Monday, December 17, 2007

Top Web Tools of 2007 - Number 9

SlideShare was my #11 tool on the 2006 list. It made the list again this year in spite of the fact that I find myself using PowerPoint (and PPT-like) slides less and less all the time. One reason that SlideShare again made the list this year is because of the improvements they made to it during the past year as well as the fact that I still have lots of old PPT slide shows sitting on my hard drive just begging to get out and greet the world. They do have a blog that occasionally has something interesting on it.

The most important enhancement during the past year is "Slidecasting." From their FAQ page:

"Slidecasting is a new multimedia format from SlideShare - you can play any slidedeck synchronized with an audio file. To create a slidecast, you need to upload slides to SlideShare. Your audio file, however, can be hosted anywhere on the web- any server, file storage, or podcasting service. You link the slides & audio together using our synchronization tool. Now every time you play the Slidecast, the audio is streamed from its location and plays with the slides. And yes, Slidecasting is completely free. For more FAQs on slidecasting, please see this page."

Here are some of the features:

  • You can upload four different file types: PowerPoint (ppt, pps), OpenOffice (odp), Keynote (Mac) and PDF format.
  • You and viewers can leave a comment on a particular slide, or about the slideshow in general.
  • You and viewers can link direclty to a particular slide, or to the slideshow in general.
  • You control how public or private your slideshow is.
  • Transcripts are automatically created from the text in your slides.
  • After you have uploaded a slideshow, you can either keep 'All Rights Reserved' or choose from one of the various Creative Commons licenses. To learn more about Creative Commons, go to their website.
  • you can subscribe to the RSS feed for a particular user's slideshows. or for all slideshows that have a certain tag, or in various other ways.
  • Your slideshows will be found by the search engines, with the following items being indexed: slide transcripts, slide title, description, and tags.
Here are some shortcomings:
  • They do not support embedded audio and video inside presentations.
  • You will find some viewers who want to leave inappropriate comments.
  • Once in a while, pages seem to load slowly - at least for me.
  • There is not much that you can do to change the size of the presentation to be viewed. This is fine for embedding in a blog post, but for other types of web pages, including the SlideShare site, it would be better if there was an option to view in a larger size.
Below I'll embed two different examples from SlideShare. The first is a standard SlideShare (no audio) called Death by PowerPoint (seemed fitting) by thecroaker (yes, you can embed or download the presentations of other people if they let you).

The second example is a SlideCast (with audio) that was prepared by SlideShare to show how Slidecasts work.

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