A lot in life is about choice. Or you could say, choice is what life is all about. Since we're all independent minds in charge of ourselves (aren't we), the choice is ours. We chose our profession and our partner. We chose the city we live in, the apartment we rent, the car we drive, and the food we eat. We chose the color of the carpet in our bedroom as well as the reading providing the intellectual stimulus required for our morning sessions.

You didn't believe a word of what I just said, right? Good! 'Cause I don't believe it myself. The first thing I see every morning is this black Ferrari 599 GTO in the traffic jam at Tiergartenstraße. At first the guy in there didn't like my mocking greeting when I passed him on my blue Muddy Fox, but now he grudgingly returns it every time. I understand his bad mood, since I'd sure hate to see bicyclists passing with ease as I stand there in my third of a million Euro investment. You think he's chosen to stand there? No, he's forced by social conventions and social ties.

As soon as I arrive in the office, I get another excellent example of the failure to chose rationally. One? Well, dozens. Imagine lots of people with a PhD in physics, and all of them with the task to present their latest ideas to an international audience. And what do they use for that? Powerpoint (or OpenOffice Impress, which is just as bad).

Why's that a bad idea? Millions of presentations are given by Powerpoint everyday, after all. Well, it's not really the presentation itself, but rather the questions following it. It happens after every talk: a question refering to the plot on slide ... "hmmmm, I can't remember. The one with the nice plot showing this and that, you know?" The speaker then walks back his slides, one by one, through all silly transitional effects, from slide 31 to slide 5 which takes about 2 min. And so on for the majority of questions asked. 😞

With the time wasted by this utter nonsense, one could easily organize another conference.

But what alternative do we have? Well, an excellent one if the presentation is in pdf format (the natural format for a beamer class presentation). The python script impress!ve (aka keyjnote) does away with this and other inconveniences.

Simply press the tab key to see a full-screen overview of all slides. Press 'Enter' for a spotlight which has both more visibility and more weight than the Parkinsonian spot of the trembling laser pointer. Use the left mouse button to highlight entire regions of the slide, while the rest is shaded such as to not distract attention. Press 't' to look how much time has evolved since your talk has started. Etc., etc. ... Of course, you may also write scripts to extend the functionality, like jumping to certain slides once pressing their number.

Impress!ve uses OpenGL hardware acceleration for the display of transitional effects. If you don't like them, or don't have the hardware, swith them off with the command line parameter '-t None'. My Mini, for example, is too slow to display smooth transitional effects except for one (CrossFade). All others are sort of ... stuttering. The shading, in contrast, is done smoothly and effortless. 😉