Category Archives: presentation

Embedded talk

Title page

Hello, everyone! I'm Sacha Chua, and I'm here to talk about embedded
system design from the developer's point of view.
What _is_ embedded computing, anyway? It helps to define it in
contrast to personal computers, which we're all familiar with.

PC/embedded system comparison

General use

Personal computers are intended for general use. They can run a wide
range of applications - games, business apps, that sort of thing.

Specific function

Embedded systems, on the other hand, are typically designed for a
single purpose. Think of a calculator, for example, or the logic in
vending machines. (Of course, some embedded systems are becoming more
general now, like personal digital assistants a).

OS, apps

Personal computers



On PCs, you can usually assume that someone

Different input/output

Easy to dev or change programs

Infrequently updated


User needs / expectations

Although crashes and data loss seem to be part of our everyday
computing experience, people expect embedded systems to be reliable.
Imagine an embedded system that crashes! What if your phone crashed
and had to be rebooted all the time? People expect features,
reliability, and all for a low price.

Tight space and memory constraints

Development tools

Development process

One of the things about embedded development is that the process is a
little bit longer. It's not the usual edit, compile, run cycle. It's
edit, compile, burn to flash, run.

Architectural quirks

And of course if you go into embedded development, you'll probably
have to deal with different architectures. For example, you'll learn
about the quirks of conditional ARM.

Why go into embedded dev't?

It's fun!

It's challenging!

It's useful!

How to get started

Courses on computer interfacing / hardware / digital logic


Internship / work / open source

What you need: software, hardware, patience

Business Writing Seminar

My mom sent me information on a seminar ( on business writing, knowing how I'd like to improve my communication skills. P 8,500 (early bird discount) buys a lot of business writing books, though, and I don't think I'll be able to make use of these skills just yet. Perhaps after grad school?

Does your job entail a lot of writing? Do you panic when confronted with a writing assignment? Does preparing a business report or a business proposal send shivers up and down your spine? Are you unsure of what words to use? If so, then this workshop on effective business writing is for you. Peppered with exercises and easy-to-grasp, practical tips for better business writing, this workshop is designed for Executives like you who regularly compose their own correspondence. You'll benefit from on-the-spot mentoring and participating in discussions that identify and address your own particular writing challenges.Plus, you'll take a look at what works and what won't in writing:
  • Cover Letters
  • Sales Letters
  • E-Mail Messages
  • Memos
  • Business Reports
  • Business Proposals
  • Responses to Complaints

Maybe later, when I think I'll be doing a lot more writing. Right now, I'd love more classes on presentation and public speaking. Actually, scratch that—I know the _theory_, but I want to see it in _practice._ I want to listen to good speakers, people who aren't dependent on random Microsoft Powerpoint transitions or pretty clip-art, people who don't read off the slides, people who can hold an entire hall captive with just voice and a few visual aids. I want to meet masters.

That's what I picked up from Ranulf's talk at La Salle. He and Niel Dagondon talked about game development in the Philippines, but what _really_ struck me was their presentation styles. Ranulf was a typical geek; sincere, informative, but with halting delivery and not much audience connection. Niel—Niel knew how to work the crowd. He got them to laugh. He made them feel special. My (paper) notebook was full of notes on his speaking style. Niel's not perfect, but he's better than Ranulf, and he's more at ease with the crowd than I am. I have much to learn.

I'm a strange kind of geek. I devour books on public speaking, negotiation, sales, even marketing—all of these things that most geeks don't think necessary. I _like_ presentations. I enjoy getting up there and sharing what I've learned. Yes, my knees get weak and I get annoyed with myself when I can't figure out a good way to explain something, but it's _fun._ Scary, but fun.

I like explaining things. I like exciting people, making them curious, helping them get started. I twitch whenever I see a nifty idea obscured by poor presentation skills. I hate it when people think computer science is boring or difficult, because it can be so much more fun than that. I want to learn how to sell ideas, how to set people on fire.

E-Mail to Harvey Chua

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University of Asia and the Pacific: Business talks

Raven said

Hi Sacha! UA&P usually hosts a lot of such talks, ranging from business writing to power dressing. I'm sure they'd have seminars on public speaking / giving presentations. I'll inform you when I receive such a memo. ^_^

I'd like to share this as well: when I was in undergrad I was a member of a laboratory where each of us had to deliver a seminar or two about certain papers related to our research. I thought that that was such a great training, since we not only get to practice public speaking on a regular basis, we also got to watch others do it so we knew how a good (or a bad) presentation looked like.

Amen. I still wince when I watch other people read off the slides. Students hate it when their teachers do that, but they don't get exposed to enough good presentations to learn how to deliver them. Presentations in other departments are pretty good—I always looked forward to the Comm presentation during Faculty Day—but people in the sciences often miss out on presentation skills...

E-Mail from Richi's server

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Presentations up has my charts for this afternoon's talks. a brief introduction things I learned in Japan tech peeks taming the TODO

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The conference was so much fun!

My laptop wouldn't talk to the projector, so I did my Knoppix talk without slides. I forgot to give people my e-mail address. Whoops. Still, I have a few contacts, and I guess that's a good start. Most people had already tried Linux, so I went for the evangelization-of-others angle instead, although I threw in a few benefits for newbies.

I misplaced Vahid's index card, but I know he's a Ma. IT student at USC. I should write to him about repartitioning.

Chatted with Lawrence and Justin over dinner. Turns out they're both into Stephenson and other SF stuff. (Thanks to Baryon for introducing me to those books!) I think I convinced Justin to try out Emacs.

It was tons of fun geeking out and swapping stories. Lawrence is a treasure-trove of business experience and geek stories. =)

Tired from a long but absolutely fun day. Good night!

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Good presentation tips

Five Rules for Better PowerPoint Presentations (from Working Smart) is a great post on presentation skills. Here are his five rules.

  • Rule #1: Don’t give PowerPoint center stage.
  • Rule #2: Create a logical flow to your presentation. Better yet, tell a story.
  • Rule #3: Make your presentation readable.
  • Rule #4: Remember, less is more.
  • Rule #5: Distribute a handout.

According to my students, my most memorable presentation was the one I did on computer history.

Right. Computer history.

I had one thought per slide. One line. Sometimes not even a line, just a picture.

The pictures were visual aids for the story I told about operating systems. I couldn't stand the bullet lists that all the other teachers were using, so I made something very sparse but fun.

One of my students said it felt like a TV ad. <laugh>

Slides are a tool, not a crutch.

Working Smart - My Favorite Powerpoint Resources is a treasure-trove of links on presentation skills. Here are some nifty ones from that list:

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

*laugh!* Unix humor ;) But it is true. Gah! I hate presentations that rely on the dratted slides... I avoid doing that as well. But I still haven't gotten the hang of it. However, stories are something i enjoy telling and listening to. HMmmm. I guess that is why I enjoyed my archival science electives! :) My prof used to tell stories more often than lectures. I seem to absorb more that way. My classmates don't get it though. But that style works for me. Hmmmm. When I do get to teach, I will remember this! ;)

今日この番組でハッカーの問題をクローズアップするんだって。 This program is going to focus on computer hacking issues today.

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