PresenterPad: the presenters assistant
©Copyright 1994 David MacNeill
If you give speeches or present slide shows, a Boston-based company called Avalon Engineering has created a tool you will love: PresenterPad is a 312K Newton application thats a teleprompter, a slide show assistant, and an outliner in one elegantly integrated package.
Outlining your ideas
You begin creating your presentation or speech using PresenterPads Outline module. You can write directly into this module using standard outliner techniques, indenting as necessary to separate topics from subtopics, or import tab-formatted text from your Mac or Windows computer using Apples Newton Connection Kit. Simply copy and paste the text of your outline from your word processor or outliner software into a new note in the Connection Kit, then synchronize your Newton with your Mac or Windows machine.
Once in your Newtons Notepad, select the text and paste it into a new outline in PresenterPad using Newtons clipboard feature. PresenterPad will then automatically format the pasted text into a usable form. You have complete control over indentation depth and text styles. Dont like the order of slides? You can move blocks of text a topic at a time or just a selection at a time as necessary to make it look the way you want.
After you have your ideas in order, you shift over the either the Slide Manager or the Teleprompter view of your presentation.
Slide Manager and remote controller
If you are presenting conventional slides or overheads with bullet items, you would change views to PresenterPads Slide Manager. This module is designed to help you rehearse and give slide and overhead presentations. Your outline topics are shown in a large text area with subordinate items shown indented and bulleted. Four large buttons let you step through your show forwards or backwards, jumping to the slide or topic you want. Four timers live along the top of the Newton screen: clock time, elapsed time, "gas gauge" type tempo indicator, and a graphic countdown timer indicating how long to spend on each slide.
Slide Manager has a unique feature for presenters using remote controlled slide projectors. Using the Newtons infrared (IR) transceiver, a special adapter from Avalon will allow you to control your slide projector from wherever you are. The receiver will still have the 1 meter distance limit of the Newton IR, but the convenience of using a single integrated unit to prompt your presentation and control your slides is really cool.
If you are delivering a written speech, you switch views to PresenterPads Teleprompter. This powerful module works in two distinct modes. Rehearse and Present. In rehearsal mode, you practice delivering your speech, making pacing changes as you go along using four big control buttons: Faster, Slower, Pause, and Play/Stop. Like the Slide Manager, Teleprompter features four timers: Clock tells the actual time, End shows the time your speech will end at the current tempo, Elapsed shows the time since you began you speech, and the aforementioned Tempo meter. These timers are linked; for example, changes in speed resulting from tapping the Faster or Slower buttons are reflected in the End and
Teleprompter gives you the option of a normal smooth text scroll or a karaoke-type scroll, which jumps a screen at a time. The well-designed set of buttons and controls gives you complete control of your delivery. If you run short of time and must skip a section, or pause to deal with a heckler, you can continue to deliver your presentation as though you had planned it that way.
I had no trouble importing an outline from my Duo into PresenterPads outliner, editing it, then converting it into a slide presentation. Of course, since the Newton doesnt actually project slide images, I had to go back edit and reorder the slides in my presentation package (Aldus Persuasion), so the text prompts in PresenterPad matched the actual slides. On both my MessagePad 110 and MessagePad Classic, the overall feel and responsiveness is far above your average commercial-grade Newton software.
PresenterPad 1.03 is available wherever Newtons are sold, or from MacWarehouse (800-255-6227) for $75. Avalon will upgrade all registered users of 1.0x to 1.1 free of charge. For more information call Avalon at 617-247-7668, AppleLink: Avalon, or Compuserve at 70541,2000.
Dave MacNeill is a teacher, consultant, and marketing director for the IconoClass, a Macintosh, Windows, Internet, and Newton training center in Sacramento, 916-443-2527. He can be reached on NewtonMail at davemacneill, or on the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org.