The Living Thing / Notebooks :


Slide decks and other stylised academic dominance displays

Presentations: The quantum of information for all parts of society for which the quantum of information is not a tweet or a facebook status update. Powerpoint presentations are already purported to have various oft-cited defects but these I will not discuss here. In my trade they are a necessary evil.

I’m all about harm minimisation of the evil, starting here with technical harm.

Standard technology

The default options:

Both these are a colossal waste of time, adding little to my research while sucking much time into a black hole of trying to give a shit about transitions and fiddly filetype compatibility issues. Both have a terrible mathematical equation typesetting workflow, although Keynote goes beyond terrible to abysmal in this area.

An alternative might re-use the documentation, code, math markup and/or graphs from my actual research articles and code.

It turns out that this is not hard, merely harder than it should be.

Less shitty presentation technology

R supports DZslides using knitr and pandoc -

Reveal.js and deck.js are the best, for my money. Reveal.js seems better tested and robuster, deck.js is more elegant. I ended up using reveal.js because the online editor makes it easier to collaborate with my non-HTML-nerd colleagues, and it is integrated with jupyter

pandoc supports these various backends, even fancy slides.

Pedagogic considerations

So how do you actually give a good presentation?

Like most academics, I will leave this one for some unspecified future date.

Alternatives: Animations and interactives