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YawnBuster

Reviewed:

Date Created: October 22nd 2008
Last Updated: February 27th 2009






Introduction
About YawnBuster
Download and Installation
Using YawnBuster
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

A number of applications plug-in to PowerPoint, and provide the ability to insert Flash based rich media objects on your slides -- in the form of interactions, training games, quizzes, and surveys. YawnBuster, the product being reviewed here adds group activities such as audience polls, games, group exercises and competitions -- and embeds these group activities as part of your PowerPoint file.

YawnBuster includes ready to use Flash templates, and the group activities can be easily customized without any technical knowledge.

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About YawnBuster

YawnBuster is from Harbinger, a company based out of USA and India -- Harbinger develops e-learning products for procedural training, management training, soft skills training, banking etc. You can learn more about their products and download the free trial version of YawnBuster from their site...

We reviewed Raptivity, another product from Harbinger some time ago.

My contact at Harbinger for this review was Amitabh Ramani, thank you Amitabh.

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Download and Installation

You can download the installer for the full or trial version. Run the setup routine and follow the instructions. Once installed, you can access YawnBuster from the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon within PowerPoint 2007, as shown in Figure 1.

YawnBuster in add-ins Ribbon tab within PowerPoint
Figure 1: YawnBuster in add-ins Ribbon tab within PowerPoint

If you are using an earlier version of PowerPoint, you'll find YawnBuster shows up as a separate menu within PowerPoint.

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Using YawnBuster

Before you start, do remember that YawnBuster only works within the PPT file format rather than the new PPTX file format -- that's because the PPTX format currently does not allow embedding of Flash movies -- more info can be found at the FlashPPT site.

Follow these steps to use YawnBuster in PowerPoint:

  1. Open any presentation in PowerPoint, and then choose the YawnBuster button within the Add- ins tab of the Ribbon (refer to Figure 1 above).

  2. This opens a flyout menu -- choose the Insert New Group Activity option, as shown in Figure 2.

    Insert New Group Activity
    Figure 2: Insert New Group Activity

  3. This summons YawnBuster's Group Activity Gallery dialog box, that you can see in Figure 3 -- navigate and select any group activity, and click OK. I chose the Quiz Show option for this review.

    Group Activity Gallery
    Figure 3: Group Activity Gallery

  4. This opens the selected Activity Customization window as shown in Figure 4 -- here you can add, edit or delete questions, set the styling and edit presenter info.

    Tip: To change the background of your activity interface, choose the Activity Styling tab in this dialog box.


    Activity Customization
    Figure 4: Activity Customization

  5. To replace the question boilerplates, either double click on the selected question (represented by Question 1 comes here), or select the question and click the Edit button (refer to Figure 4 above).

  6. This brings up the Question Editor (see Figure 5) -- add or edit your question here in the question text area, and set the answer choices. When done, click OK to get back to the screen that you saw in Figure 4.

    Question Editor
    Figure 5: Question Editor

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to add more questions. Click OK to apply the activity on the PowerPoint slide -- this shows up as a white, checked box, as shown in Figure 6.

    Activity applied on PowerPoint slide
    Figure 6: Activity applied on PowerPoint slide

  8. Don't worry about the white box -- it plays as a normal quiz when you play your PowerPoint presentation. You can also resize this box as required.

Note: Make sure that you save the PowerPoint presentation to a older version such as (.PPT) instead on (.PPTX) -- in fact, it's best you save your PPT file even before you insert a YawnBuster activity on a slide.

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Pricing and Support

YawnBuster costs $240 -- it costs less for education, non-profit and government users.

Support is by e-mail and an online FAQ. Strangely enough, there's no support page online that mentions the inability of YawnBuster working with PowerPoint 2007's PPTX format.

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Conclusion

YawnBuster is a nice product, but it shows some kinks of being a version 1 product. First of all, they need to make the product entirely compatible with PowerPoint 2007 by providing an option to link rather than embed the activity Flash file -- and they also need to have a more extensive online FAQ.

Having said that, the product provides a compelling experience -- you don't need to know any PowerPoint VBA programming or Flash ActionScript to create your own quiz interactions -- that's a huge plus factor.

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