5.13.2010

Genuinely Excited Nerd Post. Tangentially about photography....

Chief Nerd in residence contemplates screen.... What a messy desk!

I am so excited about a piece of software that I can hardly believe it.  I'll jump right to it.  No need for suspense.  It's Keynote, from Apple.  It's part of their iWorks suite of productivity tools.  I think that absolutely loving a piece of software is sooo geeky, but there it is.

Backstory:  I was asked by Olympus USA to give four hour long lectures at the Austin Photo Expo this year.  It's coming up this weekend.  I figured I'd fire up a Power Point and put together a one hour presentation with the requisite slides and copy.  I dreaded this.  I've used Power Point and the generic versions on Neo Office and Open Office as well.  They were all pretty kludgy.  I kept putting off doing my presentation preparation until the anxiety alarm bell rang in my head and my chest and I realized that, if I walked in without some sort of prep and practice, I would be setting myself up for a big case of stage fright and perhaps........even.....FAILURE.  Failure in front of hundreds and hundreds of peers, friends and future competitors.  Abject failure.  Epic failure.  Rather than swearing off coffee and sucking down Xanax I committed myself to a Weds. start.  But I could sense it was my dread of the whole presentation software morass that made me procrastinate.

As part of the procrastination exercise I figured I needed to research that genre of software.  That's when I fumbled into the Apple website and watched the Keynote demo.  I was hooked.  I headed to the local mall and ducked into the Apple store right across from the Gap.  Just down the walkway from the California Pizza Kitchen.  A couple doors down from Banana Republic.  You get the drift.  I walked the gauntlet of black shirted young sales clerks with their white name tags.  I checked out.  "Did I want a receipt?"  "Should I send it to your e-mail address?"  Sure.

I loaded the whole suite onto a Macbook Pro on Tues. night and hit the ground running after swim practice the next morning (yesterday).  By the end of the day I was past the whole learning curve and making type, photos and movies, slide onto the screen, shimmer and explode, burst into the screen and go infinite explosion and so much more.  I wanted to add some video.  I dragged it from the media browser into a window.  It played perfectly.  I wanted some music bed under a few parts.  I dragged it in from the media window and it played, perfectly.  In fact, everything was pretty much drop and drag.

And the templates were beautiful.  I could have cried.  I might still cry.

So, now it's Thurs. afternoon and I'm fine tuning.  But I had time to take a break and photograph a brilliant singer/actress.  I had time to have lunch.  I have two hundred perfect slides ready to go for the weekend.  I've been through it three or four times.  Time flies when I work on this.  I like Apple but I love Keynote.  Couldn't imagine going back to anything else.

My advice?  If you are on a Mac and you need to do presentations head straight over to the Apple site and download the 30 day free trial.  I think you'll be amazed.  And happy.  And more productive.  If you've already tried it you can probably save some money buying a copy of the whole suite (Numbers, Pages and Keynote) on Amazon.com.  It's called iWork.  If you want to see it in action then come to my lectures at the Austin Photo Expo this weekend.  I have a copy on my laptop.  We'll play with it right after we do some online gaming.  And afterwards we can have an in-depth discussion of best practice strategies for Dundgeons and Dragons.  I warned you.  It's gotten nerdy over here.........