Finally moving from Apple’s Keynote to LibreOffice Impress

Apple’s Keynote has been my preferred presentation tool for about a decade. For a long time it felt like the ideal tool, easy to use, powerful and flexible. But at some point, probably around the time when the iOS version of Keynote came along, the Mac version of Keynote started loosing features and became more limited than it had used to be. Since then, I have experienced all sorts of problems, including non-compatibility of new and old presentation file versions, problems with linked video files, crashes, etc.

Even with its increasing amount of shortcomings, Keynote has been one of the few programs that I have been missing after my move to Ubuntu as my main OS three years ago. Keynote has also been one of the few reasons I have often decided to bring along my old MacBook rather than my current Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro workhorse.

Over the years, I have been trying other presentation software. I was an early user of Prezi, and still like the looks and non-linear approach that it affords. However, the lack of a native Prezi client for Linux has been a turn-off, particularly since I never trust the network connections when I am out traveling. I am also somewhat skeptic about not being able to use local media in Prezi presentations, particularly since I often use a lot of video material.

I have also been excited about trying out some markdown-based presentation solutions, including reveal.js and Remark. This has been refreshing, and I like such an approach when working mainly with text-based presentations. I do realize, however, that many of my presentations rely heavily on images, sounds and videos, which make the markdown-based approaches less ideal.

I have been trying Impress, the presentation part of OpenOffice/LibreOffice, on and off for several years, and have, to say it mildly, never been impressed. The design of the software has been ok, not even close to as intuitive as Keynote, but not so far away from MS PowerPoint. The biggest drawback, however, has been its performance, both when it comes to editing presentations, but also when presenting. After all, a presentation software has to be efficient to work with and needs to perform flawlessly in presentation mode.

Luckily, I decided to give Impress yet another try before giving a presentation in Hamburg this week. I exported a Keynote presentation to a .pptx file, and opened it up in LibreOffice Impress on my Ubuntu laptop. To my big surprise it worked very well! Not only did the graphical elements look good, but also the embedded videos worked well. There must have been some major update to the software recently, because suddenly the speed of editing also worked quite fine. There are still some issues when scrolling through a large presentation with lots of multimedia content, but not more than I can live with.

The conclusion: today I held my first multimedia-rich conference presentation using my Ubuntu laptop. Not only did the projector connection work flawlessly (which has not always been the case with Linux systems…), but also the presentation ran without any performance issues whatsoever. A new era has begun in my presentation life! LibreOffice Impress is still not as smooth and solid as Keynote was a few years back, but it is now at a point where it is stable and easy enough that I actually want to use it professionally.

New project Funding: MICRO!

sverm2_15_eyes_2_a_head_a_1024I am happy to announce that I have received funding from the Norwegian Research Council’s program Young Research Talents for the project: MICRO – Human Bodily Micromotion in Music Perception and Interaction. This is a 4-year long project and I will be looking for both a PhD and postdoctoral fellow to join the team. The call will be out later this year, but please do not hesitate to contact me right if you are interested.

Here is a short summary of the project:

How and why does music make us move? This has been a highly discussed topic in musicology and music psychology in recent years. Most of the research in the field has so far focused on fairly large-scale motion to music, such as dancing. This project will investigate how music influences what we may call micromotion, such as the tiny motion observed when people try to stand still. Even though such micromotion is barely visible, it can be measured in a motion capture laboratory. This makes it possible to carry out studies of the effects of music on micromotion.

Results of the project will include:

  • knowledge about how music influences human motion at the micro-level
  • a large, open database of micromotion recordings
  • prototype software for using micromotion in interactive music systems

The project is based on the most recent research in musicology, psychology and neuroscience, will build on findings in the Sverm project. Most of the research will be carried out in the music and motion lab at the Department of Musicology, and will be affiliated with the fourMs group.

Let me know if you are interested in joining us!

 

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New MOOC: Music Moves

Together with several colleagues, and with great practical and economic support from the University of Oslo, I am happy to announce that we will soon kick off our first free online course (a so-called MOOC) called Music Moves.

Music Moves: Why Does Music Make You Move?

Learn about the psychology of music and movement, and how researchers study music-related movements, with this free online course.

Go to course – starts 1 Feb

About the course

Music is movement. A bold statement, but one that we will explore together in this free online course. Together we will study music through different types of body movement. This includes everything from the sound-producing keyboard actions of a pianist to the energetic dance moves in a club.

You will learn about the theoretical foundations for what we call embodied music cognition and why body movement is crucial for how we experience the emotional moods in music. We will also explore different research methods used at universities and conservatories. These include advanced motion capture systems and sound analysis methods.

You will be guided by a group of music researchers from the University of Oslo, with musical examples from four professional musicians. The course is rich in high-quality text, images, video, audio and interactive elements.

Join us to learn more about terms such as entrainment and musical metaphors, and why it is difficult to sit still when you experience a good groove.

  • FREE online course
  • 3 hours pw
  • Certificates available

Educators

Alexander Refsum Jensenius Alexander Refsum Jensenius

Diana Kayser (Mentor) Diana Kayser (Mentor)

Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen

Kristian Nymoen Kristian Nymoen

Requirements

This course is open to everyone. No technical knowledge of music or dance is required.

Get a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats — to show that you’ve taken part.

Join the conversation on social media

Use the hashtag #FLmusicmoves to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Go to course – starts 1 Feb

New paper: Test–retest reliability of computer-based video analysis of general movements in healthy term-born infants

Screenshot from 2015-08-03 22:10:06I have for several years been collaborating with researchers at NTNU in Trondheim on developing video analysis tools for studying the movement patterns of infants. This has resulted in several papers, international testing (and a TV documentary). Now there is a new paper out, with some very successful data testing the reliability of the video analysis method:

Reference:

Valle, Susanne Collier, Ragnhild Støen, Rannei Sæther, Alexander Refsum Jensenius, and Lars Adde.
Test–retest Reliability of Computer-Based Video Analysis of General Movements in Healthy Term-Born Infants.
Early Human Development 91, no. 10 (October 2015): 555–58. doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2015.07.001.

Highlights:

  • Test–retest reliability of computer-based video analysis of general movements.
  • Results showed high reliability in healthy term-born infants.
  • There was significant association between computer-based video analysis and temporal organization of fidgety movements.

Add date to files in Ubuntu

Even though I have been running Ubuntu as my main OS for more than a year now, I am still trying to figure out a good workflow. One thing I have been missing from my former OSX setup was the ability to quickly and easily prepend the date to a number of files. Having moved my files between many different OSes, hard drives, network drives, etc. over many years, I know that the files’ creation dates will break at some point. For that reason, I prefer to prepend the date to filenames of photos, random text files, etc. That way I am able to quickly search through the files easily.

On OSX I have made a small Automator script called add-date that does exactly this: prepends a file’s creation date to the filename. It has worked like a charm for many years, and still works, so feel free to try it out if you are on OSX.

In Ubuntu there are, of course, numerous terminal based methods to do something like this. But I haven’t really been that eager to mess around with mv, rename and regexp just to rename a bunch of files once in a while. In the quietness of the Norwegian summer I finally got around to look a little more into how to do this in Ubuntu, and it turned out to be very easy. Nautilus, the file manager on Ubuntu, actually sports the ability to run scripts from the GUI. The scripts, of any programming flavor (python, perl, etc.) just need to be put in the folder:

 ~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts

There are many examples of adding today’s date to the files, such as this python example, but it took a little while to figure out how to do it using the modification date of the file. I finally got this to work as a little bash script:

#!/bin/sh
mv -- "$@" "$(date -d@$(stat -c %Y "${@}") +%Y_%m_%d)-$@"

Save this as a file in the scripts folder, make it executable (chmod a+x), and restart nautilus. Then I can easily add the date to all files I want directly from the GUI.

Screenshot from 2015-08-03 21:53:02