ICT related news and ideas

Archive for December, 2012

YouTube in PowerPoint

Now how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint might not exactly be breaking news, but the reason it came to my attention again was that, in preparing for a training presentation last week, I discovered to my horror that the ‘old embed code’ option had been removed from YouTube. Cue non-functional embedded videos.

So, a few days after that, having abandoned demonstrating embeds, I set out to see if the old-school and rather more complicated way still worked. In discovering it did, I was even more pleased (if rather puzzled) to find out that the ‘old embed code’ option had returned to YouTube as mysteriously as it had disappeared.The result? I was now reassured that there are two ways to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint and both work.

If you click on the menu button (second from right) on the embedded player above and choose Download a copy you can find out the details of both methods by watching in slideshow mode. You will probably need to enable editing and then enable content to get the real deal. If you haven’t got PowerPoint running or just want the quick fix there is a pdf version here.

21st century classroom

It may be taken from an Australian site and presumably based on Australian data, but I like this infographic from the Open Colleges site on what makes for an effective teaching and learning environment in the early 21st century.Full size is here.

Components of a 21st Century Classroom – An infographic by the team at Open Colleges

remote control

mzl_hofjqivhWhen the machine you are using hasn’t got all the capabilities you need, what do you do? Well, go and use one that does. And when it’s not where you are? No problem, access it via remote control. We have grown used to this in a desktop / laptop environment, but it works for devices such as the iPad too. With a view to extending the otherwise rather ringfenced capabilities of said device, I thought I would try out some possibilities in the form of PocketCloud, LogMeIn and TeamViewer.

The last mentioned we can pretty much discount immediately, as it worked once then turned flaky and resisted all efforts to get it to work again. In any case, it was perhaps less impressive than the other two contenders. The basic premise is the same in all instances: download the app to the iPad and another program to the machine you want to control, set up an account (or use your Google one for PocketCloud) and make the connection. In all cases this was very straightforward and I was remote controlling within minutes.

In all honesty there isn’t much difference in terms of functionality, and both PocketCloud and LogMeIn do what they say on the tin. There are some small adjustments to get used to, such as using two fingers to scroll rather than one or double tapping and holding before you drag an object on screen. Pinch and zoom works just fine in both instances, and the overall experience is good. So you really can do whatever you like on your iPad. Sort of. At a distance.

In the end it comes down to the detail. PocketCloud wins on the toolbar front, as its clever toolbar can be hidden or on display as required. 1-0 PocketCloud. Both keyboards are perfectly useable. The LogMeIn one has a toggle button to acccess arrow keys and F keys, but PocketCloud rather trumps this by having an excellent keyboard (with optional input area) plus a mouse button that pulls up all the usual keyboard shortcuts. 2-0 PocketCloud. Both have a floating mouse that allows for accurate onscreen action, but the LogMeIn version is just that – a mouse – whereas PocketCloud give you not just a rather better designed tool (try it and you’ll see what I mean), but the shortcuts mentioned above along with a brilliant button that allows single fingered scrolling. Plus quick pull-up of the keyboard. 3-0 PocketCloud.

And the winner is …….. well, clearly PocketCloud, isn’t it? Hmm. One thing I haven’t mentioned is that, while LogMeIn doesn’t mind where it goes, PocketCloud is frightened off by network scenarios, where the machine you want to control remotely is hidden behind a proxy server. Wyse have said that this will be fixed, but no sign of them living up to their word, which was given quite some time ago.

So, for networks, you are stuck with LogMeIn (other tools are, however, available), which will be perfectly serviceable. But, if you can, go for PocketCloud, which – for me at least – is a clear winner. In fact I am using it right now in writing this post. ‘Nuff said.