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Weekend read: Death by PowerPoint

The people in this stock photo, like most people in stock photos, look happy. How many times in your life have you sat through a PowerPoint presentation – particularly one on an inadequately size TV – and been that happy? Not terribly often, I suspect.

And so my recommended read for this weekend is a wonderfully sweary post on Medium, written by Robin Hardwick. It’s a guide to writing a PowerPoint presentation that won’t cause people to want to commit suicide. Here’s a sample:

I don’t need a slide that says HOUSEKEEPING to tell me that I can get up and go to the bathroom whenever I need to. It’s not like I was going to stay in my seat at all costs and soil my drawers so I won’t miss a precious moment of your Screen Beans describing what teamwork means.

Well, quite. Writing as somebody whose heart sinks when PowerPoint is fired up, I’d say that this article shouldn’t just be a recommended read, it should be compulsory for everyone who might ever have to give a presentation. It’s excellent.



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Weekend read: Goodbye Ctrl-S

Back in May, Jeff Jarvis wrote a brilliant reflective piece for Medium about the changing journalism workflows associated with changing technology. His compulsion to Ctrl-S is something that I share, and that I still do even though it is not longer necessary now that I use a Chromebook as my main machine.

Interestingly, one of the biggest changes that Chromebooks have had on my personal working patterns has come from the inclusion of a “search” button in place of the Caps Lock key. I cannot count the number of times I’ve hit Caps Lock on a work PC and typed search terms directly into whatever document I’m working on instead of finding the answers I’m seeking!



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Weekend read: I don’t understand America

It’s the Fourth of July, the one day of the year when our American cousins use the date and month in the correct, English, order as a celebration of their independence from Great Britain. And given that Weekend Read day coincides with this auspicious occasion, it seems only appropriate to pick a themed article.

Robicelli’s bakery posted an amusing list of questions about the USA on Medium, aimed mainly (I suspect) at a US audience, but all the more baffling to this UK reader. For example:

If you live in Minnesota or Alaska: did you know there are places where you can live where the elements are not plotting to kill you?

To the people of Kentucky: when I visited, you had smoking sections in all of your gas stations. Do your pumps fuel so slowly that you can’t possibly wait until your car is gassed up before you light up again?

This is an article that’s sure to raise a smile this weekend.



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Weekend read: Honey, I think we should consciously uncouple

Weekend Read

My choice for this weekend’s read is a hilarious short piece by Jason Gilbert on Medium, mocking Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s “conscious uncoupling”. It’s really quite brilliant.

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Weekend read: Imagining the post-antibiotics future

So much my 2013 has been taken up by antibiotic resistance that it seems only appropriate for the final Weekend Read of the year to be on that topic. And it’s a particularly good example, too!

The wonderful Maryn McKenna has written this brilliant long-form article on Medium which personalises the concept at the same time as giving plenty of scientific background. It’s well worth a read this weekend!

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Weekend read: Time is money… but only to a point

Concorde

This weekend’s recommended read is You’re too cheap to fly faster, published on Medium by Jason Paur. His brilliant post explores the reasons why air travel is now slower than it was shortly after the invention of the jet airliner.

The article starts off with a comparison between flight speed and computer speed, and it made me wonder if (or when) the same balance of factors will influence us to start using slower computers… although, as I’m writing this on my (totally brilliant) Chromebook, perhaps I could conclude that we’re already there…!

The beautiful picture of Concorde at the top of this post was uploaded to Flickr by Dan Daivson, and has been reproduced here under Creative Commons licence.

This 2,027th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , , .

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