.blogbody h2 { font-size: 0.9em !important;}'; $pageBody=''; $arrItem['2017-07-06 10:11:41']=array( 'id'=>'5015', 'title'=>stripslashes('Physical camera shutter for Cisco Spark Board'), 'body'=>'

Spark Board Shutter I have one of our newest products, the Cisco Spark Board, hanging in my home office. It’s a combination digital whiteboard, video conferencing system, and wireless projector all in one. The 55 inch one I have is designed for small conference rooms and team huddle areas in offices.

Our desktop video systems that are commonly used in home offices have a built-in camera shutter so you can block the camera entirely, but room-sized systems like the Spark Board don’t have one. That’s inconvenient for a home office where I might not always want video going.

So here’s a CAD file you can use to 3D print a shutter that you can slide over the camera when you’re not using it. It’s sitting on my 55" board, but might also fit a 70 board.

Download STL file

Shutter in use

How the shutter fits

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'A 3d printable design for a camera shutter for a Cisco Spark Board', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2017/07/physical_camera_shutter_for_cisco_spark_board/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>' 6 Jul 2017', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/3d', 'tag'=>'3d'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/board', 'tag'=>'board'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/cisco', 'tag'=>'cisco'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/print', 'tag'=>'print'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/spark', 'tag'=>'spark'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2006/10/small_screen_branding/', 'title'=>'Small screen branding', 'excerpt'=>'How’s your branding look on small screens?' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/04/the_web_isnt_print/', 'title'=>'The web isn\'t print', 'excerpt'=>'The web isn’t print. Don’t use popular print conventions like columnular layouts on a Web page.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2005/11/web_20_bingo/', 'title'=>'Web 2.0 Bingo', 'excerpt'=>'A bingo board for Web 2.0 terms.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/06/cut_once/', 'title'=>'...Cut once', 'excerpt'=>'The origin of this blog’s title is the old carpenter’s adage, "measure twice, cut once." The adage admonishes builders to plan carefully. Measure each board before you cut it, since once it’s been cut, you can’t undo the cut.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2017-01-20 13:19:42']=array( 'id'=>'5014', 'title'=>stripslashes('My Travel Coffee Setup'), 'body'=>'

travel coffee gear

I’m a coffee nut. I own more brewing equipment than most coffee houses, home roast as a hobby, and generally drink way too much of the stuff. I also travel a lot, which presents a dilemma: how do I get my fix when I’m on the road? This is complicated by the fact that I travel light and never check a bag. I’ll go on two week trips with just carry on luggage, so bag space is at a premium.

Over time I assembled the ultimate coffee geek road warrior setup. Every time someone hears about it, they want the details, so I’m posting it here so I have something to point to.

I’m on the road now, and took some authentic travel photos in the hotel room.

', 'extended' => '

The Gear

For the brew itself, I use an Aeropress. Mine is the first generation and looks a little different than the smoked gray one they sell now, but the size and components are all the same. At the time of this blog post, it’s $30. Ignore the brew instructions that come with it and look around on the internet for Aeropress recipes. Serious coffee people have written some serious instructions for it. My personal method is below.

You need a cup that’s small enough the Aeropress can fit on top of, but small enough to hold the body of the Aeropress. I use a Klean Kanteen 20 oz tumbler. At $27 it’s expensive for a cup, but don’t skimp and get the cheaper 16 ounce version. It won’t work since the interior isn’t wide enough to hold the Aeropress body inside. The Aoocan 20 ounce tumbler is a lot cheaper at $12 and will also fit Aeropress inside. I haven’t used the Aoocan, but I’ve tested the size and it works. The Kleen Kanteen comes with a great lid that’s flat and easy to travel with. The Aoocan is lid-less.

There’s a lot of handheld grinders that are designed to fit inside the hollow body of the Aeropress plunger. Mine is the original one of these, the $60 Porlex. There’s a lot of cheaper imitations out there that are highly rated. Just make sure the description or the reviews say it will fit inside the Aeropress plunger. This $23 model seems to be a good option.

For boiling, I use an immersion heater because they are small and pack well. Not all hotels have a microwave or a kettle in the room, and the coffee makers you find in rooms are often dirty and do a poor job of heating water. The standard travel immersion heater that you can get at the airport or the luggage store (like this one) will work in a pinch, but they’re low powered at 125 watts and will take a long time to boil your water. Expect 15-20 minutes before you get to a boil.

A higher wattage one will boil faster, like this 300w heater. One disadvantage of these is that the heater isn’t long enough to reach the bottom of the 20 oz mugs, so you only heat the top 3 inches of the water. You’ll want to stir the water up when you’re done. To solve this problem, I’ve recently started using a longer 1500 watt heater. It takes up a little more space in my bag, but not a whole lot. It’s listed for 110 volts only, and I haven’t tried it outside the US on a 220v system yet, so I’ll be taking one of my 300 watt heaters along as a backup.

Monitor your boil. Not only do you not want a rolling boil for your coffee, but these immersion heaters aren’t the safest things in the world. You’re converting electricity to heat through pure resistance in a tiny package that gets banged around a lot. I’ve had more than one catch fire while boiling. If that happens, just unplug it and dunk it right in the water you were boiling.

Optional gear

The Aeropress uses paper filters, and they can be a little messy to deal with. There’s a bunch of metal filters out there that you can use to replace the paper. The one I use is from a coffee geek shop in Tokyo, and I can’t find the same one on line. The Able Brewing Disk is very similar. It’s a very fine laser perforated disk. There’s also some that use mesh screens. You’ll get a thicker cup with more sediment in it with a mesh, and a cleaner cup with less body with a perforated version.

You’re going to have a few loose parts: the Aeropress filter holder, the paper or metal filters, possibly a lid for the tumbler, the grinder handle, and your immersion heater. You’ll probably want a bag to keep it all in. I use a small nylon drawstring bag to keep it all together.

Total

At the time of this post, going with the cheaper options above and getting both the optional items, you’ll spend just under $90. The more expensive versions will run you about $50 more.

The packing method

Set the funnel and the stirring paddle aside. You won’t bring them with you. I don’t even know where mine are anymore. If you’re using paper filters, throw a handful of them in a plastic bag.

Take the plunger out of the Aeropress. Insert it into the other end so the wide part of the plunger base and the wide part of the Aeropress body are on the same end, and push the plunger all the way in. You’ll end up with all the wide parts at one end and the narrow parts at the other.

An inside out Aeropress

Put the inside-out Aeropress into the cup.

If you’re traveling for a day or two, put enough beans for your trip into the grinder, and take an empty coffee bag along to transfer it to when you unpack. Otherwise, just toss the bag of coffee into your bag.

Put the grinder into the hollow Aeropress plunger.

The assembled kit

The brewing method

Fill the cup with water. Bottled water is preferred, since you never know what the hotel room tap water is going to taste like. I leave about an inch and a half of room in the cup so the boil doesn’t make a mess.

Grind the coffee to a fine grind. I grind 30-35 grams of coffee, which is just enough to reach the bottom of the #2 on the Aeropress at my grind. Instead of carrying a scale to weigh my coffee when I travel, I do it by eye. I know that when I fill my grinder with 32 grams of whole beans, they reach just below the top of the fins inside my grinder. So I pour in enough beans to get there. The bean size and the accuracy of my eyeballs causes the exact amount of coffee I use to fluctuate, but I don’t want to carry a mini scale just to weigh my beans and water. I’m crazy, but not insane.

Heat the water. You want about 190 degrees Farenheit. If you stop if just before it reaches a rolling boil, and then take the heater out of the water (unplug it first, or you’ll burn it out), then wait 45 seconds, you’ll be close to 190, and you won’t need to carry around a thermometer. Again, crazy, but not insane.

To brew, put the plunger in the Aeropress just enough to create a water tight seal. Put it down on the counter with the plunger down and the filter side pointing up. Put your coffee in, and then pour water in right to the top. You’ll still have about 1/3 of the water remaining in the cup. Leave it there.

Attach the filter, swirl the coffee inside a few times to make sure all the grounds are saturated, then flip and immediately press into your cup. It will mix with the hot water that’s in the cup already.

I don’t like to drink from my brew cup if I can avoid it, so I’ll pour the coffee into paper or ceramic coffee cups provided by the hotel room. If there’s nothing available, I’ll just drink from the mug.

Cleaning

During a trip, I just dump the grounds and rinse the Aeropress and cup with water immediately after use. When I get home, the Aeropress and cup go in the dishwasher. Every few trips, I’ll soak the grinder in Oxyclean to clean the coffee oils from the burrs.

If it’s a particularly long trip, I carry a small container of powdered Oxyclean with me that I use to wash clothes, and I’ll boil a half cup of water, then toss all the coffee gear parts in there with some Oxyclean.

', 'excerpt' => 'What my travel coffee brewing setup looks like, and how you can build your own for under $100.', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2017/01/my_travel_coffee_setup/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>'20 Jan 2017', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/coffee', 'tag'=>'coffee'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/howto', 'tag'=>'howto'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/travel', 'tag'=>'travel'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/01/coffee_roasting_diaries/', 'title'=>'Coffee Roasting diaries', 'excerpt'=>'My coffee roasting setup.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/12/carmel_coffee_marketing/', 'title'=>'Carmel Coffee Marketing', 'excerpt'=>'The owner of a Carmel coffee company demonstrates a very effective marketing technique.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/howto_make_a_popcorn_popper_coffee_roaster/', 'title'=>'How-To: Make a popcorn popper coffee roaster', 'excerpt'=>'How-To: Make a popcorn popper coffee roaster — Engadget shows how to modify a popcorn...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/howto_make_a_popcorn_popper_coffee_roaster/', 'title'=>'How-To: Make a popcorn popper coffee roaster', 'excerpt'=>'How-To: Make a popcorn popper coffee roaster — Engadget shows how to modify a popcorn...' ), ) ); $arrItem['2016-05-30 04:23:53']=array( 'id'=>'5013', 'title'=>stripslashes('Turkey Legs'), 'body'=>'

My great grandmother was sitting with us one day and asked if anyone wanted a turkey leg. We all declined. She asked again later. No one wanted one. A few minutes later, she stood, announcing that she was going to go get a turkey leg and are we sure we didn’t want one? Again, we all declined.

She left the room and returned with a Drumstick ice cream, and when my dad said ,"That looks good, are there any more?" she replied, "I just asked you if you wanted a turkey leg and you said no!"

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Product naming gone awry.', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2016/05/turkey_legs/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>'30 May 2016', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/family', 'tag'=>'family'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/product', 'tag'=>'product'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/turkey', 'tag'=>'turkey'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/evhead_will_it_fly_how_to_evaluate_a_new_product_idea/', 'title'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea', 'excerpt'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea — Evan Williams attempts...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/evhead_will_it_fly_how_to_evaluate_a_new_product_idea/', 'title'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea', 'excerpt'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea — Evan Williams attempts...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/evhead_will_it_fly_how_to_evaluate_a_new_product_idea/', 'title'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea', 'excerpt'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea — Evan Williams attempts...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/12/evhead_will_it_fly_how_to_evaluate_a_new_product_idea/', 'title'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea', 'excerpt'=>'evhead: Will it fly? How to Evaluate a New Product Idea — Evan Williams attempts...' ), ) ); $arrItem['2015-12-17 18:15:18']=array( 'id'=>'5012', 'title'=>stripslashes('Speaking for Geeks: Your Slides'), 'body'=>'

At most tech events, the audience and the producers expect you to have some slides to show alongside your presentation. I recently gave a talk without any slides at all and I think I made the audience uncomfortable.

Creating great slides for a presentation is a subject that others have covered in great detail elsewhere. It’s the subject of entire blogs and books. Presentation Zen is probably the best known of these.

I’m not going to try and provide you an exhaustive list of what to do and not to do with your slides. Instead, I’m going to give a few tips that help me, and call out some of the most obvious common errors I see tech presenters repeating.

See if you can find out what aspect ratio the projector or screen you’ll be using is in. If you create 16:9 wide format slides but end up projecting on an ancient 600x800 projector, most of your content will be squished, off the screen, or otherwise unusable. If you can’t find out the format, use a standard 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s easier to display a 4:3 image on a 16:9 screen than vice versa.

Find out how big the room will be and what sort of lighting is in there, if possible. A brightly lit room that’s super deep requires a much higher contrast color scheme to be visible in the back of the room than a dark, small room. If in doubt, go high contrast: white on black or black on white.

Avoid words on your slides. Your slides are not content. They’re supporting your content. They don’t need to stand alone. No one needs to read them without you around. By putting lots of words on the screen, you’re losing your audience. They start reading the text, and since they can read faster than you can talk, they reach the end of the slide before you do. Then they go off and read their email, or daydream, or start their expense report. You’ve lost them and good luck getting them back.

too-much-text.png

If you have 10 words on your slide, you probably have too many. Regardless of how many words you have on a slide, don’t read them verbatim to your audience. We can read, thank you. We don’t need you to do it for us. And we can read faster than your verbalizing. One way to make this easier is to just not put text on your slides at all.

If you’re in a situation where someone really does need to read your slides without you around, consider creating two versions of the slides. One that you present, and one that you leave behind. When I advise startups on pitching for investment, I recommend this approach. Have the “pitch deck” that investors expect full of details, but present from a “presentation deck” that just has supporting information like charts and diagrams.

Your slides should illustrate your point. They’re a visual to anchor the audience’s eyes and keep them from wandering to something else, like their email. Think about when you watch TV news. The anchorwoman is talking to you. Behind her is a graphic that explains what you’re hearing about. The graphic doesn’t try and convey all the information the anchorwoman is giving you, it’s just there to tell you what she’s talking about. When it changes, you know she’s moving to a different topic.

Don’t put animations in your slides. “Transitions” or “animations” are one of the worst things that PowerPoint and other presentation software ever gave us. Flying, fading, spinning, zooming objects all over the place distract the audience. They have no substance.

A more practical reason to avoid animation is that it often breaks when moving from one environment to another. You’re expecting your content to come sliding in, but when it’s viewed on the laptop the conference is showing all presentations from, it doesn’t show up.

Unless you’re a designer or you have a designer helping with your presentation, use a pre-existing template for your slides. Both PowerPoint and Keynote come with a bunch of them. You can also buy templates from a variety of sources for reasonable rates. The simpler the better, at least until you have some experience under your belt.

Presenters that try and design their own templates often end up with things that are unreadable when shown on a big screen in a large room.

Don’t put things on your slides that don’t need to be there. The page number on every screen isn’t needed. No one’s going to later ask you to pull up page 6 of your talk. Assuming you’re presenting to a public audience, leave off the ubiquitous “proprietary and confidential” footer. If it were confidential, you wouldn’t be showing to a room full of people.

Conversely, I DO like to put a logo and my contact info—either email or Twitter — on every slide. This makes sure that if someone takes a picture of your side and posts it somewhere, people can tell where it came from.

Don’t try and copy someone else’s style. When Lawrence Lessig’s culture remix and Dick Hardt’s Identity talk came out, I spent years sitting through bad clones of the rapid fire style of those talks. 300 slides in 30 minutes is hard to do well, and no one did it well.

Have your contact information on a slide early in the talk. Repeat that slide at the end of your deck. I leave that up while I answer questions and wrap up.

In most presentation software, when you’re in presentation mode and you advance past the last slide, the software exits presentation mode. To keep from accidentally doing this, I put a single blank black slide as my last slide. Then if I accidentally go past my contact slide, I can go back one.

I often give a talk on the subject of Public Speaking for Geeks. Here’s the slides from that talk, so you can see some of the principles here in action.

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Tips and tricks for creating great slides.', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2015/12/speaking_for_geeks_your_slides/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>'17 Dec 2015', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/slides', 'tag'=>'slides'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/speaking', 'tag'=>'speaking'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/speekingforgeeks', 'tag'=>'speekingforgeeks'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/05/ebig_tonight/', 'title'=>'Ebig tonight', 'excerpt'=>'I’ll be speaking tonight at the meeting of the East Bay IT Group.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/05/ebig_slides/', 'title'=>'Ebig Slides', 'excerpt'=>'The slides from my ebig presentation are now online.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/05/ebig_slides/', 'title'=>'Ebig Slides', 'excerpt'=>'The slides from my ebig presentation are now online.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/01/weblogs_for_capitalists/', 'title'=>'Weblogs for Capitalists', 'excerpt'=>'I’m speaking at "How to Capitalize on Blogging," on Feb 5, 2004.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2015-12-14 16:43:47']=array( 'id'=>'5011', 'title'=>stripslashes('Speaking for Geeks: Writing Your Talk'), 'body'=>'

Once you’ve settled on what you’re going to speak about and have had your talk accepted by an event, it’s time to write your talk.

Step one: don’t wait until the night before the talk to write it. Crazy, I know, but it doesn’t yield great results. You’d be surprised how often at conferences I hear “Can’t go out tonight, I have to write my talk for tomorrow.” Your audience has taken time out of their lives to be here. They’re giving you their time. Perhaps they’ve even spent a lot of money to come. You owe them the courtesy of being prepared.

You should start preparing at least a month before your talk. Even longer is better. I find that additional ideas and thoughts percolate after I’ve written the initial draft. You’ll also want time to rehearse your presentation at least 10 times (more on that later).

Writing your talk does not mean you open up PowerPoint or Keynote. While you might create slides to use during your presentation, presentation software isn’t very good for writing. When you try and write your talk in Powerpoint, you tend to focus on the style and design instead of the content.

You’ll use the story framework to guide your talk, but you don’t need to start thinking about the story yet. You just want to get all your thoughts on the subject down.

Sit down and think about what you want to say. What message you want to get across, what do you want people to know or do when you’re done. Write down all the concepts and ideas that come to you as you think about your talk. Don’t edit, try and decide if it’s good, or organize your ideas yet. This will come later. I like to use a mind-mapping tool for this. The key is to just dump all your thoughts on the page and be able to organize them later.

Mind Map Brainstorm

My initial brainstorm is always a disorganized mess. I’m just dumping thoughts out in a stream of consciousness. Once I’m done, I decide the purpose of my talk. Am I trying to teach, persuade, or inform, as I’ll need a different level of detail in the presentation for each of these. I think of central themes or topics I wish to cover. To keep your talk from being a disorganized mess, you want to have one Big Purpose and a series of themes that support the Big Purpose.

Having a single Big Purpose helps you keep your talk focused. It prevents you from wandering from subject to subject and losing your audience. Everything you say in your talk should go toward advancing the Big Purpose, and if it doesn’t cut it from the talk entirely.

For my talk on Public speaking, the Big Purpose is “Make you a better speaker” and the supporting themes match the subjects of each of these blog posts: why you should be speaking, session submission, where to speak, writing your talk, and so forth. The items from my brainstorm are then organized under each of those topics. Items that don’t fit a topic go in an “everything else” topic. Those might get refined to better fit a topic, they might become the basis for a new topic, or they might just get left out of the talk.

Now it’s time to go through all your topics and see if you find more information that you’d like to cover for that topic. You have the bones of the skeleton, start making sure they’re all fleshed out.

Organized Topic Mind Map

You’re planning on making your talk into a story, right? Now’s when you can start mapping that out. Making a storyboard or a roadmap that shows one topic leading to the next can help you visualize this and organize it better.

Story Map

Once I’ve mapped out the story and decided on the beginning, middle, and end, It’s time to start writing the content. My mind-map gets converted into an outline (most mind mapping packages will do this for you) and I’ll start filling in the outline. Writing shot blocks of text - not enough to make a paragraph, but enough that if I read one of the independently a year later, I’ll know what I meant by it. I’ll usually write it just how I wrote it out here: starting, stopping, skipping around as I come up dry on one line of thought, and picking up on another.

It’s a lot like writing anything else. Create your major themes, hang supporting bits off those. If you spend too much time on one theme, either prune it back or consider if you have two themes. Incidentally, the “Tell a Story” theme was originally part of “Writing your talk” one, but it grew so large, it became it’s own.

If you want, you could start writing in PowerPoint now. Don’t worry about the design or how much you have one one slide. These slides are going to get stripped back later anyway. But by putting things in PowerPoint now, you can start seeing how your talk will break up and flow. It becomes easy to re-arrange the order of your content to find the most logical format. Basically, you’re treating PowerPoint as a big outlining package.

Now read it, critically. You are your own editor. Are you making the same point twice where doing it once would do? Do all your points tie to the central Big Purpose? Are you rambling or providing irrelevant details? Keep asking yourself, “what’s in it for me?” from the standpoint of your audience, and if you find things that don’t answer that question, change or remove them.

If you’re trying to inform, are you getting too detailed and turning it into a training class? If you’re trying to train, are you glossing over important parts? If you’re trying to persuade, do you have any arguments with weak or no supporting statements?

Once you’ve got it all down, rehearse it out loud. This isn’t your finished content, and certainly not your finished slides, but reading them out loud like you’re giving the talk will point out places where your talk doesn’t flow well. Think of each slide in terms of prerequisites: what does the audience need to know before they’ll understand this slide, and have you already given it to them?

Now you know what you’re going to say. Most tech presentations use slides as some supporting material. Next up, I’ll talk about the process of creating those.

This is part of a series on becoming a better public speaker. Read the rest of the series.

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Don’t wait until the night before the talk to write it. Crazy, I know.', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2015/12/speaking_for_geeks_writing_your_talk/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>'14 Dec 2015', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/speakingforgeeks', 'tag'=>'speakingforgeeks'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/talk', 'tag'=>'talk'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/writing', 'tag'=>'writing'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/11/writing_tips/', 'title'=>'Writing tips', 'excerpt'=>'Quick, funny, and immediate impact. What more could you want in a writing guide?' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/newly_digital/', 'title'=>'Newly Digital', 'excerpt'=>'Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I’ve asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. So go read, enjoy, and then contribute. This collection is open to you. Write up your own story, and then let the world know about it.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/02/tips_for_writing_nicer_site_badges/', 'title'=>'Tips for Writing Nicer Site Badges', 'excerpt'=>'Tips for Writing Nicer Site Badges — Suggestions for writing more browser friendly JavaScript widgets....' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/07/writing_realistic_job_descriptions/', 'title'=>'Writing Realistic Job Descriptions', 'excerpt'=>'Publish a job listing like this one and you are virtually guaranteeing that you won’t get qualified applicants for the position.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2015-12-13 13:39:07']=array( 'id'=>'5010', 'title'=>stripslashes('Speaking for Geeks: Tell a Story'), 'body'=>'

Your talk should tell a story. It’s easier for an audience to follow if the transitions flow from topic to topic in a logical manner.

A story sets up a situation, creates a conflict, then resolves that conflict. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Stories are easy to tell and easy to remember. A good story keeps your audience engaged, keeps them from looking at their email. Once they look at their email, you’ve lost them for good.

Stories are better than a recitation of facts and a bunch of code samples and demos throw up in random order. Stories make your audience want to hear what’s coming next. They provide structure. They draw the audience in.

Everyone knows how to tell a story. You don’t find yourself grasping for information when you’re telling a great story. The next facts come to you as you’re telling the previous ones, because the topics flow logically from one thing to the next. The sequence is clear in your head and you remember the details as you move through the sequence.

How do you start a story?

Surely you’ve had someone tell you a story where they spend so much time explaining the backstory and including unimportant details that you’re practically begging for them to get to the point? Don’t do that. Thinking of a presentation as a story will help you stay focused and get to the point quickly. Introduce the topic, the setting, and the main characters, then get on with the story.

If you’re talking about improving monitoring on your operations team by implementing Ganglia, the characters are your operations staff. The setting is your web site. Use the first words of your talk to get these out of the way as quickly as possible and to hook your audience. Opening right up with an anecdote can be a great start. I like to get the punchy opening in even before I introduce myself. You take the stage and say “At 2:31 AM on Sunday May 5th, we were hit by a DDoS attack that lasted 16 hours. Our monitoring system sent no alerts. We didn’t know it until 8am on Monday when a we opened our email and saw a flood of customer complaints.”

The audience is hooked. They want to know what happened. They want to know why you were so incompetent you didn’t know about it until Monday. They want to know how to make sure they don’t end up being right there with you. Then you introduce yourself.

Another opening gambit is to start with a statistic. “62% of web sites experience a failure without knowing exactly when it happened or what was going on when it occurred."

A classic bit of presentation advice is to start with a joke. Don’t. You’re probably not that funny. You certainly aren’t that funny when you’re nervous, talking to a room of people you don’t know, and half of them didn’t learn English as their first language. Unless you’re experienced with comedy, leave the jokes out of our presentation. I used to be a professional clown (no, seriously), and I never start a presentation with a joke. When your joke falls flat it makes you more nervous and your audience uncomfortable.

The middle part of the presentation sets up the conflict. What’s the problem that the characters are experiencing? In the Implementing Ganglia story, the conflict is the problems that your team has run into and the solutions they’ve tried to solve them. Here’s what we saw, here’s what we tried, here’s how it almost worked, but here’s the big downside to that. Now here’s another thing.

The end is the climax of the story, followed by detail supporting that climax, followed by a call to action. We implemented Ganglia. It solved problem A like so, and problem B like so. Here’s the specific steps we took to solve this one hairy issue, and here’s the things we still need to learn more about. You can read about Ganglia at these fine URLs.

A great way to see lots of other speakers weave storytelling into their talks is to watch TED talks online. The TED format is almost all about a story. Joshua Foer’s Feats of memory anyone can do is a great example. Throughout the talk, he interweaves elements of storytelling and facts. There’s stories within stories, stories about different memory techniques embedded in his larger story about improving his own memory.

Telling a story keeps your presentation focused, keeps your audience interested, and makes it easier for you to remember your talk.

This is part of a series on becoming a better public speaker. Read the rest of the series.

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Telling a story keeps your presentation focused, keeps your audience interested, and makes it easier for you to remember your talk.', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2015/12/speaking_for_geeks_tell_a_story/', 'category'=>'', 'date'=>'13 Dec 2015', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/ganglia', 'tag'=>'ganglia'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/speakingforgeeks', 'tag'=>'speakingforgeeks'), array( 'link'=>'http://www.kalsey.com/tag/story', 'tag'=>'story'), ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/matrix_geeks/', 'title'=>'Matrix Geeks', 'excerpt'=>'Why do geeks love The Matrix? Because in it, the geeks save the world. ' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/11/comment_spam_makes_the_news/', 'title'=>'Comment Spam makes the news', 'excerpt'=>'A news story on comment spam with quotes from me and others.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/newly_digital/', 'title'=>'Newly Digital', 'excerpt'=>'Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I’ve asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. So go read, enjoy, and then contribute. This collection is open to you. Write up your own story, and then let the world know about it.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/05/ebig_tonight/', 'title'=>'Ebig tonight', 'excerpt'=>'I’ll be speaking tonight at the meeting of the East Bay IT Group.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-21 15:07:16']=array( 'id'=>'4994', 'title'=>stripslashes('This can\'t be good: http://t.co/vJCJ3D2g'), 'body'=>'

This can’t be good: http://t.co/vJCJ3D2g Jun 21, 2012 10 :07 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'This can’t be good: http://t.co/vJCJ3D2g Jun 21, 2012 10 :07 via Twitter...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/this_cant_be_good_httptcovjcj3d2g/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'21 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/03/aol_product_not_good_enough_for_employees/', 'title'=>'AOL product not good enough for employees', 'excerpt'=>'Some time back AOL Time Warner dictated that all employees would use a custom version...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/04/performance_tuning_and_optimizing_aspnet_applications/', 'title'=>'Performance Tuning and Optimizing ASP.NET Applications', 'excerpt'=>'A good friend has a a new book out. ' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2005/10/upcomming_for_yahoo/', 'title'=>'Upcomming for Yahoo', 'excerpt'=>'Andy Baio does good.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2006/05/the_importance_of_being_good/', 'title'=>'The importance of being good', 'excerpt'=>'Starbucks is pulling CD burning stations from their stores. That says something interesting about their brand.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-19 16:03:31']=array( 'id'=>'4993', 'title'=>stripslashes('Am I the only one wondering what would happen if I unplugged that Ethernet cable?'), 'body'=>'

Am I the only one wondering what would happen if I unplugged that Ethernet cable? Jun 19, 2012 11 :03 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Am I the only one wondering what would happen if I unplugged that Ethernet cable?...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/am_i_the_only_one_wondering_what_would_happen_if_i_unplugged_that_ethernet_cable/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'19 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2001/12/cable_modem_wonderland/', 'title'=>'Cable Modem Wonderland', 'excerpt'=>'I’ve been offline for a few days. AT&T has dropped cable modem service due to...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/09/km_myths/', 'title'=>'KM Myths', 'excerpt'=>'These seven Knowledge Management mistakes happen in a variety of software implementations.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/bad_call/', 'title'=>'Bad call', 'excerpt'=>'Telephone services are very reliable and broadband is not. Think carefully before switching your telephone service to run over your cable modem.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/bad_call/', 'title'=>'Bad call', 'excerpt'=>'Telephone services are very reliable and broadband is not. Think carefully before switching your telephone service to run over your cable modem.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-19 16:01:21']=array( 'id'=>'4992', 'title'=>stripslashes('Now I know why my hotel wifi signal is so good: http://t.co/ADAKVtPK'), 'body'=>'

Now I know why my hotel wifi signal is so good: http://t.co/ADAKVtPK Jun 19, 2012 11 :01 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Now I know why my hotel wifi signal is so good: http://t.co/ADAKVtPK Jun 19, 2012...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/now_i_know_why_my_hotel_wifi_signal_is_so_good_httptcoadakvtpk/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'19 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/01/jury_duty/', 'title'=>'Jury Duty', 'excerpt'=>'I’m on jury duty next week, so I’m looking for WiFi near the courthouse.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2006/01/hotel_simplicity/', 'title'=>'Hotel simplicity', 'excerpt'=>'Some simple things hotels do to make your stay nicer.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2005/12/lockin_is_bad/', 'title'=>'Lock-in is bad', 'excerpt'=>'T-Mobile thinks they’ll get new Hotspot customers with exclusive content and locked-in devices.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2006/06/skype_at_25000_feet/', 'title'=>'Skype at 25,000 feet', 'excerpt'=>'The plane’s got Wi-Fi. So of course we had to try Skype. ' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-18 05:17:53']=array( 'id'=>'4981', 'title'=>stripslashes('The Oakland A\'s are selling root beer floats to raise money to fight diabetes. Next month, how about beer proceeds donated to AA?'), 'body'=>'

The Oakland A’s are selling root beer floats to raise money to fight diabetes. Next month, how about beer proceeds donated to AA? Jun 18, 2012 12 :17 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'The Oakland A’s are selling root beer floats to raise money to fight diabetes. Next...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/the_oakland_as_are_selling_root_beer_floats_to_raise_money_to_fight_diabetes_next_month_how_about_beer_proceeds_donated_to_aa/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'18 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/12/blog_and_forum_automatic_submission_scripts/', 'title'=>'Blog and Forum automatic submission scripts', 'excerpt'=>'Spammers are buying ever-more sophisticated tools to facilitate their comment spamming. Fight back.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/10/the_introverts_guide_to_selling/', 'title'=>'The Introvert\'s Guide To Selling', 'excerpt'=>'The Introvert’s Guide To Selling — BusinessPundit describes what sales really is, why entrepreneurs need...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/10/businesspundit_the_irony_of_raising_money_for_a_startup/', 'title'=>'Businesspundit: The Irony of Raising Money For a Startup', 'excerpt'=>'Businesspundit: The Irony of Raising Money For a Startup — "Raising money is really an...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/09/kiddie_commerce/', 'title'=>'Kiddie Commerce', 'excerpt'=>'My kids are selling popcorn for their Cub Scout Pack. To help them learn about business and running a Web site, I’ve set up a simple ecommerce site for them.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-17 12:42:22']=array( 'id'=>'4980', 'title'=>stripslashes('Dear gmail, please sort autocomplete contacts by frequency of use. I email my wife Christina way more than I do @ChrisPirillo. Put her 1st.'), 'body'=>'

Dear gmail, please sort autocomplete contacts by frequency of use. I email my wife Christina way more than I do @ChrisPirillo. Put her 1st. Jun 17, 2012 7 :42 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Dear gmail, please sort autocomplete contacts by frequency of use. I email my wife Christina...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/dear_gmail_please_sort_autocomplete_contacts_by_frequency_of_use_i_email_my_wife_christina_way_more_than_i_do_chrispirillo_put_her_1st/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'17 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/09/email_marketing_usability/', 'title'=>'Email Marketing Usability', 'excerpt'=>'Jakob Nielsen turns to a subject dear to my heart: the improving your email newsletters to enhance the reader experience.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/10/open_letter_to_barnes_noble/', 'title'=>'Open letter to Barnes & Noble', 'excerpt'=>'Barnes & Noble screwed up by sending a marketing email to people who told them they didn’t want to get email, made it difficult to change email preferences, and then ignored their mistake.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2005/10/email_legal_notices_gone_wild/', 'title'=>'Email legal notices gone wild', 'excerpt'=>'A very long legal notice attached to the end of an email message.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/07/email_marketing_stupidity/', 'title'=>'Email marketing stupidity', 'excerpt'=>'I just renewed the domain registration for kalsey.com through Register.com. Right after I did so, they automatically sent me some marketing email. They made some dumb mistakes in their message that you can easily avoid in your marketing campaigns.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-16 02:25:06']=array( 'id'=>'4979', 'title'=>stripslashes('My son\'s school is selling or giving my contact info to local businesses. Lovely.'), 'body'=>'

My son’s school is selling or giving my contact info to local businesses. Lovely. Jun 16, 2012 9 :25 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'My son’s school is selling or giving my contact info to local businesses. Lovely. Jun...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/my_sons_school_is_selling_or_giving_my_contact_info_to_local_businesses_lovely/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'16 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/01/small_businesses_missing_the_web/', 'title'=>'Small Businesses missing the Web', 'excerpt'=>'Many small businesses don’t think they need a Web site. But having a site can enhance any business, save money, and increase revenue.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/01/small_businesses_missing_the_web/', 'title'=>'Small Businesses missing the Web', 'excerpt'=>'Many small businesses don’t think they need a Web site. But having a site can enhance any business, save money, and increase revenue.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2004/05/how_to_blog/', 'title'=>'How To Blog', 'excerpt'=>'Pheedo and I are helping businesses understand blogging with a new series.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2007/10/the_introverts_guide_to_selling/', 'title'=>'The Introvert\'s Guide To Selling', 'excerpt'=>'The Introvert’s Guide To Selling — BusinessPundit describes what sales really is, why entrepreneurs need...' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-15 12:38:05']=array( 'id'=>'4978', 'title'=>stripslashes('Two iPhones in the house took a swim this week. Opened them up, cleaned them out, they\'re both working again.'), 'body'=>'

Two iPhones in the house took a swim this week. Opened them up, cleaned them out, they’re both working again. Jun 15, 2012 7 :38 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'Two iPhones in the house took a swim this week. Opened them up, cleaned them...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/two_iphones_in_the_house_took_a_swim_this_week_opened_them_up_cleaned_them_out_theyre_both_working_again/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'15 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2001/10/my_house_in_color/', 'title'=>'My house, in color', 'excerpt'=>'And there’s my house again. In color this time......' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2001/10/my_house_from_afar/', 'title'=>'My house from afar', 'excerpt'=>'I can see my house from here....' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/02/dsl_deregulation_passes_house/', 'title'=>'DSL deregulation passes House', 'excerpt'=>'Computerworld | Broadband bill wins House approval: "The legislation would eliminate requirements that incumbents open...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/05/technorati_plugin/', 'title'=>'Technorati plugin', 'excerpt'=>'Dave Sifry has opened up a Technorati interface that allows outside developers to use the Technorati data. I’ve whipped up a quick MT plugin that can get the Technorati link Cosmos for your entire blog or a specific entry and insert it into your blog pages.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-15 08:36:24']=array( 'id'=>'4977', 'title'=>stripslashes('If your pitch deck is more about the animations than the company, you\'ve already lost.'), 'body'=>'

If your pitch deck is more about the animations than the company, you’ve already lost. Jun 15, 2012 3 :36 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'If your pitch deck is more about the animations than the company, you’ve already lost....', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/if_your_pitch_deck_is_more_about_the_animations_than_the_company_youve_already_lost/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'15 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/03/lost_mail/', 'title'=>'Lost mail', 'excerpt'=>'If you emailed in the last day or so and I haven’t responded, please resend...' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/04/microsoft_blogs/', 'title'=>'Microsoft blogs', 'excerpt'=>'Many Microsoft employees have their own blogs. In addition to some great insight into the company, this provides a lesson to your own company.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/09/opportunity_lost/', 'title'=>'Opportunity lost', 'excerpt'=>'Improve the customer experience of automated emails.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/11/burning_bridges/', 'title'=>'Burning bridges', 'excerpt'=>'When leaving a company, don’t lose your head.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-14 15:04:15']=array( 'id'=>'4976', 'title'=>stripslashes('The ER is always filled with interesting people.'), 'body'=>'

The ER is always filled with interesting people. Jun 14, 2012 10 :04 via Twitter

', 'extended' => '', 'excerpt' => 'The ER is always filled with interesting people. Jun 14, 2012 10 :04 via Twitter...', 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2012/06/the_er_is_always_filled_with_interesting_people/', 'category'=>'Shorts', 'date'=>'14 Jun 2012', 'blnComment'=>true, 'commentcount'=>'0', 'tags'=> array( ), 'related'=> array( array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/06/be_interesting_or_be_quiet/', 'title'=>'Be interesting or be quiet', 'excerpt'=>'Don’t fill your blog with inane banter just because you can’t think of anything to say. Your audience won’t appreciate it. ' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2003/08/remember_me_movable_type/', 'title'=>'Remember Me, Movable Type', 'excerpt'=>'By making it easier for people to comment on your blog, more people will.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2002/11/simplelinks/', 'title'=>'Simplelinks', 'excerpt'=>'Simplelinks is a collection of interesting spaces on the Web. Short, to the point, without commentary.' ), array( 'link'=>'http://kalsey.com/2006/05/the_importance_of_being_good/', 'title'=>'The importance of being good', 'excerpt'=>'Starbucks is pulling CD burning stations from their stores. That says something interesting about their brand.' ), ) ); $arrItem['2012-06-14 11:31:35']=array( 'id'=>'4975', 'title'=>stripslashes('Proof reading is gud.'), 'body'=>'

Proof reading is gud. Jun 14, 2012 6 :31 via Twitter

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