PowerPoint Presentation Fun

I’ve been reviewing presentations that I saw down at Central Ohio Day of .NET. This morning, as I started putting my handwritten notes into slides, I realized that this will be my first public presentation using slides.

My past talks to groups and presentations typically involved demos and interaction with the audience or sitting on a panel and relaying notes from our project throughout that week. Seeing as I was in front of a Linux crowd for my user group presentations, using PowerPoint wouldn’t have been a good idea. It was bad enough that they tormented me for not sticking with one operating system and for volunteering on MSN Gaming Zone; I didn’t need to give them any more Microsoft ammo. I could have used the OpenOffice equivalent (Impress) but I didn’t really find slides to be that useful. Most of the group knew me – the token girl at the Linux group – so the only slides I would’ve used would have been for my presentation title and for the resources at the end. Why bother writing slides for those when the resources would be posted on the user group site?

As much as I want my Cleveland Day of .NET presentation to be like that, the more I look at my notes, the more I realize that I may have to use slides. Now granted, not everyone works from slides and not all presentations lend themselves to slides. Matt Casto was creative enough to put his project to work – he did his presentation in his Silverlight app with XAML slides. As much as I’d want to put my IronPython project to work and let Merlin do all the talking, it won’t be going down like that. I’ll definitely be in PowerPoint presenter mode, but have no fear, the speaker in me doesn’t like letting my audience stay quiet, so I will definitely encourage audience participation.

Two weeks to go until the big event… if you haven’t registered, get to our site and register. If you have any issues with OpenID while trying to sign up, feel free to contact me at sarah at codinggeekette dot com and I’ll work with you on getting you signed up. I hope to see you there!

Sarah’s O’Reilly Dream

As many people know, I’m a huge fan of O’Reilly books. What really gets me are the animals on the O’Reilly books.

Now I’ve been a fan of O’Reilly books for quite a long time, and when I talk of some of my favorites, I refer to them by their animals – “the rhino book” (Javascript) and “the camel book” (Perl). I’ve found O’Reilly books in general to be great reference books that I actually use often, as opposed to books kept for reference but hardly ever used.

In college, some of my classes actually used O’Reilly books as reference books, rather than using boring textbooks. Then again, my instructors weren’t just instructors; they also worked in the non-academia world and knew what we would find useful once we were in the working world.

Now that I’m in the working world, I keep a couple O’Reilly books on my desk as reference – my “rhino book” and “the koala book” (HTML & XHTML). Thanks to my ACM membership, I have access to Safari Books Online, which means online access to O’Reilly books. There have been many times where I’ve referred to them while at work, which has saved me a lot of time and research. Thankfully, I can keep a bookshelf in Safari Books Online and store books as needed, up to a certain amount of slots. My current bookshelf includes “the circular saw book” (Windows Developer Power Tools) and “the angelfish book” (Programming WCF Services).

I realize that I just mentioned an O’Reilly book that doesn’t have an animal. In my day job, I am a web developer, and there’s a section in this book called “Enhancing Web Development” that I referred to when I first got back into full-time web development. It was quite helpful, so I keep it around to remind me of simple things, even though some of it may be outdated. Even though it doesn’t have an animal, it’s still an O’Reilly book and it’s cool enough to stay on my virtual bookshelf.

So what triggered this entry? I’ve been dealing with them for swag for Cleveland Day of .NET, and they’ve been wonderful to deal with. (Sorry guys, the VBA book had nothing to do with it.) If I talk about them again, you’ll know that I’ve had yet another awesome experience with them that just compelled me to blog.

As for the title of this entry, I realized that I edited that part out before I published this. There is an O’Reilly dream behind all of this. One of my dreams when I was in my early days of college was to actually find out what it takes to become an O’Reilly writer. Well, I’ve found the process, so maybe I’ll propose VBA 2008 and they’ll take me up on the offer. Who knows… maybe there’s a niche market that they’re willing to cater to (like all 10 or so of you who have this odd obsession with VBA and want me to do open spaces on it)!