18 November 2004


There's some discussion happening about everyone's favourite lecture tool happening over in ShazAm's neck of the woods. My thoughts were a bit too verbose to cram into her comment box (keep your puns to yourselves) so I'm posting them here.

Wally did a good job summarizing my thoughts on people's general complaints about PPT. The things that suck about bad PPT presentations are symptoms of bad presenters, not a bad medium. The ultimate fact is that a boring lecture is going to be boring regardless of whether it is delivered with boring PPT slides, boring chalkboard drawings or boring overhead transparencies. Tons of people give tons of bad PPT shows, but that's because they're poor users of the software. Anyone who creates a talk by firing up the "AutoContent Wizard" isn't likely to be saved by switching to a chalkboard (former SecState included).

Even more interesting were the comments about linearity and Scott's desire for a "director mode". As for the former, PPT currently provides the ability to put "hidden" slides in the talk which are not displayed in the default click-through of the show. Unfortunately the interface for showing a hidden slide is abysmally kludgy: you have to right-click during the show to get a drop-down menu, choose one option, then another to get a popup window listing all the slides. The reason there's no director's mode is that most talks are given from computers which simply split their video signal to the monitor and the projector—something the software can't affect. It is a pretty cool idea, though.

This post pretty much sucks. You should read Wally's comments to get a better, funnier version of the same.

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