Using a Nintendo Wiimote to control your presentation
Customising the HTML page
Adding titles to slides
Linking to websites from slides
Adding a ‘branding image’
1. Using a Nintendo Wiimote to control your presentation
The Nintendo Wiimote is a wonderful thing. It (potentially) connects via Bluetooth to any suitably-equipped computer. I use a Macbook Pro and a program called Darwiin Remote (free) and it couldn’t be easier to both use the buttons on the Wiimote as well as the motion-sensing element to control the cursor. If, however, you’re using Windows you’ll need Wiin Remote (free) but good luck getting your ‘Bluetooth stack’ working (try BlueSoleil – or better still, buy a Mac!) Linux users need WiiLi.
PicLens Publisher does all the hard work for you in terms of creating the HTML page, thumbnails and RSS feed you need to present using Cooliris. However, if you want to customise your presentation to look a bit more like mine, then you’ll need to edit the HTML page produced by the program.
In keeping with my love of all things free and Open Source, I’d recommend the cross-platform program KompoZer for this. It’s got a WYSIWYG editor and is very straightforward to use! If you look at my presentations, I add the following:
title of my presentation
details about me
link to HTML version of presentation
details about the presentation method (feel free to link to my posts!)
Creative Commons license information (at bottom)
3. Adding titles to slides
This is the bit that involves delving into code. Don’t worry though, as it’s very straightforward. You need to find the file entitled photos.rss and open it with a text editor. You should see something like this:
The part of the RSS feed that I’ve highlighted (between the <title> tags) is the title of each slide. This is what you need to change in order to alter the title of the slide. They’re in the order you specified when you made the presentation.
4. Linking to websites from slides
This is very much like the above process of adding titles to slides, except you edit a different part of the RSS feed:
The highlighted section above (between the <link> tags) is where you need to put the link to the webpage you wish to display when the relevant icon is clicked during your presentation:
5. Adding a ‘branding image’
This is perhaps the least useful of the advanced tweaks – yet in some ways the most satisfying as it gives you ‘ownership’ of your presentation.
The branding image needs to have a transparent background (I used a PNG file but I suppose you could use a GIF) and no more than 26 pixels high. There’s no real limit to its width. You can add anything in there – as you can see I put the shortened link to the presentation for people to go back to. Need an image editor? Try the GIMP!
Put the image you have generated into the images sub-folder of your presentation folder. You then need to add the following to the bottom of the photos.rss file:
I’ve highlighted the section you need to add – although of course you’ll need to change name_of_your_file.png to whatever you decided to call your branding image! 🙂
I think Cooliris is a great presentation tool. It’s engaging, free to create and access, and enables people to re-use parts of your presentation (if you CC-license it!)
I’d like to thank Alan Levine for pioneering this method. The blog posts he wrote that guided me are below:
Regular readers of this blog and followers of my tweets will be aware that I’ve recently come across (via Alan Levine 1, 2) a great way to present to an audience using a plugin for the Open Source, cross-platform web browser Firefox.* Cooliris makes your presentations look like an interactive version of this:
It generates HTML pages for your images so you can quickly and easily put your presentation slides online
It’s free (if you use something like OpenOffice.org to create your images)
It can be controlled using a Nintendo Wiimote (I use Darwiin Remote with my Macbook Pro)
The purpose of this post is to show how to create a basic presentation with Cooliris, and then how to enable the more advanced features. 😀
Cooliris: the basics
The basic steps are: export your slides as images, import them into PicLens Publisher, and then upload generated folder to web server (optional, as you can run it locally from your hard disk)
1. Export your slides as images
Keynote(click to enlarge):
Powerpoint(click to enlarge):
OpenOffice.org(click to enlarge):
As far as I’m aware, although the options would suggest otherwise, there’s no obvious way to export all you slides to images in OpenOffice.org. Instead, we can generate them by creating an HTML version of the presentation which will also create images. As a bonus, this can be uploaded alongside the Cooliris version of the slides for those without the plugin. 🙂
2. Use PicLens Publisher
Cooliris used to be known as ‘PicLens’ – hence the name of PicLens Publisher, a Mac/Windows program that does everything you need to convert your images ready for an interactive Cooliris-powered presentation!
Simply follow the instructions given to you in the program:
Once you’ve finished, go to the folder that you exported your files to and open gallery.html in Firefox (with the Cooliris add-on). You should see an interactive presentation like the ones I produced!
3. Upload your files to a web server (optional)
If you want your presentation to be online, do the following:
Rename the folder containing your PicLens Publisher-created files to something without spaces (e.g. preso)
Rename gallery.html within the preso folder to index.html
Connect to your web server and navigate to where you want the preso folder uploaded to
Upload the preso folder generated by PicLens Publisher to your web server
That’s it! You’ve created your first Cooliris-powered, interactive presentation. Details on how link to websites from your slides, name them, customize the icon at the top, and use a Wiimote to present will feature in a follow up post. 🙂
* Cooliris is also available for Internet Explorer and Safari, but I’m not entirely sure why you’d want to use those… 😉
I’m down at Felsted School, Essex, tomorrow at the invitation of my good friend and conspirator collaborator, Nick Dennis. The Heads of ICT departments from independent schools in the area get together every so often to share and discuss ideas. I’ve been asked to do a presentation on Open Source Software – presumably because I’m involved in the Becta-funded Open Source Schools project. 🙂
Although I’ve tinkered with Prezi as a presentation tool in the past, I’ve decided I’m not a big fan as it’s a bit clunky and slow when putting your presentation together. It’s also completely ‘closed’ meaning that not only is it against the underpinning of the presentation, but other people (including me in future!) can’t re-use elements of your presentation.
A few months ago I read Alan Levine’s post Tricking out Cooliris as a presentation tool. I thought it looked cool, forgot to experiment, and then forgot about it. That is until last week when I saw that Alec Couros and Dean Shareski had used the method in their presentation entitled 2 guys. Suitably impressed, I decided to have a go. :-p
It all looked very complicated at first until I discovered that Cooliris have a program called PicLens Publisher that does all the hard work for you. All you need to do is save your presentation as a series of images, drag-and-drop the images onto PicLens Publisher and it produces the HTML page and RSS feed required.
Once that was done, all I needed to do was customize the HTML page and upload the folder via FTP to my website. Done! 😀
Update: Dai Barnes captured the audio using his Livescribe. Check it out here!