beyond bullet points – Create Top PowerPoints

learn to create effective slides iPowerPointReview: by Gregory West
gregory@alternatecloud.com
VP of the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
scug.ca
APCUG Advisor apcug.net

beyond bullet points
by Cliff Atkinson

Published by Microsoft Press
ISBN– 978-0-7356-275-2
Pages: 330
USA: $29.99 / CDA: $34.99
Websitehttp://bit.ly/beyondbulletpoints

All of us have had, or were forced, to sit through a PowerPoint presentation wishing we were somewhere else. The speaker was so boring, the presentation slides were cheesy and extremely confusing, and our insides screamed for us to get up and leave the room.

Beyond bullet points is designed in such a way that this will never happen when you give your next presentation. This book takes us through the proper steps in creating  the most interesting and very definitive presentation possible. Here is where we learn the importance of telling a story with our slides. Layout is another import issue that is fully covered in Chapter 4: “Planning Your First Five Slides”. This is where you learn how to grab your audience right away and keep them focused on your presentation.

You will learn why graphics are so important and how they can make or break a presentation. Chapter 8 is where the fun begins as you learn how to  add graphics to various areas within your slides. You will learn how to use the graphics you already have on your computer, and how to get graphics from “Stock Photography Web Sites”.

Your PowerPoint presentation comes together in Chapter 9: “Delivering Your…Presentation”. The amateur presenters are separated from the professionals. This chapter prepares you for the delivery of your presentation. Here you are shown the basic ground rules for removing distractions, prompting a dialogue and how to enhance your presentation effectively.

A real treat is found in Appendix A where ground rules and checklists act as an overview  ensuring you have created a very professional presentation.

Added features: This book comes with website links for “Companion Content” with key tools and a bonus Chapter 11, introducing a “Visual Improv”, PDF version of the ground rules and checklists. You also get a voucher for your free online version of this book. For anyone who is serious about their presentations, this book is a keeper.

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Review: Journalismnext – A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

Journalismnext - A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

 

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com

Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
BLOG


Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

by Mark Briggs

Published by CQ Press
ISBN-978-1-604-560-6
Pages: 359
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $45.99
journalism20.com/blog/

I was a journalism student in the early 1970’s. I have been working with computers since 1972. I have been on the Internet since the very early 1990’s. I currently teach computers courses at a local college. I write technology columns for magazines, and I review technology and software books for O’Reilly Publishing. I have been blogging since 2005. However, I must say, that this is the most precise book on how to be in tune with today’s journalist culture I have ever come across. After reading this book you will not wonder why this book is so widely used in colleges throughout North America.

Briggs states at the onset that “Journalism is about people, not technology.” In this book you will learn the inner secrets of how to connect with your readers. You will see how this connection spreads to more and then more readers. Of course you will learn the why and the how that technology is involved so deeply in today’s journalist’s work. You will learn how technology and the Internet are utilized in a career in Journalism.

Briggs covers all the bases, from the importance of advanced and micro blogging, making audio reporting visual, to the techie equipment you will need for the job. In this book he teaches how to “build an audience”; how to maintain that audience. Briggs demonstrates details of why setting up a Facebook or Twitter account is a must.

The book is filled with references and articles by several top bloggers and online editors. Many innovative companies open yet other doors to peek in and learn more interesting tips and tricks. The contents of this book cover every aspect of journalism today, information that would take years of experience and study to learn otherwise.

If you are at all interested in writing or becoming a journalist, especially writing for an online publication, or even if you are a seasoned journalist and need to get up to speed with what is out there today, this book is a necessity. Don’t forget to purchase a yellow highlighter for this read due to the many topic points where you will find yourself saying, “I didn’t know that”.

 

Book Review: iPad the missing manual

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com
Member of the Computer Operators 
of Marysville & Port Huron
Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
By J.D. Biersdorfer
ISBN- 978-1-449-38784-6
Pages: 299
USA: $24.99 / CDA: $31.99
Learning a new program, gadget, or tech device is easy. You just turn it on and start clicking or pounding buttons until it works. For many people this method is sufficient. However, if you really want to get the most from your new device you need go further. You need advice from someone who has discovered all the features and then some. Pounding and clicking aimlessly may work, but to find out all about the iPad you need more than hit and miss techniques.
This book is an excellent learning tool and a reference guide. The sixteen chapters help you get to know your iPad, interact with all the features and discover the deep secreted “undocumented tips and tricks” that are found in this book.
Chapter one gets you jump-started and takes you on a guided tour of the “home screen icons”. You find all about connectivity, working with iTunes and some iPad maintenance.   As the chapters progress so does your learning. Chapter two gets you interacting with the various features and functionality, while the next chapter explains all the intricacies of getting online, staying secure while using public “hot spots”, and how to use Skype to make Internet calls.
Other chapters show you how to work with photography on the iPad, tour the iPad’s Mail program, set up your calendar, take notes and watch YouTube video clips. Mapping is detailed as you learn to “Find Your Way with Maps” and “Locate Your Position with GPS”.
Applications (apps) are important features on the iPad covered in Chapter Seven. From buying to adjusting and troubleshooting your apps, the guided tour takes care of all your app needs and more.
If you are a reader you are in luck. Chapter eight covers “iBooks and ePeriodicals”. Learn how to download the iBooks App, use the apps bookstore, buy books and how to read an iBook. Newspapers and magazine apps are covered as you learn how to subscribe to ePeriodicals from comic books to National Geographic magazines.
Appendix A demonstrates iPad settings that are very important. In this section you “Tour the iPad Settings” learning how to use the iPad in Wi-Fi zones, Airplane Mode (Wi-Fi and 3G), and connecting to Cellular Data. Appendix B is for all of us who need Troubleshooting from time-to-time.
This book is complete with excellent coloured screenshots that make it very easy to understand the information on each page. This book is a must have while you learn the amazing features on your iPad. It is an excellent book for future referencing.

BOOK REVIEW: iWork Certification

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of the Computer Operators 
of Marysville & Port Huron (COMP)
Sarnia Computer Users Group (SCUG)

Get Certified in Apple's iWork suite

iWork

By Richard Harrington
Published by Peachpit Press
ISBN-10: 0-321-61851-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-321-61851-1
Pages: 827
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $45.99
They say that the only way to really learn a program is “hands-on training”. This book provides excellent step-by-step lessons to learn all about Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.
For the newbie this book provides, easy-to-learn, steps that will take you from the beginning throughout the three sections and sixteen lessons. The first seven begins with Keynote where you will learn how to create professional presentations and publishing it in several different formats. The second section is Pages where you will learn publishing letters, reports, newsletters, brochures, posters and more for both print and Internet copies. The third section is Numbers where you will learn about spreadsheets, reports, and budgets. Here is where you will also learn how to create amazing charts, graphs and even a wedding planner to “track the events”.
The material inside the book and the DVD-ROM that comes with the book is not only for beginners who are new to iWork programs, but also for those professionals who would like to brush up and ready themselves for the Apple Certification exam. The book has everything you need to train yourself to become a professional at using these three programs.
You begin with Keynote, Lesson 1, learning about themes, sizing, outlining, custom layouts and much more. Other lessons show you how to add photos, charts, sound, and video. If in another life you were a PowerPoint user you will learn how to import PowerPoint presentations into your Keynote presentation. Learn how to easily animate your presentation too. In Lesson 7 you learn the professional touch for presentations. From printing handouts, exporting to PDFs, or to turning your presentation into a movie that can be uploaded to the Internet, slowly you are becoming a professional presenter.
Pages lessons take you learning the basic word processing skills to creating reports, newsletters, brochures, posters, certificates, and how to add sound to a word document that can be uploaded to the Internet.
Numbers is Apple’s own spreadsheet. This section will teach you how to use a spreadsheet and much more. For instance, you learn how to import spreadsheet data, add media, create address books, and “Advanced Charting” where you learn things such as “Creating a Stacked 3D Bar Chart” and more. The nuts and bolts of a spreadsheet are covered in areas of formatting, referencing data, performing calculations with variables, etc.
I highly recommend this book and the DVD-ROM for users of all levels wanting to learn how to use these three excellent programs to the max.
System Requirements are found at: www.apple.com/iwork/systemrequirements.html
Information on Apple’s iWork ’09 go here: http://www.apple.com/iwork

Book Review: Web Eyetracking

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of the Computer Operators 
of Marysville & Port Huron (COMP)

eyetracking websites

excellent info on web design and what works and why and how

Eyetracking
Web Usability

by Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice
Published by New Riders
newriders.com
(an mprint of Peachpit)
ISBN-13: 978-0321-49836-6
Pages: 437
USA: $59.99 / CDA: $71.99

Have you ever wondered why certain parts of a website catch your eye and you ignore or completely miss others? Whether you are designing a corporate website, simply working with a private site, or setting up a blog for the first time, this book will take you into the world of design and what works.

Authors: Neilson and Pernice take us on a detailed journey demonstrating what works and grabs your attention longer than a split second. Eyetracking technology allows you to see what people see on mainstream websites.

This book’s main focus is “to study look patterns and how they relate to Web usage”. It is “not a general book about Web usability”, although it gives an excellent insight into why people go to certain areas on a page. Throughout the eight chapters, we learn how “Eyetracking” technology works. Also, you will find a summary covering human behavioral patterns, resulting from these extensive studies.

The second chapter is a little dry as it explains how this technology works, data collected, fake tests, study participants and cost evaluations. Other chapters get into the heart of page layout, navigation design elements and images. Chapter seven covers advertisements which is a major aspect of the Internet. Everything, from when people look at ads to the impact of ad placement, is detailed in a quite interesting fashion. Here is where you find out what works and what fails.

The authors point out the need for corporate executives to stand aside and let the professional graphic designers do their job. They show how upper-level management employees who know nothing about design and graphics can destroy the design due to ignorance of “web usability” and drive customers away.
Not contained in the book keeping “this book at a manageable size” are two “separate reports” made available online:

Eyetracking Methodology: How to Conduct and Evaluate Usability Studies Using Eyetracking: http://www.useit.com/eyetracking/methodology and How People Read on the Web: http://www.nngroup.com/reports/reading

If you are, in any way, part of a team that works on websites, or if you have your own personal blog and want your sites to work, this book is something that you will keep going back to as a reference guide. There is an excellent Table of Contents in the front and a well laid out Glossary in the back to make sure you find exactly the topic to research and learn.

Leopard OS X – A Review & Preview

Missing Manual Leopard OS X

A Must Have

Mac OS X Leopard

The Missing Manual

by David Pogue
Published by O’Reilly Media Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-0-596-52952-9
Pages: 893
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $34.99
missingmanuals.com

If you love your Mac, you will love this book. This book details every aspect of the Leopard operating system, from simple to advanced. Looking up how to do something is fast and easy, although this book is a real treat for simply browsing topics to learn some tricks and tips that you won’t find in most other Help sections.

For instance, only about 4% of us back up our computers and now there is no excuse. Leopard comes equipped with its own backup system, Time Machine, and with this book you can easily follow the simple step-by-step process to ensure you never lose anything again. When working through these types of sections you can easily set up the process, read the technical stuff, or try out some of the exciting tips that are all highlighted: basic, moderate, and advanced data. But the bottom line is all these sections are designed to get you going, give you the “under-the-hood” scoops, and show you some magic tricks to boot that helps make this book a good read.

Apple created 300 new features inside Leopard, however they failed to let you in on many of the tricks and tips that “demystifies” this amazing new operating system. In this book David Pogue also shows “refugees”, who escaped Windows and moved to a Mac. Windows users need no other books, as Pogue shows where they went in Mac OS X 10.5.

This book is spread out in six parts: The Mac OS X Desktop, Programs in Mac OS X, The Components of Mac OS X, The Technologies of Mac OS X, Mac OS Online, Appendices.

In the first part you discover folders and windows and how to organize your data. Pogue takes you through the various items such as: Spotlight searching, using the Dock, Desktop and Toolbars and gives you an expert feel as you see how simple Leopard is to use.

Without a doubt, this book is a great refresher; it is one that you will refer to when you you’re stuck. The thing I really like about this book is that you can pick it up and open it anywhere and begin reading.  I highly recommend this book for all level of users, both as a learning tool, and as a quick reference guide. Before you call a technician for a problem, treat yourself to this “must have” book first.

GET A SNEAK PEEK PREVIEW OF THIS BOOK –  CLICK HERE

Review Written by Gregory West – Member of COMP & APCUG