Wednesday, January 28, 2009


If you have felt this way after seeing a powerpoint presentation - you are not alone...
I was reading an interesting piece on the web about making powerpoint presentations more effective and would like to share it with all of you...Here is the kernel....

In his recent book, Clear and to the Point, Stephen Kosslyn explains that the four rules of PowerPoint are: The Goldilocks Rule, The Rudolph Rule, The Rule of Four, and the Birds of a Feather Rule. Here's how they work.

The Goldilocks Rule refers to presenting the "just right" amount of data. Never include more information than your audience needs in a visual image. As an example, Kosslyn showed two graphs of real estate prices over time. One included ten different numbers, one for each year. The other included two numbers: a peak price, and the current price. For the purposes of a presentation about today's prices relative to peak price, those numbers were the only ones necessary.

The Rudolph Rule refers to simple ways you can make information stand out and guide your audience to important details — the way Rudolph the reindeer's red nose stood out from the other reindeers' and led them. If you're presenting a piece of relevant data in a list, why not make the data of interest a different color from the list? Or circle it in red? "The human brain is a difference detector," Kosslyn noted. The eye is immediately drawn to any object that looks different in an image, whether that's due to color, size, or separation from a group. He showed us a pizza with one piece pulled out slightly, noting that our eyes would immediately go to the piece that was pulled out (which was true). Even small differences guide your audience to what's important.

The Rule of Four is a simple but powerful tool that grows out of the fact that the brain can generally hold only four pieces of visual information simultaneously. So don't ever present your audience with more than four things at once. This is a really important piece of information for people who tend to pack their PowerPoint slides with dense reams of data. Never give more than four pieces of information at once. It's not that people can't think beyond four ideas — it's that when we take in the visual information on a slide we start to get overwhelmed when we reach four items.

The Birds of a Feather Rule is another good rule for how to organize information when you want to show things in groups. "We think of things in groups when they look similar or in proximity to each other," Kosslyn pointed out. Translation into PowerPoint? If you want to indicate to your audience that five things belong in a group, make them similar by giving them the same color or shape. Or group them very close together. This sounds basic, but it often means taking your data apart and reorganizing it. Kosslyn's co-panelist, Stanford psychologist
Barbara Tversky, explained that one of the fundamental principles of data visualization is, ironically, misrepresentation in order to get at the truth.
Even these goofy names for each rule of PowerPoint follow a principle from cognitive science: it's always easier to remember an unfamiliar idea if it's named after something familiar.

the rest can be read at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


While a day like Christmas is fixed in our minds and on the calendars on December 25, many of the important feasts of the Church year move, based upon the date that Easter is set. Easter changes each year moving to the Sunday after the "Paschal Full Moon," and can fall between March 22 and April 25.

In ancient times before calendars were common, most people did not know the dates for the upcoming Liturgical year. On Epiphany Sunday, the upcoming dates were "proclaimed" after the gospel in this way:

Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of April 9 and the evening of April 11, Easter Sunday being on April 12.

Each Easter -- as on each Sunday -- the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on February 25.
The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on May 21.
Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on May 31.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on November 29.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christian the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.


(Taken from the website of Collaborative Ministry)