PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: September 2007
Thoughts and impressions of whatever is happening in the world of PowerPoint.
Microsoft further detailed its plans for Office 2008 for Mac on Tuesday, saying that it plans to release three versions of the product including one with a Macintosh version of its Expression suite.
The standard version of the product includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. Retail price will be $239.95 for the upgrade, and $399.95 for the full version. The Special Media Edition includes the Expression studio and will retail for $299.95 for the upgrade and $499.95 for the full. Student and Teacher Edition includes only Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and will retail for $149.95.
More on the BetaNews site...
Categories: office_mac, powerpoint
Steve Hards has created a new PowerPoint add-in that needs a name! The add-in creates an ‘opaque glass’ effect by converting the properties of a PowerPoint shape to become a transparent blur. You can then apply animations, etc., to produce all sorts of effects, very much in keeping with the trend to picture-oriented slides.
This can be probably better shown than explained -- so take a look at a small demo movie that Steve has posted on his site. When you get there, you will be able to ‘vote’ for a name and sign up for a great discount on the add-in’s launch price.
Help him choose a name, and help yourself to a discount, but be quick, the web page will only be available until Sunday, 30th November only. Head here...
Categories: add-in, powerpoint
The folks at muvee released a new PhotoAlbum superStyle that lets you show off your photos (and videos) in three new styles: Scrapbook, Coffee Table Book, and Little Ones.
For those who are not aware, muvee is a cool product that takes out the pain out of creating your own "muvees" from video clips and photos. muvee includes several built-in styles, and you can get more superStyles from them.
Here are YouTube videos of these three styles -- click them to play.
Coffee Table Book:
Categories: movies, youtube
It's always interesting to see an application evolve -- especially something like PowerPoint which I use all the time. However it can be a problem keeping up with changes in the interfaces. I've just got used to the new Office 2007 interface, and another change is staring at me. This time it is Office 2008 on the Mac.
At times like these, it's great to hear input from the team that creates Microsoft Office, and their explanations on why changes are made, and the logic behind these changes.
Nadyne Mielke is User Experience Researcher at Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit, and she explains why Office 2008 will use the new Elements Gallery rather than replicate the Ribbon from Office 2007.
This is how the Elements Gallery might look like (the picture is cropped).
Read this on Mac Mojo, the Office for Mac team blog...
Categories: office_mac, powerpoint
Wacom's new Bamboo range of pen tablets is squarely targeted at mainstream users, such as business, consumer, and education markets. And they can make any Windows Vista based computer capable of all Tablet PC functions -- this means you can use the ink tools while presenting with PowerPoint 2003 and 2007.
The Bamboo range works very well for digital inking, mark up, and digital notes. There are two versions of Bamboo: Bamboo, for personalized input, and Bamboo Fun for creative expression.
Bamboo works on both Windows and Mac platforms, and since Bamboos are more economically priced that Wacom's other offerings, they make an excellent entry point into tablet computing.
Bamboo Fun includes Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, and Nik Color Efex Pro.
Learn more on Wacom's Bamboo minisite...
Categories: powerpoint, tablet_pc, wacom
Kurt Dupont from PresentationPoint sent me this picture:
The picture shows a large video wall at a Belgian concert hall that comprises nine 50 inch plasma screens placed together. These were installed last week by a reseller of PresentationPoint -- put together, they display live Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Announcements and concert infomation is dynamically read from a database that's sourced into PowerPoint using PresentationPoint products. The high resolution PowerPoint presentations, optionally combined with video, can be planned with a scheduling tool.
Categories: powerpoint, presentationpoint
Google upgraded its Google Docs online suite to include "Presentations", an online presentation component that does try to be a little like Microsoft PowerPoint. OK, it tries to be a lot like PowerPoint, and that does not surprise me. But the question here is whether Google Presentations succeeds or not?
I'll say I find the product snappy, intuitive, and easy to use. It works quite like a desktop application but it does have more than a few rough edges that seem to be asking for forgiveness, since Google calls this a beta :-)
There are fifteen templates that look so much like PowerPoint templates from a decade ago -- and there's essential support for text and graphics. You can also import PowerPoint files.
There's no transitions, animation, or charting. That's a whole lot missing, and I could live with that, but what were the folks at Google doing when they decided to drop out the concept of a presentation outline! Everybody who's familiar with PowerPoint knows that the non-existence of an outline in a PowerPoint presentation can be a big reason for useless PowerPoints that are more well known by their "Death of PowerPoint" name! And that's twice as bad to know that Google left out the outline -- since they have a perfectly usable word processor in the Google Docs suite that could have been used to create outlines for Presentations.
Where Presentations does score over PowerPoint is in its collaborative tools -- and yes, I'm sure Google will fine-tune Presentations.
Ultimately, presentation creators need to present their creations -- maybe Google's acquisition of Tonic Systems will help it bring out a free presentation viewer for Google Presentations. And that may be a turning point in the presentations arena.
Categories: google, powerpoint
Rhys Jeremiah has been working in IT after graduating from Bristol University with a degree in mathematics. He started writing database applications for a large insurance company and quickly moved into web development, the largest site for a major international motor manufacturer. Although now teaching mathematics, he still manages some IT work. He currently lives in Cardiff, Wales with Sarah, his wife, and their children Lloyd and Carys.
Geetesh: Tell us more about your Extract Flash product, and what inspired you to create this.
Rhys: As is often common, the reason for creating the Extract Flash product was to solve a problem that could have easily been avoided. The company I was working for at the time was a major client of a marketing firm here in the UK. Last thing on a Friday afternoon, we were asked to update a flash file on a website and that the replacement file would be winging its way to us via email very soon. None of us in the office were quite prepared for the fact that the file had been placed into a PowerPoint presentation. It seemed that the last thing the marketing company did before the weekend was to send that file as numerous phone calls to get the original file failed. So we had a problem.
I noticed that it was possible to drag and drop the embedded Flash object between Office products and even drop it onto the desktop as a scrap file (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/138275). So I reasoned that the file must contain the Flash file that we were searching for. Hence it was worth digging a bit deeper. On opening the scrap file in a binary editor, I was able to locate the header block of the SWF file and without too much effort it was the possible to pull the binary data out and write it back to disk. The reason I wrote an application to do this is that I enjoy the challenge of trying something new, and also providing a useful tool to the community. In theory the scrap approach would work for any type of embedded object so long as the header block could be read and processed. With a small amount of knowledge it would be possible to change the file to search a binary file for any header block and extract the embedded data. From memory I think that SWF files are held in PowerPoint files without encryption so you don't necessarily need to mess about with the scrap file.
Geetesh: Many people believe that their embedded Flash content in a PowerPoint slide is secure -- so this does prove them wrong. How important is it for them to be aware of this, and would the scrap approach also work with any other embedded content in Microsoft Office documents.
Rhys: From my experience many people think that all embedded files in Office documents are secure. I can't count how many times someone has sent me a Word document containing loads of images. I've never really considered the people actually use this method to protect their files. It's certainly naive to approach security in this fashion. Personally I think that the only way to secure your sensitive data is not to give it away, as soon as you release any information you lose the ability to control the distribution. If you really want to secure your embedded content don't embed it.
Categories: interviews, powerpoint, powerpoint_flash
Will online applications ever replace the ones we use on our desktop? Will Google's slew of online programs shake the Microsoft juggernaut of Office programs? There are no clear answers yet -- but the battle lines are getting drawn more distinctly now as Google prepares to launch it's presentation program in direct confrontation to PowerPoint.
However, there's a larger question there waiting to be asked: will users be able to play these presentations offline, and project them? That's going to be a more important issue for presentations than for documents and spreadsheets since presentations are projected or broadcasted to hundreds and thousands of users.
I'll look for those answers and share them with you. Meanwhile, there's more information on Google's so called PowerPoint killer.
The Inquirer reported that "it’s been known for a long while that Google will at some point take on PowerPoint with a web-based presentations package. The breaking news is that the coming-out party for the software is any day now. Called Presently, the slideshow program is likely to be based in part on code Google bought through the acquisitions of Zenter and Tonic Systems earlier this year".
Categories: google, microsoft_office, powerpoint
Microsoft has announced on Wednesday, a $60 web-based version of the company's Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 software that will be exclusively available to college students. Microsoft dubbed their latest promotion as the "The Ultimate Steal" and will run until April 30, 2008. The promotion already started in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and will be available to France, Italy, and Spain starting September 20, 2007.
More on the Associated Content site...
Categories: microsoft_office, powerpoint_2007
Ppted's Architecture collection has been updated with extras! Take a look here to see...
Not only do you get five great template designs, you also get the actual backgrounds so that you can use the same designs elsewhere. In this collection, you also get wide screen templates and backgrounds, and ten transparent PNGs you can use in your presentations -- at no extra cost.
Categories: powerpoint, templates
Microsoft and Google are expected to ramp up their competition in the emerging hosted office productivity market at the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Google is expected to unveil a wiki component to its Google Apps service, as well as a hosted PowerPoint competitor, while Microsoft is expected to deliver a bundle of software and services apps under its Windows Live brand.
More on the CBR Online site...
Categories: google, microsoft_office
To advance and succeed in your career, you need more than just technical skills. You also need to be able to present your ideas clearly and persuasively. Here are some suggestions that may help you in that regard. They assume you are in front of a group, using the ubiquitous PowerPoint and a projector.
Calvin Sun tells more on the TechRepublic site...
Categories: tutorials, powerpoint
Joel Harband heads Tuval Software Industries, based in Israel. Their best known product is Speech-Over Studio, a PowerPoint add-in that enables PowerPoint slides to incorporate narrations using automated voices.
Geetesh: Tell us more about this new update to Speech-Over.
Joel: Microphone recording and prerecorded files can now be used in addition to text-to-speech (TTS) voices to add narration to PowerPoint presentations -- substantially broadening the product’s applications. Also, you can now add narration clips to slides without attaching them to objects -– good for general topics like introduction and summary.
Speaking about recording, many people ask us: PowerPoint can already add voice recordings to presentations with the Record Narration function, why would I need Speech-Over? The answer is that Record Narration lets you add a voice track to a slide, and that’s fine for static slides. However, when objects on the slides are animated, you want to be able to easily synchronize the voices with the animations to achieve an effective multi-media, movie-like presentation. Speech-Over provides the solution: it delivers a voice track that is perfectly synchronized with the animations. Using a unique technology that adds voice clips directly to animated objects, it synchs voice media effects with the objects’ animation effects. And it’s easy to use: Speech-Over works in PowerPoint design mode and integrates with PowerPoint functions. Users can preview the results immediately in slide show mode. Its voice editing commands change the voice track without re-recording.
In another recent development, designers that want to add voices to PowerPoint-based Flash presentations are finding it easier to add voices to the presentations with Speech-Over before converting them to Flash. The voice track is automatically converted by the PPT2Flash conversion tools.
Speech-Over includes the basic Microsoft TTS voices free, and is now available in the Speech-Over Premium Voice Package, which includes the NeoSpeech premium voices Paul and Kate.
Geetesh: Can you share some case studies of people using Speech-Over.
Joel: Here are three case studies, each showing a different application of Speech-Over.
- On-Line University Courses -- Charles Nippert, an engineering professor at Widener University in Pennsylvania, uses Speech-Over to provide on-line demonstrations for his students quickly and economically. Professor Nippert explained that he posts the PowerPoint presentations on his site without converting them to Flash since his students can download them quickly with their fast connections.
- High School Special Education -- Bjarne Lund Henneberg, a high school educator at the Emmerske Efterskole in Tonder, Denmark, pioneered using Speech-Over to add voices (in Danish) to his driving theory course for young people with reading difficulties. The PowerPoint presentation displays the course text on the screen and as the students try to read the text, they hear a voice speaking it aloud, which greatly helps them to understand. Bjarne’s course kills two birds with one stone: the students pass the driving test - and learn how to read in the process.
- Industrial Training -- Daniel Moreno, complex maintenance trainer at Tyson Fresh Meats in Holcomb, Kansas uses the software with text-to-speech voices to train employees. The employees view the audio-visual presentations he creates and it’s easy for him to keep presentations up to date by just editing text.
Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint, sounds
Ppted released a new PowerPoint template set -- this one is called New Orleans. Not only do you get five great template designs, you also get the actual backgrounds so that you can use the same designs elsewhere. In this collection, you also get wide screen templates and backgrounds, and ten transparent PNGs you can use in your presentations -- at no extra cost.
Categories: powerpoint, templates
The PowerPoint Expert Club is among the largest PowerPoint cafes in Korea. Their new Intro Animation Contest requires participants to create a showcase in PowerPoint with the club/cafe as the topic. The main criteria for the winners will be based on PowerPoint animations -- submitted works will be judged through members' voting. The current, top two submissions are now available on PowerPoint Heaven, the site of Microsoft MVP Shawn Toh.
The winning entry for Intro Animation Contest 1 is by Coolguy7, which can be found here...
Categories: animation, powerpoint, presentation_samples
PACA, the Picture Archive Council of America has provided an informative PowerPoint presentation on copyrights with guidance on what is fair to use, and what's not.
This is certainly a recommended download -- find it here...
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