Tag Archives: recommended website

an alternative to powerpoint presentations

23 Nov

During my co-op work term, I learned about this free online presentation tool called Prezi. Some of you may have heard of it or seen it done in class already but for those who haven’t – it’s pretty cool. Powerpoint presentations can quickly become boring when it’s all text with no theme design whatsoever.

Prezi is different. It’s a “zooming” presentation tool that allows you to pan and zoom across one “slide” to focus on different parts. It’s visually appealing and captures your viewer’s attention when done properly.

I used a Prezi presentation in one of my classes this year and received positive feedback on it from others. In this class, groups of 2 people presented for 45 min to the class. We’ve gone through about 25 presentations since I presented in the beginning of September. Even after a month and a half, I’ve had people comment on my presentation and ask what tool I used to make it. It’s definitely memorable especially when you’re the only one who did something different.

There was a bit of a learning curve on using Prezi and it probably won’t look like the promo presentations at first but, like anything, it takes practice. It requires a bit more creative thinking than a PowerPoint presentation but if you want to avoid boring your audience, try Prezi.  Since it was my first time using Prezi, it took me longer (maybe an hour or two overall?) than it would have with a PowerPoint. I probably should have tried this with a shorter presentation rather than a 45 minute presentation to begin with too.

To give you an idea of what a Prezi presentation looks like, please click the above photo to link to the actual presentation my partner and I put together for our Geography class. Just press the forward arrows on the player to move through the “slides.” I think it’s half decent but, there are a ton of better examples on the Prezi site that use the program to its full creative capacity.

***If you have a student email address, you can sign up for a free student upgrade which includes more storage, ability to save private presentations and remove/add logos***


translink real-time bus tracking on your smartphone (vancouver)

1 Nov

When I was an Android user, my favourite app was Google Maps. I like to know where I am and what’s nearby. I also liked the Google Maps app for the integrated bus schedules for Vancouver. If you zoom in close enough to where the stop / station should be, you can click on the bus icon for the next bus arrival times. Very handy.

When I switched to the iPhone, I was so disappointed that Google Maps for iOS does not support public transportation integration. I don’t have a car and rely on public transportation for pretty much everything. I tried looking for apps on the App Store that could give me bus schedules but most of the apps were buggy or not rated very highly. I used to save bus stop numbers on my phone as presets but I don’t know how to do that on the iPhone. I know there had to be a more techie way to get bus schedules.

After some internet research, I found out that Translink has a mobile site that offers some features that I think are far better than any feature a third-party App could offer. You know back in the day when you used to say “Gee, I wish buses had GPS on them so I would know exactly when and where they are?” It’s here and it’s pretty good.


On your mobile device (or computer web browser), go to www.m.translink.ca for links to Next Bus, Trip Planner, Favourites, Schedules, Fares, Alerts, and more. The bus tracking feature is found under Next Bus. Type in your most used bus stop number (or find it with the Find your Stop button) and select “Map View.” It will show you the bus stop with several next bus times. If you zoom out, it will show you the location of buses for that particular stop. While in this mode, you can select other bus stops indicated by the “T” and it will show you bus times and bus locations for that stop.

For example, if I select the bus stop at UBC loop for the outgoing 99 B Line, I will see the times and the locations of buses leaving UBC. If I select the bus stop at Granville and Broadway for the westbound 14/16/17, I will see all of the west bound buses on that route.

For easy access to the site, I’ve bookmarked my most used bus stop and refer to that link for whatever bus I am looking for by zooming in and out. I suppose you could  also create separate bookmarks for every bus stop you use.

The accuracy of the bus locations is pretty good and shows real-time locations, not expected locations. It’s updated every 30 seconds -45 seconds it appears. Last week, I was on the 16 Arbutus and hoping to connect with the 33 UBC. Using the app, I could see that I would make it in time to connect. This is important at night-time or in the morning when the buses come in packs or arrive way ahead of schedule. Highly recommend this app for those in the suburbs where buses are known to come up 20 minutes early / late.

in case you missed it…

22 Oct

I’ve been updating this blog pretty much everyday and posts are starting to get pushed onto the next pages so I thought it would be handy to have a weekly recap of my posts (about 2 weeks for this post since it’s the first) from oldest to newest:

iphone 4s: love at first siri

18 Oct

Contrary to my earliest posting about standing in line to get the newest Apple device, I ended up pre-ordering on October 7th because (I have a valid reason) I had a midterm on October 14th at 9AM. I couldn’t justify missing a midterm for an iPhone especially when staying up to 12AM (more like 2AM) is what I normally do.

My Motorola Flipout was being extremely buggy and kept on restarting on my no reason at all. Highly not recommend the phone. Motorola stated that they were not going to update the phone from 2.1, one month after I got it. I was ready for the iPhone 4S.

It was shipped on October 13th and hopes that I would receive it on October 14th were slim since Apple quoted a delivery date of the 19th. I followed my iPhone’s journey on the UPS site, obsessively checking every couple of hours. It started in China, then to Hong Kong, Alaska, California, Seattle and then to Richmond in a period little than 24 hours. Amazing! I wrote my exam at 9AM and then skipped my next class so I could race home to beat the UPS delivery guy who was scheduled to come anytime between 9 and 12.

I made it before he did and he came around 11. He was said “iPhone 4S?” and I nodded eagerly, signed his machine and the iPhone 4S was officially mine.


I guess today’s “new thing” is actually a new thing. Better change the description.

Keep posted for an accessory review, my recommended apps, and iOS 5 tips over the next few days.

P.S. One of the iPhone 4S’ key features is the personal assistant Siri who says some very interesting things. Check out Shit that Siri Says for some good examples.