The Quantum Pontiff

TiddlyWiki for Technical Talks?

One of the most interesting talks that many of us in the quantum computing world have seen is the talk by Manny Knill on fault-tolerant quantum computing. Above and beyond the interesting content, what was cool about this talk was that, as far as I could tell Knill used a linked PDF for the talk. That way if he needed to delve into deeper details on a particular subject, he could. While for some talks, like colloquiums, I don’t see the need for this, for technical talks before a more informal audience, this, I think is a great tool. Now, having discovered TiddlyWiki, I wonder if it isn’t time for me to try to perform a similar feat but using TiddlyWiki? Hmm, I have very tempted.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul Schofield
    June 25, 2008

    Might be more useful for both teaching and presentations to smaller groups, where the audience has a higher degree of interaction with the speaker than in a full scale talk.

    I could see a student using something like that to present work to a review board, jumping to results or background information as they are quizzed on it before dropping straight back into the talk at the point they left off. Maybe more of a crutch than they are expected to have, but still a good way to present that kind of information.

  2. #2 Dave Bacon
    June 25, 2008

    I was thinking along these lines. One problem, of course, is that the blackboard/whiteboard is an amazing tool, so competing with it for small talks is hard. I want this sort of functionality on a multitouch huge screen which I can write electronically on :)

  3. #3 Paul Schofield
    June 25, 2008

    I was thinking along the lines of a memory aid (although maybe not to this extent. If you used the same file for a wide range of presentations and for personal reference, you could easily field a question you hadn’t thought about for months or years. That and bringing up figures or equations you otherwise wouldn’t bother with except someone seems to want to see them.

    I’m wondering now if you can combine it with something like Firegestures to use different gesture commands to load each new Tiddler differently. It would be useful to throw one open while closing all others in one smooth movement, without making it the default for every time you load it.

  4. #4 Dave Bacon
    June 25, 2008

    Very interesting idea Paul. I haven’t looked around at what people have done with different opening behaviors for TiddlyWiki but it was on my list. It seems like also give a gesture to close the current Tiddler and go back to where you opened the Tiddler from. Along these lines it would be nice to be able to grab and throw the Tiddlers up or down, maybe.

  5. #5 Ken Girard
    June 26, 2008

    Picture how useful a TW could be for a politician, or CEO during a Q&A in front of the press.
    Have the someone else remotely pulling up the tiddlers that they then read to answer their questions. They might even be able to repeat the same answer week after week.

  6. #6 Joe Fitzsimons
    June 26, 2008

    I was thinking along these lines. One problem, of course, is that the blackboard/whiteboard is an amazing tool, so competing with it for small talks is hard. I want this sort of functionality on a multitouch huge screen which I can write electronically on :)

    Do you use a tablet? I was converted about a year ago and haven’t looked back since. I prepare talks in PDF and then can write on top of the slides as I go. It would be easy to add a link to a blank slide. You can then save the results, so you have a copy for future reference.

    Certainly electronic whiteboards are the best you can do, but they aren’t portable, so aren’t useful for conference talks.

  7. #7 Garrett
    June 27, 2008

    I’ve done this a few times, using a customized tiddlywiki, and it’s worked well, for the reasons you describe. Here’s an example, complete with some embedded animations:

    http://deferentialgeometry.org/#talk%20for%20Perimeter%20Institute%2007

    One needs to do a lot of tweaking to get it to work right though: custom tiddler template for slides, controls (upper left) to get rid of the side bars, set the font size correctly on the browser, hide browser controls, set the window to full screen — and then it works, by paging through slides using a remote mouse. The fun part was, it took a while for the audience to believe me when I told them they had been looking at a web page. :)

  8. #8 John Sidles
    June 27, 2008

    Beamer, dudes … a LaTeX package that works perfectly with \includepackage{hyperref}.

    Download from SourceForge.

    The only downside … like TeX/LaTeX itself, Beamer is a huge package that can do anything.

    Like my colleague “J” says … “All the hep cats at MicroSoft Research use Beamer!” :)

  9. #9 Dan
    June 30, 2008

    Perhaps not so much for the presentation itself, but Luminotes (a personal wiki) is a great tool for organizing notes in preparation for a talk. Check it out at: http://luminotes.com/

  10. #10 Stef
    July 8, 2009

    Hi, sounds great idea, but how do you implement going to the next page with righ arrow or right click or space or whatever? -Ste

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