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Five Rules for Great Presentations



A great lesson on presentation theory from the talented Nancy Duarte.

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A Great Deal for Organizing Your Media



A colleague of mine, Peter Krogh has a
great deal going. His excellent book called The DAM Bool is being bundled with Expression Media. Here are the key facts.

The DAM Book – In The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, Peter Krogh updates his ground-breaking book on creating and managing digital photography collection. Peter guides you through the entire digital photography ecosystem, showing you how hardware, software, file formats and workflow practices can work together to keep your images safe, and to let you get the most from your pictures. The second edition has been almost entirely rewritten, updating the material for the changed technical landscape. Chapters were added that covered the use of Lightroom, as well as an entirely new chapter on backup and validation of image files. Peter also covers the use of GPS devices and software to geotag your images.

Expression Media 2 software – When you buy The DAM Book during the month of October, you'll get a fully-licensed copy Expression Media 2 for free. (A $199 full retail value). Expression Media 2 is the a cross-platform application for managing your digital photos and media. Create easy-to-use catalogs of all your photos, movies, audio files, and many more file types. Expression Media 2 was recently purchased by Phase One from Microsoft.

Act now to take advantage of this limited time offer – Expires Sunday, October 31.

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How To Avoid Bad Powerpoint

Seven Deadly Sins of PowerPoint

  1. Too few slides
    2 Too many words
    3 No ‘road signs’ (where are you going?)
    4 Reliance on gimmicks (skip sound effects)
    5 Ignoring design
    6 Not rehearsing
    7 Forgetting your audience

The Rules of Presentation Design


  • Limit fonts used
    • Use a heavy font
    • Avoid stock templates
    • 3-7 bullets per page
    • A bullet is 2-5 words
    • Readability test, (stand 15 feet away from the screen, can you read it easily)
    • Design for the back of the room
    • Create your own templates
    • Use builds or simple animations to bring bullets on line by line
    • Justification & capitalization (be consistent)
    • Consider screen vs. print
    • Use transparency
    • Ease to change
    • With multiple presenters, utilize a style guide and templates
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Free Windows Media Encoder


Windows Media Encoder is dead... In it's place is the Expression Encoder 4. There's a ton of new features, but the biggest for me is that it finally recognizes QuickTime files. If you are on a Mac, you'll need to run it under VMWare or BootCamp. But it's a free application (with a more advanced version for free). Be sure to check it out —
http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Encoder4_Overview.aspx

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The History of Comic Sans

This is a great short video about the history of Comic Sans and is told by the font's designer. It's really quite funny and he has a great sense of humor about it all.



And a little more followup.



Maybe I'll use it on a client project ;)
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ProRes for PC

Apple's ProRes Codec is a great tool for professional video editors. Apple has released a version that let's PC users and editors read the files created on a Mac. This is great for video and mograf folks. It's a free download. I made a new tiny URL for my Windows friends.. http://tinyurl.com/prorespc
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What is Google Chrome OS?

This looks to be something worth keeping an eye on. Google reveals more about their new Operating System.



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New Documentary on PowerPoint in Production

I was interviewed for this documentary. I'm looking forward to seeing it. http://www.galloway.tv/reppt/

"Release Date: March 15, 2010 on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, & Comcast VOD

Distribution: Method Content LLC

Director’s Comment: I’ve done nearly 200 speeches in the last 3 years, and in every one, clients insisted I include a PowerPoint presentation. My film “Why Walmart Works” was about the scale and influence of Walmart, and I became fascinated with the scale of PowerPoint, which has an estimated 400 million users worldwide.

The documentary “Regarding Powerpoint” traces the origin of the program and its subsequent development. We’ll look at who uses the program for what purposes. The film will also address PowerPoint’s effect of cognitive development and syntax structure, i.e., is society beginning to think in outlines and bullet points, as opposed to to paragraphs? Does anybody give a speech without slides anymore? Will audiences listen to one?

Much as Walmart dominates physical distribution of goods, PowerPoint has come to dominate business expression and presentation. “Regarding Powerpoint” will attempt to put the program’s influence on business, education, and thinking into meaningful context."
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Cats of Microsoft

In the truth is stranger than fiction category. I give your the Cats of Microsoft.

The URL only works on campus (it's an Intranet link).
Seems to be for a good cause... but I findly it very odd nonetheless.

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Insert Flash or YouTube into PowerPoint

Hey PowerPoint lovers (and haters). My book, How to Wow with PowerPoint is 35% off and free shipping in the U.S. Simply go to http://bit.ly/c8RLd and enter HTWPOWER at checkout. The book focusses on all of the coolest features and the essential skills you need to make great-looking presentations.

Here’s a preview of a useful tip on how to insert a Flash file or YouTube video into a PowerPoint slide.

Put Flash in a Presentation
Inserting Flash animations into a slideshow can significantly extend the animation abilities of PowerPoint. However, the task is NOT easy. In order to unlock this feature, you literally need to unlock the software. This feature is tricky, and if you are of the faint of heart.

1. Enable Flash Technology
There are several preferences you must modify to enable Flash files. You may need to adjust your security settings to allow ActiveX to run (this is the portal for Flash). To activate ActiveX, it is best to view the PowerPoint help file, enter the text “Enable ActiveX.”

Next, make sure that the Shockwave Flash plug-in has been loaded on your system. For maximum compatibility you should download the latest version from www.adobe.com. You should also install the latest version of Flash Player on your system.

2. Enable the Developer’s tab
The Developer’s tab contains several advanced elements that let you customize a presentation. Most of these are for developers, that is those individuals who are actually using PowerPoint as a programming environment to create interactive programs.


To enable these tools, click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click PowerPoint Options button. Next, click Popular, and then under Top options for working with PowerPoint, select the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon check box B. To apply the change, click OK.


3. Add the Flash Control

On the Developer tab, go to the Controls group, and click More Controls. In the new dialog box, select Shockwave Flash Object from the list of controls B and click OK. Draw on the slide to insert the control. Drag from the top corner to the bottom corner (covering the entire slide). A white box with an X should now cover the entire slide.


4. Locate the Movie
Unfortunately, the Flash control does not have a browse function to locate the movie. You have to know the actual file path (this is a long string of text such as C:\Documents and Settings\RHED Pixel\Desktop\Chapter 4\Sources\Video\Flash_Title.swf). Be sure to figure out the location of your file.


5. Modify the Control Container
Now that you know the location of the file, right-click the Shockwave Flash Object on the slide and choose Properties A. On the Alphabetic tab, click the Movie property (this specified the file). In the value column (the blank cell next to Movie), type or paste the full drive path B, including the file name or URL to the Flash file that you want to play.
You can also set options such as looping by modifying settings in the Properties dialog box.

6. Test it Out
Lets see if it works? Press Shift+F5 to Preview the current slide. Did it work? Flash animations are a quickly evolving feature inside of PowerPoint, so keep an eye on the built-in help menu to see if future updates streamline embedding a Flash file. If the above steps seem too in-depth, then be sure to check out PFCMedia, which makes this process a few clicks.


7. Want YouTube?
If you’re clever, you can get a YouTube video to work in PowerPoint. It’s not easy (but its pretty cool!) The trick is to harness the power of Flash (see Put Flash in a Presentation). The only difference is you’ll insert a web URL for the movie you want. For example if you found a movie like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RysNrUP5MqA you would view it on the page. What you need to do is modify the web link. Instead, use http://www.youtube.com/v/RysNrUP5MqA to create a direct link to just the media file and none of the web page navigation. When you launch your presentation, click once to start the clip. If you click the screen again it takes you to the YouTube website. Instead, click the space bar to advance the slide.


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How to Wow with PowerPoint Free Samples and On Sale

Hey PowerPoint lovers (and haters). My book, How to Wow with PowerPoint is 35% off and free shipping in the U.S. Simply go to http://bit.ly/c8RLd and enter HTWPOWER at checkout.

Here are a few samples to check out.

Photos & Graphics: Selecting & Preparing Images for Your Presentation
Download a Sample Chapter from this book.


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Best Prize Ever


So last night, I attended a sneak peak preview session on PowerPoint 2010. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and what new features are going to be useful to my clients. I also won a "sweet" door prize.

I am open to ideas on how to use this shirt.

Here's a sneak peek on some of the new transition animations. Looks like video support is finally getting its due as well.





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Notes from PowerPoint Live


As promised, here are my notes from the PowerPoint ive conference in Atlanta, GA.

  • Tweeting, Friending, and Linking: Everything you have always wanted to know about social networking, but had no idea how or whom to ask. | PDF
  • PowerPoint to Podcast: How to take advantage of this marriage of video and slide content | PDF
  • Social Slides: Integrating your work with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter | PDF
  • PowerPoint's Flash Point: Making the journey | PDF

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Laugh at Bill & Steve – The Silicon Apartment

What would happen if you locked Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the same apartment (like Big Brother)? Well you get the risque comic strip – The Silicon Apartment (PG-13). The strip is really quite good and skewers both sides.
The Silicon Apartment

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Scott Kelby Releases 2nd Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide

Thanks to Scott Kelby for releasing his very cool guide to gift shopping (for geeks and photographers at least).
“It’s here: the long awaited, unabated, triangulated, amalgamated, 2nd annual edition of Scott’s Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide!

This year’s expanded in-depth guide includes nothing but the coolest, personally hand-picked gear for the photography and Photoshop freak on your holiday list.”


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Just Back from PowerPoint Live


I just got back from the PowerPoint Live Conference in New Orleans. The show was a lot of fun and I got to meet some great folks who are trying to make PowerPoint more useful. Here are the materials from my sessions.

• Video in PowerPoint | PDF | PPT
• Putting Your Presentation on DVD | PDF | PPT
• Broadcast Graphics with PowerPoint | PDF | PPT

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An Amazing Website for the Land of Oz


Sci-Fi Network has a very cool series that "re-imagines" the Land of Oz. The show is called Tin Man, and while the show looks fantastic, it is an amazing promo site that deserves mention. They have created a really unique sub-site called The Infinite Oz which offers a virtual reality experience. What I like is how immersive and creative the website is. It also features the work of several up and coming 3D artists. Go take a look... really!



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Notes from Podcast Expo


If you came to either of my classes at Podcast and New Media Expo. I just wanted to offer you the handouts and resources. Heck.. even if you missed the show you might like these.

CLASS ONE – Field Production Strategies for Video Podcasting
The rules of the studio don't apply the same in the field. In this session you will learn how to properly capture your video content outside of a controlled environment and unpredictable lighting and background noise. You also learn how to achieve the best results when encoding files for various output devices. See how the experts retain overall quality with an overview of the latest methods and technologies. This session will also share best practices for multi-camera productions.

Slides
Multicamera Advice for FInal Cut Pro
Production Resources

CLASS Two – Creating a Graphic Identity for Your Podcast
Designing a look and feel for your show is essential. Here are some slides with work samples included. We took a look at the following Shows –
Final Cut Help, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Secrets of Style with Kim Foley, On Software, and Photoshop for Video.

Slides
Reference Books

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Adobe Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements Released


If you are a Windows user who likes to fix up their photos and video... then you should check out the new releases from Adobe. There are very solid releases with a lot of cool features. I created a few free tutorials on Premiere Elements (I love the YouTube publishing feature). You can check them out here and also learn more about Photoshop Elements.

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New Tablets from Wacom

If you'll be at the Podcast and New Media Expo show this weekend, consider checking out these free classes on the show floor. Podango is offering an “Unconference,” a featured program of the Podcast and New Media Expo (PNME) taking place September 28-30, at the Ontario Convention Center.

Podango, the online video and audio network that enables publishers and advertisers to “get heard” by today’s hard-to-reach, niche audiences, is heralding a wide range of topics and speakers. They include: new media pioneer Scott Bourne, host of The Apple Phone Show; Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang, hosts of MommyCast; as well as Jason Van Orden, David Lawrence and others. Speakers will share ideas for building and monetizing audiences in today’s niche-oriented, interest-driven new media marketplace.
Read More...
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On the Subject of Type – Foundries!

If you'll be at the Podcast and New Media Expo show this weekend, consider checking out these free classes on the show floor. Podango is offering an “Unconference,” a featured program of the Podcast and New Media Expo (PNME) taking place September 28-30, at the Ontario Convention Center.

Podango, the online video and audio network that enables publishers and advertisers to “get heard” by today’s hard-to-reach, niche audiences, is heralding a wide range of topics and speakers. They include: new media pioneer Scott Bourne, host of The Apple Phone Show; Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang, hosts of MommyCast; as well as Jason Van Orden, David Lawrence and others. Speakers will share ideas for building and monetizing audiences in today’s niche-oriented, interest-driven new media marketplace.
Read More...
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Windows and Mac Users Agree – Type is Good

If you'll be at the Podcast and New Media Expo show this weekend, consider checking out these free classes on the show floor. Podango is offering an “Unconference,” a featured program of the Podcast and New Media Expo (PNME) taking place September 28-30, at the Ontario Convention Center.

Podango, the online video and audio network that enables publishers and advertisers to “get heard” by today’s hard-to-reach, niche audiences, is heralding a wide range of topics and speakers. They include: new media pioneer Scott Bourne, host of The Apple Phone Show; Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang, hosts of MommyCast; as well as Jason Van Orden, David Lawrence and others. Speakers will share ideas for building and monetizing audiences in today’s niche-oriented, interest-driven new media marketplace.
Read More...
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Dock Options

If you'll be at the Podcast and New Media Expo show this weekend, consider checking out these free classes on the show floor. Podango is offering an “Unconference,” a featured program of the Podcast and New Media Expo (PNME) taking place September 28-30, at the Ontario Convention Center.

Podango, the online video and audio network that enables publishers and advertisers to “get heard” by today’s hard-to-reach, niche audiences, is heralding a wide range of topics and speakers. They include: new media pioneer Scott Bourne, host of The Apple Phone Show; Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang, hosts of MommyCast; as well as Jason Van Orden, David Lawrence and others. Speakers will share ideas for building and monetizing audiences in today’s niche-oriented, interest-driven new media marketplace.
Read More...
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New Podcast Series on Microsoft Emerging Technology

My company recently produced a new podcast series called OnMicrosoft (and yes, its about Microsoft). Here's the official blurb.


OnMicrosoft—Each week, we will talk to some of the IT Pro and Developer community's leading experts about a wide range of programming, systems, and software issues. Our interviews include talks with Microsoft’s Program Manager on the .NET Framework- Brad Abrams, Connected Systems Division Architect at Microsoft- Chris Anderson, Wintellect Co-Founder- Jeff Prosise, and Group Product Manager at Microsoft- Brian Goldfarb. With discussions on topics including ASP.NET AJAX, Silverlight, PowerShell WPF, Orcas and SharePoint, we have something for professionals working in every part of the industry.

You can check it out in iTunes by clicking here –
Video Feed or Audio Feed.


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Producing Video and Animation for Multiformat Delivery

If you'll be at the Podcast and New Media Expo show this weekend, consider checking out these free classes on the show floor. Podango is offering an “Unconference,” a featured program of the Podcast and New Media Expo (PNME) taking place September 28-30, at the Ontario Convention Center.

Podango, the online video and audio network that enables publishers and advertisers to “get heard” by today’s hard-to-reach, niche audiences, is heralding a wide range of topics and speakers. They include: new media pioneer Scott Bourne, host of The Apple Phone Show; Paige Heninger and Gretchen Vogelzang, hosts of MommyCast; as well as Jason Van Orden, David Lawrence and others. Speakers will share ideas for building and monetizing audiences in today’s niche-oriented, interest-driven new media marketplace.
Read More...
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iMix #4 - Radio & TV

Continuing my mixtape habit.... I invite you to listen to an iMix (a collection of songs arranged around a topic). Just click this link to visit the iTunes music store and you can here a little part of the soundtrack of my life.

Radio & TV features some songs for those who work in the film/video/broadcast industry. A little satire, a few good beats, and some nice instrumentals. Seems that all my iMixes run with a theme... but I guess all good mix tapes do.



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Cool Free Fonts

Looking to expand your typographical toolbox? Then be sure to visit Dinc Type at the unique URL www.GirlsWhoWearGlasses.com. The site is sassy and filled with great fonts. The unique thing is that while fonts are free, the selection frequently changes and fonts appear then disappear. Its like an incredible import shop where everything’s free, but the inventory keeps changing. Bookmark and keep checking back as their fonts are absolutely fantastic.



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New Podcasts focusses On Software

It was a proud day at RHED Pixel (my office). One of our new podcasts made the front page of iTunes. On Software focusses on how software is developed, and features interviews with the creative folks who design and program the tools we all love.



(It's not every day that you're grouped with a presidential candidate, CNN, and PBS)



OnSoftware—Each week, we will talk to some of the software industry's leading developers about a wide range of programming and development issues. Our interviews include talks with Java Puzzlers author Josh Bloch, C++ Inventor author Bjarne Stroustrup, and Java Concurrency in Practice author Brian Goetz to name just three. With discussions on topics ranging from the future of C++ and Concurrency and value driven software development to Design Patterns, Agile Estimating and Planning, Iterative Development, Generics, and language compatibility, we have something for technical professionals working in every part of the industry.
Is it technical... yup. But I still think you'll find it
interesting.
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Free Reading

I've gotten a few letters lately asking about new books... there are three updates and a new one in development (more later).

But I did write a new book and thoroughly revise another.

For your reading enjoyment and personal education.


Photoshop for Video 3rd Edition (previously titled Photoshop for Nonlinear Editors)
• Major updates with tons of new content and more than 75 new pages of material
• Over 2.5 hours of training videos
• Expanded coverage of DVD and Motion Graphics
• In-depth look at HD graphics and workflow
• Full coverage of Photoshop CS3

Download the free chapter here.
You can order the book
here.


Here's a free chapter from my new book How to Wow with PowerPoint. This is the intro to the book and focusses on best practices for designing graphics for the screen (so even if you aren't a PowerPoint fan, you'll find some wholesome goodness on here). I hope you all enjoy it, If you'd like to order the book click here.

Unrated






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A New Windows Browser


In case you missed it... Apple released a public beta of Safari 3.0 for both Mac AND WINDOWS! To be honest, I never saw that one coming... With great new features, its a worthy upgrade for both platforms. I've seen an occasional hang-up, but the program is faster and adds some great features.

Inline find – Search within a web page by pressing Cmd+F (Ctrl+F)
Resizable Text Fields – More room when working online
Improved Security – Shoo!
Pick up the tabs – Rearrange tabs with drag and drop ease
PDFs Control – Zoom, Save, or Send to a PDF app

Get the free download
here.
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Convert Your Fonts


I just had a need to pull out TRANSTYPE SE. This useful utility comes in handy when working on a design project and getting client-provided materials? Oftentimes fonts come over (which is great), except they are for the wrong platform (which isn't so great). Instead of rushing out to buy the font again, you can usually convert it.
This shareware application converts Mac fonts to PC fonts, or vice versa. Simple in concept, clean in execution--this tool has been a lifesaver that has kept many a motion graphics project on track.
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The Lockergnome Makes Its Picks

Chris Pirillo and Lockergnome have released their list of picks for 2007. There's a lot of good things here worth checking out. You can see the full list here (and its growing). Here are a few of the ones that I found most useful (and think you will as well).

Terms of Service Comparison for Video Hosting Sites

Online Spreadsheets for Collaboration

Blog2PDF & deskFlickr for Windows

Starter set of 10 Tweaks for Windows Vista

FontRenamer for Windows

Sharable Web-based Whiteboard

Hope you enjoy...


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Great New Laptop Cases

I'm always on the lookout for a new laptop case. While at MacWorld I came across a great bag for Macintosh laptops. Behold the glovez case from case-mate. On the inside its pretty standard, a well-constructed neoprene case. On the outside its very different. The case is wrapped in a perforated nylon exterior that makes it easy to grip and hard to drop. It also has two velcro closures to help keep it under wraps.

The cases are sized to fit all models of Mac laptops perfectly... in fact its a very snug fit and offers peace of mind that the laptop is well-protected. You can choose from four colors: Mocha, Silver, Red, and Black. The cases are very reasonably
priced – $24.95 to $29.95 which seems plenty reasonable. I've been plenty happy with it and invite you to check them out.


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Free Chapter on Layout and Design

I've just gotten permission from my publisher to release a chapter for free from my new book How to Wow with PowerPoint. This is the intro to the book and focusses on best practices for designing graphics for the screen (so even if you aren't a PowerPoint fan, you'll find some wholesome goodness on here).

I hope you all enjoy it, you can download direct or visit the resources page. If you'd like to order the book (it ships in a few weeks) click
here.

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For Geeks with Bad Caffeine Habits

So what was in my stocking this morning? The perfect gift for someone who is frequently stuck next to a computer for long hours. A USB beverage cooler (no really.. I swear). Plug it in to a USB port and it dips to 45 degrees within seconds. Its perfect for chilling several cans of Coke Zero (I'm on a writing deadline you see).

The device works, doesn't seem to draw much power, and it runs silently. I know you're jealous, so if you're significant other didn't get you one, than stop over to
www.thinkgeek.com and pick one up.



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How to Wow for PowerPoint is On the Presses

The book is DONE! I have just finished a new book on PowerPoint 2007. It’s called How to Wow with PowerPoint and I am writing it with my friend Scott Rekdal. I am quite proud of it... It's full color, to-the-point, and teaches you how to do all the important stuff with PowerPoint 2007. It's great for all levels of users, especially those who feel their skills have leveled-off.

I'm trying to get a sample chapter up this week. If you want to order it, put a pre-order into
Amazon or directly at Peachpit. This way you'll get it first (heck we might even get the book out before Microsoft gets the software out).

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Holiday Shopping Guides for Gadget Loving Geeks

There are two great gift guides for the holiday season (both published by friends). If you need to find something for the digital geek in your life (or even just want something to give others ideas) then check these two out.

First, you have Scott Kelby's
Gonzo Holiday Gadget Guide.” This free PDF features a ton of cool digital photography and photoshop related goodies. All the products have been tested by Scott himself, which is cool as he certainly knows his stuff. You can download it from http://www.planetphotoshop.com.

The other guide is from Terry White (who is a true road warrior who works for Adobe).
The 2006 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is an interactive PDF links to some of the coolest gizmos out there. Terry covers everything from digital video to frequent traveler to music lover. His choice are really very good.



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A Truly Amazing Comic (On Copyright)

I’m still reading this comic, but it is absolutely amazing. Bound by Law is absolutely amazing, it analyzes the murky world of copyright law in a clear way. It is an excellent source on information for film and video pros as well as other creative professions. Published by the Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain, this comic covers the essential information in the most creative and entertaining way possible. It’s totally free and should not be missed.


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Asking for Your Help - American Diabetes Association


I will be walking this weekend to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. If you are able to, would you consider making a small donation to the cause? Every dollar raised goes to help in the fight against diabetes. Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 21 seconds, this is quickly becoming the leading cause of death in America. America's Walk for Diabetes is my chance to give back (and yours as well). If you find this blog helpful or entertaining, please consider making a $5 donation. Thanks!

-Rich Harrington



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New Freebies for Video Pros

I've posted some new items online to help spice up your projects and make your digital life a little easier.

Background Textures from Digital Anarchy
NTSC Test Image (For use with Photoshop's Video Actions)
Power Window/Vignette to enhance Film Look
Over The Shoulder Data Sets Template

I hope you enjoy. If you spot any problems, please let me know.


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New Film/Video Group in NYC


While at NAB New York, I had the chance to catch up with some industry pros. I just found at that the New York Final Cut Pro User Group has evolved into a broader focus. The group is now called The Motion Pictures Collective.

"The Moving Pictures Collective fosters our professional filmmaking community to enhance their abilities and broaden their overall knowledge and skills to reach their career goals. With post-production as our core competency, we will share techniques, tools, and best practices in all competencies including editing, directing, writing, producing, and shooting. We will also promote member collaboration by sharing our work in a supportive environment and create opportunities for our members to flourish.”

If you live near New York City, be sure to check out one of their
great events.



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New Rotoscoping Solution Previewed - Motor from Imagineer Systems


At NAB New York, I had a chance to take a look at a new rotoscoping product that is truly unique and fast! Imageneer Systems showed off motor, which looks to speed up the tedious process of rotoscoping by 3 times. The tools is designed for both video and film work. It is a standalone product, but it can export matted clips or mask data to other programs. The product works using 2.5D planar tracking technology where the user defines basic objects or planes (like body parts). The system then supports variable edge width and the ability to refine edges with far fewer keyframes. The product is currently in beta testing (but release looks to be soon).



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The Real Reason for Windows Vista Delay

While clearing off my cell phone camera, I came across this gem from Photoshop World. I had intended to sit down and watch a demo on Windows Vista (writing a book on PowerPoint makes you do strange things).

So I went to hear (and see the latest). But it seems that the Microsoft rep couldn't get the system to boot up using Windows Vista. The audience was good natured, but still after multiple reboots and attempts, it just wouldn't work). So, the unaltered photos you see here are what the audience got (at least the demo guy had a sense of humor).

So, has Vegas started taking odds on Apple vs. Windows as to who will get their operating system out the door first? What are your plans about Windows Vista?




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Insert Flash or YouTube into PowerPoint

I'm hard at work on a new book on PowerPoint 2007. It’s called How to Wow with PowerPoint and I am writing it with my friend Scott Rekdal. We're focussing on all of the coolest features and the essential skills you need to make great-looking presentations.

Here’s a preview of a useful tip on how to insert a Flash file or YouTube video into a PowerPoint slide.

Put Flash in a Presentation
Inserting Flash animations into a slideshow can significantly extend the animation abilities of PowerPoint. However, the task is NOT easy. In order to unlock this feature, you literally need to unlock the software. This feature is tricky, and if you are of the faint of heart.

1. Enable Flash Technology
There are several preferences you must modify to enable Flash files. You may need to adjust your security settings to allow ActiveX to run (this is the portal for Flash). To activate ActiveX, it is best to view the PowerPoint help file, enter the text “Enable ActiveX.”

Next, make sure that the Shockwave Flash plug-in has been loaded on your system. For maximum compatibility you should download the latest version from www.adobe.com. You should also install the latest version of Flash Player on your system.

2. Enable the Developer’s tab
The Developer’s tab contains several advanced elements that let you customize a presentation. Most of these are for developers, that is those individuals who are actually using PowerPoint as a programming environment to create interactive programs.


To enable these tools, click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click PowerPoint Options button. Next, click Popular, and then under Top options for working with PowerPoint, select the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon check box B. To apply the change, click OK.


3. Add the Flash Control

On the Developer tab, go to the Controls group, and click More Controls. In the new dialog box, select Shockwave Flash Object from the list of controls B and click OK. Draw on the slide to insert the control. Drag from the top corner to the bottom corner (covering the entire slide). A white box with an X should now cover the entire slide.


4. Locate the Movie
Unfortunately, the Flash control does not have a browse function to locate the movie. You have to know the actual file path (this is a long string of text such as C:\Documents and Settings\RHED Pixel\Desktop\Chapter 4\Sources\Video\Flash_Title.swf). Be sure to figure out the location of your file.


5. Modify the Control Container
Now that you know the location of the file, right-click the Shockwave Flash Object on the slide and choose Properties A. On the Alphabetic tab, click the Movie property (this specified the file). In the value column (the blank cell next to Movie), type or paste the full drive path B, including the file name or URL to the Flash file that you want to play.
You can also set options such as looping by modifying settings in the Properties dialog box.

6. Test it Out
Lets see if it works? Press Shift+F5 to Preview the current slide. Did it work? Flash animations are a quickly evolving feature inside of PowerPoint, so keep an eye on the built-in help menu to see if future updates streamline embedding a Flash file. If the above steps seem too in-depth, then be sure to check out PFCMedia, which makes this process a few clicks.


7. Want YouTube?
If you’re clever, you can get a YouTube video to work in PowerPoint. It’s not easy (but its pretty cool!) The trick is to harness the power of Flash (see Put Flash in a Presentation). The only difference is you’ll insert a web URL for the movie you want. For example if you found a movie like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RysNrUP5MqA you would view it on the page. What you need to do is modify the web link. Instead, use http://www.youtube.com/v/RysNrUP5MqA to create a direct link to just the media file and none of the web page navigation. When you launch your presentation, click once to start the clip. If you click the screen again it takes you to the YouTube website. Instead, click the space bar to advance the slide.

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5GB of Free Online Storage for PC Users (and Very Patient Mac Users)

AOL has launched a free utility for online storage called Xdrive. They'll give you a whopping 5 GB (which is pretty good). The service is free (for now it appears) as it doesn't charge you or ask for any payment info. But the login screen does allude that they may ask to charge in the future (you won't be billed automatically).

“With your 5GB of secure online storage there's plenty of room to keep backup copies of digital photos, all your important documents, e-mail attachments, and other files — and still have space leftover for your music collection. It's the best way to keep computer crashes from becoming disasters. Think of it as hard drive insurance.”

In that vein, it gets even better. When I logged in, they upped it to 50 GB for free. They offer free software for Windows users that lets you mount the Xdrive as a volume on your desktop. But Mac users can still access the service through a slightly more clunky web interface.






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Lost Fans or Casual Bystanders... Catch Up!


So iTunes and ABC are doing something cool. You can download the season finale of Lost (as well as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives) for free. The first Million viewers can pull down the show as well as "The Lost Survival Guide" so you can catch back up.

As a podcaster, it's an interesting concept. Making something free, but 'exclusive' (if you consider a million to be exclusive). Still, I like free TV as much as the next creative type.

Be sure to
check it out.... it's free after all!




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Paralells Gets Even Better

Long time readers will know that we are big fans of Parallels Desktop solution for running Windows on a Mac. No need for multiple partitions or rebooting, you can have both Operating Systems going at the same time. Plus you can install the optional Tools that allow you to copy and paste between systems and even access folders on your Mac.

The good news... their
trial is still available and a new update has been released.

Recent improvements include:
  • Support for new quad-processor Mac Pro towers outfitted with up to 3.5GB of RAM
  • Experimental support for Windows Vista
  • An improved Parallels Tools package
  • Better video output improvement and acceleration
  • Added isochronous USB devices support (including WebCam devices)
  • Keyboard support improvement: Eject CD key support and more
  • Clipboard synchronization tool
  • Sound playback and recording improvement
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Microsoft Kills Virtual PC for Macintosh

Microsoft has a bad habit of buying technology... then killing it. It'd not really their fault... they've got all of that cash just lying around. The recent victim is Virtual PC. Originally developed by Connectix, it was sold to Microsoft in 2003. In a statement today Microsoft said it "has made the decision not to move forward with a Universal version of Virtual PC at this time."

At this time is corporate speak for never, in fact never ever. Recent competition from Parallels and VMWare have made the Windows on a Mac space a bit cluttered. Additionally, Microsoft alluded that rewriting Virtual PC to run on Intel Processors would mean having to essentially rewrite the program.

"The (Macintosh business unit) still recognizes that customers need access to Windows applications from their Intel-based Macs and feels confident that alternative solutions offered by Apple and other vendors, combined with a fully packaged retail copy of Windows will satisfy this need," the company said.

Anyone else find it ironic that Microsoft which started as a company that made Mac software, has decided that it is too difficult to get their software to run on Intel chips. Go figure. Guess they're too busy getting Vista out the door.


For more details, head over to
CNET.

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Windows Media Works on New Macs... Finally

Mac users can now access Windows Media files... for free. Telestream has updated Flip4Mac, so it works with the new Intel-based Macs. Telestream has a series of QuickTime components that enables Mac OS X users to play, import and export Windows Media files using QuickTime-based applications. Mac users can access the free player from Microsoft's website, while those creating pro vide will want to check out the different options at Telestream's site.

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Join Me in Discovering PowerPoint 2007

I've caught up on my sleep and appear to be a glutton for punishment again. I have been asked to co-author a new book on PowerPoint (more details soon). Essentially, I will be putting together a new book on design principles and techniques for effective screen graphics. The book is going to focus on all versions of PowerPoint, including the recently announced PowerPoint 2007. I am starting to wade into this latest version (its a public beta). If you are a cutting-edge, risk taking technocrat, feel free to join me. You can download the beta (legally) from Microsoft by clicking here. It's a Windows only program (though its running just fine on both my MacBook and MacBook Pro). I welcome your comments as I work on the new book. Requests and suggestions are welcome.

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Windows vs. Mac – the OS Showdown



With a sense of humor firmly intact, New York Times columnist David Pogue
reviews Microsoft Windows Vista. David takes a look at several of the new features in the latest version of Windows (set to ship next month). His mission... prove that “Microsoft did not steal ideas from Mac OS X.” Does he succeed? It all depends on your perspective so you'll want to judge for yourself. You can take a look at the quick video for free online.
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© 2010 Richard Harrington LLC