Tweaking Linux for Pernickety Projectors

Linux has really come a long way. I used to arrive at the podium and hook up my (Linux) laptop with the resigned expectation that there would be some tweaking involved to get it to speak to the projector. However the support for video hardware has evolved massive and nowadays I don’t ever think about this: it just works. Until it doesn’t. This week I was speaking at a conference where the video setup was extremely pernickety.

Embedding Dependencies into a HTML File

I use HTML to generate slide decks. Usually my HTML will reference a host of other files on my machine (CSS, JavaScript and images). If I want to distribute my deck then I have a couple of options: just send the HTML file without all of the dependencies or send the HTML file and dependencies (normally wrapped up in some sort of archive). Both of these have problems. In the former case the HTML just ends up looking like ass because it relies on all of those dependencies to sort out the aesthetics.

Chairing a Conference Session

There are many factors which can determine the success of a conference: the location, the venue, the catering, the speakers, the social programme, the contents of the swag bag… However, in my opinion, one of the most important components of an enjoyable conference is a collection of competent chairpersons, for they will ensure that all aspects of the sessions (the very core of a conference!) run smoothly. Chairing a session at a conference is a challenging and important responsibility.

Tips for Lightning Talks

It seems a little counter-intuitive, but a 5 minute lightning talk is far more difficult to prepare (and present!) than a standard 20 minute or longer talk. The principle challenge is fitting everything that you want to say into the allotted time, while still maintaining an engaging narrative. At the recent satRday conference in Cape Town (17 March 2018) we had a number of great lightning talks. A few of the speakers gave us their tips on creating a brilliant lightning talk.

Speaking Bucket List

A list of conferences and meetups I’d like to speak at in the next few years.

Exporting HTML Presentations to PDF

Building a presentation with reveal.js is such a pleasure. And the results looks so good. Seriously doubt that I will ever use anything like PowerPoint again. Although it’s possible to export a presentation directly to PDF using a style sheet, this doesn’t always work perfectly (IMHO). Fortunately there’s another way: decktape. It works with reveal.js and a bunch of other HTML5 presentation frameworks.

Font Awesome in Presentations: Notes

I’ve used various icons from Font Awesome in my last few presentations and I’ve been very pleased with the results.