Steve Hards of SteveHardSoft.com needs your help with naming his new PowerPoint add-in. The yet-to-be named product is in step with the trend toward the photo-background, template-free PowerPoint approach.
What the PowerPoint product does...The new add-in applies a Gaussian blur to any ordinary PowerPoint shape. You can then animate the blurred shape to make the foreground stand out -- or reveal fuzzed-out background objects. (For easier visualization, check out Steve's product demo.)
Hmmmm... but what to name this new add-in? Those who have gone through my brand name training exercises know that best brand names are short, snappy, and memorable. Steve writes that he has narrowed it down to 3 names...
Help name the product and get a discount. From now until the end of the month, you can help Steve decide on a name with your online vote. In return for helping him decide, Steve is offering voters a substantial discount when the product is officially launched.
Finally! Google delivered a free Presentation application to round out its Google Docs Suite. If you haven't already, go get yourself a free Google Docs account and check it out!
With your Google Docs account, you'll have online access to a powerful online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application. These 3 apps let you easily collaborate on projects...which you can access from any computer with an internet connection. You'll also appreciate the online storage for your important documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Now, critics argue that the Google Docs Presentation App just isn't as powerful as Microsoft PowerPoint. And in many respects, that's true. Everything has its pitfalls. So let's go through the pros and cons:
Why Google Docs is Better than PowerPoint
Easy online collaboration.
Access from anywhere.
Why PowerPoint is Better than the Google Docs Presentation App
Richer design, animation, and programing features.
Access without an internet connection.
PowerPoint is a much snappier name than "Google Docs Presentation App"
So while the new Google Docs Presentation application doesn't offer many whiz-bang features like themes, templates, transitions, and animations -- think about your audience. For years, the death-by-PowerPoint pundits have denounced the overuse of transitions and animations. And PowerPoint templates are less fashionable than ever.
Do you really need to use all the gee-whiz features that PowerPoint offers in order to give a great presentation? And do you find yourself communicating and collaborating with clients, vendors, students, and colleagues online?
Then give Google Docs a whirl. You'll thank me later.
Last week, Microsoft announced its "Ultimate Steal" program for college students. College students can download Microsoft Office 2007 -- which includes PowerPoint, Word, Excel and more -- for just under $60.00 US.
Hmmmm. MS announces this just one week before Google adds a free presentation tool to docs.google.com. Coincidence?
No coincidence - just blatant PR games. After all, Google leaked its intention to add a free Presentation application to Google Docs while MS was in the throes of its PR blitz for the launch of Office 2007. That was in January/February of this year. Google didn't actually provide a presentation app to round out the suite -- until this month.
So now MS strikes back, reporting a price reduction because....(don't laugh out loud):
"We’re listening to students who have told us they need Microsoft Office ..."
Oh, C'mon. No one believes that! MS heard students screaming at the high price of the Office Suite for over 20 years. It just took competition -- not the needs of their customers -- to offer this "too little, too late" price break.
That's one reason why web savvy students are checking out the free suite of apps at docs.google.com.
Oh, and if you need one more reason to be insulted by the Microsoft offer - here's a screenshot from today's "Ultimate Steal" home page. Notice that Microsoft seems to think that college students are white males.
And check out the looks on their faces... just who are they trying to target with this mess?
Go background happy. Effectively using multiple backgrounds within one PowerPoint show can make your presentation visually exciting. If you are looking for beautiful photos to help tell your story, you can find free-to-reasonable photos at these four pop sites:
You don't need no stinkin' PowerPoint templates...
PowerPoint Templates? You don't need no stinkin' PowerPoint templates!
I often write about PowerPoint fashion trends. As far as hip new styles go, I can easily get behind the "Just Say No" movement with regard to PowerPoint templates. The overly fussy template with gradients and dizzying, swirling colors is a look that is so 1990's.
Template Backlash. Face it: we've all seen the same PowerPoint templates over and over again. Sheer visual repetition has burned us out. It's one reason why our eyes glaze over...
PowerPoint Themes. And sorry, the new PowerPoint 2007 Themes don't help, either. They simply promote the banal idea that so-so content can be made better by thoughtlessly slapping it on a "new & fresh looking" visual boilerplate.
(Quite frankly, the "PowerPoint 2007 Themes" look isn't that fresh. See above comment on "overly fussy".)
Long live the PowerPoint Story. Many of the most beloved (zinged!) PowerPoint presentations at Slideshare.net do not rely on PowerPoint templates at all. Instead, zinged presentations rely on great storytelling.
Good Stories are Timeless. And happily, terrific storytelling is not a fashion statement! Outstanding stories (and story tellers) never go out of style.
For Today's PowerPoint Chic... The content comes first. And today, content is supported by a lean and clean design that favors compelling photography over cliched clipart. Now, will this "Zen" design look become kitsch in a few years? Quite likely! But until then...
Here is yet another free service for downloading videos from YouTube and other video sites. Beyond mere video downloading, Vconvert also automatically converts the video into a variety of popular formats.
Try Vconvert. You just enter the video URL at Vconvert, select which format you want -- and click "Convert and Download". After a few minutes, you'll be asked to click on the "Download" button. That's all there is to it. (See screenshot below.)
No muss, no fuss -- but some formats work better than others. For example, Vconvert had no problem converting my online video files to Quicktime (.mov) -- but all my .wmv files got "lost in translation" -- i.e., they became damaged or corrupt, and therefore unusable. Bummer.
Now, when do you suppose YouTube will embed a service like this within its own site? And how popular will this feature become?
I can understand the popularity of Valentine Hearts -- on Valentine's Day. But I am frequently flummoxed by sudden surges in popularity for requests for all things heart-related at my site -- in love's off-season.
Let's take right NOW, for instance. It's not wedding season. It's not Sweetest Day or Valentine's Day. It's not even prom season.
It's September Back-to-School season. Hardly heart-worthy -- right?
Yet here I sit, suddenly inundated with September requests for heart-shaped images -- to use in PowerPoint backgrounds and templates. I guess romance is always in season???
So here you go: free heart backgrounds, perfect for PowerPoint. All kinds of links to free, no-obligation heart-shaped PowerPoint backgrounds. Download away. Feel the love.