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December 14, 2006

Sony in trouble again

Apparently Sony has been trying their hand at viral marketing, although without a great amount of success...

Some "teenagers" set up this site (not working at the mo) to discuss how all they wanted for Christmas was a PSP. Unfortunately, they all turned out to be corporate whores.

This Youtube video shows some of the key features of the sham, originally exposed in this Something Awful thread.

Mind you, they do say that all publicity is good publicity.


For some peculiar reason I have become a compulsive shoe shopper, buying two pairs in as many weeks. As someone who is still wearing shoes he wore at school (they're nice and comfy now the leather is soft), this is a significant change. I've even gone so far as to buy a pair of brown shoes. These will match my brown jacket and jeans in order to form some sort of heinous colour-coordinated fashion statement.


Rumours that I shall be dying the hair brown tomorrow are as yet unconfirmed.

December 09, 2006

Links - Microsoft Powerpoint

I've been stockpiling links in Bloglines for a while now, but unfortunately barely have the time to read them, let alone make decent comments. Unfortunately I want them cleaned out, and so over the next few days will do just that. You'll get a link and a brief excerpt - nothing more.

To start, I'd like to introduce this essay by Edward Tufte:

PowerPoint Does Rocket Science--and Better Techniques for Technical Reports

Nearly all engineering presentations at NASA are made in PowerPoint. Is this a produce endorsement or a big mistake. Does PP's cognitive style effect the quality of engineering analysis? How does PP compare with alternative methods of technical presentation?

I've often been slightly discontented with the use of PowerPoint for presentations. It's often the first clue that your lecture is likely to be boring. Reading from slides is not an acceptable way to convey information to an (hopefully) intelligent audience.

Tufte argues strongly that the bullet-point style of displaying information disrupts coherent thought and logical flow. The lecturers who use PP often ignore the hard boundaries between slides, but I can imagine that this is harder in a business context. Can't explain your point properly? That's OK - just ignore most of the subtleties so it will fit on the slide.

The very interested can buy an essay in book form:

The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within

In corporate and government bureaucracies, the standard method for making a presentation is to talk about a list of points organized onto slides projected up on the wall. For many years, overhead projectors lit up transparencies, and slide projectors showed high-resolution 35mm slides. Now "slideware" computer programs for presentations are nearly everywhere. Early in the 21st century, several hundred million copies of Microsoft PowerPoint were turning out trillions of slides each year.

Alas, slideware often reduces the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis. What is the problem with PowerPoint? And how can we improve our presentations?

The Full Feeds Debate - some evidence?

This blogger has spent two years wondering whether to make the move to publishing his articles in full online via. feeds. Instead they published a short summary of each article, requiring people to visit their page to see the whole thing. Here's an exciting graph:

Growth in RSS Subscribers - We added more than a 1000 new subscribers in less than a month - thanks to full feeds.

I think that speaks for itself.

I like full feeds, and have discussed them at length before (unfortunately it was ages ago and I can't be bothered to find the link).

The Full Feeds petition is still going here.

December 07, 2006

Link of the day

Why engineering's the best subject ever.

via. Bill Sticker