At long last, it finally happened. I did not have to engage in anything morally ambiguous, as it turned out. Some patience and good fortune scored me a beta testing login to Zuiprezi. I stayed up well past my bedtime last night to learn and play a bit. I took a chunk of a presentation on grading and used it as source material to see how this new software might be used.
So far, I'm generally satisfied. The interface (the "paw" looking thing in the upper lefthand corner) is easy to navigate. It's just a more visual way to display the contents of a tool bar than what we typically have. I like being able to easily resize text and graphics...position things however I like...and then connect the pieces in any sequence. The only drawback I can see at this point is that any graphics which aren't of a very high resolution appear quite pixelated when the presentation is running---far moreso than in Powerpoint. I won't say that the screenshot above represents fine design, but for a first attempt, I'm feeling pretty good about the possibilities.
I really hope that the developers for this tool are able to make a go of things, considering current economic conditions. I have to say, though, that I would definitely be willing to pay for access. I think it's an excellent tool with some great potential for the classroom. My plan for first using this tool for a grant-writing workshop I'll be doing in the coming weeks. If this style of presentation is better suited for text, then perhaps this will be the perfect opportunity to give things a try.
Mind you, my job assignment is shifting a bit. In fact, I was cc'ed on an e-mail yesterday requesting the keepers of the website to add my credentials to the "Science Ass Main Page." I didn't have the heart to tell them that I'm really only half-ass(essment), according to my contract. I am grateful to have some better job security, a raise, and access to better benefits. So if that means doing some big ass science, count me in. And with a tool like Zuiprezi in my back pocket, perhaps some of the other good things I've been waiting for will appear.