Thursday, February 25, 2010

Please, please, not another PowerPoint!

Whether you are a teacher trying to incorporate technology or a business person trying to not put everyone in a coma, there is one dreaded foe for attention.

The PowerPoint presentation.

I've found a free, yes you heard me, free alternative to PPT.  Through a website known as Prezi, you can create unique presentations.  They zoom around, going to fine print back to super print.  They can be as complicated or simple as you wish.  The one thing is, they aren't PowerPoint.

  • Simple learning curve.  With the videos on the website you can easily put together your own presentation in just a few minutes.
  • Unique.  Enough said.  
  • Impressive looking.  I promise, you don't have to tell anyone how easy it was.  They'll think you are a genius!
  • Limited functionality.  If you are one of those people that likes to use animated gifs or music in your powerpoints, you're out of luck.  You're limited to embedding only pictures and pdfs.  
  • Limited customizability.  They have nine color schemes, two of which aren't in English. Each color scheme has three fonts available.
  • Internet connection.  While you can download the presentations or embed them in a blog, you do need internet connection to create them.
I'd highly recommend Prezi.  It's not something I would use everyday, because after a while the new-ness will wear off (like any other presentation tool).  It's easy to learn and does look fairly impressive when done.

More information:

An example of a Prezi I created in about 10 minutes.  Press the forward and back button to zoom in and out.  You can also click more to watch it in full screen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No More Bloody Cuticles Ever!

I've come to a recent realization: If a cleaning product makes my cuticles bleed, it can't be that good for me. Now, I will admit I have more sensitive skin than most, but I can't be the only one.  So after this epiphany, I decided to jump on the green bandwagon.

Yup, I'm joining the Gore Force.

However, after searching for popular brands online, I noticed one thing.  Green is not nice for the Green in the bank.  Even if a product is Green, it is still marketed, process, and packaged.  All of those steps cost money.

So, I searched some more and found a solution: creating my own cleaning products.  I'm going to be trying out several in the coming weeks and telling you how it went.

First on the list:

Glass cleaner

  • Equal parts water and white vinegar
  • About a tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Mix in a spray bottle
It worked!  Great!  It even cleaned about 90% of the hard water stains on my shower door without scrubbing (I did, however let it sit for a few minutes).  Easily some of the cleanest mirrors I've probably ever had.  I was worried about a lingering vinegar smell, but it seemed to dissipate after it dried.

  • Very, very cheap (about five cents to fill my small spray bottle)
  • Very effective, without a chemical smell
  • No bleeding fingers :-)
  • Can be hampered by the dirtiness of your mirror. I had a mud splattered mirror that took several cleanings to perfect. Long story.
  • Your hands will smell a little like vinegar after, but washes off quickly
Overall, I'm never buying cleaner again.  This is way too cheap and easy to not use.  I've also heard that using crumpled newspaper works great instead of a rag or paper towels.  Haven't tried it, but if you have, let us know how it went!