PowerPoint Embarassment!

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by eRondeau, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    So picture this. I'm currently mid-way through a 3-day professional development symposium at a hotel. Several high-powered presenters, all internationally recognized experts in their fields. I am among 125 attendees at this conference, whose employer has paid a substantial sum of $$$ to have me attend. The conference room is a small amphitheatre, all hardwired with a built-in digital video projector and good quality stereo sound. And all is going fine, until the dreaded PowerPoint presentations begin this afternoon.

    Three presenters, three PowerPoints. And by the way, these presentations weren't just thrown-together last night in the hotel room. These people make a substantial portion of their income by delivering speeches like this, week after week, to people like me. SO WHY, THEN, DID NONE OF THE POWERPOINTS WORK PROPERLY??? Maybe I'm just a fool for expecting too much from PowerPoint, or Windows XP, or Dell laptops, I don't know. All I do know is that, of the three presentations this afternoon...

    o One tried to incorporate a .wmv video that was so jerky it was unwatchable, and the audio sounded like a CD skipping
    o One presenter clicked the wrong button and brought the whole thing to a crashing halt, forcing us to watch much of it over again
    o And the final one, loaded from a USB thumb drive, gave a cryptic "media corrupted" error when it was run, and wouldn't even play.

    But the most shocking thing of all, was that the people sitting around me -- none of whom are strangers to technology -- just quietly accepted that this was normal: "Oh mine never work the first time either" or "Everybody knows you can't use a thumb drive for one of these!" UGGGHHHH!!!!!

    I've always figured that PowerPoints in my office always suck because the people who use them don't know what they're doing. But now I think I've changed my mind. Now I think that PowerPoints always suck, because PowerPoint sucks. And I'd rather hear chalk squeaking on a chalkboard, or watch transparencies flipping on an overhead projector, than sit through another embarrassing Microsoft-fuelled day like today.
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
  3. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I was at a $300 a couple black tie fundraising event the other night. At one end of the stage was set up a projector with a PowerPoint running. The PowerPoint showed pictures and logos of the various sponsors, the good to which the funds raised were being directed, etc. This presentation ran on a loop all night. Nothing fancy. No motion video, no sound.

    About half way through the night, I suddently noticed a bunch of the event people running around with walkie talkies pressed to their ears. I looked up at this giant screen and saw the Windows blue screen of death.

    It was about 15 minutes before they got the slideshow running again.

    My wife and I looked at each other and simultaneously said "They should have used Keynote."
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I've been using PowerPoint since the beginning. It is a decent application but definitely has it's drawbacks.

    Unfortunately, the PC version and Mac versions are not entirely compatible when it comes to the way that they display video and pictures and which formats they can use and display.

    And the larger the picture (2MB and above) tends to choke PowerPoint. I have found that sub 500K pics work fine.

    Also, transitions that may look good on one computer will choke another. This is especially true with audio files and the like.

    That is why most professional presenters I know bring their own equipment to make their presentations.

    For those who cannot bring their own equipment, then they produce a scaled down version that is mostly simple text with few animations so as to not choke the computer.

    BTW, I'm looking forward to trying Keynote one of these days for personal use. For the office, it's PowerPoint since is works and is cross platform.
  5. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2005
    I wish Apple would produce a Keynote "player" for Windows. I love Keynote and it's features, but when you export to powerpoint you lose so much of that. If Apple produced a free player application that would just display the Keynote transitions/slides/etc correctly on a Windows box, I think Keynote's use would increase drastically.

    What do you think?

  6. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    i think they should make quicktime able to play keynote presentations. everyone has quicktime.
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I would agree.

    While I have not personally used Keynote, what I hear is very positive.

    However, for those of us working in a cross platform environment, we must be able to at least view presentations in the Windows environment.
  8. Drizzt macrumors member


    Feb 18, 2006

    You can export a Keynote presentation to a QuickTime movie file. Although it isn't the same as a presentation it is possible to keep all the transistions and stuff on a Windows computer.
  9. charlyelamo macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2005
    As far as I know, which isn't much, the las version of Keynote you can exort to quicktime, in different versions, autoexec movie, presentation etc.
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I for one have not had that many issues with PP, but then again I always have a copy on my site where I can download it, one on CD, and one on my shuffle...oh and if I get to bring my own laptop, one on that. I am covered in many aspects.

    As for the video, this seems to be a common problem.

    I was at a monthly meeting a couple of months ago and the LA District Attorney's office (someone from there) gave a presentation. I was not only impressed that he was using a PB, I was further impressed that he was using keynote. People asked what he was using because it was so "pretty"...I smiled and shook my head and said....it's a mac my friend, the Apple store is open 'till 9.

    End of story.
    As far as your case goes, it is part their fault for not having a backup, another part their fault for not testing the presentation with the video on a machine other than the one it was created on, and finally, if goonbag pressed some button that made it impossible to go back to the slide you were at and even when it was running he couldn't advance so you all didn't have to watch it then they should all be fired. This is in fact their way of making money, if they suck at it that much then they should go. :) I'm not trying to be mean, but if I sucked at my job I would expect to be fired.
  11. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    I've had to do what we call "viewgraph engineering" for my old company all the time. I never created artwork in powerpoint, I did that in Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightwave. It wasn't until recently that I could conveniently get animations/movies to run well (mac to pc issue - thanks to flip4mac).

    Its a pain in the ass, but its what everybody uses. And you can't change a whole corporation overnight. I have set up some more invovled slide/interactive presentations in flash, but thats been for the conventions at the booth.

    As for the first pp problem eRondeau, it sounds like they tried to do the presentation from a CD - you should never do that since the data rate can't be sustained. Its always better to copy the whole thing to the harddrive.

    I would guess that all the presentations could have run smoothly if someone would actually test them first and figure out the requirements of each one.

    Bleh! I'm so glad I'm freelancing now and don't have to worry about that anymore :D

  12. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    The moral of the story is to always test your presentation on the equipment that you are using. Also, ALWAYS load the presentation onto the hard disk of the computer that you are using.

    While you're at it, here is an example of how bad a PowerPoint could have been. Just imagine if Abraham Lincoln had delivered the Gettysburg Address as a PowerPoint.
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Nice to see someone who "understands" presenting good presentations.

    Surprising how many do not test their presentation before hand. Many problems can be solved during the dry run.

    And if they aren't why do they still have a job? Makes one wonder at times.

    Also, as I am sure you know, simple presentations work great cross platform. Only when you get fancy fonts, videos, pictures, audio files, etc. does it become a problem.

    KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) comes to mind.
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Mmmm, so the first one, I can totally see, and I've had media incorporation problems in the past too, when going from notebook to notebook. :(

    But the second and the third ones...I'm sorry, I don't want to start a flame war. But you spent quite a bit of time pumping yourself and your colleagues up as high-paid superstars in your field.... so I have to add my own bullet points:

    1) Why doesn't someone with your level of training know how to press the right button by now? (Not that I even completely understand this one... I take it that you mean that it was an auto-advance slideshow and the person hit escape or somesuch and exited it? It shouldn't take someone who knows what they're doing more than 30 seconds to change the presentation on the fly to pick back up where they left off. And you three are supposed to fall in that category.

    2) What are any of the three of you doing giving presentations off of someone else's hardware without a dry run? Why aren't you (a) bringing in your own hardware, (b) bringing your presentations on multiple media in case of failures, and (c) doing an on-site dry run before the fact?

    3) And finally, since it's been mentioned several times in the context of Keynote, what is wrong with creating a QT movie of your presentation using File -> Make Movie in Powerpoint? It takes only a few minutes, and from what I can tell, the hardware requirements to be able to play the movies are not onerous....

    I'm sorry to be bitchy about it... I think PPT could be better at this... but if you're going to play the "high-powered presenters" card and hold MS to such high standards, I think you open the door to the possibility that you need to hold yourselves to some standards too....
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    All features?

    In other words, if you create a Keynote presentation that uses Keynote specific features do they all export correctly to PowerPoint, both the Mac and Windows versions?

    If so, this is great news for me.
  16. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    Unfortunately it's not completely true. Presentations created in Keynote do not look 'exactly' the same when opened in PPT. The shadowing is not the same, fonts are not reproduced the same, transitions do not have the same 'fluidity', and some aliasing issues have also arisen. So, if it's a simple text document, you may not notice any issues. But for more 'media-rich' environments it's necessary to stay in Keynote.
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Dang it!

    I was hoping after seeing the other posters response.

    Thanks for the detailed response.

    I think someone said it best when they suggested a Keynote viewer for the PC. That way I can create anything I want on the Mac then show it on the PC. While not cross platform, it would go a long ways in making Keynote more viable in a cross platform environment.

    ...guess I will still be tied to PowerPoint for the time being. It's okay.
  18. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    I agree that the 'player' for Keynote on PC would be a good alternative for the moment, or even a bundled quicktime player that could run off of external media. I give presentations reasonably often, and quicktime is not necessarily installed on all business computers. I think that adobe makes a player for .pdf files, and origin (graphing software) makes a player that can be bundled in with the file to allow graphs to be displayed independently of having the full software package installed.

    Here's an example of a common problem, and that's with text boxes. Even in this rather simple graphical slide, the text box at left (first image is keynote, second is ppt), gets skewed. If this happens in each text box on each slide, it can get rather tedious. I don't have any of my more graphical slides with me at the moment, but maybe this gives you an idea of the 'compatibility'. It's close, but by no means perfect or even adequate.


  19. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Good point. And I generally hate to have to install software on a presentation computer that I am borrowing. You never know what might happen during a simple install. :eek:

    I think that it's best to carry one's own computer in this regard.

    Wow. That would suck. Definitely illustrates the limitations.

    Thanks again for the illustrations.
  20. JoeKarame macrumors regular


    May 2, 2005
    To my mind, Keynotes is pretty much the best piece of software Apple have ever produced (aside from the OSX of course!). I find it incredibly easy to use and the people who I train enjoy the things much more. Admittedly, flashy transitions don't necessarily make a good presentation, but the ocassional special effect can transform something deathly dull into something...er...slightly better!

    Having said that, I'm grateful for the export function - most of the company I work for still insist on PP and Windows in general (mostly windows 95, unfortunately!), and whilst it's never as good - it does the job in its conversion.
  21. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    I suspect this is either a fault of underpowered hardware or a really ****** video file.

    User error, nothing more. He could've easily skipped straight to the slide he was on when he FUBARed it.

    This is why we have backups. :) Again, poor preparation.
  22. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    hehe I refuse to use power point, EVER. I got a phone call this morning from one of our sales people asking me if I knew it at all and I told them no.

    Sure, I know flash, and photoshop & dreamweaver...but office is too confusing :p
  23. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    No, not everyone has QuickTime. Even worse, the vast majority of QuickTime installations out there won't run in fullscreen either! :eek:
  24. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    In Speech class my freshman year I asked the professor if I could use my powerbook instead of the laptop they had hooked up there. She said of course and I used keynote for all my presentations. Pulled a B in the class, but I am generally a poor speaker. :p

    now if I had the FR remote, I could probably have made off with an A:cool:

    Edit: There was one day when computer virused and I was still able to give my speech because I used my laptop.
  25. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Not Possible

    Preserving the quality of a Keynote presentation down to a Powerpoint presentation for Windows would be like asking a someone to downgrade a Powerpoint presentation to a Apple IIe presentation program. Windows and Powerpoint are just not in the same league as OSX and Keynote.

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