PowerPoint Turns 20
A recent New York Times article interviewed the creators of PowerPoint on the occasion of its 20th year in use. Although both creators agreed that PowerPoint is terribly misused, they argued that the program itself is not to blame. Instead, they say, the problem is with the people who use it, who are not as willing as they should be to think through their content and then use the program to summarize the high points.
"…a lot of people in business have given up writing the documents. They just write the presentations, which are summaries without the detail, without the backup. A lot of people don't like the intellectual rigor of actually doing the work," said Robert Gaskins, one of the co-creators of the original PowerPoint software. The software was sold to Microsoft in 1987.
To read the article, visit online.wsj.com.
HBSP Publishes Giving Presentations
Harvard Business School Press has just released Giving Presentations, a 96-page guide to the basics of creating and delivering good presentations. The book is part of HBSP's Pocket Mentor series and covers such topics as visuals, group presentations, rehearsal, and handling questions.
For more information, go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu.
Sony TVs for the Blind
Sony's Bravia line of flat-panel LCD HDTV sets include access to Audio Description (AD), the system that narrates plot points during gaps in dialogue so that visually impaired people can better follow what's happening in a TV show. The Bravia sets will not require an additional decoder for AD as other TV sets do.
For more information, go to www.sony.com/bravia.
Zentation in Beta
A beta version of Zentation, an application that syncs video with a presentation so that those who missed the presentation can hear what was said about the slides as well as see the slides themselves, is available now at www.zentation.com. By uploading a video of a presentation being delivered to Google Video, users can then put the slides in sync with that video.
"Zentation is not perfect, and for my kind of presentations it does not really work so well, but for people who have a relatively few number of slides in their talk, it seems to work pretty well," says Garr Reynolds, author of popular presentations blog "Presentation Zen."
Planar Acquires Runco International
Beaverton, Ore.-based display software and hardware provider Planar has announced that it has acquired Runco International, a provider of home theater products such as Video Xtreme projection equipment and Runco's CineWide technology.
Felston DD740 Audio Delay
On occasion, the audio and video in a projection system get just a little bit out of synch, so that the sound is heard before the corresponding video image (such as a person speaking whose speech precedes their lips moving). That happens when there is less processing required for the video signal to be delivered to the screen than for the audio signal to be delivered to the speaker, so that one arrives before the other.
A UK company called Felston (www.felston.com) has released a product called the DD740 Four-Input Digital Audio Delay, a mouthful that means a box that can eliminate those out-of-synch problems.
The DD740 capable of up to a 680-millisecond delay, and can deal with S/PDIF or Dolby Digital/EX/DTS/ES/PCM with sample rates of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz (CD), 48 kHZ (standard DVD), and 96kHz. Felston also has two other audio delays, but the DD740 can handle up to four sources of signals.
InFocus Work Big IN24 Projector Gets Good Review
Projectorcentral.com, a site that reviews projectors, has positively reviewed the InFocus In24 SVGA projector as a good choice for educators and presenters on tight budgets.
"The InFocus Work Big In24 is an SVGA projector that cranks out almost 1400 ANSI lumens, weighs seven pounds, and costs less than $600 at current street prices. With a solid feature set and great performance, it's a lot of projector for the price," says projectorcentral.com's review.
Design School 1 Offered
Infocomm International, a nonprofit association for the AV communications industry, is offering Design School 1: The Principles of Applied AV Design. The course covers the principles of design for visual display, audio and control systems. The course takes place for eight hours a day for three days, and includes three hours of evening work on the first two days of class.
The course will be held in Fairfax, Va. from July 29 to July 31, 2007. For more information, go to www.infocomm.org.
ViewSonic Releases Projector with iPod Dock
ViewSonic's PJ258D ViewDock projector, a DLP projector with 1024x768 XGA resolution, has a iPod dock built in on top that allows users to plug their video iPods into the projector and view videos or pictures. The projector supports 720p and 1080i HD signals.
The ViewDock supports other digital video media with S-video and VGA, so that users can connect PCs, DVD players or game consoles to the projector. It also charges the iPod's battery while videos are being played.
For more information, go to www.viewsonic.com.