Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Upgrading to Firefox 3.0

I've recently run an update of my web browser to Firefox 3.0 and I must say, superficially I can't see too many differences. Some of the interface elements have increased in size. Although I suspect many of the improvements are under the hood in terms of rendering and new standards support.

One thing I did notice though is that during the upgrade, all of my previously installed add-ons like Firebug disappeared. I didn't expect this and I'm pretty sure that there was no advice on this in the upgrade process. Still, it wasn't too painful to find and install them again ...

However I have experienced numerous severe crashes, particularly on some sites and incompatibility issues with some rich text editors which has seen me go back to Internet Explorer. Currently Firefox appears unstable, and I'm not sure why they released and promoted such a buggy browser ...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Alternative to MS Project - OpenProj

I've begun trying a few freeware alternatives to Microsoft Project.

After trying several tools including Open Workbench 1.16 by Computer Associates, I've settled on OpenProj 1.3.1 by Projity.

OpenProj seems to offer almost everything that Project does. It is a Java application, but I've found it to run pretty fast, at least as fast as MS Project 2007 does, which is very suprising for a cross-platform application.

The interface is intuitive and familiar and it contains many of the same features offered by other project management suites.

The only current difficulty I'm having is working out how to assign multiple predecessors to a task.

But I can't complain, it is completely free.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Delivering a PowerPoint Presentation for Coaching

Another set of tips:
1. Introducing Yourself
2. Outline the lesson plan
3. State your objectives, why you are here
4. Explain the benefits for your audience
5. Outline the session structure
6. Follow the lesson structure – create section slides
7. Start with the basics
8. Reinforce each section with “What you have learned” slide
9. Use callouts, circles and arrows to highlight features
10. Provide useful tips and techniques
11. Stick to format and minimise distractions
12. Ask for feedback
13. Organise Follow-up training

I've also found some other delivery methods useful:

  1. Screencast
  2. Webcast
  3. Web Conferencing

Some Dos and Don'ts of using PowerPoint for coaching

I had to prepare something recently and I thought I'd share some of it, these work for me:


  • Understand your audience
  • Have a lesson plan
  • Keep it simple
  • Be confident, maintain eye contact
  • Make it interesting, entertaining
  • Make it interactive, engage the audience
  • Use screenshots and visual aids
  • Encourage Practical Demonstrations


  • Simply read slides
  • Rely on it