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PowerPoint & Internet Explorer: Responses, Cries And Acclaim

By: Geetesh Bajaj

Date Created:
Last Updated: March 2nd 2009


Product Showcase



Continued From Page One...
Initial Posting
Thread 02
Thread 03
Thread 04
Thread 05
Thread 06
Thread 07
Thread 08
Thread 09
Thread 10
Thread 11


Continued From Page One...

This page is in continuation to an earlier article on this site. You may want to read it if you accessed this page directly:

PowerPoint & Internet Explorer: A Shift In Thought?

This page is a compilation of excerpts from postings and responses to the question of using Internet Explorer as a presentation browser from the PowerPoint newsgroup.

As in the nature of an archive, nothing here will be updated.

Back


Initial Posting

I know this is going to be a controversial observation.

There's a new thread every week on this forum for an updated PowerPoint Viewer - this even predates the new PowerPoint 2002 as we all know. Although I'm sure a new PowerPoint Viewer which allows you to see all the cool PowerPoint 2002 features is very welcome - a certain part of my thought is imagining that maybe we all are not ready to let go. Maybe we all like to stick through convention - that's human nature after all.

Enter Internet Explorer (or even Netscape!) - not as a mere browser, but the new PowerPoint Viewer. No PowerPoint Viewer can hope to be as omnipresent as this browser - no Viewer could be bestowed with newer capabilities as soon as they are available. Anyway, with the way in which PowerPoint seems headed, a very large portion of the new PowerPoint Viewer's code will have to be based on Internet Explorer anyway.

So, what's wrong with Internet Explorer? Lots! As a PowerPoint Viewer, it's not up to the job. What's the alternative? PowerPoint Viewer 97? That's even worse if you ask me. It won't play animated GIFs, won't accept ActiveX controls for stuff like embedded Flash, PDF, Director, Atmosphere, VRML, Wavelets, and anything more .... or anything less. It will not run on the next (and even passé) generation computers and operating systems - the Palm, Pocket PC, Handhelds, Macintosh, Linux, BeOS, TabletPC, etc. etc.

I think the biggest grouse we all have against any browser is that it doesn't open full screen like a presentation. That's easily remedied. Even Netscape can open fullscreen with only a title bar. Even that can be removed with a plug-in. Internet Explorer, of course opens fullscreen through the "-k" parameter as also through JavaScript.

Animations are a little jerky - we may just have to learn through trial and error. Anyway, more than half the presentations are created with no custom animations and/or transitions even today. In the other half which use them, a lot are used in bad taste, without a thought for elegance and context.

Transitions are excellent in Internet Explorer - which, in addition comes with a slew of Photoshop like effects built at the browser level. Add such niceties like JavaScript rollovers, DHTML timelines and more - and Internet Explorer does not look bad anymore...

You can also create hybrid CD/web presentations that work on autorun CD ROMs as well. Yes, it can be done - and nobody will even see an Internet Explorer title bar! - but this works only with Windows though.

And yes, I agree with many of you who espouse the need for a new PowerPoint Viewer - but maybe we should start looking at the new world. Time changes after all, as we do...

I'll love to hear from all of you - this might be a forerunner to a quantum change in our thoughts for PowerPoint distribution. It could be a damp squib too - but that's a risk I'm prepared to take.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 02

This is all very well, but I cannot imagine putting stuff on a CD and giving it to all sorts of people, and then they put it into a CD drive and it works on all systems. As there are tonnes of browser versions out in the wild - each with there own little annoyances / features.

- TAJ Simmons

In Continuation

If you're ready to use Internet Explorer 5 as the base level, there's no reason for you to fall into the incompability trap. And Internet Explorer 4, 5, 5.5 and 6 beta are definitely more omnipresent than any PowerPoint Viewer could ever be.

Even Netscape can work to a very basic level.

The other day - I could even put my web pages directly into a multimedia application - and if somehow I can make PowerPoint, HTML, Flash and Acrobat work together, then wow! The best thing is - it's possible even today - we just need to get out of convention.

Not many moons ago, so many folks used Persuasion or Harvard Graphics - and now they use PowerPoint! I think it's real smart of Microsoft to see the reading on the wall - and make PowerPoint so accessible to the web. The single most important asset in PowerPoint 2002 is it's web readiness. They own the presentation standard - and they're leaving no stone unturned to own the 'web presentation' standard. And if we don't see that - then we only have ourselves to blame!

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 03

I agree - being web based is the way of the future. I see it happening right now - the US military, who has relied heavily on PowerPoint for things like daily briefs, etc are writing their own web based tools to take the place of PowerPoint. A lot of server side things like JSP, ASP, Digital Dashboard, Servlets, Portals and Porlets will help to make a Powerpoint presentation a thing of the past in the not so far off future. PowerPoint 2005 will be PowerPoint.net.

We who are in this business are adaptable. It seem just like yesterday, I was typing "copy a: b: " We didn't have a "c:" yet !

- Paul Iordanides

In Continuation

Paul, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts - I know many of us do actually believe that the web is the future for presentations - but again, it's a case of going against convention.

On another front, I hope we need not wait until 2005 to see the new PowerPoint. Either Microsoft should make PowerPoint entirely web capable or go the conventional way - it's difficult sailing in two boats at a time.

Meanwhile, maybe Microsoft should release an ActiveX control for PowerPoint like the one available for Flash from Macromedia? Or is something like that already available?

Anyway, these are all floating thoughts - some of them will settle down for posterity!

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 04

I don't actually have that big a problem with the whole Browser-As-PowerPoint-Viewer concept. If it worked.

But before we start in on one another with the kippers, let's be clear on something. No browser is a PowerPoint Viewer, Microsoft Internet Explorer or otherwise. They're potentially PowerPoint-Data-Saved-As-HTML viewers. What with roundtripping and archive files, that's admittedly getting to be less of a drawback than it once was - you don't have to keep track of bazillions of little assorted files. But it's still nowhere as simple as my emailing you a PowerPoint file and you being able to view it on your computer with no PowerPoint installed.

Previous Post (for reference): Animations are a little jerky - we may just have to learn through trial and error.

Or more to the point, Microsoft has to make it work. Fair is fair - they're the ones pushing Internet Explorer as the universal PowerPoint Viewer, not us. Agreed that most of the animations you see aren't necessary or even detract from the presentation, but that's not the point. Either it's a viewer that works - that supports everything PowerPoint is capable of displaying - or it's not. If there's no viewer, then Microsoft has failed, not the users.

Previous Post (for reference): Anyway, more than half the presentations are created with no custom animations and/or transitions even today. In the other half which use
them, a lot are used in bad taste, without a thought for elegance and context. Transitions are excellent in Internet Explorer

But unfortunately, not an exact match to the ones in PowerPoint, which has more. As I recall, it's mostly a matter of variations on a theme - I'd expect that Explorer could be fairly easily updated to include the same ones as PowerPoint. And Explorer's dissolves are a world ahead of PowerPoint, no question about that.

In the end, it comes down to what we want from a viewer. I'll toss out a few ideas, everyone else can add more ...

Fidelity - When I send you a presentation (in whatever format), I want to know that you see what I saw

Simplicity - For both of us. I don't want you to have to chase all over the net looking for viewers and alternate browsers to download so you can view my presentation. I wouldn't even expect you to go to those lengths. Do unto others and all that .... <g> By the same token, I don't want to have to do much more than click some kind of File, <choose a file>, Send buttons when I want to send you a pressie. I don't want to dance around all of PowerPoint's HTML export options, that much is certain.

X-Platform - PC and Mac at a minimum. Unix/Linux would be nice. Palm Pilots and Cell Phones? Who cares?

- Steve Rindsberg

In Continuation

Thank you for your observations - Steve always has so much to contribute.

Just that there's no new PowerPoint Viewer on the horizon - and we have to start looking at new ways. Anyway, Steve with his PPT2HTML experience is miles ahead of all of us in this viewer vs. browser imbroglio.

Yes, it's no longer emailing a presentation - it's either mailing a CD or emailing a URL - and we just forgot those HTML executables - like 'HTML Executable' - just pack all the HTML and linked files in a single standalone EXE file.

Granted, Microsoft has got to make it work - but we need to bear with them - after all porting presentations to the browser is definitely the future - and a presentation is a subset of a browser, the browser is not a presentation subset. Anyway, what other alternative do you see - so it's back to the old adage - "If you can't beat them, join them!"

Fidelity today is a combination of HTML, Acrobat, Flash, Director and PowerPoint (also OpenType, MHT, Java, ViewPoint, etc.) - the result is a web presentation. And PowerPoint's role in this scheme of things is assured - after all, PowerPoint is emerging as the glue which binds everything together, what with the fantastic roundtrip editing in PowerPoint 2002's native and web formats.

Simplicity is sticking to IE 5 and above as a presentation browser (that's a new term!)

Finally, you may not care for the Palm and PocketPC today - but we're closer to convergence than ever before. What then? It's more like crossing the bridge when we come to it - except that there's a sea beyond and we are the ones not making bridges.

So, let's start making bridges straightaway - between PowerPoint and the web, the CD and the browser, the Palm and Windows - that's it.

- Geetesh Bajaj

In Continuation

Previous Post (for reference): Yes, it's no longer emailing a presentation - it's either mailing a CD or emailing a URL - and we just forgot those HTML executables - like 'HTML Executable' - just pack all the HTML and linked files in a single standalone EXE file.

And Acrobat, come to think of it.

Previous Post (for reference): Granted, Microsoft has got to make it work - but we need to bear with them - after all porting presentations to the browser is definitely the future.

We *hope* it's the future. So far I don't see that they get it, not really. Let's hope that the fault, dear Brutus, is in my myopia. <g>

Previous Post (for reference): Simplicity is sticking to IE 5 and above as a presentation browser (that's a new term!)

Easily said. Now go out and enforce it. Wear your body armor. There are people out there who'd stick spears in you before they'd let go of Netscape, and dang, I'd hate to lose you, friend.

Previous Post (for reference):Finally, you may not care for the Palm and PocketPC today

Hey! Watch yourself there. <g> I think the Palm's fantastic. I just think that as a presentation platform it's idiotic. I mean .... why? Same size screen, quadruple the resolution ... maybe. And it'll happen. But for now? Nah .... ;-)

- Steve Rindsberg

Interludes In Between

Hi Steve. Say, are you friendly with John Langhans? Seems as though I heard that somewhere.... If so, are you still in touch with him?

- Harry Hood

John's first rate people. He's even been known to correct me on some of my more egregiously idiotic statements on this newsgroup. Not as often as I deserve it, but what the heck.

- Steve Rindsberg

I don't suppose you could compel John to join this discussion - perhaps for an article? Wouldn't that be sweet!

Nudge, nudge, know what I mean.

- Harry Hood

Harry, Uber John L. has been known to read a tidbit or two or two hundred of this group. But it seems the policy is for them not to really participate for whatever reasons that are never quite really explained.

So, I wouldn't expect to see him here. Unless that is that you are really the Uber J under the Hood so to speak (g).

But, he is a great fellow and extremely smart, except when he doesn't listen to some of us rant and rant and rant and rant. (g).

- Brian Reilly

I expect he listens plenty well enough to get it. I figure he just doesn't have a big enough baseball bat to make sure the folks upstairs listen and get it too.

- Steve Rindsberg

Me? "Compel"?

Sure would be nice to see The Man Himself appear here, gotta admit that.

- Steve Rindsberg

Harry, I thought YOU were the one with connections..?

- Kathy Huntzinger

In Continuation

Naturally, I still do agree with everything you say - after all a glass of water half empty is the same as a glass of water half full. Just the way you put things across can make things different.

I don't debate that IE is not the viewer that should have been - just that we need to pool our thoughts and find workarounds to make things better. With the amount of support, add-ins and ideas available for IE, I'm sure we can do something.

Can we do it together? That's the question!

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 05

First of all, you are a brave soul, Geetesh! Excellent job on pushing the discussion up another road. This is the dialog that will become a platform of solution for many.

I can only imagine that Microsoft would be most receptive to ideas synchronous to development currently under way. For that reason (and many more) I think we all should lobby for better web output from PowerPoint. Certainly IE and PowerPoint.net are full steam ahead. If they are listening for any ideas, it is probably the ones that enhance those products. Here is a real opportunity for input -- let's take advantage of it.

I agree, Geetesh, that Microsoft is not going to suddenly think, "WAIT A MINUTE! We can breathe life back into an idea we let go of in 1997!" They are focused on a whole different set of problems, and if we want to have an impact on the future releases, then we ought to shift our focus too. (I can't believe I'm saying this. I was actually getting good at being ticked off at the Viewer issue!)

Let's get the laundry list of issues out on the table and let's get to work. Here's to creative problem solving! Count me in!

- Harry Hood

In Continuation

Harry, thank you so much for the support - I believe there's always a reason beyond things - a sort of destiny. Maybe, that's what this could be. Does sound a little far fletched - but it's just that the same questions are just being discussed on this group since the day I started here around a year ago. Half the time we wail about there not being a new viewer since 97 - hoping against hope that some whiff in the air will shock the people at Microsoft to whip up a spanking new viewer and lay it at the foot of the pedestal that this newsgroup is.

Just that this pedestal is getting more akin to an ivory tower - in isolating others, we may have isolated ourselves from what's happening anew. Don't be mistaken - I can assure that everyone here is very savvy - all of them do try out new things: just witness the barrage of knowledge upsurging in this very thread.

I know all this talk without action is useless - I'll shoot the first salvo at Indezine, my site sometime today India time. And yes, that's to be a start - I wish everybody helps everybody else in this.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 06

This is going to sound (somewhat?) negativist, but that's how I feel.

My use of PowerPoint (and I emphasize my *personal* use) of PowerPoint has been to make presentations that are delivered in person. This person might be myself or someone else who is, at least somewhat, computer-literate. Consequently, I haven't focused any serious thought on the 'state of the viewer.'

Ironically, a few years ago, I seriously considered dumping PowerPoint in favor of NN/IE-based presentations. This was largely because I was frustrated with the lack of sophistication in PowerPoint as a medium for delivering 'good' presentations.

Consequently, I view the recent rash of "where's the viewer" discussions (and "I want to make a CD for a standalone presentation") as a testimony to the *improvements* that MS has made in PowerPoint. It's a compliment to the PowerPoint designers that so many seem to see PowerPoint as 'an easy... (bestest?) way to get what-I-want-to-get-done-done... now, if only I could get it to deliver presentations on any platform...'

This demand might reflect well on PowerPoint's capabilities and popularity. However, isn't it possible that that would exceed -- and, by a large margin -- the intent behind the program? Microsoft did not, and does not, market PowerPoint as a creator of standalone presentations. It would be nice if we could get PowerPoint to do so, but it would significantly exceed Microsoft's intent with PowerPoint.

Also, one might even argue that if a perfect PowerPoint viewer were to exist, it would reduce Microsoft sales significantly. After all, I suspect that in a typical organization less that 5% of the people *make* presentations, while many more simply view them (or present them)! Changing tacks to the subject of universality. It doesn't exist. Not for PowerPoint presentations, not for Excel spreadsheets, not for anything. One of the strengths of modern software (not just Microsoft software) is its flexibility and customizability. That also leads to cases where one cannot exactly duplicate someone else's experience. It has nothing to do with PowerPoint.

There are those who claim that a web-based version of a PowerPoint presentation is not universal because that there is too much diversity among browsers. My reaction is "So what?" I submit the same lack of universality is true even with PowerPoint itself. PowerPoint doesn't exist in a vacuum. It needs hardware support, OS support, driver support, etc. Embedding a QuickTime or a AVI movie that requires a particular decoder might not work on all machines. Hardware related issues are repeatedly demonstrated by the recurring discussions of 'timing problems.'

A trivial but legitimate case for the absolute absence of universality: A pure 'vanilla-and-nothing-but-vanilla' presentation might yield a different experience even with the *same* version of PowerPoint. It would depend on options such as 'End with black slide' or 'Pop up menu on right click.'

On a more positive note, the closest that one can come to the perfect viewer is the program itself. I think that is true for Excel, PowerPoint, Word, or a competing product from another company.

The one (only?) advantage of the moronic product activation scheme that Mocrosoft concocted for Office XP is that we -- finally -- have the perfect viewer for every Microsoft Office product. All Microsoft (or one of 'us?') has to do is make a version of Office XP that is 'permanently crippled.' The need for an Excel viewer, PowerPoint viewer, Word viewer, whatever else viewer would be resolved for good!

- Tushar Mehta

In Continuation

Previous Post (for reference): Microsoft did not, and does not, market PowerPoint as a creator of standalone presentations. It would be nice if we could get PowerPoint to do so, but it would significantly exceed Microsoft's intent with PowerPoint.

Tushar, What exactly is Microsoft's intent as regards PowerPoint?

- Kathy Huntzinger

Back


Thread 07

I'm here, it is just that I don't have much to say about either of the viewers. The one that is out there now is deplorable. The one they are threatening us with, right now is no better. Your guess as to 2005 being the timeframe, is probably a good guess. If you look at Microsoft's track record, they have not produced a product that runs right on the first try since they released DOS (and that was debatable). Might be even later than 2005 <g>

The majority of the work I produce is for a stand up comedian. What is being used out there, along with along with all the workarounds, is just fine for me. By the time they get it correct, I'll be long gone from this business. Maybe just hang around to maintain my lurker status.

- Michael Koerner

In Continuation

Michael, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Let me share some of mine.

PowerPoint 97 is like a glass of water half empty - in time, it will get emptier.

IE is a glass full - in time it will evolve into a glass of water full to the brim.

And you'll never get out of business - wish you the very best in life for whatever you do. We need you forever in this group.

- Geetesh Bajaj

In Continuation

Previous Post (for reference): If you look at Microsoft's track record, they have not produced a product that runs right on the first try since they released DOS (and that was debatable).

And Microsoft didn't write that, they bought it from somebody else.<g>

- Steve Rindsberg

Back


Thread 08

Seems like the real Viewer is installed on every one of my clients' machines. It's called PowerPoint.exe.

- Brian Reilly

In Continuation

Brian, that's true.

On the other hand, the browser could still be an enriched viewer - where you could cook together anything which can output to it - and today, you would be hard pressed to find something which cannot output to IE.

On another front, Tushar's thoughts of a 'crippled application - great viewer' make an excellent observation.

- Geetesh Bajaj

In Continuation

Previous Post (for reference): On the other hand, the browser could still be an enriched viewer - where
you could cook together anything which can output to it - and today, you would be hard pressed to find something which cannot output to IE.

?

I don't have to look a lot farther than PowerPoint to find that.

Let's look at this from another perspective. Every time I design a presentation for a client, we play 20 questions. I have to ask them about the platform they expect the final presentation to run on, whether they control it or not (ie, their computers or any computer it happens to land on). That leads to a discussion of fonts. Media. All the usual stuff.

And what it inevitably comes down to is that UNLESS they intend to run the presentations only on their own computers under controlled circumstances, we have to forget about using any but the most basic of sounds, give up on any fonts other than Arial and Times New Roman and generally toss out all the fun stuff that would really liven up the presentation or give it a unique character.

It may be perfectly fair for Microsoft to tell us "Well, you haven't bought PowerPoint for everyone. Suck it up and get over it." It'd be nice if they told us that before we bought the package. You might not believe how stunned my clients sometimes are to learn how severely PowerPoint limits their options when they want to distribute a presentation.

- Steve Rindsberg

Back


Thread 09

I've "played" with the conversion from PowerPoint to HTML fairly heavily and in honesty found it lacking in a number of areas. I am not so much against the idea of using a browser as a viewer, but I want it to reproduce the presentation "exactly" as I created it.

When we start with, half the animations don't work properly, timings are completely destroyed, don't use a third of the features of PowerPoint because they won't render properly in a browser, etc.. I am immediately turned off from using it.

Can the browser become the viewer of the future? Yes I believe so, but it has a very, very long way to go before it is acceptable for my work. What many folks at Microsoft fail to understand is that there is a large percentage of users whom use PowerPoint for things other than "speech giving" in a corporate setting.

I wish I were at liberty to show you some of the "artistic" presentations I've helped clients with over the years. Or even some of the presentations I've put together for attorneys to use in court. In both of these cases the client(s) rightfully insist on "exact" display of their work.

$.02 worth

- Austin Myers

In Continuation

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts - let me assure you that they are completely in tune with mine.

However, we really need to discuss our PowerPoint to web experiences - I'm sure we can help each other and find workarounds for common problems.

It's just that so many of us are even averse to discussing the role of the browser as a viewer - and I'm sure all of us have spent many hours doing just that.

Just that we have to proceed - unless you jump in the water, you cannot swim.

Frankly, I'm quite irritated with Microsoft's lack of concern in providing us with a new viewer - and I do realise that there are two sides to a coin. Certainly, Microsoft has its own thoughts regarding this - wish they issued them in a white paper form.

However, it does appear that a new viewer may not be available. PowerPoint 2000 made us find out ways to become compatible with the viewer - like using AVI files for animated GIFs. PowerPoint 2002 has so much more - one cannot even begin to think of making it viewer compliant. On the other hand, browser compliant seems easier.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Interludes In Between

What we need is an insider - someone who can tell us
what Microsoft plans are...a mole...any volunteers in Redmond ?? <VBG>

- Paul Iordanides

All this would make for good e-zine content.

What a scoop if anyone at microsoft contributed!

- TAJ Simmons

I'll see if I can't track someone down at Microsoft. Let's see if we can't make this happen. <g>

- Harry Hood

Harry, thank you so much for your input. The suspense you're building is leading us where?

- Geetesh Bajaj

More than the ezine, much much more - this is a new direction.

I'll be converting much of this content to an easily readable format - but there's still so much to be said and heard.

In the end, actions are more important than words - the first salvo will be fired on Indezine sometime today India time. Naturally, I'll post the details on this newsgroup.

- Geetesh Bajaj

In Continuation

Actually I think it's pretty obvious what Microsoft's plans are in this area. (Can we say IE everywhere?) Have you taken a look at "MS Producer" yet? I have been experimenting with it and though it isn't even really a beta yet, it does look promising. But as I said before, converting a PowerPoint presentation to something the browser can handle has a very long way to go.

For those that haven't been in the PowerPoint"game" for a long time, the issue of the viewer is not new. Each new version of the viewer has lagged behind the release of PowerPoint by years. In other words serious PowerPoint users have been fighting this situation for a very, very long time.

Browser/viewer or whatever, I really don't care. What I do care about is ending the years long lag between the release of a PowerPoint version and the release of a method (any method!) to distribute it with full support for the features native to PowerPoint.

The saving grace in all of this is that PowerPoint has reached something of a critical mass and is no longer the "red headed step-child" of the Office suite. (I think PhotoDraw gets that title now.) With the acceptance as a main stream application Microsoft will be forced into a position to address this issue. Or at least I hope this is the case. In any case, the problem has existed for years and it's well past time that Microsoft gets off the dime and give the users something besides half baked solutions that don't work or meet the users needs.

As far as "us" finding work arounds to use the product I'll be honest and say that I for one am not interested in trying. Why? Because I don't have a clear (I don't even have a faint notion) roadmap of where Microsoft is taking any of this. Is it HTML, XML, SOAP, .Net, who knows? Not anyone I've talked with.

It's tough enough to solve problems and build on the future when you know where your going. Doing it with no idea where things will be 6 months down the road is all but impossible. BTDT and not the least bit interested in doing it again.

Whew, almost got on my soap box again...

- Austin Myers

Interludes In Between

Wow Austin, your essay was most thought provoking. Someone somewhere must be reading it - let's hope this prompts them into action.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Aren't all users of Microsoft software moles in a way? We are completely in the dark, groping around in the muck trying to fight our way down a tunnel with no end in sight. ;-)

Maybe what we need is someone with a flashlight.

- Mike M

Good one Mike!! LOL!!

- Sonia Coleman

Why do you need a flashlight - just strike a match. It's obvious - there's no new spanking PowerPoint Viewer forthcoming. We need to do best with what we have. It seems we have 3 options:

1. PowerPoint Viewer 97
2. Internet Explorer 5 and upwards
3. PowerPoint 2002 Crippled Program - Great Viewer

The first can be run off a CD, the second is omnipresent and the third is a thought.

The very thought behind this thread is that we are not moles, we're going to do something. And there's got to be light at the end of the tunnel anyway.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Paul, insider or no insider - that's not the subject. I think we should just get ahead with this thing without waiting for any input from Microsoft. If there's an input from them, that may be a bonus - but without them, we all can still help each other. That's the whole essence of this newsgroup.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Back


Thread 10

Contrary to Walt Disney, it is not a "very small, small world". It is a very large world with a diverse user base who have different skill levels and very different hardware and software installations. I'm sure this is hard to believe, but I actually know people who are still running Windows 3.1! Well, they don't get a CD from me, but they seem perfectly happy despite that. <g>

I do however deal with so many users who are not Web savvy and certainly don't understand XML or HTML. They don't even understand their PC, frankly. They adopted PowerPoint because it was supposed to be easy to use and didn't require code. Now they want to distribute their presentation to other users like themselves -even to - GASP!! - people who don't use the Internet except for e-mail.

My users and correspondents include designers, home users, and elementary school teacher's who are trying to build, e.g., student records for a permanent file with a copy to the parents. (Broad unknown audience of varied skills and system capability.) Also, many people intend to make an autorun CD a permanent archive that will always work. On the Web I could not promise this. Five years from now the Viewer on the CD will be unchanged. Yes, I know that the system will have changed too, but I think there's a better chance that the CD will still work. However, the browser on the system may have changed dramatically. Just some thoughts.

Yep, a lot of "us" know how to put something on the web or to a local disk-based Web. Some of us even know how to move that to a CD. However, that CD (which doesn't contain the viewing software) will be created and tested based on the available browsers today and installed on the target system. What happens when changes to the browser take place in the future? Also, a website is not a good archival location. We're talking about weddings, births, religious ceremonies, vacations, drawings from an 8 year-old, writings of kids of all ages, all things of value that must be saved. The list is endless. Terribly valuable to the families and participants. These need to be permanently archived and accessible.

Believe me, I am not resistant to change. I'm just trying to think of the very large and over-looked user-base and audience out there. Microsoft addresses the needs of their top corporate users who sign large lucrative contracts with them and develop business presentations for one-time-only use. I think they are really blind of the value to their millions of private individual users.

Oh, and for whoever mentioned it, there will probably be no "moles" here. Moles live under-ground and only enjoy disturbing the soil and the roots, but never show their face and certainly do nothing to enhance growth. On the other hand, we probably all realize that until the Microsoft Corp. makes a formal announcement, no employee can discuss the subject. However, I do believe that they watch and listen.

- Sonia Coleman

In Continuation

Sonia, you took a long time to write that - and whatever points you've raised are very important and humane.

After reading your thoughts, I believe the PowerPoint world is in 2 streams: those using PowerPoint 97 (and half of PowerPoint 2000 users) will continue convention. Facilities for them have long existed and have been fine tuned with the deliberations on this very newsgroup.

The other stream is the upcoming user generation of PowerPoint 2002 (and the other half of PowerPoint 2000 users) - what with the ability to roundtrip PowerPoint presentations between PPT and HTML formats.

And yes, you can very easily create an autorun CD with a PowerPoint HTML presentation. I've created a small solution - I'll be posting it on Indezine today. I'm sure you can fine tune it for ACDPC version 3.

- Geetesh Bajaj

Interludes In Between

I'm sure that Shyam is relishing this entire thread. <VBG> I've given up on Redmond and am looking to Bombay for an announcement. <EG>

- Sonia Coleman

Well, if Shyam's creating a new viewer - then that's great news - no wonder he's not participating on this thread. Anyway, Bombay became Mumbai years ago!

- Geetesh Bajaj

I didn't say that he was doing that, did I? I believe that he is very capable of the task, however.

Shyam still claims to live in Bombay and that's what my Atlas (unfortunately ten years old) shows and what the Net says "half" the time. I have relied upon him to tell me where he lives. <VBG> I do see that Mumbai is now the favored name, but perhaps not by Shyam or his family. I certainly don't know. I try to recognize the terms and city names that my friends prefer. <VBG>

- Sonia Coleman

I know changed names can be such a problem - in the last decade, three of our four largest cities have been renamed. Bombay became Mumbai, Madras is now Chennai and Calcutta is called Kolkata.

- Geetesh Bajaj

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Thread 11

Having been gone all morning, I have just had the unique experience of reading this entire batch of postings and finding myself agreeing with almost all of them. I would love it if Someone wrote it up as a group article, I can think of several places on-line that would post it (Not the least of which is each of our sites). Having said that, I want to add my two cents...

I come to the PowerPoint world as a trainer, both of PowerPoint and of other subjects using PowerPoint presentations. When I am going to a training site, I can not dictate which browser is installed. However, I can ask "Do you have PowerPoint on the machine or do I need to bring a copy of the viewer?" and get a reasonable answer.

Once I am at the client site, using PowerPoint I can make changes based on client need quickly and generically using PowerPoint, test it in the same tool, and resave the presentation in an instant. If I have to depend on running the presentation on a browser I need to save as HTML and test it with another application. In addition, I need to regenerate the HTML for even the slightest change, as the HTML generated by Microsoft's tools is graphics based and not always able to handle the tricks used by the average trainer. This adds extra work that my clients (quite bluntly) don't want to pay for.

Being a Netscape user and an IE user, I can attest that the HTMl from the same base presentation being run in the two browsers can look totally different. At most corporations, the browser choice is dicated from above and not able to be changed. While I can load a copy of the viewer from the CD to memory without installing it, I can not do that with any browser I know of. This means getting IT involved in a training session, delaying the students learning.

One other point: Running a presentation during a class using PowerPoint or the viewer is an intuitive action. The trainer or presenter does not need to think about which buttons, etc., to push, because the presentation is being run in the tool used to create the presentation. Changing this to a browser based presentation requires that the trainer or presenter to become intimately familiar with not just a second tool, but also a full markup language for troubleshooting. Being as my computer skills put me definitely in the minority among trainers (even to this day), I can tell you that most non-technical trainers and professors don't want to learn more about the computer than they absolutely have to. There are enough pieces of the world to keep up with - they get touchy when you push more technology at them.

I would love to start encouraging trainers to use browsers as a mechanism for presenting their PowerPoint created materials - It would give me plenty of business for my train the trainer sessions. However, I don't think any browser is to that point as yet.

- Kathryn Jacobs

Interludes In Between

Kathy, thank you for sharing your observations.

I think we've achieved so much on this thread - we've set the minds of so many of us in a quantum shift. That's already against convention!

- Geetesh Bajaj

Geetesh, which thread were you talking about archiving in your earlier post? If it wasn't this one, can I suggest that you do this one also?

- Steve Rindsberg

I think it was Kathy and TAJ who suggested the archiving first - I just popped in!

Actually, it's already done - I've just posted a while ago for any objections to use everybody's thoughts. If no one objects, hope to see it soon at Indezine - and I'll be glad to allow the compilation to be mirrored if anyone's interested?

- Geetesh Bajaj

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