5.13.2010

Genuinely Excited Nerd Post. Tangentially about photography....

Chief Nerd in residence contemplates screen.... What a messy desk!

I am so excited about a piece of software that I can hardly believe it.  I'll jump right to it.  No need for suspense.  It's Keynote, from Apple.  It's part of their iWorks suite of productivity tools.  I think that absolutely loving a piece of software is sooo geeky, but there it is.

Backstory:  I was asked by Olympus USA to give four hour long lectures at the Austin Photo Expo this year.  It's coming up this weekend.  I figured I'd fire up a Power Point and put together a one hour presentation with the requisite slides and copy.  I dreaded this.  I've used Power Point and the generic versions on Neo Office and Open Office as well.  They were all pretty kludgy.  I kept putting off doing my presentation preparation until the anxiety alarm bell rang in my head and my chest and I realized that, if I walked in without some sort of prep and practice, I would be setting myself up for a big case of stage fright and perhaps........even.....FAILURE.  Failure in front of hundreds and hundreds of peers, friends and future competitors.  Abject failure.  Epic failure.  Rather than swearing off coffee and sucking down Xanax I committed myself to a Weds. start.  But I could sense it was my dread of the whole presentation software morass that made me procrastinate.

As part of the procrastination exercise I figured I needed to research that genre of software.  That's when I fumbled into the Apple website and watched the Keynote demo.  I was hooked.  I headed to the local mall and ducked into the Apple store right across from the Gap.  Just down the walkway from the California Pizza Kitchen.  A couple doors down from Banana Republic.  You get the drift.  I walked the gauntlet of black shirted young sales clerks with their white name tags.  I checked out.  "Did I want a receipt?"  "Should I send it to your e-mail address?"  Sure.

I loaded the whole suite onto a Macbook Pro on Tues. night and hit the ground running after swim practice the next morning (yesterday).  By the end of the day I was past the whole learning curve and making type, photos and movies, slide onto the screen, shimmer and explode, burst into the screen and go infinite explosion and so much more.  I wanted to add some video.  I dragged it from the media browser into a window.  It played perfectly.  I wanted some music bed under a few parts.  I dragged it in from the media window and it played, perfectly.  In fact, everything was pretty much drop and drag.

And the templates were beautiful.  I could have cried.  I might still cry.

So, now it's Thurs. afternoon and I'm fine tuning.  But I had time to take a break and photograph a brilliant singer/actress.  I had time to have lunch.  I have two hundred perfect slides ready to go for the weekend.  I've been through it three or four times.  Time flies when I work on this.  I like Apple but I love Keynote.  Couldn't imagine going back to anything else.

My advice?  If you are on a Mac and you need to do presentations head straight over to the Apple site and download the 30 day free trial.  I think you'll be amazed.  And happy.  And more productive.  If you've already tried it you can probably save some money buying a copy of the whole suite (Numbers, Pages and Keynote) on Amazon.com.  It's called iWork.  If you want to see it in action then come to my lectures at the Austin Photo Expo this weekend.  I have a copy on my laptop.  We'll play with it right after we do some online gaming.  And afterwards we can have an in-depth discussion of best practice strategies for Dundgeons and Dragons.  I warned you.  It's gotten nerdy over here.........

17 comments:

steveH said...

It's nice, isn't it?

Right now I'm seeing how much of it they managed to shoehorn into Keynote for iPad.

Godfrey DiGiorgi Photography said...

Keynote is brilliant. And once you have a presentation in Keynote, you can output into QuickTime, add voice-over if you want, music tracks ...

And Pages is brilliant too. ;-)

John Taylor said...

In my Store we currently have blue shirts… and we are not all 'young' though young at heart to be sure, and we will still ask you how you'd like your receipt :)

Bill Beebe said...

A messy desk is the sign of a brilliant intellect.

Ed Buziak said...

"...in front of hundreds and hundreds of peers, friends and future competitors."

AND potential clients!

I've toyed with iWork (in my head) for too long... time to get off my ass and make my computing life - even though in retirement - a bit easier!

kirk tuck said...

Bill, You think THAT'S messy? You should have seen it last week when it was at least a foot higher....

But I swear, I know where everything is. Really.

kirk tuck said...

Also, still amazed at how easy it is to implement video.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

For all of us "others" here, who don't own Macs: there's "Impressive" at http://impressive.sourceforge.net/ (or in the case you're running Debian or any other advanced OS, it's just an 'aptitude install impressive' away).

Might not be as "impressive" as Keynote yet (never saw any of them), but might be worth a try.

cheers,
Wolfgang (using open source) ;-)

Don said...

Dude... you ain't workin' - you're on Facebook - I can see the screen. Bwahahahahaha... hey, nice desk. pardner. I'll have to shoot mine so we can compare... Hmmm... you can see a bit of surface on yours... dang.

Keynote is wonderful. I currently have both Mac and PC... looks like I am going off to Mac land nearly exclusively. Do you use your macPro instead of a tower? and is that fast enough?

kirk tuck said...

Let the nerd talk begin........Don, two years ago I came back from a big show that my $$$$ best client put on. I was ready to post process six days of stuff. My tower fried itself. I grabbed my nearly brand new MacPro and plugged in a few hard drives and started going. I didn't have time to config and load new software, etc. 4 gigs d-ram and a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. Faster than my old tower. I kept meaning to replace the tower but then 2009 hit and most of the stuff we were processing was e-mail......

It's what feels right, right now. I did see that the smaller MacBook pro that just came out is about twice as fast and has twice the graphics card. I might replace my "big" 15 inch with the 13 MacPro. So counterintuitive.

But really, my brain works slow so my computer has a lot of time to catch up......

Also, I love working on stuff in the office, then working on it at Starbucks then working on it on the plane, then working on it in the car (with someone else driving) so I've just gotten used to it.

I swear I'm working. I just hit Facebook for a second. Really. Just had two really nice guys from Olympus in my studio. Cool stuff. No big secret info but a lot of good innuendo. I think I'll hold on to my 14-35, my 35-100 and my assortment of primes. Could be big things ahead......

Steve Burns said...

"But really, my brain works slow so my computer has a lot of time to catch up..."

Ah a reason not to necessarily buy in to the most recent cutting edge of computer technology.

Robert said...

I was at at comdex about 10 years ago where a Microsoft bigshot froze up in front of 15 thousand people it was not pretty I felt so bad for her.
Regarding your desk I say "if your not making a mess your not realy working"

Jim said...

*I* can tell Kirk had been cleaning his office: Look how full the pencil container is!

kirk tuck said...

Sunday afternoon update. The Keynote presentation went well. I did it five times in two days. Nothing crashed. Everything worked well. I don't like LCD projectors. If you are in a room with too much light coming through the windows it really sucks. The blacks in photos wash out and the saturation in photos drops. I'm tired. Not from lecturing but from all the questions people want to ask, privately, after you've finished (and put in time for Q&A).

Bold Photography said...

Hi Kirk - I thought the presentation went better than expected. You took it in directions I wasn't expecting, and had me smiling the whole time. Yes, a lady did jump when one of the sound effects came on at the beginning... I think she was sleeping...

As I mentioned, I do presentations for a living, and though I could suggest ways to "improve" it (by applying the presentation written and unwritten rules I've learned), it wouldn't be *your* presentation any more. I also feel that unsolicited presentation 'fixing' (so-called) "advice" is about as welcome and helpful as unsolicited criticism of your photography... if you want some pointers, I'm happy to give them to you, but I really wouldn't change much, if anything.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to what software you use for photo work. I just got a iMac and am wondering what you use. Have you tried one of the new iMac 27 inch i7s? Fast and nice.

Both of the kids at UT have 13 inch Mac Book Pros and love them.

Regards

kirk tuck said...

Belinda has one of the newer 27's and it flies. Ben has a previous to this month's launched, Macbook Pro 13 inch and he finds it to be wonderful and bulletproof (not literally). I use an older MacBook 13 inch black original and a last generation 15 inch MacBook Pro hooked up to a 24 inch Apple Cinema monitor. I used towers (always Macs) right up until I fried my last one back in 2008. I grabbed a MacBook Pro to finish the job and never looked back. I love the portability and I am hardly a power user PhotoShop Savant so they've done nicely for me. My next buy will be the latest MacBook Pro and a new monitor. I'll be happy with that for a while.

As to software, I'll use whatever works. Mostly PhotoShop. Today I'm putting PS 5 thru its paces as I have a job that calls for some simple compositing later in the week and the new "refine edge" tools are supposed to be a godsend. We'll see. So far the learning curve isn't that arduous but.....having started at PhotoShop 2.5 (NOT CS2) I've been doing the learning curve non-stop since the 1990's....

I also use Capture One 5.0, Lightroom and iPhoto. All have their strengths even if sometimes the strength is just simplicity.