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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 037

Issue 037 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Product/Version: PowerPoint


Winners and Winners
A Spate of Interviews - and "Death by PowerPoint'
Announcing PowerPoint Services
Quick News
New Content
Events & Seminars

Winners and Winners

There has been an amazing response from all of you about the freebies and special offers announced in the last ezine issue. Thank you so much.

Just by being subscribed to this ezine, you are eligible to win all these goodies! And now, for the new gifts:

Shyam Pillai, PowerPoint MVP is providing three (3) copies of his amazing Handout Wizard for PowerPoint. Natively, PowerPoint's support for handouts is limited - you cannot format a handout to be printed beyond manipulating few shapes on the handout master of PowerPoint. The Handout Wizard add-in does away with all such limitations.

There's more! TechSmith is giving away a copy of their new Camtasia 2 screen and video capture product that priced aroundUS$400! In addition, there's also one copy of SnagIt 7, their screen capture tool.

I still have another copy of Dave Paradi's e-book on PowerPoint 2002 - The 20% You Really Need To Know About PowerPoint 2002. Dave is a presentation guru who runs the Communicate Using Technology site.

There are even more goodies! I've stacked them to be announced only in the next issue!

Now for the winners - the three copies of SnagIt 7 went to Diana Maloney, Denise McDermott and Nick Vaidya. A copy of Dave Paradi's e-book was won by Ken Blacksmith. Congratulations!


A Spate of Interviews - and "Death by PowerPoint"

Indezine has had a spate of interviews since the last ezine issue. We've had Dave Paradi, Patrice-Anne Rutledge, Steve Rindsberg and Tom Atkins (in alphabetical order!) share their experiences with PowerPoint and more. Here are some excerpts about what the four of them have to say about "Death by PowerPoint". However, each interview has many more questions - so do read them all!

Dave Paradi Geetesh: Death by PowerPoint - you've heard that so often these days. Your comments?

Dave: There has been a recent backlash against PowerPoint, led by Professor Edward Tufte. He asserts that PowerPoint makes us dumb and that it should be banned. I do not agree with his assessment of the situation. My view is that PowerPoint is a tool and as such, can be either poorly or intelligently used. I agree that some of the default templates and color schemes are ineffective, but as I have said before, "Why let the software make decisions it is not qualified to make? " PowerPoint is a powerful tool, and if people are educated on why certain elements should be used in certain ways to enhance a message, I think it is a very useful tool. That's why my objective is to educate presenters on how to use PowerPoint effectively.

Read more of the Dave Paradi interview.

Patrice-Anne Rutledge Patrice: I think the problem isn’t PowerPoint itself, but the misuse or poor use of PowerPoint. Yes, PowerPoint has become rather ubiquitous in today’s corporate culture and we’ve all seen poorly designed and executed PowerPoint presentations. In some cases, PowerPoint’s ease of use makes everyone feel that they have the skills to design a quality presentation, which isn’t necessarily true. This is one of the reasons why my latest book on PowerPoint has such an extensive section on how to present in addition to how to create a presentation. Only when people start to realize that there truly is an art to creating an effective PowerPoint presentation will the cries of “death by PowerPoint” subside.

Read more of the Patrice Rutledge interview.

Steve Rindsberg Steve: The hammer again: if you whack your assistant's hand with a hammer instead of hitting the nail he's holding for you, who does he blame? The hammer? Of course not. Not unless you've hired a fool for a helper.

If you whack your audience in the head with a deadly, boring presentation, does it matter whether you created the presentation in PowerPoint or by scribbling on overheads or by holding up a copy of your latest book? Of course not.

And since we all know who we're talking about, I'll mention that I own all of Edward Tufte's books. They're well thought out, beautifully crafted and generally a reader's delight. It's puzzling and sad that the brilliant mind behind them could be responsible for such muddle-headed nonsense as this anti-PowerPoint campaign of his.

Read more of the Steve Rindsberg interview.

Tom Atkins Tom: I'm glad you asked that, Geetesh! In my view, the critics are still trying to "shoot the messenger". In fact, they're sniping at the messenger from behind a rock. It's so easy for them - first, people love to hate Microsoft. No risk for them there. And second, they avoid criticizing the PEOPLE who are giving these presentations, putting the focus instead on the tools they're using. But anyone can take a professional set of tools and build a lousy house. Since you mention the Columbia disaster, it's my opinion that any decent PowerPoint user could have put together a great presentation using color and graphics that would have had a much better chance of stopping that launch.

In short, these critics don't have the intellectual fortitude to put the blame where it belongs: on the presenters themselves. They'd rather act like compassionate supporters and absolve the poor presenters by blaming it on their toolbox. Phooey. Let's take responsibility for our own stuff!

Read more of the Tom Atkins interview.


Announcing PowerPoint Services

Indezine launched the new PowerPoint Services listing - this is a compilation of listings for every PowerPoint related product, service or event. The listings are free and only those who apply get included.

Currently, there are nearly 60 categories of listings making this the most ambitious project of its type anywhere. Use the feedback form to get listed free.

See the listings here.


Quick News

Read the PowerPoint Blog here. The PowerPoint Blog now includes the Atom syndication service so that you can use a Atom compatible newsreader to read all postings.

Perception Is Reality - Peter Coffee, Technology Editor at PC Magazine states: "I part company with Tufte when he blames this kind of sloppiness on PowerPoint itself. He compares it to a drug with 'frequent, serious side effects' of inducing stupidity, wasting time and degrading 'the quality and credibility of communication.' He's wrong. PowerPoint doesn't corrupt; it concentrates." Read the full article.

Of The Medium And The Message - Aparna Ramalingam of the Financial Express interviewed me for this article where she discusses "How to make presentations is important. These cannot substitute for the content, though" Read more.

In a recent interview, political scientist and Stanford scholar Robert Horn explores visual language and its implications for those who use words and images, especially in PowerPoint. Read more at the Sociable Media site.

Macromedia Updates Breeze - Macromedia updated its Breeze Live online meeting software, adding a host of productivity enhancements. More info at the StreamingMediaIQ site.

New Presentation Streaming Software - TSI Strategies introduced a new Windows-based application that converts PowerPoint presentations to WindowsMedia based streaming video. The software also adds voice narration to the slideshow without significantly increasing the file size. More info here (link no longer exists).

Ulead Announces DVD Workshop 2 - Ulead announced a new version of their DVD Workshop product with several new features. More info on the Ulead site.

Managers Toolbox for PowerPoint - Project plans, product comparisons, scenario evaluations or process maps - managers need to communicate their decisions and plans, and many managers use Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to transport their message to stakeholders and decision-makers. The Managers Toolbox for Microsoft PowerPoint is an add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 and 2003 that helps managers to create typical management charts in seconds. More info.

Turning Point - TurningPoint allows a professor to add questions into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Students respond with wireless keypads or an electronic keypad on a laptop computer. The professor instantaneously has the responses and can use them for grades or to gauge the understanding of the group. Read more (link no longer exists).

FlashPaper could outperform PDF - FlashPaper could have a promising future but that won't be realized until the product is unbundled from Contribute. That is not because Contribute is expensive ($100) but because I bet users would be reluctant to buy the whole product just for the FlashPaper component. Read more on the Computerworld site.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks about how PowerPoint has given confidence to mediocre public speakers, captivated the business world and was recently implicated as one of many factors leading to last year's Columbia space shuttle crash. Power, up to a Point.

PowerPoint In School - Bet you didn't know a koala bear isn't a bear at all. If you had seen Mandeville Elementary third-grader Sarah Schneider's Microsoft PowerPoint presentation on koalas, you'd know that a koala is more closely related to a wombat. Find more at the Everything New Orleans site (link no longer exists).


New Content

Create Star Wars Credits in PowerPoint - George Lucas must be so proud of Microsoft. In PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, you can now make Star Wars type animations. The text crawls from bottom to the top, diminishing in size until it fades into oblivion. You expect to see the Millennium Falcon zoom by at any moment. Learn more from my tutorial.

The Online Rich Media Marketplace - Look into the world of presentations and you’ll find that there is a sort of evolution taking place. Not all presentations are shown in conference rooms or board meetings any more. In fact, you don’t have to be physically present in a single geographic location to view presentations. Read the full article.

Hemera Image Express - Trust Hemera to come up with something amazing at a price point that's so affordable and tempting that everyone will want to join this bandwagon. We are discussing Hemera's new Image Express, an online subscription based service that allows you to download loads of images for a low price. Read the full review.

Book Extract: Visual Quickstart Guide: Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 - The book takes an easy, visual approach to teaching PowerPoint, using pictures to guide you through the software and show you what to do. This extract contains the entire chapter that deals with printing in PowerPoint. Read here.

Book Extract: Special Edition Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 - This book extract from Special Edition Using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 is an Indezine exclusive with permission from Pearson Education. The extract is an entire chapter on working with charts in PowerPoint. Read here.

Giving PowerPoint Pizzazz with Macromedia Flash - There are many reasons you might want to use Flash movies in your PowerPoint presentation, most notably to take advantage of Flash's interactive vector animations and small file size. In some cases, you may already have Flash movies on your Web site or intranet that you want to incorporate into PowerPoint. Or you may want to create a Flash movie specifically to include in a presentation, enabling you to add some extra pizzazz to PowerPoint's existing functionality. Learn more with Patrice-Anne Rutledge.

Craft Your Content With A KISS - For those of you who don’t know, KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simplicity gets right to the heart of communicating effectively. Learn more in this article by Glenna Shaw.

The New Grammar of PowerPoint - The bullet-point construction has become ubiquitous in recent years, thanks at least in part to the PowerPoint communication revolution. Ray Blake talks about preserving clarity in a bullet-point age.

Slides From Hell - Nowadays, of course, this god-like power is easily available to all of us, thanks to PowerPoint and products like it. Sadly, though, this is rarely backed up by the sort of design aptitude and formal layout training that I’m sure the BBC Graphics department used to insist on for its staff. How to make truly horrendous PowerPoint Slides.

A Broken PowerPoint Culture - Cliff Atkinson looks at transforming PowerPoint to make it a reflection of an organization's positive attributes. Read the article here.

How to Gain Control of Your PowerPoint Culture - Do you control your PowerPoint culture, or does PowerPoint control you? For many organizations, what appears to be a situation under control is in fact a system that’s out of control. Cliff Atkinson explains more.

Presenting a Narrated PowerPoint Show with Apreso - If you can't be there to present your PowerPoint slideshow, let Apreso help you provide "live" narration. Learn more with Tom Bunzel.

MVP Blogs - Susan Bradley, a SBS (Small Business Server) MVP (Most Valuable Professional) hosts several MVP blogs on her site and also has an extensive list that links to other MVP blogs. Check it here.


Events & Seminars

Winning Presentations Seminar
February 19 and 20, 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 Betsy Weber, Cliff Atkinson, Dave Paradi, Glenna Shaw, Michael Koerner, Patrice Rutledge, Ray Blake, Rick Altman, Shyam Pillai, Steve Rindsberg and Tom Atkins (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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