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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 034

Issue 034 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Product/Version: PowerPoint


Freebies, Goodies and Special Offers
Jerry Weissman speaks about Death by PowerPoint and more
Make PowerPoint talk with PowerTalk
Quick News
Focus on PointCapture
PowerPoint Users can Save Trees!
Events & Seminars

Freebies, Goodies and Special Offers

Let's get started with the best things!

All subscribers of this mailing list can download two free PowerPoint backgrounds that are going to be part of new unreleased PowerPoint template collections at - all you need to do is go and download them! It's our way of wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Start downloading now.


There's more - the good people at Omnivox are allowing readers of this ezine a great discount on their revolutionary Omnivox Mobile Sound System.

The Omnivox is an amazingly compact device that is revolutionizing computer-driven presentations. No longer will you need to attach speakers to your laptop and hope that the person at the far end of the table can hear and that the person closest to you isn't blasted out of the room. Simply plug the Omnivox into your computer (or other audio source) and set it on the conference room table. The table will become your speaker, delivering audio evenly and pleasantly to everyone in the room. Imagine how your contact experiences will change knowing that you can set up in less than a minute and knowing that everyone will be able to clearly hear your presentation. More info here.


Jerry Weissman speaks about Death by PowerPoint and more

Jerry Weissman Here's an Indezine exclusive - Jerry Weissman, author of the bestselling book,'Presenting to Win: the Art of Telling Your Story' speaks about Death by PowerPoint and much more. Here are some excerpts:

Geetesh: Nowadays, you hear PowerPoint being compared to death. What do you think about this whole thing?

Jerry: While it is true that many presentations are mind-numbingly poor, the fault is not in Microsoft PowerPoint, but in the presenter. To blame the software for poor presentations is like blaming poor handwriting or spelling on the Montblanc Pen Company. The fault is not with the pen, but the penmanship. Presenters must learn to adopt the Less is More rule.

Geetesh: What do you think about online rich media delivery of presentations - for instance PowerPoint re-purposed to be distributed online.

Jerry: Online presentations, such as Microsoft LiveMeeting, present vast new opportunities to improve communication and save the cost and wear and tear of travel. While many of the techniques that apply to in-person presentations are applicable online, there are a number of significant changes that must be adopted.

One is the absence of direct personal contact. To compensate, the online presenter must provide a richer narration and be mindful of conveying meaning with vocal inflection. Another important factor is to make the cyber audience feel involved by using the polling and interactive techniques available in online software.

Read the complete interview here


Make PowerPoint talk with PowerTalk

Surprises can add value to so many things in life. PowerTalk is one such surprise - imagine a free program that adds speech abilities to PowerPoint. What's even more surprising is the fact that it is so less publicized. Few people know about this program, so the best way to begin would probably be to start with how it evolved.

Steve Lee, a software developer based in the UK explains that he got to the stage where he wanted to give something to the accessibility cause. He further adds that he likes the concept of Open Source Software (OSS) where a community of people work together to develop solutions and ensure that software can be modified freely.

Steve wanted to put the accessibility and OSS concepts together and when he discovered Simon Judge of Speechmakers, they both found that they were thinking along similar lines. Around this time, a letter appeared in the BCS Disability Group's Ability magazine requesting help in presenting PowerPoint content to an audience including blind and visually impaired people. Also, this was to be presented by someone with aphasia. As Steve explains "This letter was an ‘ahah’ moment for me and all the threads came together. I could use a little Python (an OSS developer language) code to glue together PowerPoint and SAPI (Microsoft's Speech API) to solve the person’s problem and provide some starting code for Speechmakers. The code would simply hook up to PowerPoint events and grab slide text, squirting it at SAPI to narrate."

PowerTalk is available for download from the Speechmaker's site:

Find a download link on the page. Installation is easy - after the setup is complete, you'll find a new PowerTalk group in your Windows' Start menu.

the powertalk menu provides several options

During installation, you are prompted if you want PPS and PPT files to automatically be associated with PowerTalk. Unless you want to open PowerPoint files all the time with PowerTalk, you will want this feature turned off. After installation, it is easy to enable or disable this feature anytime through the PowerTalk Settings option in the PowerTalk menu in the Windows' Start menu.

The installation also includes a sample PowerPoint file called Power Talk.ppt that includes special tags that the Microsoft Speech API can understand.

PowerTalk requires PowerPoint 2000 or later to be installed on Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server or newer.


Quick News

Read the PowerPoint Blog here.

Presentations magazine honored Anystream's Apreso product with its annual Standing Ovation Award for best presentation products. Read more here (link no longer exists).

Tom Bunzel discusses how you would include a Visio timeline diagram in PowerPoint at the InformIT site.

Powerbullet Presenter is a free program that allows you to create quick Flash animations and presentations. More info.

Dr. Joseph Sommerville discusses The Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint Presentations on Read here.

Canto released version 6 of their Cumulus DAM (Digital Asset Management) software. More info at the Canto site.


Focus on PointCapture

With over 30 million PowerPoint presentations being created every day, you probably have a fair number of them on your hard disk or network. Nowadays, you need to create PowerPoint presentations at short notice and searching for a particular slide in a particular presentation can be both laborious and time-consuming. Thankfully, PowerPoint's open add-in architecture allows third-party providers to create new utilities that plug right into PowerPoint. One such third-party product is called PointCapture.

Read more.


PowerPoint Users Can Save Trees!

Shyam Pillai has announced a free add-in that ensures that users can print only handouts of the presentation. As Shyam says, "this will save a lot unwanted wastage of paper when users print slides. Ideally for use in colleges."

Find more info and download here.


Events & Seminars

Winning Presentations Seminar
January 15 and 16, 2004, Boston, USA
Claudyne Wilder, Wilder Presentations

Presentations / Training 2004 Conference & Expo
March 1 to 3, 2003, Atlanta, USA
VNU Expositions
Training Conference

PowerPoint Live
October 10 to 13, 2004, San Diego, California, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance, content or feedback from Amy Hatch, Claudyne Wilder, Glenna Shaw, Jerry Weissman, Paul Ludden, Peter McClard, Shyam Pillai, Simon Judge and Steve Lee (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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