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A few more MagicPoint Tricks

A few more MagicPoint Tricks

Posted Sep 14, 2004 19:12 UTC (Tue) by AnswerGuy (subscriber, #1256)
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs

Magicpoint has a few other neat features as well.

  • Scribbling on slides during presentation with the mouse (two colors)
  • One pixel time thermometer, visible to speaker, generally not on overhead projector: green for lots of time, yellow for wrap-up, red for time's up
  • "swallow" features allows one to run an external program (X11) within a slide!
  • %filter allows one to filter text in a slide through a rendering engine (such as latex2eps) to generate images which can then be displayed within slides.
  • A variety of pauses, "cut-ins" (text sliding in from one side or another), fades (slide transitions) are supported. There aren't many of them, and they should be used sparingly, but they're simple and functional.

I'm rather partial to MagicPoint's approach. Even with lots of code examples (cluttering the mark-up a little bit) the fact is that a .mgp presentation is a simple text file which can be prepared, updated, and modified with any text editor and related tools. It's simple to generate most of a presentation from a simple outline (perhaps created in emacs' outline mode). A few lines of awk can turn the output from linux -dump of a set of web pages into a very basic mgp presentation which can them be enhanced with various tricks.

Its simplicity also allows other tools to be built around it, from the emacs/elisp code to implement a magicpoint-mode to an mmaker pre-processor, etc.

The biggest disadvantage to MagicPoint is the rather weak documentation and very minimal web presence. It would be nice of the official/canonical MagicPoint web site at least published the man pages for the package so prospective users could get an idea of its power and simplicity.

Even better would be a |<ic|<@$$ presentation in MagicPoint that highlighted and demonstrated a full range of its features.

Personally I use MagicPoint right from a KNOPPIX CD, with my presentations burned unto two copies of that and with them on a thumb drive along with .deb and .rpm copies of the MagicPoint package itself. (Lost laptop, projector doesn't work with my laptop, whatever, the show will go on!


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