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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: July 2008

Thoughts and impressions of whatever is happening in the world of PowerPoint

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Google Acquires Omnisio -- To Add Spice To YouTube?

Thursday, July 31, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:52 AM IST



We already looked at Omnisio a few months ago -- it's a lot of fun, and you can mash up your media in creative ways. And now the news is out that Google has acquired Omnisio.

It's still not clear how Google will use Omnisio technology -- but it does seem like a natural synergy as far as using Omnisio and YouTube together is concerned.

Update: David Berlind from InformationWeek says Omnisio is sort of like Twitter or IRC meets Internet Video+PowerPoint with a dash of TiVo tossed in.

Categories: google, movies, youtube

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 2:57 PM IST



Jefferson WestJefferson West is a co-founder and the CEO of Studeous. Jeff is responsible for the marketing, public relations, and strategy at Studeous. Often traveling between schools and the company headquarters in Austin, Texas; Jeff is frequently in discussions with teachers, administrators, and students to get timely feedback from the people who use Studeous.

Geetesh: Tell us more about Studeous, and how this evolved.

Jefferson: Currently, teachers and administrators would agree that many Learning Management Systems are behind the technology curve. These systems, though often poorly designed, are somehow extremely over-priced. Schools all over are having to dish out large sums of money in an attempt to keep up with technology and connect their schools on the internet. Unfortunately, these solutions are not working. They are too complicated and confusing for the teachers to effectively use and thus provide little academic benefit to the students.

Enter Studeous, a simple, easy to use, and most importantly, free way for teachers to organize their courses online. We make it so simple for teachers and students to stay connected long after the bell rings. Studeous is a hosted solution, so teachers don’t have to worry about buying their own servers and there is no download. If a teacher wants great e-learning tools—he/she has them in a heartbeat. And, it requires no training.

This solves the teacher and students pain, but how does this “connect a school”? And why is this good for institutions? Administrators get free access to Studeous as well. We have three levels---Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bronze is free and allows administrators to moderate the content in their school’s Studeous portal. They can edit bad content, suspend students from using Studeous, post announcements on the home page, etc. Administrators then have the option to upgrade to Silver or Gold for a small fraction of the cost of standard LMSes. With Silver and Gold they can do even more useful things like send out mass messages to all teachers or all students. They also have the option to brand their school’s portal to the school colors.

The ease of use ensures that the average teacher will be able to use great e-learning tools and the advanced administrator controls starting at just $649 per school per year, ensures that virtually every school will be able to afford it. With this, we hope to make e-learning a commodity.

We have essentially created a web-based LMS that requires no training, no sales force, and minimal marketing--allowing us to put up to 100% of sales revenue back into the product itself, unlike the other enterprise e-learning companies. This allows us to continue to make Studeous better and better. Which is great for the teachers, administrators, and students of Studeous.

Geetesh: What types of files can teachers and students share with each other on Studeous? Also, is there anything I can do with PowerPoint files?

Jefferson: Teachers can share any files. We give teachers the ability to upload files to their class pages that can be downloaded by students. And we let students send teachers files by putting them in the Studeous “Dropbox.” PowerPoint files can be easily shared with Studeous. A great feature for students is our “Study Groups” feature that gives students a space to collaborate and exchange files so they are not emailing them back and forth all the time. This is a great time saver. They even get their own personal “Locker” (for students) and “Desk” (for teachers) that lets them upload personal files to store on Studeous. Say good-bye to the thumb drive! These files can be made private for personal use or public for sharing. Studeous is everything you need in one place.

Geetesh: What’s your revenue model? And will Studeous always be a free product?

Jefferson: Studeous makes money by selling administrator controls to school administrators which allows them to moderate content and communicate with their teachers and students. This is our only source of revenue now, as we are more concerned with getting users on Studeous, then with making money. But, down the road, we have devised many unique and effective ways to monetize Studeous, without just advertising.

With that in mind, Studeous will always be free. Free for teachers, free for students, and free for administrators (with the option of upgrading for a cost).

Categories: education, interviews, powerpoint

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Monday, July 28, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 12:26 PM IST



How do Mac users work with Microsoft Office when they have to save in the Office Open XML file format? Office 2008 users have no problems, but everything doesn't work too well for Office 204 users. On the bMighty blog, Alan Zeichick explores the issues, and shares his opinion.

Categories: office_mac, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 12:19 PM IST



Every presenter has those moments when they want to uplift their presentations. Maybe, an extra slide that shares their thought processes -- or something that will motivate the audience. As is normal though, there's never too much time to add such slides -- and there's not much available that doesn't looked canned -- or is customizable.

PowerQUOTES from PresentationPro is a very simple product -- in fact it is just a bunch of slides -- but it is something that can make a difference if you want that one slide to make your presentation stand out. And it doesn't look canned -- and that's because you can customize it as you want.




Read the review here...

Categories: powerpoint, templates

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posted by Geetesh on 10:27 AM IST



Lee PottsLee Potts has been blogging about visual communications and presentation-related issues since 2002. His current project, Breaking Murphy's Law (tagline: because when you're presenting, someone's always watching), launched in June. He serves on the steering committee of InfoComm's Presentation's Council and he was recently elected to the Health and Science Communications Association (HeSCA) Board of Directors.

Geetesh: Tell us more about yourself, and how you created the Breaking Murphy’s Law blog.

Lee: Most of my career has involved, in one way or another, helping people to do presentations. As a graphic designer, a AV tech or a tactical consultant I've worked on everything from basic one-on-one pitches to trade shows to large sales training meetings. Right now, I work for a major pharmaceutical company helping research teams to present their findings at FDA Advisory Committee meetings. These meetings represent one of the final, critical milestones in the drug approval process and they are very exciting to be part of because the stakes are so high.

When I started thinking about what would eventually become Breaking Murphy's Law, I knew that although I really wanted to get back into blogging, I didn't want to have another blog that was basically just a collection of annotated links to other websites.

It occurred to me that some of the most interesting moments in my career happened when things were going very wrong. Along the same lines, many of my best work memories involve hanging out during down time with the other meeting and staging professionals listening to their stories about when things went very wrong for them. I think that everyone would agree that there's something fascinating about the subject. These stories can provide a certain level of vicarious knowledge. They are an entertaining way to gain some experience without actually screwing up yourself. A trick, tip or technique learned while listening to these stories might be crucial to saving a meeting or even a career.

I created Breaking Murphy's Law hoping it would eventually grow into an ongoing conversation, a large-scale sharing of stories about what can go wrong when you're a presenter or when you're supporting someone else’s presentation. A place where everyone, whether you're an experienced professional or newbie, can learn how to break Murphy’s Law before Murphy’s Law breaks you.

Geetesh: What are the favorite topics you have covered in the blog? Give us a few thoughts and links.

Lee: Well, in Jedi Knights With Frickin' Laser Pointers we covered presenters with poor pointer control. The world's worst wet T-shirt contest deals with a last minute beverage and business presentation collision. Sticky Situation tells about the time we had problems with the AV tech's most basic of tools -- gaffer tape. The hotel had just put down new carpets that had been heavily treated with stain repellent. Who knew it would also repel tape adhesive. None of the cables we taped down stayed down. Needless to say, some of the meeting attendees took an unplanned trip without ever leaving the venue.

I try to stay away from stories that are mainly about bad presentation and PowerPoint skills. There are so many other really good blogs already covering that. However, I am interested in stories from all the different areas of expertise that go into making a presentation possible, including administrative support, meeting planners, AV techs, venue staff and, of course, the presenters themselves. And in nod to blogging tradition, I try to publish a weekly list of things I stumbled across online that my readers might be interested in that they might have missed. The most recent example is here.

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask your readers to submit any stories or anecdotes they have about presentation problems they experienced or witnessed. Stories about presentation disasters narrowly averted are also encouraged. You can take full credit for the story or remain safely anonymous, whichever you prefer. You can use the form on this page to submit your story. Please take a few minutes and add to the collective wisdom and experience of the presentation professional community.

Categories: delivery, education, interviews, powerpoint

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:25 AM IST



Flypaper announced the launch of Flypaper Pro. Adotas.com reports that "Flypaper Pro is a business solution that allows subscribers to track viewer stats, capture data, host content online and add design elements (i.e. charts/graphs). The service is available as a yearly subscription of $195 a year (with an introductory offer that’s valid through August 31)".

Indezine earlier looked at Flypaper -- Flypaper is a cool, new presentation creation program that lets you create Flash presentations that you can instantly upload to sites like YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook.

Categories: online_presentations, youtube

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Monday, July 21, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 5:10 PM IST



Philip MorganPhilip N. Morgan is a seven year veteran of muvee and is its Chief Operating Officer. Before joining muvee Philip spent over 25 years working in television production and operations with stints at the BBC, ITN, TV-am, TVS, Orbit, TVBS and Sony Pictures Television. Philip is a keen photographer and videographer and enjoys cycling, jogging, travel and cooking -- and in this Indezine exclusive conversation, Philip discusses the cool, new features in muvee Reveal, and shwup.com, a new media sharing site from muvee.

See Also: muvee on Indezine

Geetesh: Tell us more about how muvee's products such as Reveal differ from conventional movie editing programs.

Philip: muvee Reveal is our latest and greatest software product for the PC platform and is the direct replacement product to our award winning muvee autoProducer range of products. It provides a completely automatic and intuitive approach to turning photos and home videos into emotionally engaging productions set to music which users can then share with others.

Most traditional video editing packages rely on users manipulating media with timelines and complex editing tools having a good knowledge of the grammar of editing and how to use effects and transitions. Of course this is great if you went to film school and also have a day to spare to edit a three minute video of your child's eighth birthday party to send over to granny. But if you are a busy parent, have never practised video editing and only have ten minutes what do you do? Well try muvee Reveal. Our PC software program prompts you to select your photos and videos, prompts you for a choice of music track and lets you select one of the 8 pre-installed styles. muvee Reveal will then analyze your photos and video, fix any problems with the photos (e.g. red-eye effect from using flash) and then automatically put together a fully edited video made to whatever style that you have selected. And all this is done in just a few minutes. And the styles are pretty smart - you can tweak a few settings in each of the styles to get just the look you want for your video and you can also personalise your production by addding titles, credits and captions. You can view your muvee instantly with full screen preview or burn a DVD or share via upload to the internet orwhatever. We have many types of output and sharing options.

muvee Reveal also includes our patented magicMoments technology which allows you to give a thumbs up to the video sections you want to include and a thumbs down to the bits of the video you want to exclude. This makes it really simple to get your video looking great without needing any fancy editing skills and hours of time to tackle the tedious part of conventional manual editing.

muvee Reveal can be purchased online priced at $99.95. You can see how easy and simple muvee Reveal is by downloading a free trial from www.muvee.com

Geetesh: Can you tell us more about the improvements in muvee Reveal -- and about the new shwup.com site?

Philip: muvee Reveal brings High Definition video support to our products for the first time so you can enjoy muvees in High Definition on your large screen television. Choose between 1280x720 and 1920x1080 resolution. The product also supports instant full-screen preview in DVD quality.

This is pretty amazing as you can sit back and watch your muvee instantly and in great quality before you decide whether to save it or burn it to a DVD or whatever. We also provide one-touch transfer from your camcorder, phone, or camera which makes it easy to import any pictures regardless of format and you can also save your muvee back to say your iTouch, iPhone or PSP too as we realize that most users are really keen to share the muvees that they have created and these devices are a great way of doing that.

Whilst I'm talking about sharing I want to mention another key product that we have just launched - we've called it shwup and you can go to www.shwup.com to find it. We're pretty excited about it as its our brand new photo and video sharing site - but centred around groups of people contributing and sharing their content in a more private environment than the other "sharing" sites that are out there. So say you and a bunch of buddies all go on a weekend camping trip - you all have different digital cameras, cameraphones and video cameras but how do you gather together all of the materials that get shot when you all get back home? Someone says they'll burn a DVD, another person says they'll post the pictures on their facebook page, someone else says they'll email the best shots of the Saturday night party... But it's all a bit clumsy and complicated and people often forget. With shwup one person can start an album, invite the others by email and they can all then contribute by just replying to the invite and attaching their own photos and video - all without the hassle of registration or sign-ups.

And the great thing about shwup is that each album is private to the individuals who are invited. This is very important because we realise that people don't necessarily want their private gatherings or parties posted all over the interenet for everyone else in the world to be able to see or download.

At shwup we also provide an online muvee-making function so people can make their own muvees with the materials they have contributed or which have been uploaded to an album by their friends. Plus our PC product (muvee Reveal) can also upload muvees to a shwup album or download raw materials from a shwup album to make muvees from on the PC desktop. So the experience is all pretty seamless and well connected. I'm having a lot of fun myself using shwup and its great that it introduces newbie users into how easy it can be to make muvees that look terrific and that you'll really want to share with others.

And by the way the term shwup came up as the site is about sharing and "showing up" and so we thought shwup was a neat way of expressing that.

You can try shwup for yourself at www.shwup.com and it's totally free.

Categories: interviews, movies

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Monday, July 14, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 3:55 PM IST



As yet another PowerPoint Live conference makes itself visible on the horizon, I think it's a good idea to look ahead at what's going to be visible on the slides at the conference this year -- especially the new template design that will be provided to all speakers. Read the whole story here along with a conversation with Rick Altman, the host of the PowerPoint Live conference.

Meanwhile, take a look at these winning entries (and finalists) from the last few years:


PowerPoint Live 2008 Template -- Uploaded on authorSTREAM by Indezine


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Other Finalists for 2008 - Uploaded on authorSTREAM by Indezine


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PowerPoint Live 2007 Template -- Uploaded on authorSTREAM by Indezine


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PowerPoint Live 2006 Template -- Uploaded on authorSTREAM by Indezine


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PowerPoint Live 2005 Template -- Uploaded on authorSTREAM by Indezine


Categories: contest, powerpoint, powerpointlive

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
posted by Geetesh on 10:10 AM IST



It's always easy to be biased towards something put together by two of my friends -- but even if I were not biased, I'll call this sort of content "amazing". Shellie Tucker put up this article called The Polished Presentation -- and Julie Terberg was the designer who helped her with some great advice. Read the article on the Microsoft Office Online site. And while all the screenshots show PowerPoint 2007 for Windows, all those techniques will work on PowerPoint 2008 for Mac as well.

Learn how you can create a better flow with animation, a better look with picture effects, and a better layout with crop and align tools.

Julie Terberg is a PowerPoint MVP, and Shellie Tucker is part of an outstanding team at Microsoft that creates online content on PowerPoint.



Categories: powerpoint, techniques

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