No less Posen

Fleur Doidge
21 March, 2008
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Melbourne’s very own Les Posen, clinical psychologist and Apple aficionado, was invited to the giant Macworld Expo in California this year. Did he go? You betcha.

While Posen has gained a certain fame by his habit of sourcing and distributing Israeli folk dances online, he also wins for his skill with presentation software, using Keynote rather than death by PowerPoint.

As Posen argues (in an interview you’ll find in AMW 05.2008), Microsoft PowerPoint has become the standard presentation software in use in the workplace "because it seems to make the presenter’s job easier by acting as projected index cards to keep your notes."

"But it makes it hard on the audience to have to read so much, while listening to the presenter read too! It’s tiring and disengaging." We all know exactly what he means. Of course — as Posen freely admits — you can do lousy presentations with Keynote too, especially if you apply the cognitive style of PowerPoint.

"And there’s a good reason iWork never included chintzy clip art. That also makes the brain work hard to decipher the message," says Posen. "Crisp full size illustrations, so easily obtained using [such online services as] iStockphoto, means there’s no excuse for awful clip art or those %^**$#! beanie people."

Posen’s Macworld preso aimed to explain the cognitive science on how we learn and how Keynote fits in with that and was apparently a great success — going by the feedback received after the show. "I had a great time being on the teaching faculty, going to the parties and attending the Expo, and seeing how vital the Apple marketplace has become. It’s good to be a Mac user, and be part of the community," says Posen. "I was just so glad I pulled it off; the technology didn’t do a major collapse, and I made some important contacts with people interested in me returning to the US for more presentations."

Is there anything he doesn’t like about Macs? Posen uses two monitors — one on his PowerBook and an external one in "span" mode. "Having to move across from one to the other to access the menu bar means a lot of mouse movement. Probably, third-party software that brings up the menu by holding down a key combo — I seem to remember such an extension in System 9 — would do the trick," he says.

That said, he is hoping for decent GPS on Australian iPhones when they arrive, as well as an Apple tablet to integrate into his Keynote presentations so he can write on the slides as they are being projected. "Somehow, I think it’s on its way," Posen says. "It will happen on the iPhone, but I am surprised how much I am enjoying my el cheapo GPS navigation device. Its software reminds me of Apple’s. Make suggestions when needed, then get out of my way, until I ask you to come back and tell me something."

And if you’re wondering about the dog in the photo, it’s his carefully educated German Shepherd, Shrek.

Read more from Posen in the 05.2008 issue of Australian Macworld, on sale Wednesday 30 April.

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