App of the week: Drawing the Cloud with Paper for iPad

Originally posted at

There’s so much marketing guff about the cloud, often couched in dense, endless PowerPoints or thick PDF whitepapers. So for my talk at Business North West 2012, I decided to do something a bit different :)

I’m always a fan of brief presentations, where the slides are mostly visual prompts rather than on-screen notes to read off. The weekend before BNW, I was off to Brussels so I didn’t really have time to put together anything too comprehensive anyway. I downloaded Keynote onto my iPad but quickly realised that learning to use it on a smaller form factor was going to be a pain. At the time, I didn’t own a stand for my iPad either, so typing was a bit difficult.

Luckily, a couple of weeks earlier, I’d seen a presentation from Garry Byrne at Manchester’s #smc_mcr talking about the state of mobile (report). He’d used the iPad app Paper by fiftythree to create his very simple, effective slides which acted just as I prefer – non-distracting, visual prompts for his engaging talk.

So before I got on the Eurostar back, I downloaded the app, paid for the extra brushes and by the end of the train journey back to Manchester, had produced my entire deck. If I’d had a video adapter, I could’ve presented directly from the app but, for compatibility, I exported each page as an image and pasted them into PowerPoint.

This was my first attempt at designing a presentation using but it went pretty smoothly. However, writing words is a bit odd with your finger, so I’ve recently invested in a Cosmonaut stylus on Twitter-based recommendations. We’ll see if this makes a difference.

Paper is currently a free download so watch the video or get it now. And you can flick through my slides above or on Speaker Deck.

Tip: Download the Speaker Deck Embed plugin for WordPress!