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Bill writes for help with
How to help contributors facilitate
delivery of update submissions?

There are several folks in the DelVal who work with  me to 
prepare  presentations for user groups. Their  slides, 
handout materials, et al., could  be recycled  to other 
groups. I must point out that the materials  are  "timely," 
and most will be impractical for use  other than as a 
template, due  to changes in technology,  updates, etc. 
I know you have SOME  provision/process  to accommodate 
this activity, but I am ignorant. 

For example, we have one presentation (I need to polish  
Sam's work) that  deals with making the transition from  
serial to USB, from SCSI to Firewire,  etc. We have  
another that deals with some of the neat shareware  
titles, e.g.,  BeHierarchic, ramBunctious, File Buddy,  
etc. Another deals with CD  technology--media, drives,  
processes, software, etc.

Easy Presentation Submissions
File formats for contributors?

Best solution is making screen captures, and using a low cost "slide show" utility to show them.

Many, many people I know agonize over making the presentation a "PRESENTATION" yet I always get many compliments on my presentations because they are simple.

White type on a black background is the most effective for projection. Forget about schmaltzy PowerPoint effects... your audience will be noticing the effects instead of getting the message.

Use only key words. A few simple keywords for each screen are far better than a paragraph. While you're speaking, these keywords will be burning into their minds.

Screen captures work well because you save out as a GIF file, they get very small, and they're easily manageable as single files. Putting your images into a presentation program merely muddies the water and distracts you from building the presentation. As a shot is eclipsed by newer technology, replace it. No threaded presentation to disturb. Simply replace it or delete it.

Screen captures are easy for laymen to generate. If it's a software demonstration, they can simply document each step with a capture. Unless you really, really know the program well, don't give the presentation from the program. You'll trip up, and look bad.

If you get a series of slides that really seem to work for you, then import them into a DTP program -- full page, landscape. Then render it out as an Adobe Acrobat file. You can delete and ad pages at will. It runs on any computer, and is gentle with memory.

You should set up an FTP directory on your web site, or arrange one with your ISP so that contributors and collaborators can upload files to you rather than attaching them to email. There's nothing worse than being held hostage by the morning's email with twenty 2-meg file attachments! (don't you hate that???) When you set up the FTP, you can even put in different directory names for each of your contributors. We have our FTP folders for contributors locked, and password protected so that no contributor sees the submissions from any of the others.

If you're on a PC/windows machine, program a SHORTCUT that logs into the FTP and uploads the file when the contributor drags'n'drops a file on the shortcut. On the Mac OS, both Fetch and Transit (now names Transmit) allow Apple Events and you can script a DROPLETTE that automatically logs on, enters the FTP area and uploads the dropped file.

But just remember:
People make presentations far more complicated than they need to.
Concentrate on delivering a message as clearly and as easy to understand (and remember) as possible -- and NOT on the making of the presentation itself.

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