Twenty-first century presentations

Volume 9, Issue 34; 26 Mar 2006; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Improve your presentation experience with dual screen mode.

'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

Abraham Lincoln

Although already well established in the twentieth century, DITA 2006 was the first time I'd ever used “dual screen” mode to give a presentation. In dual screen mode, you get two connected but independent desktops. With a laptop, that means you can project one desktop while viewing another on your LCD panel. I can't imagine giving presentations any other way again!

It took a little fiddling to get dual screen mode working on my laptop, and it's not very useful “day to day” because I like to be able to take my laptop out of my office and continue working without worrying about “losing windows” on what would be the invisible second screenMac and Windows users may be able to gloat a little bit here about more dynamic configuration. I can toggle dual screen mode without rebooting, but not without logging out and back in..

But in a presentation setting, being able to have an active desktop with notes and other props while projecting something else was really handy. I'll probably wind up working on some improvements to the Slides document type to make generation of the “real” and “notes” views easier. And it'd be nice to have some Javascript to drive the “slide view” browser without having to mouse over to it.

Another advantage over simply “cloning” your LCD is that you can have two different resolutions. So I got to read my notes, etc., on my normal 1600x1200 desktop while projecting slides at 1024x768.

If you give presentations and you haven't tried dual screen mode, I highly recommend it!


Finally a way to get rid of that last pixel you see when 'hiding' the cursor in the corner during a presentation: put the cursor on the other screen. Much easier than throwing away a full line of pixels through adjusting the screen (if possible, think fixed beamer setups). But what if you show the audience 2 video signals and you can't control 3, so no private screen to hide the cursor on? :-) Or someone bumps the table the mouse is on during a movie and you're nowhere near the computer to get the cursor out of the middle of the screen? But seriously, you're post reminded me of something:

—Posted by stelt on 27 Mar 2006 @ 02:03 UTC #

Norm -- the S5 presentation system from Eric Meyer does some really nice Javascript magic for presentations.

—Posted by Bruce on 27 Mar 2006 @ 12:00 UTC #

Funny to see such great minds discover today tricks I've been working with for ages. Used to work in the late 90's in a little web design company, where I learnt that trick from a semi-illiterate graphist. He worked with up to three extra screens, the main one for the code editor, one for, say, IE rendering and the other for Netscape rendering, and an extra one for unameit application running. Since then I feel miserable when I have only one screen to work with, and have always the second one available at home. And in demos, it's really cool indeed, keeping the public screen clean and all the gory things on your private one.

—Posted by Bernard Vatant on 27 Mar 2006 @ 02:35 UTC #