powerpoint on the web

I found this new service http://www.slideshare.net which converts and publishes powerpoint presentations using Adobe Flash. The conversion supports high resolution images, and can be viewed in full screen format from a web browser.

But the real power of this tool is that you can link and sync a presentation with an audio file. The resulting mashup is called a ‘slidecast‘. The audio file must be published elsewhere on the web in mp3 format, and slideshare provides a utility to set very precise slide change points. I’ve seen an example where the audio file was an excellent synchronization with presenter’s narration, but most of the slidecasts are more free form with music in the background. I posted a couple of presentations, including an art portfolio from Norma Smith, the sister of good friend and author Janice Elsheimer. It immediately caught the attention of the slideshare admins, and they included it in the homepage spotlight section!

The presentation is embedded below, or you can go to the site and review it in full-screen.

https://s3.amazonaws.com:443/slideshare/ssplayer.swf?id=84634&doc=norma-smith-portfolio2255

Update: One caveat — it appears that fancy powerpoint transitions are not converted and presented in the resulting flash animations. So you have to be content with no special effects like dissolves, fades, or swipes.

beachhouse

no, not floridaWe stayed at friend Jean’s New Smyrna Beach oceanside house this weekend, just a few blocks from JB’s fish camp. I tried to take my kayak out, but got swamped in the surf, dunked my gear, and lost my sunglasses. I contented myself with some surf casting and landed a nice bluefish. Linda relaxed, Gina and I had some great time catching waves. We ate well, including JB’s of course. The ocean was a beautiful green, and the unusual offshore breezes made for picturesque hollow-breaking surf all weekend. I’m muscle-sore today from the surf activity. Sorry no pics, only fond memories.

Big Love

More cul-cha here. Well, pop culture. Big Love is in its second season on HBO, and its got the three of us pretty well hooked. Its the story of a polygamist family in present day Utah. They’re not exactly Mormons, and they’re not exactly living the isolated lifestyle of the rural compounds in which some of the main characters were raised. But they endeavor to honor and live by “the Principle”, which is a patriarchal obligation to support as many wives as a man can. The family is led by Bill, a local retail entrepreneur, and his three adjoining households are trying to quietly blend into the SLC suburbs. The fun in this is seeing the family’s trials through their moral lens. And the trials are numerous. The kids face problems reconciling their upbringing; the dominant first wife is very publicly exposed; the newest wife can’t permit herself to make friends; their relatives are numerous (duh!) and have all sorts of conflicts going on; there’s a young runaway charging the family with child abuse; and there is the ongoing business and family feud with Bill’s father, the powerful leader of the rural isolated compound called Juniper Creek which is clearly modeled on the real life polygamist enclave of Hildale, Utah. Recently there has surfaced a dangerous polygamist fugitive modeled after Warren Jeffs, who was captured IRL just last fall in Nevada. His henchman like to brand their opponents on the backside, like cattle, and presumable like he does his wives. Sort of like The Sopranos out on the prairie.

The cast is great, the writing and production values are first rate. We PVR it in hi-def and don’t miss an episode. Look for the first season on DVD if you don’t have HBO.

Freeway (1996)

We screened this great little movie this weekend. I selected it for our Blockbuster queue because of the cast, but we didn’t realize quite what we were in for. One critic described it as one foot in the grind house and one foot in the art house cinema.

Its crude, profane, funny, bloody, and every actor in it plays it at 150% dead serious. The cast includes Amanda Plummer, Brooke Shields, Dan Hedaya, and Keifer Sutherland. But Reese Witherspoon owns this movie, playing the blunt talking, tough as nails, white trashy underclass runaway. Did I say blunt talking? sheesh, this girl does not know how to spell “restraint” — literally. Read some reviews. Check it out if you like this sort of thing.

display booth

We’ve ordered a new trade show booth, and worked with the vendor’s art dept. for a new look to our display. I included an picture from a shoot I set up years ago when I recruited friend Kevin and family to pose to help illustrate the then-new concept of online education. The girls are now teenagers, and Kevin’s even more gray.
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The 10 foot backdrop.

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Detail of the Kevin/Margaret/Emma photo

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A mockup of the finished booth.

camera tech

This summer I’ve really missed having my old waterproof Pentax (which was ‘misplaced’ shortly after getting the new Pansonic Lumix, arghhhhhh!)  That camera was just great for fishing, beaching, snorkeling etc. fun stuff.   I’m not inclined to take the Lumix out on my kayak.

The NYT has given good reviews to this new waterproof Xacti E1 Sanyo digital camcorder.  It takes mpeg-4 video and records on SD cards, has an optical zoom and image stabilization.  Plus decent still image functions.   Just the thing to replace my near obsolete old digi-8 Sony camcorder.  <sigh>, I remember when the digi-8 was so state-of-the-art.  Heck, the Lumix takes better, and more convenient, video than the 10 year old Sony.

Anyway, the Sanyo is now on my wish list.  $460 from Amazon.com.  Just the thing for the coming crew season.   At least until I start coveting a hi-def camcorder.

back to the grind

We returned late saturday night, and I’m back on the treadmill (literally), and back at work. Here’s my vacation by the numbers:

Five
Number of bass I caught. I went out in a kayak, canoe and a rowboat on different occasions.

Four
Number of Esquire magazines I read. I found a stack in the back of a closet. They named Scarlett Johannsen as the “sexiest woman alive”.

Three
Number of movies I watched, including the new Harry Potter movie at a rural cineplex near Mt. Airy, GA. Regarding HP, I was over it after book 2.  We also watched The Graduate – geez Dustin Hoffman was young! – and  Hollywoodland, in which Ben Afleck does a stunning impersonation of George Reeves.  And the period detail of the mid to late 50’s is also remarkable.  I recommend the movie.  My only complaint is the that it is inconclusive about Reeves death.   Oliver Stone would never let a little historical uncertainty get in his way of making a bold statement!

Two
Number of monopoly marathon games we played (Bob, Linda, Gina, Nancy.) Linda won the first, Gina tromped us royally in the second game.

One
The number of lures that I caught fish with. It was a shallow-diving wobbling plug. Plastic worms, my normal go-to bass bait, were worthless. Also, the number of books I finished. I finally wrapped up The Omnivores Dilemma.

and finally:

Five hundred and thirty two
The number of miles from Winter Park to the Issen’s cabin. That is a long frickin’ drive.

Horseback riding panaroma

This is Linda and the girls heading out for a slow-paced trail ride. The reported highlight was fording the Chatahoochee.

click for larger version

BTW, I caught a 3 lb bass this morning. quite an accomplishment on an unstocked mountain lake.

We’re heading back to FL today; more pics coming soon. And I may be able to find a photo of us shooting the rapids on a freelancer’s website http://myriverphotos.com. we’ll see when I get back to broadband.

Tuesday

Rafting today on the Nantahala river (N. Carolina) was great fun! Its been years and years since I did this (if memory serves, it was summer of 1985 when I with my new girlfriend Linda S. met Deri and her NYC friends in West Virginia!), and its still cool. Gina, Nancy and Linda all enjoyed it too. We got wet. Unfortunately, the photos of us taken at the class III falls at the end were not good. We have our memories.

Gina and I have just come down to the country store to drop off our garbage, and get online. She wanted to get in touch with Nick (in France) and send him some news and photos. While she was occupied, I snapped this low light photo. It was about 10pm, just a few minutes ago.
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