PPT slides after presenting them. Promise yourself that you will always treat them as ephemeral, that your primary sources will be elsewhere, in greater depth, and with more detail, and you may yet be saved.
I keep meaning to reply to Miles but always seem to run out of bus time when writing my email on the ipaq into work. Miles raises some interesting ideas through out the email message. Kinda of hits the core of why presentations are enherently bad, just like the soundbite and slogans. How do you explain to a audience complex ideas in a set of bullet points and a 45mins talk?
Just reflecting personally, I tend to write my presentations in tagged pdf format and include lots of information which I dont read in the presentation. So when the audience gets a copy or requests a copy it contains lots more than I explained. But is this enough I ask?
The trailer is out there.
Downloaded the TGF version from alt.binaries.multimedia tonight, sick quality, looked like a hi quality dvd on my xbox.
Heres the nfo which came with it. If you can find it download it because its actually better quality than the version you get from the matrix site plus its damm 5.1 digital surround sound. I love Dolby Digital…Humm
TGF Proudly Presents ---------------------- Movie: Matrix Revolutions IMBD: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0319969/ Title: Theatrical Trailer Format: WMV9 VCM + AC3 DD 5.1 wrapped in AVI Format Resolution: 1280x720p FILM Progressive Video Bitrate: 6.4 Mbit/sec Average 20.0 Mbit/burst 2-pass VBR Audio Bitrate: Remastered 224 kbps AC3 DD 2.0 Size: 127,406,080 bytes (127.4MB) Release Date: 29/09/2003 Synopsis ---------------------- Quite simply, I'm releasing this version of the theatrical trailer for HTPC users lucky enough to have DLP PJ's which are 1280x720 native or higher. Play this on your 100" screen and let me know how good it makes your system look. Or heck. Anyone with an HTPC hooked up to an HDTV set or monitor. Release Notes ---------------------- This requires WM9 Video Codec and a DirectShow AC3 filter (e.g. ac3filter). ZoomPlayer is recommended for playback but WMP 6.4 or WMP9 will work. P4 2.4 GHz class or higher with DXVA AGP 4X/8X Video card recommended for playback. Group News ---------------------- *INTRO* I'm not a group. I'm an independent releaser. I strive for quality over speed above anything else. It's all about pushing technology and the envelope. *HDTV* People have yearn for more true HDTV content. WMV9 and XviD @ HDTV resolutions. Flames about choosing an M$ codec will be sent straight to /dev/null. *DVD5* My DVD5's are my masterpiece. Carefully mastered from TRUE HDTV raw MPEG-2 sources giving you studio quality DVD releases. Who else can claim untouched AC3 streams, and beautifully remastered HDTV to DVD content.
Looking forward to seeing Matrix 3 in Berlin, Germany now. Hoping to see it on a really large screen maybe imax?
Ummm, sorry to put a damp cloud over the great work MIT work. But all educational material should be online for free anyway. And has no one heard of the Open University? I know its not all online and as smooth, but for many decades you can sign up to free courses and work at your own pace in your own home. MIT great work but nothing special.
Interesting news story about a internal document from Sun. Laurie Wong argue's that Microsoft Office 2003's document rights management system will turn the office market into a monopoly. I kinda of agree, that the whole office 2003 is open message is very mixed but you need to buy into the whole microsoft suite to take advantage of there DRM. So its not a big deal i feel, but i take the point about using PGP. I would ideally say DRM should be seperate from the program. Office 2003 surely does take us into dangerious teritory.
I'm going to make some serious changes to my cubicgarden blog categorys. At the moment I have too many and the information archtecture has been bugging me for months now. Specially now I'm using the same archtecture for my feeds. So please update any links you may have soon as I make the changes and I will try to do the same to internal links.
Oh note, I've upgraded to Blojsom 2.02, so you search via xpath, try out the Trackback Auto-discovery and post in privicy knowing your email is obfuscated.
Great stuff from David Czarnecki, two thumbs up.
Oh my goodness, I've been so slack its unreal.
I keep quoting bits from my blogging experienment last acdemic year, but never really published the final results.
And unfortually I never did, but I can represent what I already have. So here is the opml file and the converted html version.
Some background on the experiement,
I wanted to see how many hoops students would be willing to jump through to blog there work. A few students wrote a xml document which was handed out to the rest of the class in the summer term. The xml document was very long and overkill for a blog, but it was proposed as a blog and cv for a student through out there 2-3 years in Ravensbourne college. Work was done on it by Harry, Miles, Vanessa and Jc – All 1st year students with little to no experience of xml.
The blog was put up under cubicgarden.com and was done without any blogware. So all updates were sent to me over email where i could read them and then put them up on the site. So as you can see its quite a world away from the blog systems you see now. However I choose to make things difficult to test the barrier for entry.
In the end I moved all the blogs to blojsom under the /messaging/blogging/music video catergory. There all there for reading.
Some highlights from the experience
In my post during August I looked at the service bloglines. And honestly I have been checking out bloglines over the last month, and I like it but its not for someone like me. I have flock and I use it for reading feeds plus more. Bloglines is perfect for someone who just wants to read there feeds and thats all. I thought avantgo would beable to read my bloglines and display it on my ipaq, but it wasnt to be. Actually Flock did a better job at that.
Its been along time since i bought anything in the consumer electronics category. And worst than that, i haven't done much with my existing setup.
I keep looking for a another freeview box but cant find one going cheap enough to add to my current setup. remember i only need it for recording digital tv completely independent of my old freeview box. saying that i haven't looked through loot or ebay recently.
I have this itch for buying, and it might have something to do with the stuff show today. Seems I'm mistaken about the prices of Freeview boxes, because I looked on ebay again. Maybe I will treat myself to a box very soon
I finally had a real try out on panasonic's sdav20, better known for its role in tomb raider as d-snap. and the believe it or not the quality is better than i expected. I put the d-snap sd card in my ipaq and tried to play it in philips platform 4 player. but nothing came up! so i went to file explorer and it had windows media icons. so after clicking on it, windows media 9 started and played it. i thought nothing more about it.
Till on the tube home from olympia exhibition hall, i analyzed the mpeg4 file i had copied off there sd card. It turned out to be a *.asf file.
Yes that means the dsnap doesn't do real standard mpeg4 at all. it does the mpeg4 codec inside the windows media advanced streaming format container. What a con! how dare panasonic sell this fantastic device, which even i was thinking of buying on the fact it does mpeg4 when it doesn't. i'm going to investigate more into this.
But if its true, Panasonic may be laughing but I'm not!
Another interesing thing I saw at the stuff show, well actually it was the What hifi 2003 show, which is usually in the Bristol Broadmead Marriot hotel around Febuary time. Toshiba are launching a projector for the budget end of the home cinema market. Yep sub one grand! 999 pounds. No details on the web as of yet, I kind of wish I took down the model number of the projector. All I kind of remember is that its round, white and contains speaks and scart, which is very odd for a projector.
All the details I can find about it right now.
Toshiba's new Home Cinema projector created the biggest impact at this years IFA. It's show-time! Toshiba presents its new, outstanding, visually unmistakable home-cinema projector. This innovative projector does not just impress by its design, but particularly by its technical features, geared mainly for home use. Thus a Faroudja video-scaler, integrated into the LCD-projector, allows for outstanding picture quality. Three different video modes (standard, movie, and sport) round off the picture presentation (in genuine 16:9 format, of course). The ET1 projector is extreme quiet: ventilation produces merely 28 db, further reduceable by means of a bulb-saving ECO mode. Additionally, the ET1 excels with user-friendly controls and numerous plug-ins, like a scart connection, for instance. Due to its excellent price-performance-ratio, the ET1 is the perfect projector for the first-time buyer.
If I could understand German language, the word document would be useful. Did get some specs out of the word doc though.
- Widescreen 858 x 480
- Format: 16:9
- Contrast ratio: 600:1
- 130 Watt lamp
- Intergrated surround sound (2 x 5W)
- 32,0 width x 13,1 height x 32,0 length
- Supports 16.7 million colours
- VGA, SVGA / XGA-emulated i guess
- Supports RGB ( D-sub15 x 1 ), Component (YPbPr) Video, S-Video, Composite Video (RCA x 1), SCART, Audio (RCA x 2 (L/R)
- 3.4 Kilograms
I found this great device today while reading T3 magazine.
It basicly feeds music from any source which has a 3.5 headphone socket out into the local area as FM radio waves. So what this basicly means you can listen to the music on a ipaq via any radio tuned to the right frequency.
I've also been thinking of ways of abusing this device like taking over someones radio by tuning the device to match there current frequency. This would be great when you get some Kevin in there supa'ed car with loud music playing from a radio station. Because you could replace there music with something of your own choosing. The same would work when your noisy neighbour is playing there radio too loud. Change it to something of your choosing. Excellent, I love the smell of hacked hardware.
I went to the computer fair on totterham court road last saturday just to get some more blank cd-r's. And finally saw people selling parts for the Athlon 64. One guy was selling the Asus K8V Deluxe for a silly price of 120 pounds. Not bad for AMD64, Hypertransport AGP 8x, Firewire, Gigabit ethernet and Serial ATA Raid.
But it got better, MSI have a package for there motherboard. All for 435 pounds. Now I would say yes thats expensive but the 3200 Athlon64 and MSI K8 in a package is very attractive. Dont like the Live update feature of this motherboard though.
The big question though is what os would you run on this chip? Because at this moment its a pretty simple choice, I would say.
Microsoft unwraps Windows XP 64-bit beta. While I say Linux is the only option worth thinking about. 64-bit Linux: Ready for prime time? and 64 reasons to opt for Linux
I've beening having serious difficulties installing infopath 2003 on my wife's laptop. Keep on getting some error about install server not responding. So I've been trawling around the web looking for a answer. I was looking around the infopath newsgroup and hit across this site. And read this post about xforms.
Chibacon Chiba = open source and java based, sounds great. might give it shot on my development server.
MobiForm SVGView Plus = SVG and XForms, the perfect combination I would say.
Mozquito DENG = Uses flash but could be worth checking out.
Orbeon Open XML Framework = It uses XForms along with XSLT, XQuery, SQL, and web services interfaces as building blocks that together can compose an entire application. Looks good but maybe not right for us.
Cant believe I forgot Xsmiles. Also very good to see xport have there interests in the right place. Also spied this Post about Adobe getting involved using acrobat for forms – nothing new i guess. But I kinda of forgot about Adobe. Some stiring words to end.
The only missing InfoPath ingredient is a forms designer that nonprogrammers can use to map between schema elements and form fields. Thats just what the recently announced Adobe Forms Designer intends to be. I like where Adobe is going. The familiarity of paper forms matters to lots of people. And unless Microsofts strategy changes radically, those folks are far likelier to have an Adobe reader than an InfoPath client.
During my jury service, i took my tabletpc and installed office 2003 beta refresh 2. In the hope to create a suitable authoring environment for people who know little about xml to write it.
So how did it go?
Well I first tried word 2003, and had no luck. Word 2003 does now support my more complex schemas unlike the previous beta. which is progress at least, but you still have to understand xml to get word to write xml. Working to a schema is a nightmare to say the very least. Not quite as user friendly as it should be.
Please also note the wordml xml is a joke to say the least. Check this monster out! This doc bellow is just the wordml saying this is a test. View source if you can not see the xml tags.
< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"? >
< ?mso-application progid="Word.Document"? >
< w:wordDocument xmlns:w="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/word/2003/wordml" xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" xmlns:w10="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns:sl="http://schemas.microsoft.com/schemaLibrary/2003/core" xmlns:aml="http://schemas.microsoft.com/aml/2001/core" xmlns:wx="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/word/2003/auxHint" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:dt="uuid:C2F41010-65B3-11d1-A29F-00AA00C14882" w:macrosPresent="no" w:embeddedObjPresent="no" w:ocxPresent="no" xml:space="preserve" >
< oocumentProperties >
< o:Title>This is a test
< o:Author>Ian forrester
< o:LastAuthor>Ian forrester
< o:Company>Ravensbourne college
< w:defaultFonts w:ascii="Times New Roman" w:fareast="Times New Roman" w:h-ansi="Times New Roman" w:cs="Times New Roman"/>
< w:versionOfBuiltInStylenames w:val="4"/>
< w:latentStyles w:defLockedState="off" w:latentStyleCount="156"/>
< w:style w:type="paragraph" w:default="on" w:styleId="Normal">
< w:name w:val="Normal"/>
< wx:font wx:val="Times New Roman"/>
< w:sz w:val="24"/>
< w:sz-cs w:val="24"/>
< w:lang w:val="EN-GB" w:fareast="EN-GB" w:bidi="AR-SA"/>
< w:style w:type="character" w:default="on" w:styleId="DefaultParagraphFont">
< w:name w:val="Default Paragraph Font"/>
< w:style w:type="table" w:default="on" w:styleId="TableNormal">
< w:name w:val="Normal Table"/>
< wx:uiName wx:val="Table Normal"/>
< w:tblInd w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:top w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:left w:w="108" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:bottom w:w="0" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:right w:w="108" w:type="dxa"/>
< w:style w:type="list" w:default="on" w:styleId="NoList">
< w:name w:val="No List"/>
< w:view w:val="web"/>
< w:zoom w:percent="100"/>
< w:proofState w:spelling="clean" w:grammar="clean"/>
< w:attachedTemplate w:val=""/>
< w:defaultTabStop w:val="720"/>
< w:characterSpacingControl w:val="DontCompress"/>
< w:saveInvalidXML w:val="off"/>
< w:ignoreMixedContent w:val="off"/>
< w:alwaysShowPlaceholderText w:val="off"/>
< w:t>This is a test
< w:pgSz w:w="11906" w:h="16838"/>
< w:pgMar w:top="1440" w:right="1800" w:bottom="1440" w:left="1800" w:header="708" w:footer="708" w:gutter="0"/>
< w:cols w:space="708"/>
< w:docGrid w:line-pitch="360"/>
< /w:wordDocument >
So that answers the question of using word 2003.
I then looked at Frontpage 2003 which was no good because it was more suited to someone like me who also knows xml very well. Its basicly a xhtml and xml editor. And not a good one at that.
So moving on quickly, Infopath.
At last something which works for users who dont understand xml. Its how we imagined we would setup cocoon xmlforms or better still xforms.
Anyway like word 2003, the xml schema parser now accepts my complex schemas without me modifing them alot. It even accepts schemas which are linked to other schemas. Anonoying problem which drove me crazy about infopath beforehand.
So I've created infopath documents for both Course units and course vps's.
I noticed the infopath documents are not open, as one would first expect. Instead microsoft have opted for binary instead. I believe the document holds not only the forms but also the schemas. Correction:
Had another look at perfectxml.com, and it explains the XSN file format.
Even though InfoPath uses XSN as the file extension for form templates, these files are essentially CAB files that you can for instance open with WinZip and extract it to a folder. It consists of bunch of XML files, XSLT stylesheet, XSD schema file, script file, and manifest.xsf. For instance, if you wanted to update an InfoPath form, one option is to load the form in design mode and use File | Save As menu item; alternatively, you can unzip the files into a folder, update the files, create a text file containing list of files (with one filename on each line, enclosed in double quotes if contains spaces), and then run makecab command line utility to create a cab file. Finally simply change the file extension from cab to xsn.
The issues I have with infopath. Well how much will infopath cost standalone? Is the only way you can open and edit the final form via infopath? Why isnt the editor and designer seperate?
I would like to see options or scripts for saving files, so for example you can only save to certain places, via webdav or it takes a element and uses that plus the date for a filename. I believe theres advanced examples which can be downloaded from the microsoft office site.
I do love the way you can drop in many xml files and infopath in editor view drop the elements into place. So I was able to combine many units together into one large unit xml document with a few click of a button. I looked the final xml and it does do the job well. All xml was valid and well formed, otherwise infopath wont let you save it as xml. It does however add this to the document.
< ?mso-infoPathSolution solutionVersion="126.96.36.199" productVersion="11.0.5329" PIVersion="188.8.131.52" href="file:///intranetinfopathUnits.xsn" language="en-gb" ? >< ?mso-application progid="InfoPath.Document"? >
Which isnt half as bad as I thought would be added, specially after looking at wordml.
So generally talking, unless infopath is expensive or practically impossible to use. I would reckonmend it as it turns out valid xml correct to the schema and its easy enough for a non xml user to use.
At long last I have done a mix which I'm pretty proud of, first time since being married.
I've put it online now, so all you trance and progressive listeners can go check it out now. Italics back in the hat mix. As usual I'm using atomix mp3 for digital mixing. I did check out the new virtual dj but it was resource heavy and not as smooth and user friendly as atomix mp3. I also keep meaning to checkout what the virtual turntables people are doing as that was my first digital experience and was the best till atomixmp3. The project digital turntables seems to be pretty much dead unfortually…
Ok I'm live blogging this while I watch and listen from home. I unfortually have to say I missed almost one hour of it. The live stream was difficult to get half way through but I caught the last 10mins of Tim's talk and I am still listening to the questions.
Sam from Spiked asked a question about using semantic web for alternative reasons like making money. Interesting question and Tim made it clear rdf is like paper and can be molded into anything you like. There will be those who do just that, while others will use it for pro-human reasons.
Someone in the crowd asked if there something tim wished he could have changed in the last 14 years? He replied yes the slash slash. Great answer Tim. Not quite what I would have thought he would have said.
Interesting question asked about xlink came up too. Tim talked about the xlink in brief and touched on other areas of the w3c like svg, smil and x3d. Explaining how the semantic web was just one part of the w3c and the lecture had to be about something. Then he went back to rdf and touched on annonation – in the amaya browser. Suprising it would seem only a few knew what he was talking about it.
A good question came from the web. Should the w3c have been involved in streaming media standard? Tim makes it clear w3c dont impose standards, but maybe just maybe they should have been involved in the dissucssions at a earlier stage. The question also made reference to the fact you needed IE 5+ with Realplayer 8 to view the live stream. Cheeky but good point made.
Another cracking question came from the web.
Should there be unique ID's for web users to cut down on web fraud, etc? Tim had a good think about this one for a while, then replied with a sensible answer. For small communities yes, but not on a larger scale like nation. Everyone should be responsible for there words, but people have the right to be anonymous. He mentioned Slash dot's system as a balanced way of everyone being responsible but also allowing people to be anonymous.
Tim mentioned he will be involved in some talk about this issue somewhere in the uk very soon, it sounded like maybe within 2-3 weeks. Will have to check his blog for more details.
Then that was the end of the questions, which was a real shame. I'm hoping Fly on the wall will put up a clean version for vod very soon. I cant believe I missed almost a hour of the lecture. Shame on me, all i was doing was burning cds and watching the channel 4 news.