Andy McKay

Nov 30, 2006

S5 and Remote buddy

For a while now I've been presenting using Safari and S5. I don';t actually use the Plone S5 product I wrote a while back anymore, all my presentation are written in .rst, checked into Subversion and run through docutils to generate a wonderful looking Safari S5 presentation.

Note: if anyone wants to update Plone S5 to the latest version of S5 that would be a good idea.

Compared to the bad old way of using PowerPoint or Open Office this is a wonderful change. All the presentations are checked into SVN. They are in plain text and so diffable. If I want to change the look and feel I change the CSS. I have a few different skins, default and default-big. The latter is styled on Paul Everitts approach of large text with small 3-4 word sentences. PDF's are generated by clicking the print to PDF button in Safari and I've covered every possible base.

This really hit home the other day for Seattle when I wanted a simple thing, I wanted to syntax highlight all the code in my slides. Ugh 200 slides, thats a lot of syntax highlighting. So yet again the JS syntax highlighter came to the rescue. All I did was include a peice of Javascript to kick onload and run through the presentation syntax highlighting elements. Admittedly since its the same code for Clouseau, PloneSilverCity 2.0 and this blog, I knew where I was going. But in the end 200 slides were syntax highlighted in around 10 minutes.

The one thing that was missing was the ability to have a clicker for my slides so I can wave my arms and walk around. I used to use a blue tooth wireless mouse, but I have a bad history with these things and gave up. I really wanted to use the remote for the Macbook, but couldn't figure out how to get at the Front Page API to script Safari. In the end there's no need Remote Buddy is well your buddy and gets added to those must have apps (like TextMate, Quicksilver, Megazoom etc). It allows you to control a whole series of apps, including Safari, from the remote.

So I can now fire up my presentation, wander around and click through the slides using the remote. Probably not as cool as a blue tooth phone, but hey its got the better than 50% success rate I';ve seen from presenters with phones and if I drop my remote down the toilet, its a $30 replacement. If the app or controls aren't there you can build up a series of actions or Apple script from the Remote Buddy builder. That turned out to be a bit of a pain and I haven't figured out how to from the remote, jump to my bookmarks, scroll through my presentations and start showing a presentation. But I'll get there.

Since we've sold our DVD and CD players, the Macbook is now our major focal point of household entertainment and as such we use the remote a lot. Remote buddy allows us to access iTunes when Front Row doesn't quite come up to scratch. All in all, nice app.