Category Archives: Software

Prezi’s Presentation Software

I recently had the chance of attending a conference in Berkeley, CA that explored the social factors of environmental design.  The the speeches and lectures at the conference were very engaging, however, the presentation and visual support for most speakers was somewhat disappointing.  This brought to mind more recent discovery of a great presentation software that offers a more interactive format and, oftentimes, a much more visual pleasing result: Prezi.

This software is web-based for free or can be purchases as a desktop software option.  You can check out the software at their website at It can be used to more effectively present images, zoom in to selected views, and move around to other images located in the same frame.  The presenter can zoom in to show amazing detail or zoom out to show the bigger picture.

Even though I am a huge fan of Powerpoint, I think this software can be used to make more engaging and interesting presentations (if used well)! I will probably start using the software for certain types of presentations, but will  not completely throw out Powerpoint – it has its merits as well! However, I would urge you to give this  software a try for your next presentation and let us know how it goes…  Was it what you expected?  Were there issues with learning the software?  Did the audience get a case of motion sickness? Please leave a comment or two!


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Dreamweaver: Technology in Times of Crisis

Hello Friends,

My name is Chanel- I’m a trainer here at Software Training for Students. I am mixed Japanese-American, and the current crisis in Japan along with deep concern for my family in Japan,  has motivated me to join the new student organization on campus Japan Tsunami Relief.

I joined STS with a background in Graphic Design, Video Editing, and Publication, but I’ve always wanted to learn how to build websites. It’s such a powerful skill! Since I began at STS I’ve had the opportunity to take  and assist Dreamweaver classes that have finally given me the skills to make and upload functioning websites.

Please check out the Japan Tsunami Relief site I’ve recently made! And please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for people deeply affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan. 

I encourage all students to empower themselves with the ability to use technology, like Dreamweaver, to spread the word about whatever cause or student organization is important to them! We’re here to help you!

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AutoCAD for Mac!

AutoDesk’s famous software AutoCAD is now available for the Mac operating system.  AutoCAD is a drafting tool used by thousands of architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, and many other design disciplines.  It is a very powerful tool for designers, but has been limited to PC platforms.  These restrictions have often forced many designers to just deal exclusively with PC machines and not even try Macs.  Now, that is all changing!  The availability of the software on the Mac will now give designers the ability to have more flexibility with software and computer choice.

AutoCAD for Mac uses the same principles and function of the PC version.  Many of the tools and commands are the same, but there are some changes to the user interface.  However, just watching a few tutorials and experimenting around for a few minutes was enough to get me familiar with the layout.  In no time at all, I was working with AutoCAD for Mac and exploring the new features.  Also, this program fully supports all .DWG files and is compatible with the PC version. This is a plus for those working in a collaborative environment where there could be some worry about file transfers and workflow.

One of the many pluses of the Mac version is that it is supported by all Mac platforms.  This means you can access, view and make some minor edits with your iPad, iPhone, and even your iPod!  You can now take AutoCAD ANYWHERE!  The graphics seem to run faster, and the interface is a bit more smooth and intuitive on the Mac version.  However, since this is only the first release of the software for Mac, not all functions, tools, and other compatible programs are available.  Software developers hope to add these functions over time to create the same professional suite of products found on the PC version.  Just watch some of the cool videos on the AutoDesk website and check out or download the software for yourself…

Right now, AutoDesk is offering free 30 day trials for AutoCad for Mac.  The software is also available to students for free.  So if you are looking for a reason to switch to Mac and try something new now is the time to do it!


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Screencasting with Jing!

Jing Screenshot

For those of you unfamiliar with Jing, let me introduce you.

We here at STS spend a lot of time teaching people how to use software. You know: the where to click, how to find features, what the hidden secrets of a program are, etc. Along with the face-to-face classes that we offer, we also have chat and emails services that allows UW Madison students to ask software related questions (it proves quite useful when students get stuck while working on a project). However, we have found that sometimes the answers to the students’ questions are to complicated to attempt to write out in an email or a chat.

Enter Jing.

Jing is a FREE screencasting software with Mac AND Windows versions that allows us here at STS to simplify our question answering service. We simply SHOW the student the answer to their questions by recording what we are doing on our computer screens, then send the video over. Bada-Bing-Bada-Jing. Questions answered. Jing also captures voice while recording the screen so us STSers can explain what we are doing while the screencapturing is happening. All your burning software questions solved.

To download Jing and start sharing all of your computer knowledge, click here.

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Juice Up Your Presentations with VUVOX


We here at STS teach a lot of PowerPoint, in timetable courses for faculty members and in our evening classroom courses, however, we have also recently started teaching VUVOX. VUVOX is an online presentation tool that allows users to incorporate text, video, sound and time lines into their presentations.  A little more snazzy than what we are used to seeing in PPT presentations, eh?

Check out a VUVOX project made by a UW student here.

Interested in setting up VUVOX training for your classroom? See this page!

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Adobe Fireworks. Seriously. It Rocks.

For some time we at STS have been teaching a course called “Graphic Design for the Web,” which teaches course attendees to use Adobe Fireworks to create great user interfaces (see this link to sign up for a class).

What I find interesting about our class is that we don’t call it Fireworks. Our Photoshop classes are called Photoshop, our Illustrator classes are called Illustrator, so why not call the Fireworks class by it’s name too? The answer is simple. No one knows what Fireworks is or how powerful it can be.

From my own experience, I know that I use Fireworks to slay all my web designs in record time and with style, but you don’t have to take my word for it.

The good folks at Smashing Magazine recently published an article called “The Power of Fireworks: What Can You Achieve with It?” The article not only discusses what Fireworks is and how it can be used, but it also gives quite a few friendly tips on designing.

Check out the article here!


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Create Your Own 3D Photos!


We recently Stumbled Upon (literally… a blog post from the geniuses at Threadless which teaches readers how to create 3D photos. The step-by-step tutorial takes you through turning a normal photo into a 3D photo that can be seen in the third dimension only with your three-dimensional glasses (of course). It rocks.

We know you all went to see Piranha 3D this summer, so you should have some glasses laying around from that show, right? Now you finally have another use for them!

See the tutorial and try it for yourself here.

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