If you've ever been involved in running an event you may well have come across the issue of finding a reliable countdown timer — the speaker's aid to see how long they have left in their allocated slot.
Back in 2017, I was involved in producing a series of events called A Day with Shopify, which later turned into Pursuit. We'd struggled to find the perfect countdown timer and so I decided to undertake some research into the various options on the market.
I consulted my good friend Marc and received a couple of app recommendations and eventually settled on using Presentime. It's a great app and well worth the small fee. The ability to view the remaining time from a secondary device as well as reset the timer remotely without wi-fi are both great features. The only downsides are that you need an iPad, preferably a big one, to make use of it and occasionally the connection dropped causing a few stressful moments.
It got me thinking — surely it would be pretty straightforward to make use of Keynote and create a countdown timer that would be displayed on a laptop or piped to a comfort monitor (nice and big) on the stage.
A couple of hours later I ended up with a deck that:
Displays a second-by-second 30-minute countdown timer
Turns orange at the ten-minute mark
Turns red at the five-minute mark
Calls "Times Up"
Alerts overrun by 1,2,3,4, and 5 minutes
It's not revolutionary but might be useful to anyone out there running an event. It's on GitHub — feel free to download a copy for your own use.