Sharing isn’t simple II

Copyright issues are not the only obstacles to sharing content with others. Some of the obstacles are my choice of software and platform.

Although I am an advocate of open source software, my focus in this area has been server based applications. When it comes to desktop computing, I run a Mac. I like the Macintosh for its ease of use, stability, and reliability. Ubuntu has come along. I run it on my Mac. We have several Ubuntu laptops and an Ubuntu netbook running Jim Klein’s excellent Ubuntu Remix distro. I am still confronted with upset children with malfunctioning computers more often than I want. It is often time consuming fix these bugs. I do not have the time for that on my production computer. This, however, is not about platforms.

The problem is access. It’s no problem for those running a Mac with iWork. I spend a lot of time making presentations and, I find Keynote has a better look and workflow than the alternatives. Unfortunately, exporting to PowerPoint, usable by MS Office and OpenOffice, is not reliable. PDF exports can be difficult to edit. QuickTime exports play fine in Windows, but not Linux.

Ideally, I could share slideshow with which people could do more than use my presentation, or grab and remix slides from it. They would be able to edit each slide itself–down to the character level.

Now I have hundreds of instructional presentations that cannot be easily shared because of my software choice. Not only do I need to screen my presentations for copyright issues, but I also have to go over exports slide by slide to make sure they are reasonably true to the original.

Keynote has arguably saved time in creating content. I honestly believe that hadn’t I used Keynote I never would have produced such a large body of work in so little time. Further, I never could have so quickly produced attractive content using the alternatives. This has come at a cost now that I want to share.

If I continue to use Keynote, I will probably need to avoid many of the great features that do not translate well into other formats. If I leave Keynote, I will need to relearn software and workflow and give up many features I love. Further, it will be more difficult to make the attractive presentations that I am accustomed to and that my students have come to expect.

Interestingly, my previous blog post on sharing presentations yielded a response from Professor Nathan Garrett of Woodbury University in San Diego who is working on a presentation sharing platform. This poses a new option engineered from the beginning for sharing. Further it is being designed to allow users to alter or annotate the slides easily. I am excited to explore this new possibility and look forward to its development. You may see posts about this in the future.

At the moment. I am not sure how I will create future presentations. One thing is clear though: whatever I create will be done with sharing in mind from the beginning. I have realized that decisions made in the creation of presentations has a significant impact on how they can be shared.