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Death by PowerPoint? 5 Programs to Bring Your Presentations to Life

Death by PowerPoint? 5 Programs to Bring Your Presentations to Life

Many of us have sat through countless PowerPoint presentations, waiting and wishing for them to end. Why? Honestly, the presentations are mind-numbingly boring! But when you need to give a presentation and want to avoid the blank stares and awkward yawns, here are five programs you can use that can help breathe life into it.

1. Knovio

www.knovio.com

    Knovio

    is a free, easy-to-use program that allows you to bring your presentations to life by adding video or audio. With Knovio you can take your existing PowerPoint slides and easily add your own video or audio to synchronize with the slide content. You can then share this presentation by e-mail or social media. The best thing about Knovio is that whether your presentation is for business, educational or personal use, you are not limited in the number of videos you create under your free account.

    Check out this video to see how Knovio works:

     

    Helpful hint: Knovio can be an extremely powerful tool in circumstances where you want to deliver a strong digital presentation, but still use a PowerPoint presentation for your delivery. I have used Knovio remotely to give presentations for which I was unavailable in person to present the material. 

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    2. Prezi

    Prezi

      Prezi

      allows you to create presentations in a highly engaging and dynamic way. Prezi creates animated presentations, though instead of creating a series of slides with typical presentation programs, you put all of your content on a single canvas. You trace a path from one item to another until you cover everything in your canvas. When the presentation begins, the browser zooms in the first item you created in your path, then out and back in again to the next item in the path. This continues for each remaining item, until it reaches the end of the path.

      Prezi is a little more complex to use, but the online program definitely accommodates not-so-tech-savvy individuals. Prezi is accessible for free, but for limited use. Under the free membership you are entitled to only 100MB of storage space, which is enough for only a few presentations, and all your Prezis will be marked public. Only paid versions of Prezi receive more storage space, amenities and the option to make your presentations private.

      Here’s an explanation of how Prezi works:

       

      Helpful hint: Prezi can be a more refreshing way to deliver a presentation still covering the content used within a traditional PowerPoint presentation. Many of the premade templates are very professional looking, and the transitions are more attention grabbing than traditional PowerPoint presentations. I have used Prezi when I know that I am going to be presenting to a “tough” crowd and I want to be sure to keep their attention.

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      3. PowToon

      www.powtoon.com

        Looking for an “out-of-the-box”  way of presenting your presentations? PowToon is the program for you. PowToon is video animation software that makes creating engaging, interesting and exciting animated videos extremely easy. You can create an amazing animated presentation without needing design or technical skills.

        Worried that PowToon is hard to use? The PowToon program is extremely similar to creating a PowerPoint presentation, the only major difference is that you have the ability to add animation and timing to your slides. It’s that easy. PowToon is free for limited use. In the free version, you can create as many videos as you want, but your videos can only be five minutes in length. In addition, the PowToon logo will be in your presentation. If you want a longer or logo-free presentation, you can purchase a premium version PowToon for an annual fee.

        Here’s the instructional video showing how PowToon works:

         

        Helpful hint: PowToon should be used more as an introduction or conclusion to a presentation. Although PowToon is an innovative tool for presentations, it may be hard to put a lot of content into them. I use PowToon when I want to present an overall theme or topic during my presentation, and I use it more as a supplement – or my “wow” factor. I find that creating one is a little more time consuming than I would like, so I try not to make them too long.

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        4. Hakiu Deck

        Haiku Deck

          Haiku Deck is the Instagram of presentations. Haiku Deck allows users to be more creative in the presentation-making process by its versatility with text and pictures. Users will find that this platform is easy to navigate, and that you have the option to work web free with a computer or from a free iPad application.

          Once you have completed your presentation, you are able to make your “deck” public, restricted or private. You are able generate a PDF or convert it into a PowerPoint presentation. You are also able to share your deck on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress and through e-mail. You also have the option to copy the link or html and insert it into a website. With all of these sharing options, Haiku Deck is becoming the new way to create online presentations.

          Check out this video to see how Haiku Deck works:


          Helpful hint: If you feel limited with PowerPoint and feel the need to express yourself more, Hakiu Deck will give you that outlet. I like the flexibility of being able to work seamlessly from your iPad to your computer. And for those people who have a strong social media presence or travel often, this is the go-to program for you.

          5. Emaze

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          emaze

            Emaze presentations are simply amazing. Emaze, by far, has some of the best templates of all presentation programs out there. Templates range from a newspaper article to something that looks like it came out of a commercial. In addition, the Emaze website offers a tutorial before users begin to create their presentation, something that many other presentation programs do not offer. Emaze is free for limited use, or you can upgrade to a basic, pro or business version for a monthly rate.

            What makes this different from other presentation programs is the ability to collaborate on a presentation. Users have the ability to password protect their presentation and invite others through e-mail to collaborate. When your presentation is complete, you have the ability to e-mail, link and embed your presentation, or share your presentation on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

            Here’s how Emaze works:

             

            Helpful hint: Emaze is one of the best tools to use for digital collaboration on projects. It’s a great tool for projects that require group work.

            Featured photo credit: Tom Everitt via flic.kr

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            Published on September 25, 2020

            10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

            10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

            When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

            VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

            How to Choose a VPN

            • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
            • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
            • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
            • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
            • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

            Why You Should Trust Us

            Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

            Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

            1. NordVPN

            The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

            Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

            NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

            In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

            NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

            Buy this VPN.

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            2. ExpressVPN

            ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

            Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

            Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

            Buy this VPN.

            3. Surf Shark

            With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

            Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

            The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

            Buy this VPN.

            4. CyberGhost

            Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

            The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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            What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

            Buy this VPN.

            5. IPVanish

            IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

            IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

            Buy this VPN.

            6. Private Internet Access

            Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

            One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

            In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

            These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

            Buy this VPN.

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            7. Hotspot Shield

            Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

            Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

            Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

            Buy this VPN.

            8. TunnelBear

            As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

            The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

            Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

            Buy this VPN.

            9. Norton

            Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

            As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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            Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

            Buy this VPN.

            10. StrongVPN

            The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

            StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

            As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

            Buy this VPN.

            Bottom Line

            Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

            With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

            We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

            Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

            Reference

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