A colourful post


One of my favourite features of a web browser is the ability to customize it. After all, we’re running it on a personal computer; why not personalize it?

Of course, there’s the ability to add extensions or add-ons to the browser but there’s also the ability to change the colours. I’ve always done that; typically right out of a fresh installation, the tabs and other features are white. I like the ability to change the theme and the colour in the process to make it “mine”.

The downside and something to be aware of is that you can end up taking resources away from your computer so judicial use is always suggested. But, when Google actually does it and not just supports it, you have to believe that the feature would be optimized.

Now, I don’t particularly care if there’s a background image in my browser since I seldom look at a new tab screen for long anyway. But, colours? That’s another story.

From the Google Chrome developers comes a collection of colours that you can install and change you look very quickly.

Off I went like a kid in a candy store. There were a couple of green options, but you’ll notice from the highlight that I’ve settle on “Just Black”. My browser now has got a nice look to it and when I hover over a link on a page the destination is easily readable in white on black at the bottom of the screen.

For me, it’s a keeper.

But, hey, you might want to consider a Rose – at least for today.

Better Looking Presentations


This post is for all who do presentations but specifically to those working on their presentations for #ECOO13 this summer.

I hope that you’re not just firing up Keynote or Powerpoint or LibreOffice and filling in the blanks in a template to call it a presentation.  While this works, keep in mind audience engagement.  They want to hear YOU and the presentation behind you on the big screen helps guide the development of your topic.

This guide works best when it’s attractive and has the imagery to support your message.  I had the fortunate good luck to have a superintendent who delivered the very best presentations.  He was a master story teller and masterfully worked with Keynote as his presentation tool.  I actually booked some time with him one afternoon to learn how to be as effective as him.  That’s impossible but his tips did help me quite a bit.

He broke the mold about presentations long before it became popular.  He never started with a template (unless you called a blank screen a template…) and just filled his presentation with imagery, thoughts, and guiding principles to support his message.  In particular, he always included images of children doing things to support this message.  It was so effective.  You just wanted to hear his stories and follow along with the pictures.

His colours were right too.  At the time, we had just licensed Adobe Photoshop Elements for all Ontario schools and he made good use of it.  Before a picture got into his presentation, it went into Elements where he would use the eyedropper to get the colour codes from the images so that any text or drawing that he would use looked so professional.  Wow, this was one application of Elements that I hadn’t though about…and I was on the OSAPAC team that licensed it.

You can use it or find an even easier method using Pictaculous.  So, for example, this image from an infographic that I had made for myself at one time might make it to a slide in a presentation.

And, I’m bad with colours.  My philosophy has always been things go better with green.  So, this slide might well look like

and, of course, the complimentary colour with green is yellow.

Throw that up on a data projector and watch your audience gag!

Fortunately, Pictaculous comes to the rescue.  It’s very simple and even bypasses the need to use the eyedropper to get colours.  Of course, you’ll use Elements for more involved things.

All I need to do is upload my image and seconds later, I’m presented with the colour palette and suggestions for colours that will work well with the presentation.

Could getting the colours right get any easier?  There’s even an option for use with your Smartphone.

This will be really helpful for students who often confuse design with content!

Good luck with your presentations, Ontario Educators!